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Blog Post | COVID-19

Open Safe Massachusetts | Deirdre Cummings

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

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Blog Post | COVID-19

A simple way to thwart COVID-19 is right in front of our faces | Abe Scarr

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Proprietary medical device repair harms hospitals, could threaten patients, during COVID-19 pandemic

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.

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Report | MASSPIRG

Hospital Repair Restrictions

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.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Solid Waste

Statement: Groups applaud environmental agency decision to revisit Solid Waste Master Plan

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

COVID-19 consumer tips: Scams, utility bills and your stimulus check

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 these concerns and more, MASSPIRG Education Fund is publishing new guides and tips each week to help consumers navigate this crisis.

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

Consumer complaints of COVID-19 fraud surpass 15,000

Scammers and other bad actors are trying to take advantage of Americans’ heightened fears around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and fraud complaints are soaring. Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the virus surpassed 15,000 Thursday.

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

State legislators from 45 states, including Massachusetts, demand online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

Boston—Twenty-five state legislators joined their peers across the nation calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Together, 346 legislators representing 45 states, joined MASSPIRG Education Fund in sending a letter Tuesday urging Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general, including Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, sent a similar letter to the same companies.

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News Release | COVID-19

Massachusetts mayors join national call to urge the Trump Administration to centrally purchase and distribute medical supplies

More than 100 mayors and county executives across 17 states delivered a letter to the Trump administration today urging the federal government to use its emergency powers to ramp up production of critical medical supplies like ventilators and masks, and to centrally distribute those materials. Several Massachusetts mayors joined the call, including Paul Brodeur of Melrose, Michael Cahill of Beverly, Gary Christenson of Malden, Carlo DeMaria of Everett, Kimberley Driscoll of Salem, Thomas McGee of Lynn, Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, Alex Morse of Holyoke, Dan Rivera of Lawrence, Domenic Sarno of Springfield, Sumbul Siddiqui of Cambridge, and Yvonne Spicer of Framingham.  

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Blueprint for Tomorrow

Infrastructure is at the heart of America’s greatest challenges. The infrastructure investments made by generations past have contributed to improved health and welfare, and to the nation’s unparalleled economic prosperity. But the infrastructure decisions of the past have also cast a long shadow, leaving America to deal with the burden of lead water pipes that jeopardize our children’s health, fossil fuel pipelines that contribute to global warming, and transportation and solid waste infrastructure that no longer serve today’s needs.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Driving Into Debt

In much of America, access to a car is all but required to hold a job or lead a full and vibrant life. Generations of car-centric transportation policies – including lavish spending on roads, sprawl-inducing land use policies, and meager support for other modes of transportation – have left millions of Americans fully dependent on cars for daily living.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

How Safe is Our Food

From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually. In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce.  MASSPIRG Education Fund’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, released today, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

MASSPIRG releases 33rd anual toy safety report at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. This holiday season, watch out for dangerous and toxic toys. MASSPIRG’s 33rd annual Trouble in Toyland report found toxic amounts of boron in slime products and a failure by Amazon to appropriately label choking hazards. Boron can cause nausea, vomiting and other health issues.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Paying for Electric Buses

Electric buses are here, and they are cleaner and healthier than their diesel counterparts. They save money over the long-run, but the purchase price of an electric bus is greater than that of a diesel bus. Many transit agencies and school districts want to make the switch, but struggle with overcoming the hurdle of the purchase price. This new report lays out funding and financing options that will help transit agencies and school districts ditch diesel and get us on the road to a cleaner, healthier world. 

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Blog Post | COVID-19

A simple way to thwart COVID-19 is right in front of our faces | Abe Scarr

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.

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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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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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Blog Post | COVID-19

Factory farms: A pandemic in the making. | Matt Wellington

The emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic is a symptom of how we raise food animals across the world. 

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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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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

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Here’s a guide to your rights depending on how you pay

Blog Post

From mask mandates to capacity limits, the largest public transit systems and ride share companies have new procedures

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Being proactive and demanding can help keep you and your family safe

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Good news: You may still be able to request a forbearance because of COVID-19

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Your tax-deductible donation supports MASSPIRG Education Fund’s work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, and to stand up to the powerful interests that are blocking progress.

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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 social change.