Announcements, information and updates from The AG Alliance Members and Associates
March 19, 2020
COVID-19 RESPONSE ROUNDUP
Letter to our Members:
 
We hope you find this special edition of our news roundup useful, as it relates to COVID-19. Aligned strength towards a common goal of public health and safety will bring us over this crisis. Our Attorneys General are working tirelessly to protect their state's consumers and citizens, while our private sector partners are offering grand gestures of support, unique to each of their industries. This newsletter is dedicated to providing a high level summary of those actions. 

We are working to find additional opportunities for you to engage, including conference calls, webinars and programming, while actively continuing the conversation on important issues. Please check-in with us and look out for our upcoming cybersecurity webinar series. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

With high hopes, our 2020 Annual Meeting will still continue as scheduled and we look forward to hosting you at future events once we get a handle on the current landscape. 

On behalf of Karen White and the Attorney General Alliance, we hope that you and your families remain safe during these uncertain times. Thank you for your continued support.
Cautious Optimism: Positive News From Around the World
  • Senate Passes Coronavirus Emergency Aid, Sending Plan To President - (NPR)

  • China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them. (New York Post)

  • Doctors in India have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest same medicine, globally. (The Economic Times)

  • Researchers of the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus. (Dutch News)

  • A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.(The Independent)
  • Apple reopens all 42 China stores.(BBC) 

  • Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days. (Fox 8 News)

  • Good news from South Korea, where the number of new cases is declining. (ScienceMag)

  • 3 Maryland coronavirus patients fully recovered; able to return to everyday life.(Fox 5)

  • A San Diego biotech company is developing a vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.(Biospace) 

  • Tulsa County's first positive COVID-19 case has recovered. This individual has had two negative tests, which is the indicator of recovery.(Oklahoma News 4 )

  • Plasma from newly recovered patients could be injected into newly infected patients to slow the spread.(NBC News) 
ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTIONS
Attorneys General Protect Consumers from COVID-19 Price Gouging

Unfortunately, in times of crisis bad actors prey on vulnerable populations of consumers through price gouging and scams. COVID-19 is no different. As shown below, and described here in an article by Cozen O’Conner, Attorneys General across the nation are stepping-up to protect consumers from price gouging and other COVID-19 related scams.

  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent a cease-and-desist letter to a big-box hardware store for selling cleaning products at twice the normal price. (See here.)
  • New York Attorney General Tish James issued cease-and-desist letters to dozens of retailers accused of price gouging cans of Lysol and other cleaning products. (See here.)
  • Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser issued a Consumer Alert (here) warning about potential on-line scams.
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also issued a warning that price gouging is a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice Act and punishable with civil fines of $25,000 per violation. His office has created a special complaint process for COVID-19 scams. (See here.)
  • Connecticut Attorney General William Tong reports receiving over 70 cases of price gouging. In some instances, a 7.5 oz bottle of hand sanitizer was sold for $25. (See here.)  
  • Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody activated a COVID-19 Price Gouging Hotline (See here.)

Offices around the country have formed a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor activity within their borders. If you, or someone you know, has information about an individual or business engaged in fraud related to the COVID-19, we strongly urge you to contact your Attorney General.
Cozen O'Connor Coronavirus Task Force

Please visit the link below for up-to-date news and information pertaining to Attorneys General on the front line of the COVID-19 consumer protection fight.
PRIVATE SECTOR EFFORTS
Pfizer Outlines Five-Point Plan to Battle COVID-19
Pfizer
March 13, 2020

Pfizer issued a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join the company in committing to unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19.

  1. Sharing tools and insights
  2. Marshalling our people
  3. Applying our drug development expertise
  4. Offering our manufacturing capabilities
  5. Improving future rapid response
Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation Announce $1.2 Million Donation to Address Detroit Coronavirus Impact
Quicken Loans
March 16, 2020

The Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation announced a combined $1.2 million donation to address the ongoing impact of coronavirus in Detroit.
Comcast Announces Comprehensive COVID-19 Response to Help Keep Americans Connected to the Internet
Comcast
March 13, 2020

On the heels of offering new, low-income Internet Essentials customers two months of free internet and raising the speed of that program’s service to 25/3 Mbps, Comcast announced additional steps to help ensure people stay connected to the Internet as more schools suspend classes and companies encourage employees to work from home due to the Coronavirus.
The Home Depot Temporarily Adjusts Store Hours and Extends paid Time Off in Response to COVID-19
The Home Depot
March 18, 2020

The Home Depot announced it is temporarily adjusting store hours to better serve customers and communities in response to COVID-19. The adjusted hours will give stores the ability to staff appropriately and provide additional time to restock shelves and perform cleaning.

