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Can Pets Get the Coronavirus?

April 12, 2020 - 1:01pm

(TNS)—With many Americans under order to shelter at home and leave only for necessities, we’re spending more time than ever with our pets.

Wet puppy noses and sandpaper cat kisses may be a balm for our souls during this time of stress and extended social isolation, but can our physical closeness to our pets affect our health—or theirs?

Here’s a look at the latest advice from experts about keeping everyone in your household safe.

Can pets become infected with the new coronavirus?
It’s incredibly unlikely.

There are many kinds of coronaviruses out there, and some of them can make cats and dogs sick. Scientists, however, say it is highly unlikely that our pets can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The World Health Organization has said there is no indication that a dog or cat can transmit the virus to humans or to any other living thing, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not received any reports of pets becoming ill from exposure to it.

“At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the United States,” according to the CDC.

Perhaps this will help put your mind at ease: A prominent veterinary diagnostics firm has reported testing thousands of cats and dogs for the virus, and not one has tested positive.

“It appears that companion animals are not infected easily with SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr. Gail Golab, chief veterinary officer for the American Veterinary Medical Association. “We have little to no evidence that they become sick, and there is no evidence that pets can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to people or other pets.”

But what about those reports of dogs and cats testing positive?
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in Hong Kong has found SARS-CoV-2 in two pet dogs, a 17-year-old Pomeranian and a 2-year-old German shepherd. Tests also found the virus in a cat belonging to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Another 15 dogs and eight cats in Hong Kong have tested negative, according to the AVMA.

A sick cat in Belgium has been found to have the virus, though tests by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain there have not determined whether the strain is the same as the one that infected its owner.

For now, veterinarians and animal infectious disease specialists agree that there is far too little information to draw any firm conclusions from these isolated cases in the face of hundreds of thousands of human infections around the globe.

Experts also agree that they won’t be able to conclusively say more until rigorously tested scientific data become available.

“We need to wait to see the science,” said Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Show me the science!”

So I don’t need to worry that, if I become sick, my pet could get it from me?
No, but you can still take precautions.

Animal healthcare experts agree that although there have been no cases in the United States of a human passing the virus to a pet, the best practice for anyone infected with coronavirus is to treat their companion animal the same way they would a human: Avoid all unnecessary contact.

“If you’re sick, practice social distancing,” Rankin said. “The big thing is to not be in contact with anyone else—dogs, cats or humans—when you’re sick.”

In practice, that means pet owners who are diagnosed with the virus should avoid petting, snuggling or otherwise being in physical contact with their pets, said Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club. They should also be sure to inform their veterinarian about their illness.

If possible, a healthy household member ought to feed and take care of the animal, Klein said. If there is no one available to do so, ill caretakers ought to wear a face mask and wash their hands before and after feeding and otherwise caring for their pets.

And as unpleasant as this thought might be, Rankin said pet owners should have a Plan B in case they aren’t around: “If you live on your own with an animal, then you should be planning a little bit for what to do with your dog or cat if you get sick and have to be hospitalized.”

What are the chances that I’ll get the virus from my pet?
It’s highly, highly unlikely.

There are no reported cases of a pet transmitting the virus to a human. It is remotely possible, however, if the following sequence of events occurs: Someone who is sick with COVID-19 sneezes or coughs. Their infected droplets touch a pet’s fur. Then another person quickly touches the same patch of fur and touches their eyes, nose or mouth before they’ve washed their hands.

In other words, incredibly unlikely.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association and others, to date, there is no reason to believe that any animals in the United States are the source of COVID-19,” Klein said.

Is there a test I can get for my pet?
There aren’t any that are widely available, and even if there were, experts recommend against it at this time.

“Companion animals presenting with illness or injury should receive veterinary care. Where appropriate, testing for infectious diseases that commonly cause companion animal illness should be conducted,” Golab said. “Because the situation is ever-evolving, public and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals out of an abundance of caution. In the United States, the decision to test will be made collaboratively between local, state and federal animal and public health officials.”

Golab added that California and other states had classified veterinarians as essential service workers, so they can continue to operate during the shutdown.

Rankin says it’s not clear that tests should be conducted on pets when there aren’t enough resources to test people who may be sick.

“There are ethical issues about veterinary labs stockpiling reagents in case we need tests for animals when these reagents are necessary right now…to test samples from humans,” she said.

