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Hope in Crisis: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

April 14, 2020

April is observed as a solemn month for millions of Americans. Whether they are observing Easter, Passover, Ramadan, or simply taking in the beauty of spring, the fourth month of the year is a precious 30 days.

COVID-19 has tried to decimate this month’s beauty. And the American people aren’t allowing that to happen. From a garage in Houston to an RV in South Carolina, here are some stories of how Americans are working together to defeat the novel coronavirus.

Local College Brings Back Workers’ Pay

Lincoln College in Illinois secured a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program. This liberal arts college will now be able to bring back 32 employees who were furloughed and return 16 employees to a full-time work schedule. Additionally, the school’s part-time and student workers will also continue receiving pay.

“This is exactly what we envisioned when we enacted the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act,” Ways and Means Member Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) said. “This loan will enable the college to keep people working, earning paychecks and supporting local businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Safe Homes for Medical Workers

Beth Jessen wants to be with her family. But as an emergency room nurse in Charleston, South Carolina, she doesn’t want to expose her family to any potential harm.

Through a Facebook page called “RVs 4 MDs,” she found a family who was willing to lend a free RV for her to stay in.

“They brought me their RV. They set it up at my house. They have not charged me a thing, completely took care of everything and provided a home away from home for me until we can get through this,” Jessen said.

Health Groups Expanding Operations

Dozens of health care associations and advocacy groups are expanding operations for patients. Including the American Lung Association, which announced expanded COVID-19 research to “examine preventive vaccines, antivirals and to advance future outbreak preparedness, and the American Diabetes Association, which is “deploying a wide range of free support for clinicians who are caring for people with diabetes and COVID-19.”

Additionally, health insurers across the nation, like L.A. Care and Medical Mutual of Ohio, are waiving costs associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment.

Payments From CARES Act Hitting Bank Accounts 

Relief payments have started hitting Americans’ bank accounts last Friday. These payments, which will be up to $1,200 for workers with an additional $500 for each child, will give families an extra hand as we work to develop a plan to reopen our economy after locking down the virus.

“During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, it took the government several months before the first stimulus payments were issued to the American people,” an official from the Treasury Department told ABC News. “This administration has done it in just two weeks.”

Free Masks for Law Enforcement

Tammy Rosas of Houston, Texas, is using her large supply of fabric to assemble home-made masks for fellow Texans and local police officers.

Through “TamTam’s Creations” on Facebook, people can purchase a home-made mask for $5, while Ms. Rosas is offering masks for free for law enforcement offices.

Silicon Valley Ramping Up “Contact Tracing Technology” and Offering Free Testing

Two of America’s largest companies, Apple and Google, are teaming up to help public health officials gather and utilize data to fight coronavirus. The tech giants will use “Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.This will assist governments to help “slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”

Other tech companies, including Amazon, are working overtime to help provide incremental testing capacity. The company aims “to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon.”

Want to read more on the fight against Coronavirus? Read our Coronavirus Bulletin here which contains our extensive FAQ about recent federal actions.