Thursday, April 9, 2020

Chinese American Group Donates Face Masks to Local Healthcare Facilities

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 3:33 PM

Oro Valley resident Fang Fung speaks with Oro Valley Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Erinn Oller after donating 5,000 Level 1 face masks to the hospital. Fung is a member of Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ, a group of more than 300 volunteers raising funds to supply PPE to hospitals across the state. - LOGAN BURTCH-BUUS, TUCSON LOCAL MEDIA
  • Logan Burtch-Buus, Tucson Local Media
  • Oro Valley resident Fang Fung speaks with Oro Valley Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Erinn Oller after donating 5,000 Level 1 face masks to the hospital. Fung is a member of Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ, a group of more than 300 volunteers raising funds to supply PPE to hospitals across the state.

When it became clear that local healthcare facilities would face a shortage of critical supplies in the coming weeks, a group of more than 300 Chinese Americans from across Arizona came together to answer the call.

Among them is Oro Valley resident Fang Fung, who pulled up to the loading docks of Oro Valley Hospital Thursday morning with several boxes of Level 1 masks in the trunk of her SUV.

Donning a face mask and gloves, Fung spoke with thankful hospital executives as an employee loaded the donation on a hand cart.

“We need to help health workers because of the lack of masks,” Fung said. “We need to support the first line first.”

That support of local healthcare professionals isn’t limited to Oro Valley. The Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ group is responsible for several similar donations at hospitals across Arizona. The group has also made stops at Banner Health facilities in Tucson and the Greater Phoenix Area, the Dignity Health Foundation, the Chandler Regional Medical Center and the Golder Ranch Fire District on Tucson’s north side.

Fung initiated the local effort and was introduced through a mutual friend to organizers in Phoenix. Both parties realized they could have a greater impact together.

“We all have the same wish,” Fung said. “We hope healthcare workers can protect themselves when they're working with others. It was easy to get people involved.”

The group operates through a Facebook page, Chinese Americans Covid-19 Relief AZ, which was founded in early March. A GoFundMe page was set up March 18, and currently sits at $48,000 of its $50,000 goal, though the group said they’ve surpassed that goal with outside donations.

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Round 2: Downtown Tucson Partnership Announces More Gift Cards for Local Businesses

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 2:00 PM

The famous carne seca plate at El Charro, which is among the businesses that benefit if you buy a Downtown Tucson Partnership gift card tomorrow. - TW FILE PHOTO
  • TW File Photo
  • The famous carne seca plate at El Charro, which is among the businesses that benefit if you buy a Downtown Tucson Partnership gift card tomorrow.
After a successful gift card program last week, the Downtown Tucson Partnership recently announced their second DTP Gift Card Incentive Program, with sales beginning 6 a.m. Friday, April 10.

With the program, Tucson residents can buy a $25 gift card from the Downtown Tucson Partnership for use at downtown business and receive a free $10 bonus. Rio Nuevo is funding the $10 bonus for up to 1,000 cards.

The gift cards can be used at more than 50 downtown businesses, including La Cocina, El Charro, Children's Museum, Ten55 Brewing, Perri Jewelers, Johnny Gibson's and many more.

This program results in $35,000 invested directly into the downtown businesses, bringing the grand total up to $70,000 between the two rounds.

“We’re just so excited to be able to offer this second round of gift cards. We encourage everyone to get on our website early," said Kathleen Eriksen, President and CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

The first round of gift cards sold out in just 24 hours, and the Downtown Tucson Partnership expects a similar outpouring for these latest gift cards. 

McSally Has Telephone Town Hall Today with Larry Kudlow, One of the Most Wrong People in America

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 12:33 PM

Congresswoman Martha McSally, who has voted to explode the federal deficit even before the COVID-19 outbreak, is now gaslighting Arizonans with the help of conservative hack Larry Kudlow. - COURTESY OF PIMA.GOV
  • Courtesy of
  • Congresswoman Martha McSally, who has voted to explode the federal deficit even before the COVID-19 outbreak, is now gaslighting Arizonans with the help of conservative hack Larry Kudlow.

Appointed Sen. Martha McSally has settled comfortably into the pocket of President Donald Trump over the last three years. For example, despite the obvious and growing evident that Trump ignored multiple warnings about the danger that COVID-19 presented to the United States, McSally has just blamed China for everything. (While it's true that China could have been more forthright about its own battle with the virus, it's also true that Trump had plenty of warning about it and chose to pretend it wouldn't be a problem.)