Should I make sure my pet stays inside, or is it safe to go out?
Follow your existing routine, experts agree. It’s good for your pet—and for your own mental health.

“Fresh air is good for you and your dog,” Klein said. “Pets rely on a routine and can sense an owner’s mood and feelings. We do know that they respond to an owner’s feelings of happiness, anger, sadness and even anxiety.”

He advises spending time with outdoor pets on walks or playing games such as fetch. Grooming indoor and outdoor pets will also provide comfort.

“It may also decrease your anxiety level by making you think of something other than what’s on the news. It can be a win-win situation for both of you,” Klein said. “As always, pet owners should be sure to wash their hands before and after interacting with their pets.”

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
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Categories: Real Estate

How to Prevent Trolls From Zoom Bombing Your Online Meeting

April 6, 2020 - 4:01pm

(TNS)—As students at the University of Tennessee were participating in a virtual “Milkshake Monday,” an anonymous person jumped into the Zoom gathering and began berating everyone with racist rants.

As the video conferencing platform Zoom has grown in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, so have instances of “Zoom bombing.” Zoom bombing is when someone joins your meeting and disrupts it in some way. If you don’t want to risk this happening while chatting with your grandparents or co-workers, there are steps you can take to prevent it.

Create a Unique ID
Instead of using the personal meeting ID Zoom assigns when you create an account, PCMag.com recommends you instead generate a unique code.

“Here’s why,” PCMag.com writes. “Once you put your PMI into the world, people can use it to try and jump in on your Zoom calls at any time.”

Create a Waiting Room
By creating a waiting room, the host and/or co-hosts can control who joins a meeting. The “waiting room” option can be found under account settings. Once enabled, the host can either put everyone in the waiting room or “guest participants only,” which adds people on different Zoom accounts or who are not logged into the waiting room.

Disable Screen Sharing
The Verge also recommends the meeting host disable the screen-sharing feature.

“If you schedule a meeting from the web interface, you won’t see the option to disable screen sharing,” The Verge writes. Instead:

  • Click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu.
  • Scroll down to “Screen sharing” and under “Who can share?” click “Host Only.”
  • Click on “Save.”

The Anti-Defamation League has created a handy meeting checklist if you’re using Zoom. Before the meeting:

  • Disable autosaving chats.
  • Disable file transfer.
  • Disable screen sharing for non-hosts.
  • Disable remote control.
  • Disable annotations.
  • Use per-meeting ID, not personal ID.
  • Disable “Join Before Host.”
  • Enable “Waiting Room.”

During the meeting:

  • Assign at least two co-hosts.
  • Mute all participants.
  • Lock the meeting, if all attendees are present.

If you are Zoom bombed:

  • Remove problematic users and disable their ability to rejoin when asked.
  • Lock the meeting to prevent additional Zoom bombing.

©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com
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Categories: Real Estate

What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Loans During the Coronavirus

April 5, 2020 - 1:02pm

(TNS)—James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, recently predicted that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. unemployment numbers may hit 30 percent in the second quarter. Considering nearly four in 10 Americans would have to borrow money to cover a $1,000 emergency, it’s easy to see how many will soon be left struggling to cover their bills.

Fortunately, banks, lenders and the federal government have already begun to address the dire financial situation many Americans will soon face. If you can’t pay your loans or you soon won’t be able to, you may have some options.

Federal Student Loan Payments Are Suspended
While it’s possible for the timeline to be extended, borrowers with federal student loans can temporarily suspend their monthly payments without penalty until at least September 30 under the new CARES Act. Interest charges for federal student loans are also suspended until at least September 30.

This change starts retroactively on March 13.

This suspension does not make your student loan debt disappear, and borrowers have to take steps to contact their loan issuer in order to suspend payment. To find out which servicer issues your loans, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

Notably, if you are seeking public service student loan forgiveness, Forbes reports that suspended payments during this time period will count toward your 120 required payments.

For those who continue making their regularly scheduled student loan payments, their entire payment will be applied to the principal of their balance, helping them pay down debt faster.

Some Mortgage Lenders Step In to Provide Relief for Borrowers
Many mortgage providers have begun taking active steps to help borrowers negatively impacted by coronavirus or a resulting loss in income.

For example, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ordering loan providers to provide assistance in the form of mortgage forbearance for up to one year. During this 12-month pause on mortgage payments, penalties and late fees will be waived and all foreclosure sales and evictions are put on hold until at least May 17, 2020. Negative reporting to the credit bureaus will also be suspended, and loan modification options should be offered to help homeowners stay in their homes until the one-year reprieve on mortgage payments is up.

