Conditions in Amazon warehouses

So, we all know there is a global pandemic going on right now where everybody who is labeled as a non-essential worker is being asked to stay inside in much as possible.

This, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, has many people shopping online.

With the rise in online orders, many things are out of stock or take longer to ship. All of this purchasing has been handled at distribution centers that are having significant losses in staff. 

According to the New York Times, workers in Amazon distribution centers across the country are realizing what a large role they play in the success of the company. The workers are using this as leverage to “demand better pay, better sick leave and more of a voice in how the company is run.”

Fear about, and around, the coronavirus has caused attendance at Amazon warehouses to fall as much as 30%, leaving the remaining workers to struggle with the rise in the number of orders while the numbers of staff are falling. 

Amazon has also been accused of firing workers who participated in protests about the working conditions inside the warehouses. These conditions depend on what state the warehouse is in, and has also been a rough topic as some are closed for cleanings while others remain open.

Many employees have tested positive for the corona virus. After the first case was found in Queens, NY, employees at 50 other sites had also tested positive.

Recently, Amazon has been giving its workers quarantine leave and has also raised their wages, while also giving more space between stations and tripling the janitorial staff.

How can we stay connected while staying apart?

During this time of distancing and separation, lots of people have been having a hard time feeling like themselves while not being able to be with their friends. There are many different ways that we can stay in touch, while still respecting social distancing and stay at home guidelines.

The main way that many are holding on to some sense of normalcy, and staying in touch, is through social media platforms like: Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. These platforms are used by many, daily, to stay in the loop on important events in the lives of friends and family.

Another way that people are staying connected is through video messaging apps like: Facetime, House Party, and Zoom. House Party is an app like Facetime where the user can join group video calls through a free app that works on all smartphones, whereas Facetime only works between Apple devices.

Zoom, and other programs like it, such as Google Meets, have also grown in popularity over the last few months. These programs are not only how we get together to socialize, but many schools and businesses are also using these platforms to hold meetings and class time.

Writing letters has become more popular in the last few weeks, as an alternative to online communication. I think we all get at least a little excited when we get a letter in the mail. Care packages left on doormats are another kind way to let your friends or family know that you are thinking about them during this difficult time. 

We are all getting through this together. Other countries, and some states, are beginning to lift quarantine restrictions, so this is showing that we are slowly moving back to a semblance of normalcy.

What is Seasonal Depression?

As the seasons are changing, people are able to do more outside and are less confined to their houses. Many people also find that they have more energy than they did in the winter months.

This could be because of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It is a type of depression that, according to the Mayo Clinic, is related to changes in seasons. They also say that most symptoms, in people with SAD, start in the fall and continue through the long winter months. In some less common cases, people have been known to be affected in the spring and early summer.

SAD is very common in the United States, according to the Cleveland Clinic, with approximately half a million people suffering from it each year. This is more likely to start in young adulthood, but children and teens could also experience SAD. People who live far north and south of the equator are also found to be more likely to be affected. 

Most of the symptoms are the same as depression. The most common symptoms, according to Cleveland Clinic, are:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Loss of interest in usual activities 

The treatment for SAD varies depending on the severity of the case. Anti-depressants work in some cases but the most recommended treatment is light therapy and spending more time outside. Light therapy is when a device containing white fluorescent light is placed at a distance of 2-3 feet away from the patient. It is used as a substitute for sunlight, which has been shown to improve the patient’s moods. 

If you have diagnosed with SAD there are multiple things to do to keep your symptoms from returning. One thing to do is to try and spend time outside, even when it’s cloudy, the sunlight will still help. A second thing that is helpful is to eat well-balanced meals with lots of vitamins, even though you body might be craving starchy and sweet foods. Another thing that would help with SAD is exercising for thirty minutes a day, at least three times a week. 

How can I help with donations?

While we are all under strict social distancing/stay at home orders/quarantine, many people are looking for ways to help the brave people who are risking their own health in order to make sure people who have contracted COVID-19 are able to recover. Many of us have people in our lives who are essential workers such as nurses, doctors, or other people in other medical professions.

Since the beginning of this outbreak, people have been buying materials in bulk that these medical professionals need in order to do their jobs safely. According to the New York Times, early in April, a man was arrested for hoarding “192,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks, and nearly 600,000 medical grade gloves.” The man was arrested for lying to federal agents about selling the supplies back to hospitals with a 700% mark up. 