Given McSally relentless support of the Gaslighter-in-Chief, it's no surprise that she's delighted to have Larry Kudlow as her guest at a town hall later today. Kudlow has been remarkable wrong about the COVID-19 outbreak from the jump. He told CNBC back on Feb. 25, when the stock market was starting to crash, that COVID-19 was going to be no big deal in the United States, despite warnings from the CDC that it was going to be a major outbreak. As Politico reported:

White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the U.S. has “contained” the threat of a domestic coronavirus outbreak, breaking with the warnings of officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,” Kudlow told CNBC’s Kelly Evans on Tuesday afternoon.Kudlow’s confidence was set against U.S. stocks, which suffered their worst day in two years on Monday and were down again Tuesday amid fears that the coronavirus could mushroom into a pandemic. But the White House economic adviser suggested that the virus’ impact is “not going to last forever.”

“This is a human tragedy,” particularly in China, Kudlow emphasized multiple times. But warning against overreaction, he added, “The business and the economic side, I don’t think it’s going to be an economic tragedy at all. There’ll be some stumbles.”

Yeah, you might call record unemployment numbers and the current economic calamity a "stumble."

Kudlow has made a career of calling for tax cuts as the solution to every economic problem. He's been wrong over and over again, but his willingness to stick with the party line has, of course, made him a perfect economic advisor in the Trump White House.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine has done a marvelous job of tracking Kudlow's consistently wrong predictions about the economy. As Chait writes in his roundup of Kudlow's many wrong predictions:

The purest supply-siders, like Kudlow, go further and deeper in their commitment. Kudlow attributes every positive economic indicator to lower taxes, and every piece of negative news to higher taxes. While that sounds absurd, it is the consistent theme he has maintained throughout his career as a prognosticator. It’s not even a complex form of kookery, if you recognize the pattern. It’s a very simple and blunt kind of kookery.
Given McSally's record on budget balancing—she, like most Republicans, complains mightily about deficit spending while voting for budgets that drive it higher and higher—and her consistent lying about her record on health care (yes, Martha, you have repeatedly voted to strip away regulations to a prevent insurance company from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions), it's hardly a surprise that she considers Kudlow a reliable source. She may not like liberal hacks, but she has no problem with conservative ones.

Startup Tucson Unveils Digital Marketplace for Local Businesses

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 12:31 PM

  • An example of the Tucson Shops Tucson marketplace.

Startup Tucson, Vantage West and the University of Arizona's Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing are teaming up to create "Tucson Shops Tucson," an online marketplace to host and support local businesses in a new digital economy. While the online shop is aiding those local businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Startup Tucson hopes it will continue to support and teach local business owners even after the virus subsides.

Tucson Shops Tucson opened its doors today, and features more than 80 products and experiences from local businesses. These include art prints, soap, clothing and dishware, as well as tickets to classes and visits to destinations like Hotel McCoy.

“A lot of businesses are working through these massive pivots in their business structures right now,” said Dre Thompson, executive vice president of Startup Tucson. “And we also heard from the customer side that a lot of people want to shop local, but aren’t sure of the best places to go—so what’s important to us is that it’s user-friendly and also highlights local businesses that have been suffering from a loss in revenue.”

While serving as a digital marketplace for local goods is the obvious role of Tucson Shops Tucson, an equally large component is training and coaching local companies to build an online presence. All participating vendors can receive free digital business courses from Startup Tucson and can be assigned a UA mentor from the Center for Retailing.

“The idea is to always offer small businesses an opportunity to learn and grow with their products,” Thompson said. “We’ve wanted to do this for a long time, because we get so many startups that are playing with the idea of getting an online shop. We’ve always thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have our own online marketplace where people can test things out and we can coach them?’ We see this as a sandbox of innovation going forward.”

Tucson Shops Tucson formed after Startup Tucson hosted a series of online "Live from Startup Studios" events throughout March. Small businesses began reaching out after they’d seen online lists of local restaurants offering takeout, and wanted a similar directory for craft businesses and entrepreneurs. In less than two weeks, Startup Tucson planned out the marketplace, with Vantage West and the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing offering support.

“It’s been really cool to see all these big holders hopping in and getting excited about something that was just an idea in our head two weeks ago,” Thompson said.

Tucson Shops Tucson is similar to the recent Virtual Fourth Ave. Street Fair listing local businesses, but Thompson says there are key differences: Tucson Shops Tucson is listing specific items, not business links, and is offering online coaching.

