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FDA sends warning to Purell for claiming it can prevent Flu and Ebola

Catherina Ploumidakis



FDA Warns Purell

The FDA has issued a warning to Purell over the hand sanitizer brand’s claims on the prevention of diseases. The parent company, Gojo Industries has stated that it will comply with the issued warning.

Calling out to the marketing claims of Purell, the FDA, in its warning letter, has asked the company for the sanitizer’s intended use.

According to the letter, the statements in the FAQ section on Purell’s website indicate the reduction and prevention of Flu, Ebola, etc. The message leads to a clear indication of the purpose of the use of the sanitizer.

Moreover, Purell also took to mention that the FDA does not allow the sanitizer companies to get ideas viral. However, later the brand explained that the use of alcohol inactivates or kills the enveloped viruses. Besides, the influenza virus is enveloped in nature.

A study conducted in 2018 did state that ethanol was active against 21 types of viruses. And, Purell’s sanitizer consists of eighty percent of ethanol.

However, according to a study in 2019, the effectiveness of alcohol-based sanitizers has reduced over time. Moreover, the sanitizers almost took four long minutes for the elimination of the flu virus. While an antiseptic cleanser took around thirty seconds to show its effectiveness against the flu viruses.

A specialist with infectious diseases, Peter Gulick from Michigan State University took to express the most effective method. The specialist from the College of Osteopathic Medicine said that sanitizers are effective only in the absence of soap and water. However, soap and water are the most effective means to prevent diseases.

The letter has given 15 days to Purell to make corrections in the statements. Furthermore, the violation of the warning could even lead to legal action in the absence of further notices. 

The company has been making changes following the letter.

Catherina has joined the team as an intern, and she has been working hard to learn things quickly. Now, she handles the Technology and Business columns of the website along with Vicky. She writes the latest US Technology and Business news regularly on the website with accuracy. Since she is the youngest member of the team, she never hesitates to ask for help from other senior team members. That is the reason, she has been learning things quickly, and now she is becoming proficient. Apart from her work, she loves to read books and watch Business and Tech news. She is a fun-loving woman with a graceful personality.

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Macy’s Furloughs Most Of Its 130,000 Workers

Catherina Ploumidakis



Macy's Furloughs Most Of Its 130,000 Workers

Citing the coronavirus pandemic’s “heavy toll” on its business, Macy’s said it’s furloughing the majority of its nearly 130,000 employees. Workers will continue to receive health benefits through May.

“Across Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Bluemercury [beauty] brands, we will be moving to the absolute minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations,” the retailer said Monday.

All of Macy’s stores, closed since March 18, will stay shut “until we have clear line of sight on when it is safe to reopen.” Its online business remains open, but the company said it has lost the majority of its sales due to the store closures.

The company noted that it has taken several steps to “maintain financial flexibility,” including suspending its dividend, using its credit line and freezing hiring and spending. Macy’s said it’s “evaluating all other financing options.”

Along with other major retailers, Macy’s had been struggling even before the coronavirus shut down much of the U.S. economy. In February, Macy’s announced plans to close about 125 stores over the next three years — about a fifth of the company’s retail locations — and that it was cutting 2,000 jobs.

Unemployment is soaring around the country. Nearly 3.3 million people filed for jobless benefits in the week that ended March 21 — a number that shattered records going back to 1967.

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Worker at Amazon warehouse in Salem tests positive for COVID-19

Catherina Ploumidakis



Worker at Amazon warehouse in Salem tests positive for COVID-19

SALEM, OR – A worker at an Amazon warehouse in Salem has tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon confirmed the diagnosis and says it’s now taking more steps to protect workers, including extra cleaning and ensuring social distancing.

The company released a statement, which reads: “We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site. You can read more about all we’re doing to protect employees and partners here.”

The Oregon Health Authority said people should take precautions with any items being handled by others. Washing your hands after handling these items is recommended, a spokeswoman said.

Sunday morning, the OHA reported 69 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 548. The state’s death toll from the virus remains at 13.

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Instacart workers seek strike as jobs get busier, riskier due to coronavirus

Catherina Ploumidakis



Instacart workers seek strike as jobs get busier, riskier due to coronavirus

NEW YORK – A possible strike by Instacart workers highlights the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the grocery delivery business, where workers are worried about their safety as they try to meet a surge in demand for online groceries.