Even though those supplies are being distributed to hospitals in New York and New Jersey, many hospitals don’t have enough supplies and have begun taking donations of cloth masks. According to the Hennepin Healthcare page, they are taking donations of cloth masks for staff who do not need medical-grade protective equipment. They, like many other organizations, have provided a pattern to make the masks and designated drop off times.

Hospitals are also accepting donations of unused medical supplies as suppliers are not able to produce as much as all the hospitals need. Finding these products also becomes difficult when people are panic buying supplies in much larger quantities than they could possibly use. If possible, please consider spending some of your time while social distancing making these masks for our health care workers who are putting themselves in danger to help others.

Gender pay gap between the NBA and the WNBA.

Image taken from: ttps://www.slamonline.com/wnba/wnbpa-opt-out-cba-after-2019-season/

It’s no secret that the NBA has a larger fan base than the WNBA, but why? People have shown that they don’t really care about the WNBA, and they have been given many opportunities show that they care. According to Sports Illustrated, “In 2007, the WNBA and ESPN reached an eight-year television agreement, thus assuring high-impact exposure.” Even with that exposure, the WNBA is still less popular. Another reason why this is is that they play in the summer and play about half as many games as the NBA teams will play in a season.

Another argument against the WNBA is that it is simply not as fun or interesting as the NBA; you are more likely to see somebody dunk or fly over an opponent in the NBA. Most of that is just genetics and the fact that most women physically are unable to dunk. 

The WNBA started on April 24, 1996 when the NBA board of governors approved the idea of the WNBA to start playing in June of 1997. This year they are celebrating their 23rd season.

They have 12 teams, with either 11 or 12 players on each team, meaning that they have a total of 144 roster spots available. The NBA has 15 players per team with 34 teams, this leaves them with 510 open roster spots. The WNBA has less spots so they are a more exclusive organization, but they still have a smaller fan base. 

The largest difference between the NBA and the WNBA is the pay gap. The average salary for an NBA player is $7.7 million, according to CNBC. The rookie salary for the #1 draft pick, Deandre Ayton, is set at $6.7 million dollars, the #2 draft pick will start at $6 million. Comparatively, the average salary for a WNBA player is only $75,000. The rookie salary in 2019 was $41,965. The WNBA has decided for the 2021 season that they will have a maximum salary of $130,000. 

Some people argue that the WNBA players are overpaid as it is. Others believe that they deserve their pay because in 2017 the WNBA made $25 million in revenue and the NBA made $7.4 billion that same year, according to GrandStand Central. It’s obvious that male sports are generally more popular than their female counterparts playing the same sports. 

What is the Coronavirus? How can I protect myself?

As we all know, sickness and disease are very common parts of our lives. Everybody knows that eventually they will get sick, most of the time it’s no big deal and all you need to do is ride it out. We know how diseases like the common cold are spread and what we can do to prevent ourselves from getting sick. But even with these precautions, people still get very sick each year.

 One virus that has been in the news recently is known as The 2019 Novel Coronavirus or simply just the coronavirus, it is part of the corona family which houses other viruses such as the common cold, or influenza.

The outbreak started in a town that has been identified as Wuhan, China. Wuhan has since been quarantined, but not before hundreds of people fled the village and surrounding towns.

This virus is spread through airborne particles and is very contagious, it is passed from person-to-person. But unlike influenza, the coronavirus currently has no vaccine.

In the US, there are 5 states with confirmed cases of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, there have also been 29 countries with confirmed cases of the virus. China has reported 28,000 confirmed cases with more than 560 coronavirus deaths, according to The Washington Post

There are more viruses that belong in the coronavirus family, such as the common cold, which was mentioned earlier, and the viruses that caused the global outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2015, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

It is believed that this virus spread to humans from animals, like the MERS and SARS viruses did but they are still unsure about what the specific cause of this outbreak was and when they will be able to find a cure.

People are being warned not to travel to China and returning travelers are being tested and detained for 14 days to check for the virus.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid anybody who has been diagnosed with the virus, and your wash hands frequently while avoiding any unnecessary trips into crowded areas.