While these changes are currently applicable to homes guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal regulators expect that most mortgage lenders will likely opt for similar policies.

With that said, in its current state, this relief isn’t available to everyone. Per a Freddie Mac response on the program, you have to have “a decline in income” in order to qualify.

Help With Personal Loans and Home Equity Loans
Many banks are also stepping up to waive fees and help consumers stay on track with their loans despite losses in income. For example, popular personal lender Marcus by Goldman Sachs is letting customers defer payments for the month of March on their personal loans and the Apple Card without accruing interest.

U.S. Bank is also temporarily lowering costs for consumers interested in personal loans, and Fifth Third is offering payment forbearance for their mortgage and home equity loan customers. Bank of America is also waiving payments on mortgages and home equity products on request, and Wells Fargo is offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and other assistance for auto, mortgage, credit card and personal lending customers who reach out and inquire.

If you’re unsure if your lender is offering assistance on a personal loan, home equity loan or any other loan product, check its website for details to call to inquire. New programs may be announced on a rolling basis, so don’t give up hope that help is on the way. 

Other Steps You Could Be Taking Now If You Can’t Pay Your Loans
While the programs offered by lenders highlighted here can be helpful as you navigate your finances over the next few months, there are additional moves you could be making that might also buy you some time. Steps you should begin taking now include:

  • Contact your lender and ask for assistance. If you are unable to make an upcoming payment on a mortgage or another type of loan, experts suggest reaching to your lender immediately to talk over your options. It may be able to help you sign up for up to 12 months of paused payments, or it’s possible that it’ll work with you to waive late fees or move your payment due date.
  • Look into refinancing. If you still have an income and meet other qualification requirements, it’s possible that you could refinance your mortgage, a personal loan or another loan product you have into a new loan with an extended payment timeline and lower monthly payment. Interest rates recently dropped like a rock due to the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates down to 0 percent, so this may be a good option if you can qualify.
  • Cut all discretionary spending from your budget. Taking a long, hard look at your spending and bills can also help you determine some areas to cut. In times of financial hardship, it can make sense to keep food spending to a minimum, cancel subscriptions you don’t always use and figure out ways to spend less in your daily life.

©2020 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

Can You Get an Airline Ticket Refund Due to Postponed Olympics or Coronavirus?

March 30, 2020 - 4:23pm

(TNS)—Getting a refund from an airline has never been easy, and it hasn’t become more so in this time of chaos in the airline industry and elsewhere.

I’d welcome you to The Twilight Zone, but anyone who has tried to get an airline refund, even if the flyer has died, has already visited The TZ. Now, with the postponement of the Olympics (and pretty much everything else), we may become permanent residents.

Before plunging in, please heed these words from Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now, a consumer advocacy group. Your chances of getting a refund “varies by carrier, and it’s something that’s in flux right now,” said Ebenhoch, whose group specializes in airline and hotel issues. “Policies that were in place before are not always holding up as we’re finding that companies want to hold onto money.”

Into this shifting landscape we introduce shifting policy. Fasten your seat belts, friends. Bumpy doesn’t begin to describe it. Here’s what you need to know:

Don’t immediately cancel your ticket.
But, you protest, you always advise us to cancel a ticket if we know we’re not going to be able to use it. Shouldn’t I do that now?

No, said Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group that does extensive work on airline issues.

“If you have a flight planned in the next three or four weeks, do not call up and cancel the flight,” Leocha said, even if you don’t want to go or can’t. “If the airline cancels your flight—and they are canceling flights right and left—you are eligible for a cash reimbursement.”

If the airline cancels the flight and can’t accommodate you within a certain period of time, it is supposed to refund your money.

Supposed to? Why ‘supposed to’?
Some may offer a voucher first. Don’t fall for it. Ask for the money. Nicely. But not all airlines are playing by the same rules. Consider the case of United Airlines, which, like all carriers, has been rocked by the coronavirus chaos.

Then it counterpunched, Brian Sumers reported in Skift. United’s policy, like many airlines’, was that you could get a refund if your flight was delayed by more than two hours.

Then United changed that to 25 hours and said it applied retroactively to all tickets. Then the policy changed again, this time to delays of six hours, Sumers said.

