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Blog Post | COVID-19

Superspreading events pose outsized risk of COVID-19 transmission | Abe Scarr

Public health experts are starting to draw actionable lessons about the nature of how COVID-19 spreads. In addition to maintaining best practices –physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing – it’s best to avoid extended, crowded indoor gatherings.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Consumer advice: Ask for help with your bills before an emergency

This coming Monday, June 1, will mark the third full month that bills are due since COVID-19 was declared a national state of emergency in March. To help Americans manage their finances, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has published an updated guide with tips on what to do about paying bills during the crisis.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: Consumer complaints about COVID-19 fraud near 50,000

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the coronavirus approached 50,000 on Tuesday. U.S. PIRG Education Fund has documented the actions taken by the FTC and 14 other federal agencies in response to coronavirus scams.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

U.S. PIRG Supports Automated Contact Tracing Because More Than Anything Else, America Needs Good Information Before It Can Safely Lift Stay-At-Home Rules | Ed Mierzwinski

Public health experts have made it abundantly clear that to safely lift stay-at-home rules we must have four key things we don’t yet have. We need fast, accurate and widely available testing. We need a better plan for isolating and supporting people who have COVID-19. We need sufficient hospital capacity, including medical and protective equipment, to treat all patients safely. And we need more contact tracing. This blog explains U.S. PIRG's support for automated warning and contact tracing, subject to appropriate privacy and civil liberties protections, which can provide critical information quickly about who has potentially been exposed.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

New analysis: Most fake COVID-19 products claim antiviral, immune-boosting properties

BOSTON -- Desperate for a cure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many Americans are turning to the internet for answers. What they’re finding, however, is a minefield of dubious products posted by unscrupulous sellers. False claims are tricking worried people into paying for fake solutions that give them a false sense of security. The federal government hasn’t approved any product that prevents or treats COVID-19.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

How to refund concert tickets, prevent ID theft during COVID-19

Refunding event tickets: With countless concerts, sporting events, festivals, tours and other large gatherings canceled or likely to be canceled this summer, people are wondering if and how they can get their money back that they already spent on tickets. Will you receive a refund, a new ticket when the event is rescheduled, or neither? This guide walks through steps you can take to find out where your money is and whether you can receive a refund.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Americans need stronger consumer protections during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a report with the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action. The report makes recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to upgrade its consumer complaint tool, including the public consumer complaint database, so COVID19-related complaints can be handled more quickly and tracked better.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

How to save money and make safer online purchases during COVID-19

BOSTON -- In the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, American consumers are experiencing numerous public health and financial challenges, including virus-related scams, fake products promising cures and price gouging. To help address concerns as they arise, MASSPIRG Education Fund is publishing new tip guides each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | COVID-19

Private lenders announce they’ll suspend student loan payments

A newly announced agreement will protect the finances of millions of Americans who owe money on student loans.

Last month’s CARES Act put all federally held student loans into forbearance through September, ended collections and other actions against defaulted borrowers, and stopped the accrual of interest. However, these benefits were not extended to borrowers whose loans are held by private lenders. To protect those former students, leaders from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington worked with private lenders.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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Report | MASSPIRG | Budget

Following the Money 2019

Boston -- Massachusetts received a “C” for making critical information about how governments are subsidizing business projects with taxpayer dollars readily available to the public online, according to a new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. Following the Money 2019, the organization’s tenth evaluation of online government spending transparency, gives 17 states a failing grade, while only four states received a grade of “B” or higher.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses in America

New report profiles six case studies of early electric bus adopters across the nation. By understanding common pitfalls and best practices, cities, agencies and school districts can ensure a smoother roll-out of electric buses, helping reduce climate pollution and protect public health.

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Report | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

What are Bay Staters Fixing?

Here in Massachusetts, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

 

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT STATE SCORECARD

Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does Massachusetts rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?

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Blog Post

How Democracy Should Work in the Wake of the Pandemic | Janet Domenitz

In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, MASSPIRG, a founding member of the Election Modernization Coalition, has called for a set of reforms---some new (health protections in place at polling places) and some that have been pending for years and are more important than ever---like election day registration. Here are two coalition letters which were sent to Secretary William Galvin, Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka in early April, listing out our agenda forhow democracy should work in the wake of the pandemic.

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Blog Post

Here’s how we’re protecting consumers amid the pandemic | Janet Domenitz

The spread of coronavirus across the country is obviously a serious threat to our health and wellbeing. We here at MASSPIRG are working from home and wishing everyone health, calm, and whatever you need to stay safe.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Consumer Action Center kicking off Consumer Protection Week | Deirdre Cummings

Jeanne Foy, Director of MASSPIRG's Consumer Action Center, kicks off Consumer Week giving consumer advice and tips on local radio program.

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Blog Post

Civics in Action Internship Program | Deirdre Cummings

It's that time of year again - Check our our Civics in Action Internship Program 

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Tips on Preventing ID theft | Deirdre Cummings

In light of recent, high profile data breaches at Marriott and Quora and a new government report about Equifax’s breach, MASSPIRG and U.S. PIRG Education Fund is launching an online campaign to protect consumers as they use their credit and debit cards to travel and buy gifts this holiday season.

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Blog Post

Our weekly trends assessment report on COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Blog Post

U.S. PIRG is calling on municipal, state and federal policymakers to mandate face masks in all indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor locations where it’s hard for people to socially distance six feet apart.

Report | MASSPIRG

COVID-19 is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the work of hospital biomedical repair technicians, known as biomeds or BMETs. These technicians are essential; hospitals need working equipment to diagnose and treat patients. But in some cases, manufacturers restrict access to what biomeds need.

As ventilators are pressed into around-the-clock use, repair and maintenance issues will increase. While some ventilator manufacturers provide service information, other manufacturers make it hard to access manuals, read error logs or run diagnostic tests.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the equipment that is essential to diagnose and treat patients, such as ventilators. As that equipment is pressed into round-the-clock use, biomedical repair technicians face increasing pressure to maintain and repair all that equipment.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- In a move celebrated by several major environmental, grassroots and public interest organizations, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Thursday that they would re-open the public hearing process on the draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan, the Commonwealth’s blueprint for dealing with waste. After the initial hearings ended in December without sufficient public outreach, the groups started pushing for the public hearings to be reopened; through direct advocacy, letters, emails and grassroots organizing. 

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MASSPIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.