The Home Depot is also expanding its paid time off policy to address the needs of hourly associates to help alleviate some of the challenges they may be facing as a result of COVID-19.
IAC Company Lends Support to Frontline Healthcare Workers

As COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., Care.com, an IAC company, is lending its support to the frontline healthcare workers tirelessly caring for others, the nation’s seniors who are among the most vulnerable to this particular virus, and displaced teachers and after-school workers now in need of income. The Company today announced that effective immediately, newly enrolling healthcare workers and those looking for senior care will have access to a free 30-day premium membership to Care.com, through which they can find an array of care support including childcare, senior care, and pet care. Additionally, Care.com reminds teachers, after-school workers and those currently seeking additional work, to join the site and obtain free access to the growing number of jobs posted by struggling families.
CVS Health to Assist With COVID-19 Testing
CVS Health
March 13, 2020

CVS corporate issued the following press release last week, in response to news its stores would serve as drive-thru locations for COVID-19 (the coronavirus) testing:

Given our physical presence in communities across the country and ability to reach millions of consumers with innovative, local solutions, we’re in a unique position to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re working with the administration and other partners to help facilitate COVID-19 testing with a common goal of increasing frequency and efficiency.

While details are still being worked out based on the number of tests available and geographic needs, it’s important for CVS Pharmacy customers to understand that they won’t be impacted. We expect testing will take place in secure areas of parking lots at select stores – not inside – and individuals being tested will not have to leave their cars. We look forward to sharing more details as they become available.
CPG Industry Urges State and Local Officials to Keep Manufacturing Running
Consumer Brands Association
March 18, 2020

The Consumer Brands Association, along with 60 industry associations, strongly urged federal, state and local leaders across the country to follow federal guidelines in exempting consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturing facilities, including suppliers and truck drivers, from gathering restrictions and curfews related to the coronavirus. Emerging inconsistent policies have created confusion and delay in several areas of the United States.
PUBLIC HEALTH COMMUNITY UPDATE
In this section, we will cover the extent of the cases reported so far and summarize CDC guidance on mitigation strategies with regard to individuals, families, schools, workplaces and community organizations.
US:
  • Around 6,400 reported cases

  • Nearly 100 deaths (majority from WA)

INTERNATIONALLY:
  • Around 204,000 reported cases in over 150 countries

  • Nearly 8,000 deaths
In the most recent guidance document, “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission [2] ,” the CDC outlines steps that individuals and communities can take to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

The CDC emphasized that these best practices can and should be scaled up or down depending on the needs of the community.
How To Play It Safe During the Spread of COVID-19

CDC guidelines may evolve over time.

Individuals and Families at Home :
 
According to the CDC, planning for individuals and families at home should, at a minimum, include knowing and implementing personal protection measures (e.g. staying home when sick, hand-washing, respiratory etiquette, etc.), and creating a household plan of action.

A household plan should include 1) consideration of a 2-week supply of food and medicine, and 2) establishing channels of communication, both for personal and work-related matters. Individuals should also stay updated on the latest information on the virus, its symptoms, and any emergency plans for community operation (school/work closures, commercial closures, etc.) At the most extreme, individuals should prepare themselves for major disruptions to their daily routines and limited community movement. 
 
Schools/Childcare :
 
Schools should review and update their emergency operations plans (social distancing, distance learning) and evaluate whether certain students or staff are at an increased risk from the illness. When concerns move from minimal to moderate, social distancing measures should be implemented, regular health checks of students, staff and visitors should be considered, and short-term school dismissals should be considered as needed. If the risk level moves from moderate to substantial, long-term school dismissals should be implemented as well as cancellation of school-related congregations, and distance learning should be implemented if possible.
 
Workplace :
 
Again, best practices should at a minimum include knowing the symptoms of the virus, encouraging employees to stay home when sick, and encouraging personal protective measures among staff. Employers should review, update or create workplace plans which would consider alternate scheduling approaches and liberal leave and work-from-home policies. Employers should also frequently disinfect surfaces in the workplace and ensure that cleaning supplies are available at all times.

If concerns of contamination increase to moderate, staff should be encouraged to work from home, social distancing policies should be implemented, regular employee health checks should be considered, and limits should be placed on workplace gatherings and non-essential travel.

Finally, when concerns become substantial, non-essential work travel should be cancelled, work-sponsored conferences or trade shows should be cancelled, and tele-work arrangements should be implemented for staff where feasible.
 
Community and Faith-based Organizations :
 
Community organizations should, at a minimum: know the symptoms of the virus, update or develop any organizational emergency plans, encourage staff and members to stay home when sick, encourage personal protective measures, clean frequently touched surfaces daily and provide cleaning and hygiene supplies on site.

These organizations should also consider how to best serve those in their community who are most vulnerable to the illness through outreach and assistance programs. When concerns about the virus rise from minimal to moderate, social distancing measures should be implemented. Group activities should be limited, and organizations should consider holding video/audio events. Gatherings of more than 250 people should be cancelled. Organizations serving high-risk populations should cancel gatherings of more than 10 people. Finally, when concerns become substantial, all community-based gatherings of any size should be canceled.

In addition to outlining mitigation strategies for the entire population, the CDC also released guidance on what mitigation strategies should be implemented in 5 specific areas which have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. Those 5 areas include: Seattle Washington, Santa Clara California, New Rochelle New York, Florida and Massachusetts. CDC Recommendations for those specific areas can be found by visiting the link below.
CWAG Executive Committee
- Hector Balderas - Mark Brnovich -
- Wayne Stenehjem - Phil Weiser -

AG Alliance Co-Chairs
- Lawrence Wasden - Sean Reyes - Karl Racine -
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