And now?

“At last check—and this may very well change again—United won’t allow refunds on international travel,” Brett Snyder, who runs CrankyFlier.com, a consumer advocacy site, said in an email. “If your flight changes by more than six hours, you can hold that in a credit. If you don’t use the credit within one year from the original date of ticket issue, then you can get a refund.” 

When should I cancel?
You usually can cancel up to about the time of departure, but as the rules shift, you should give yourself a bit of a buffer, Snyder said in an interview—a day or two before your flight. If you don’t cancel and you don’t show up for the flight, you’ll be considered a no-show and you’ll get nothing back.

Hold off on a request for a refund for Olympics tickets.
If you have a nonrefundable ticket, the general cancellation rules apply: You’ll get a voucher, minus a change fee, and it will be good for within a year of the purchase of your ticket, not the flight.

But, Snyder said, “I have seen Japanese airlines be pretty generous with refunds through this coronavirus mess. So, it wouldn’t shock me if they added a policy themselves that would allow refunds for Olympic tickets.”

Stay tuned.

Read the airline’s contract of carriage.
If you’re looking to while away those lonely hours in lockdown, read the terms and conditions, a.k.a. the contract of carriage, on the airline’s website.

Yes, this may seem like a bigger punishment than having to stay home, but these contracts lay out the ground rules for cancellations. Arm yourself with information before doing anything. Copy relevant parts of the contract on a document you can consult as you’re speaking with an airline representative.

Read your email.
The airline may have communicated with you by email about changes to your ticket, its polices or other matters. Get up-to-date on anything that pertains to the goal you’re trying to achieve.

Determine that goal and adjust your expectations.
Understand that getting a refund may be a struggle. It’s that way in the best of times.

Most airline tickets are nonrefundable. They’re almost always cheaper and thus more attractive to leisure travelers.

The downside is that if you want to cancel, you will probably not get your money back—but the downside to that downside is that you may get a voucher good for a year from the date of your ticket purchase, not from the date the trip was to begin, and you’ll have to pay a hefty cancellation fee.

Should I call the airline, then?
If you bought your ticket through a travel adviser (used to be called an “agent”), call the adviser. If you bought your ticket as part of a cruise package that is no longer going to sail, call the cruise line. If you bought your ticket through an online travel agency such as Expedia, call Expedia (which asks those who are not traveling within 72 hours to delay calling) or the OTA.

If you bought your ticket directly from the airline, call the airline, but be prepared for a wait. Call centers are overwhelmed. Some will give you a callback time so you don’t have to hang on the phone.

Whatever you do, gather your travel information before you call—ticket number, purchase date, credit card and frequent flyer numbers. You may not need all of it, but you won’t be fumbling at the last minute.

Dispute the charge on your credit card.
If you get nowhere, call your credit card company and file a dispute if you bought your ticket within the last 60 days. The credit card companies carry a fairly large stick when it comes to dealing with their users’ issues. This is a last-ditch effort, and you must be mindful of the 60-day timeline—determined from the date you bought the ticket, not the date of your trip.

File a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
Leocha of Travelers United notes that the DOT tells you first to contact your airline to try to resolve your problem. Then, when it receives few complaints about an issue, it may conclude that whatever you’re complaining about is not a problem. But, Leocha said, the DOT has no way of knowing how many complaints were made to the airline because that’s what it told you to do.

To file a complaint, go to the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection page. It may not resolve your issue immediately or ever, but at least you will be on the record and a groundswell may result in changes.

Contact your elected representative’s field office.
Your elected officials aren’t usually the first people you turn to, but they often can have an enormous effect on the outcome of a dispute, especially if the entity in question is currently the subject of legislation that involves bailouts. Bailouts or no, we have seen excellent results in resolving passport problems and, more recently, Global Entry issues. 

Finally, deep, cleansing breaths.
One of my bosses used to tell me this fairly often. It doesn’t solve anything, but it may calm you a bit. In this time of turmoil, that’s quite an advantage. 

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

Coronavirus and Other Threats This Tax Season

March 24, 2020 - 4:40pm

(TNS)—Tax filers now want to keep COVID-19 in mind, as well as other potential threats. The Internal Revenue Service has its own special page dedicated to tax-related coronavirus updates. [The deadline for filing is now July 15, not April 15.]