It’s free for local businesses to apply to be part of Tucson Shops Tucson, with a few stipulations: Startup Tucson does not handle transactions, so businesses must have a shopping cart feature on their website, and the items sold should be less than $100. Businesses can apply online at Startup Tucson’s website.

New research by Arizona State University and the University of Iowa on "digital participation and its impact on economic opportunity" found that supporting businesses online is a key strategy for economic opportunity, thriving communities and increasing a county's prosperity index.

“I think the more of these kinds of lists, the better,” Thompson said. “These digital shops are super important to local economies, and a lot of businesses that were going to get around to an online shop at some point are being forced to now. It was just never as important as it suddenly is. But there are many benefits to having a robust online presence… That would be the silver lining to all this, if we really did see a sustained change in shopping patterns.”

For more information, visit

FDA Warning: Chlorine Dioxide Products Not Treatments for COVID-19

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 11:50 AM

  • Bigstock
In a move that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, some companies are trying to profit off of fraudulent "cures" for coronavirus, and the FDA has put out a warning to the public.

Not only has nobody actually come up with a bonafide cure at this point, but this one touts itself as a miracle cure.  “Miracle Mineral Solution” is made from chlorine dioxide, and has not been proven as a cure or prevention for COVID-19, despite its claims that it does so. This is on top of its supposed other uses: a cure for cancer, hepatitis, autism, and more.

You should be wary of any product at this point that has such lofty advertisements. "Too good to be true" is a saying for a reason, and snake oil salesmen have been around to take advantage of people for ages.

The rest of the FDA's warning is below:

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Out of Work? Feeling Sick? Need To Take Care of Your Kids? Here's How To Get Help

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 10:00 AM

As the COVID-19 outbreak forces the economy to a grinding halt, more and more people across the country are losing their jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor is reporting record-highs in new unemployment insurance claims, with 6.6 million claims filed in the week ending March 28. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in history.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security reported 88,592 initial claims from Arizona residents in the same week—a staggering jump of nearly 60,000 claims avove the previous week.

Both state and federal governments have put measures in place to increase access to unemployment benefits and other financial assistance programs that can keep people afloat during this uncertain time. Here are the main resources to pursue if you’ve lost income as a result of COVID-19.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits

The federal government passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act on Friday, March 27. The new legislation will expand eligibility for unemployment benefits to those who have historically been denied, such contract workers, gig workers and people who are self-employed.

It will also provide beneficiaries with an additional $600 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation on top of the unemployment money already offered by the state of Arizona, which varies between $187 and $240 per week. This money will not be considered “income” for those who use Medicaid or CHIP.

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Your Southern AZ Coronavirus AM Update for Thursday, April 9: State's Confirmed Cases Top 3K, 89 Now Dead

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 9:04 AM

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona had reached 3,018 as of Thursday, April 9,  according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 512 of the state’s confirmed cases.

The coronavirus had killed 89 people statewide, including 16 in Pima County, according to the state and county health department.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 1,689.

The state remains under Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order that has closed a wide number of “non-essential” businesses, including many retail stores, barbershops, salons, and swap meets. Public parks remain open but amenities such as playgrounds and restrooms are closed.

Under the stay-at-home order, Arizonans are still able to shop for groceries, medical and household needs, and pet supplies. They can also go work, pick up a take-out meal from a restaurant, travel to take care of a family member, friend or pet, and can still go walking, hiking, biking and golfing, provided that they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Ducey announced four new executive orders this week:

• Visitors from areas with major community spread of COVID-19 must enter quarantine for two weeks if they come to Arizona.

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Report: Migrant workers faced dangerous conditions even before COVID-19

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 8:22 AM

WASHINGTON – Migrant farmworkers are in “serious danger” of contracting coronavirus because of ongoing poor conditions like overcrowded housing, buses and lack of access to healthcare, according to a new report.

The report by the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante group surveyed 100 migrant workers from Mexico with temporary H-2A visas from September 2019 to January 2020, before the spike on coronavirus cases across the U.S.

“The findings of this report would be deeply troubling in more ordinary times and these are not ordinary times,” said Mary Bauer, lead counsel for the center in a conference call Wednesday.

The report – “Ripe for Reform: Abuses of Agricultural Workers in the H-2A Visa Program – said those workers routinely face discrimination and harassment while working for up to a dozen hours a day without breaks. The report details legal violations alleged by all 100 migrant workers that were questioned.

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