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February 2020
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April 2020

March 2020

At last: Federal officials are reconsidering the recommendation for the general public not to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic

Since late February, I’ve wondered why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t been recommending the general public wear face masks. I wrote about it in my article “What You Need to Do to Get Ready for a Possible Covid-19 Outbreak in Your Community.” I said: So, while it’s unknown where covid-19 will strike in the U.S., or if it will, I think getting some N95 masks is a good idea, if you can find them. I wonder if buying them isn’t recommended at this time so there won’t be a run on them, making them unavailable for health care workers. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, on Feb. 29, there was an email tweet from the surgeon general about not buying masks. A New York Times article quoted the tweet as follows: “Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” Read more →


Baby boomers concentrate on keepin’ on during the coronavirus pandemic

I’m working on my book about my journalism career, so these days of staying at home are going by quickly for me. I have plenty of food (and toilet paper) and just found out I can order groceries, expect frozen food, from my local food co-op. I was ready to try Safeway or Fred Meyer thinking eating nonorganic food would be a lesser risk than going to the co-op to shop. Then, I wrote about the Dirty Dozen, a list of the produce with the highest pesticide residues offered yearly by the Environmental Working Group. Topping the list are strawberries, spinach, and kale. The EWG recommends that whenever possible, consumers purchase organic versions of produce on the Dirty Dozen list. Raisins, which hadn’t been tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2007, had the most pesticide residues. The EWG recommends eating organic raisins or prunes. Prunes, USDA tests found, had much lower pesticide residues than either conventional and organic raisins. Read more →


Grower’s edge vaporizers are being recalled by Hawthorne Hydroponics due to shock, burn, and fire hazards

Hawthorne Hydroponics is recalling about 60,000 grower’s edge vaporizers in the United States and about 340 in Canada. The vaporizers can overheat, and the vaporized materials can pose a burn risk if spilled or cause a fire if they fall onto a combustible surface. The deluxe model vaporizer also poses an electrical shock hazard if a consumer touches a small copper piece at the base of the vaporizer while it’s being used. Hawthorne has received 11 reports of overheating or fire, nine for the deluxe and two for the commercial model. Hawthorne has received one report of property damage as a result of vaporizer use. No injuries have been reported. Read more →


Strawberries, spinach, and kale top this year’s Dirty Dozen list for pesticide residue, but raisins are worse

Nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the United States contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group’s 2020 Dirty Dozen. This year’s Dirty Dozen are: Strawberries Spinach Kale Nectarines Apples Grapes Peaches Cherries Pears Tomatoes Celery Potatoes However, the dirtiest produce commodity... Read more →


Meat industry wins another round in its continual efforts to cut back federal meat inspection programs despite sharply increasing hazardous recalls

Tyson Foods received a waiver on Thursday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service from requirements for government inspectors at its Holcomb, Kansas beef slaughter plant. Last summer, Tyson requested a regulatory wavier that would allow it to rely on company employees, rather than government inspectors, to conduct postmortem inspection activities, including identifying and trimming “isolated defects” and identifying conditions that would require additional disposition by a government public health veterinarian. The Consumer Federation of America said it’s disappointed by the USDA’s action. Read more →


Scammers already eying the money you’re going to get from the federal stimulus

Be alert for scams related to the pending federal stimulus package. While a deal has been negotiated and the bill awaits final votes and the president’s signature, Congress’ economic relief package proposes to send money to individual Americans due to financial distress caused by COVID-19. These one-time payments could range from $1,200 per individual and up to $2,400 for joint taxpayers, depending on income. Some Americans may receive physical checks in the mailbox rather than by direct deposit. However, scammers are already using the proposed federal stimulus package as an opportunity to prey on consumers. Read more →


Attorneys general tell Facebook, Amazon, and other online retailers to do a better job on curbing price gouging

Thirty-one attorneys general are urging Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist to more rigorously monitor inflated consumer price practices by online sellers using their services. “As our community faces an unprecedented public health crisis, I’m asking online retailers to do more at a time that requires national unity,” said Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “Together, we need to crack down on inflated pricing so our consumers can get the goods and supplies they need at fair prices.” A letter sent Monday to the companies lists several examples of inflated prices on their marketplace platforms, which took place in March: on Craigslist a two-liter bottle of hand sanitizer was being sold for $250; on Facebook Marketplace an eight-ounce bottle was being sold for $40; and on Ebay packs of face masks were being sold for $40 and $50. Read more →


What are you supposed to do about the 2020 Census?

I’ve heard a lot about the 2020 Census, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to be carried out. Was someone going to come to my door? Did I need to fill out a form? Was I supposed to do it online? If so, when and how would I go about it? Thursday it became clear. I received a letter with directions. Submit your information online. The directions are easy to follow: The website is given and as is a Census ID number to type in. Read more →


Baby boomers dealing with the strange new world

Things have changed dramatically for Americans due to the coronavirus. Most baby boomers are sheltering in place and waiting to see what happens next. What will it be? It’s all unknown. Meanwhile, boomer bloggers are writing about ways to cope with it all. Articles include: How to manage anxiety and to meditate. The benefits of a stacation. The importance of avoiding charity scams. Read more →


Portable generators are being recalled, again, by American Honda due to fire and burn hazards

American Honda is recalling about 340,000 Honda EB2200i, EU2200i, and EU2200i companion and EU2200i camo portable generators. About 200,000 units were recalled in 2019. The portable generator’s inverter assembly can short circuit when exposed to salt water. This causes the unit to smoke or catch fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers. Honda has received 13 reports of the generator’s inverter assembly short-circuiting while in use, including 10 reports of fire. No injuries or property damage were reported. Read more →