For those with health savings accounts, the IRS said high-deductible plans can pay for 2019 novel coronavirus testing and treatment, and individuals with such plans would still be able to contribute to a health savings account, even if the plan picks up COVID-related costs.

The high deductible plans would not lose their status merely because they cover the cost of testing or treatment of COVID-19 before plan deductibles have been met.

The IRS also noted that any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care and can be paid for by a high-deductible plan.

How will you pay your taxes?
Many people pay their taxes by writing a check, pulling out a credit card or even applying online for some payment plans offered through the IRS.

It’s wise to do some research about any new kind of third-party payment service. The Better Business Bureau has received some complaints about Doxo, what’s known as a bill payment aggregation site. Users tap into a centralized platform to pay all of their bills owed to a variety of public utilities, such as water departments, as well as companies.

“Not good value for the cost,” according to one complaint listed earlier this year on the BBB site.

“The fees are high and the website is cumbersome,” said another consumer on the BBB site.

Other consumers said the payments were too slow and it took too many days to get bills paid.

The doxoPLUS program charges $4.99 a month to enable bill payments from your bank account with no delivery fees, up to a total of $3,000 of payments per month.

Roger Parks, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Doxo, said many consumers are happy with the service but in some cases, people don’t pay enough attention to making sure that a payment date will work in their situation. He noted that information is given online for the payment process for specific bills as they are being paid and customers need to check boxes to make sure those dates will work.

He said about 3.5 million people have paid at least one bill using Doxo. The service can be used when a biller cannot handle mobile payments or credit cards. Consumers can pay their bills with 60,000 entities through their bank accounts without paying any extra delivery fees.

Are you dealing with a ghost tax preparer?
Ever imagine you could get “ghosted” by a tax preparer, much like someone who never responds to texts, phone calls or emails after a bad date?

Consumer watchdogs, including the BBB, are warning that unscrupulous characters can set up shop in a short-term rental location and may promise large refunds. It’s possible the big refund depends on illegal short cuts when filling out that return.

“In 2006, the IRS made efforts to increase oversight of tax preparers to combat unscrupulous activity in the industry and began to require all tax preparers to have a PTIN, or a Preparer Tax Identification Number,” according to a BBB warning, “but this system only works if tax preparers sign the returns they file. Some tax preparers that don’t want to follow the process simply don’t sign the returns!”

Instead, it’s made to look like the taxpayer actually prepared his or her own return—and, yes, if something goes wrong, the tax preparer is long gone.

One warning sign: The ghost preparer may want to print the paper return for the client and tell them to sign and mail it to the IRS. For electronically filed returns, they will prepare it but won’t digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

Sarah Kull, the special agent in charge for IRS Criminal Investigations Detroit Field Office, suggests you ask if the tax preparer’s office is open all year and how you’d get ahold of someone if there’s a problem down the line.

©2020 Detroit Free Press
Visit Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

Real Estate Q&A: How Is Coronavirus Affecting the Residential Market?

March 22, 2020 - 1:04pm

(TNS)—Coronavirus has changed the way we live, and I have received many questions about how it is affecting the real estate market.

So far, the residential real estate market has kept moving. While a few transactions have canceled, the vast majority are moving forward. Lenders are lending, and interest rates are strong.

If you are stuck at home, it is a great time to shop for a lower-rate refinance. Of course, until life gets back to normal, certain precautions are necessary.

Social distancing is a critical consideration. Experienced real estate agents can help buyers narrow down their choices and refine their expectations using online photo albums and virtual tours. Buyers can drive around the area they are interested in to get the feel of the neighborhood.

Even if you do not feel comfortable visiting your prospective new home, you can use this time to figure out what you can afford and which features are most important to you. Work with your lender to get your loan approved.

Most cell phones take great pictures and videos, making it easy for motivated sellers to help their agents beef up their listing.

While I am not recommending visiting a prospective house in person, I am aware that many people are still doing it. If you go this route, be cautious. The real estate agent and buyer should each take their own car. Follow published safety guidelines when looking around the house, avoiding crowds and touching surfaces, and maintaining personal distance. Use common sense and do not feel obligated to continue the tour if you feel uncomfortable for any reason.

The same goes for sellers. While it may be a bit rude to deny entry to a prospective buyer who is hacking and coughing, it is better safe than sorry.

When it is time to write the contract, you should get assistance making sure contingencies are added to account for this crisis. The real estate attorney community is all over this and ready to assist. Many documents can now be signed and even notarized online. Check with the closing attorney and lender to see if they offer this service.