A group called the Gig Workers Collective is calling for a nationwide walk-out Monday. They’ve been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands.

Instacart said Sunday it would soon provide workers with a new hand sanitizer upon request and outlined changes to its tip system. The group said the measures were too little too late.

While some workers say they intend to join the strike for at least a day — or have stopped filling orders already for fear of getting the virus — other, newer workers are content to have a paying job at a time of mass layoffs in other industries.

The San Francisco-based delivery app is trying to hire 300,000 more workers — more than doubling its workforce —to fulfill orders it says have surged by 150% year-over year in the past weeks. The company said 50,000 new shoppers joined its platform in just the past week. Some customers are waiting days to receive orders.

Instacart currently has a workforce of more than 200,000 contracted workers who make multiple trips a day to various grocery stores to fulfill and deliver orders that customers make through the app. It also directly employs about 20,000 part-time workers who are assigned to a single store, collecting groceries that are subsequently delivered to clients by a contracted Instacart worker.

Chloe Grozdina, a part-time Instacart in-store shopper assigned to a Mariano’s grocery store in the Chicago area, says workers are seeing “a lot of apocalypse orders” from customers hunkered down in their homes. Panic shopping has cleared out the shelves, meaning she often has to replace a customer’s orders with a lesser item or notify them that it’s not available.

Grozdina, who makes $13 an hour and doesn’t get tips, said the crowds of fellow Instacart shoppers have made it tough to keep a safe distance while racing to fulfill orders. Grozdina said she wears a mask to work that she bought herself and immediately showers when she gets home.

Among their demands, the strike organizers want hazard pay of $5 an order and supplies of hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaning supplies free of charge. On Sunday, the company said it had contracted with a third-party manufacturer to make a hand sanitizer spray that workers can request at no cost via a website starting Monday, with shipments starting in a few days.

Data show online grocery orders jumping even before some cities and states imposed “stay at home” orders. During the week of March 2, Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart grocery delivery services each saw at least a 65 percent sales increase compared to the same time last year, according to estimates from Earnest Research.

Instacart has started offering bonuses of between $25 and $200 for its hourly employees dependent on hours worked until April 15.

Instacart also announced a month-long extension of a temporary policy giving 14 days of paid leave to workers who are diagnosed with coronavirus, or have been ordered to isolate themselves. The strike organizers that policy extended to workers with a doctor’s note verifying a pre-existing condition that could make them more vulnerable to the virus.

They also demanded that Intacart raise the tip default in its app to 10% from the current 5%. Instead, Instacart announced Sunday it would change the default to the amount the customer last tipped, saying tips have increased considerably during the virus crisis.

Instacart said previously that it has added more “promotions” — or extra pay for contracted full-service shoppers to accept certain orders.

That was not enough to lure back Shanna Foster, a single mother who stopped working her Instacart gig two weeks ago out of fear of contracting the virus.

“They need to give us hazard pay right now and it should be guaranteed,” said Foster, of Simi Valley, California.

Other companies such as Amazon and Walmart have also announced hiring sprees to meet a surge for both deliveries and in-store essentials. Amazon has increased pay for its workers, including those at its Whole Foods Grocery stores.

While such low-wage jobs put people on the front lines of the pandemic, many people are applying as layoffs surge in retail, restaurant, hospitality and other industries.

Summer Cooper, 39, started working as an Instacart shopper in the Tampa Bay area recently after losing her position as a server at a hotel restaurant. She was unaware of the possible strike.

“I’m grateful to have some way to make money,” Cooper said.

Darrin Burdette, an Instacart shopper in Colorado Springs, said joining a strike would “not help me in any way.”

An Uber driver, Burdette said he relies entirely on his Instacart gig since demand for ride-hailing services plunged. He said he is earning about $30 an hour as Instacart orders rise. On his app, he can see that many orders have come from people using the service for the first time.

Michelle Ellwood, 43, began using the app shortly after her family returned from a trip abroad and decided to self-isolate for two weeks. She said Instacart shoppers have gone out of their way to fulfill orders. One, she said, returned with a chicken after previously being unable to find meat at local stores.

“It’s amazing that they are doing this. I’m grateful. I’m hopeful they are able to take care of their families through this,” said Ellwood of Canandaigua, New York.

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