News Digest 1-19-2021


How to spot a fake N95 mask

Last May, an AP News investigation discovered a massive shipment of counterfeit N95 masks had infiltrated the American medical system, even though they came complete with proper shipping labels and invoices, certified letters from buyers and distributors, and interviews that traced back to a Chinese manufacturer of N95 masks certified by the Centers for Disease Control. There was only one indication that the masks were fake. Huron Daily Tribune


Is a more contagious strain looming?

The more contagious COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K. will likely become the predominant strain in the U.S. by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week. The variant is not known to cause more severe cases nor increase the risk of a fatal infection. abc27 (Harrisburg, Pa.)


Oregon coffeeshop willfully disregards COVID rules

OR-OSHA has fined seven businesses in Deschutes County for breaking COVID-19 rules and regulations. The largest fine, $8,000, was issued last year to a Bend coffeeshop that has become a lightning-rod for controversy on various social media and restaurant rating websites, with commenters both attacking and praising it for its defiant stance. Bend Bulletin


EPA, Fed-OSHA agree to improve system for review of new chemicals

The EPA and Fed-OSHA have announced an agreement that advances collaboration and communication on the EPA’s review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The memorandum of agreement includes establishing designated staff and management points of contact from each agency to discuss and resolve workplace exposure issues related to the EPA’s review of new chemicals and providing Fed-OSHA with regular updates on the EPA’s new chemical determinations, including any necessary worker protection identified during the EPA’s review. Environment + Energy Leader


Florida lawmakers weigh healthcare liability protections

A Florida’s House‌ ‌committee‌ ‌last week conducted‌ ‌a workshop‌ ‌on‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌liability‌ ‌protections‌ ‌for‌ ‌health‌care‌ ‌providers.‌ Representatives of hospitals,‌ ‌physician‌s ‌and‌ ‌long‌-term‌ ‌care‌ ‌facilities are asking the state legislature‌ ‌to protect‌ them‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌potential‌ ‌flood‌ ‌of‌ ‌lawsuits‌. Some lawmakers‌ ‌area are asking whether‌ ‌the‌ ‌legislature‌ ‌also should‌ ‌consider‌ ‌providing‌ ‌protections‌ ‌to‌ ‌employees who ‌were‌ ‌exposed‌ ‌to‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌job.‌ News4Jax