The New York Times: “Phone calls have made a comeback in the pandemic. While the nation’s biggest telecommunications providers prepared for a huge shift toward more internet use from home, what they didn’t expect was an even greater surge in plain old voice calls, a medium that had been going out of fashion for years. From a report: Verizon said it was now handling an average of 800 million wireless calls a day during the week, more than double the number made on Mother’s Day, historically one of the busiest call days of the year. Verizon added that the length of voice calls was up 33 percent from an average day before the outbreak. AT&T said that the number of cellular calls had risen 35 percent and that Wi-Fi-based calls had nearly doubled from averages in normal times. In contrast, internet traffic is up around 20 percent to 25 percent from typical daily patterns, AT&T and Verizon said...”
The number of patients being treated on a Navy hospital ship and inside a convention center has more than doubled in the last two days, after both facilities switched to treating people with COVID-19.
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the Correspondent – That’s bad news for everyone – Insects do all the dirty work. They process faeces and decompose corpses. Plus they pollinate flowers. In spite of this, their image sucks. We need to change that. Because a dramatic decline in invertebrates threatens the liveability of this green planet.
brainpickings – “A classic is a work which constantly generates a pulviscular cloud of critical discourse around it, but which always shakes the particles off.”
“In this collection of essays on classical literature, Calvino also produces these 14 definitions of a “classic”…
Three of the U.S. Navy's 11 aircraft carriers are reported to have sailors infected with the coronavirus. The Pentagon says readiness has not been affected, but more outbreaks are expected.
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BuzzFeedNews – Here’s Everything You Need To Know. “The US government is sending out $1,200 stimulus checks to the large majority of adults during the coronavirus outbreak, but many are going to miss out. Most adults with a US Social Security number will receive a payment, but Congress set restrictions on who qualifies. People who earn more than $99,000 per year will not receive any money; neither will many college students or adults who are listed as dependents on someone else’s tax return (this includes some adults with disabilities and some elderly parents). Immigrants who do not have Social Security numbers will not qualify for the payments either. Additionally, not every person who qualifies will receive $1,200 — some will get more, some less. The payments are based on your income listed on your most recent tax return, as well as the number of child dependents you have. Still, as many as 93.6% of tax filers will receive some kind of payment, according to the Tax Foundation…”
Spurred by the concerns of members in China, Columbia University's medical school alumni association raised more than $1 million to buy desperately needed masks and other gear.
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Though the Vermont senator did not emerge as the Democratic nominee in either of his two bids, his campaigns have reshaped the party's politics and policy in significant ways.
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The White House gave all reporters attending the briefing a coronavirus test on Thursday as a precaution as a member of the press corps awaited test results. Watch the briefing live shortly.
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There are arguments that it might — and that it might not. Here's what researchers know so far.
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April 15 will mark the first anniversary of the fire that ripped through the cathedral. The Paris archbishop says he wants to send a "message of hope" through a small Good Friday service.
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In California, former inmates released early to help reduce coronavirus risks behind bars lack support when they get out, say advocates, who want better, organized help to address the crisis.
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In a report, the agency said a nationwide pandemic would result in a shortage of medical supplies, hospitals would be overwhelmed and the economy would shut down.
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Revised ESD Essential Services Guidance Appears to Include Phase 1 Reports and End Confusion for Consultants
As we discussed in a prior Post, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) issued a guidance document that were exempt from Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.8 banning non-essential services from operating to control the spread of the covid19 virus. In response, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) issued its own Guidance describing the activities overseen its Division of Environmental Remediation (DER) that would be considered essential services.
These guidance documents called into question if environmental consultants could perform phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments (“ESAs”) that are required for property owners and tenants to qualify for certain landowner liability protections under the federal superfund program. The uncertainty was because the NYSDEC limited investigations that were considered essential services to:
“investigations, including pre-design investigations, of petroleum and hazardous waste releases as determined by NYSDEC on a case-by-case basis to be necessary to address potential human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration.”
Some consultants viewed this language as precluding pre-acquisition phase 1 reports for lenders and purchasers because phase 1 reports ordinarily are not performed “to address potential human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration” since the purchaser or lender would not control the site and would not have the ability to take actions to protect occupants (Arguably, reports for owners could qualify since they could be said to be doing them to assess risks to their tenants). Other consultants adopted a more nuanced view and were performing phase 1 reports for vacant sites, industrial/commercial sites where employees can vacate and conditions are safe, and other sites deemed “essential”. However, even these consultants were conducting inspections of occupied residential buildings.
Earlier today, ESD seemingly resolved this conundrum when it issued a Revised Essential Services Guidance containing a new item 14 that provides as follows:
“Real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions, including but not limited to title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, and the recordation, legal, financial and other services necessary to complete a transfer of real property; provided, however, that any services and parts therein may be conducted in-person only to the extent legally necessary and in accordance with appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols….”
Although the revised ESD guidance appears to authorize conduction phase 1 reports, there remains significant issues with complying with the requirements of the EPA All Appropriate Inquiries (“AAI”) Rule and the ASTM E1527-13 Phase 1 Standard because it consultants will likely be unable to conduct on-site investigations-which is the key task of the AAI Rule. In our next blog, we will discuss how to use the ASTM E1527-13 Standard to work around this limitation to give clients greater certainty that they have complied with the AAI rule and therefore qualify for the liability protections.
"He is in extremely good spirits," his office said. Johnson's emergence from intensive care is good news for the leader, who remains in the hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus.
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Pulmonologists in New York hospitals are now supervising doctors from other specialties as they try to keep ICUs staffed, and are deploying equipment in new ways. But COVID-19 is a demoralizing foe.
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