If you do have to go to closing in person, make sure the title company has a detailed COVID-19 plan in place to deal with the crisis.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
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Categories: Real Estate

Protecting Yourself From Coronavirus While Flying

March 19, 2020 - 4:05pm

(TNS)—If you must fly during the coronavirus outbreak, how might you protect yourself?

Don’t eat on the plane.

That’s one of the tips suggested by Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, at a recent news conference:

  • If it’s a short trip, consider not eating. When you eat, you often put your hands in your mouth, and if your hands have touched a virus-infected surface, such as the seat tray, you don’t want to be putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.
  • Wipe down the area where you’re sitting on a plane. Bleach-based wipes and solutions with at least 60 percent alcohol can kill the coronavirus.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap, remembering to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails.
  • Use hand sanitizer, with at least 60 percent alcohol, frequently. Hand sanitizer is helpful when you can’t wash your hands, but it doesn’t work on all types of germs.
  • If you’re seated next to a person actively coughing, ask to be relocated.
  • Under all circumstances, stop touching your face with unwashed hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said airline crew should report to the CDC any traveler who has had a fever for more than 48 hours or has a fever and one of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing or an obviously unwell appearance.

Any such passengers should be moved as far away as possible from other passengers and crew, ideally by at least 6 feet—the maximum distance that virus-studded droplets from a person’s cough or sneeze can travel before falling to the ground.

The flight crew should then offer a face mask if available and if the passenger can tolerate it. If not available, the sick person should be asked to cover their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing and sneezing, the CDC said.

This coronavirus can be given to other people through the saliva of an infected person being coughed or sneezed into the wet areas of a person’s face, like the eyes, nose or mouth. It can also be transmitted through a person using their hands to touch an infected surface, like droplets of saliva coughed onto a seatback pocket, and then touching their face with their unwashed fingers.

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at
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Categories: Real Estate

Can Your 401(k) Stay Healthy as Stock Market Sickens?

March 10, 2020 - 3:35pm

(TNS)—Worst week since the market crash?

Don’t panic.

Billions of dollars in wealth evaporating in a matter of days?

Hang in there.

An infectious disease that could tank the economy and depress stock prices even more?

This might be a good time to buy.

Financial advisers are telling clients to maintain a steady course in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The markets will sort this out; they will come back,” says Kimberly Foss, president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. “It will work itself out in the long run.”

On Feb. 28, the Dow Jones average rallied furiously in the last few minutes of trading but still dropped another 357.28 points. That capped a week in which stocks lost about 10 percent of their value. The S&P 500 was down 11 percent, the worst weekly decline since the 2008 financial crisis as investors reacted to fears that coronavirus and COVID-19 disease would wreck the global economy.

By midday Monday, the Dow had recovered 750 points, a gain of 3 percent.

Carol Van Bruggen, of Foord Van Bruggen & Pajak Financial Services in Sacramento, Calif., says the 2008 meltdown was a lot scarier.

“That made us a lot more nervous than something like this,” Van Bruggen says. “This is a temporary situation.

“There’s still a lot of stocks that, after the initial panic of the market, they will continue to do well as long as they continue to provide services as they were before the panic started,” she says. “We’d say, wait this out. Everything cycles through. Even if we deal with this for another six months or eight months, the market will come back if you own good quality stocks diversified in various areas of the economy.”

Retirement Approaches for Many
Still, for many people the timing is terrible. Foss says a well-balanced, diversified portfolio should enable an investor to ride out the wave, even as they’re creeping up on retirement.

“If they’re 60 years old and they have 80 percent of their money in the (stock) market, that’s going to cause a problem,” Foss says. By contrast, she says investors would do well to maintain a roughly even split between stocks and bonds, the latter of which are less volatile.

Brokers and planners are urging clients to adopt a patient strategy, but they acknowledged that keeping calm is harder for investors who’ve forgotten what happened in 2008 and can’t wrap their arms around a significant down spell.

“They’re just so used to the market going up and up and up, they don’t realize we have things like (this downturn),” Foss says.

Foss and Jim McCarthy, a portfolio manager at Capital Planning Advisors in Roseville, are counseling investors to buy stocks if they have some idle cash.

“There’s more upside than downside here,” McCarthy says. “It’s difficult in times like this, but history says it pays to spend money (on stocks) during these big downdrafts.”

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