(TMU) — When disaster strikes it’s the workers who form the frontline forces that protect us all, and this is true now more than ever amid the coronavirus pandemic as nursing staff, respiratory care practitioners, and healthcare workers prove their worth through unimaginable feats of heroism and self-sacrifice.
On Thursday, the union representing nearly 100,000 members working in California hospitals—the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)—announced that it had located 39 million N95 masks that it will make immediately available to local governments, health care systems, and resource-starved hospitals in New York and California that are struggling to cope with the wave of patients infected by CoViD-19.
In a statement, the SEIU-UHW explained:
“The union launched an exhaustive search for masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) five days ago in response to pleas from frontline healthcare workers that they need more protection and feel unsafe on the job as they treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients.”
After 48 hours of exhaustively searching for the supplies, the union managed to find a distributor who had 39 million masks. The union had no idea why the supplier, which has warehouses in Pennsylvania and Georgia, was sitting on such a massive amount of masks.
However, union spokesman Steve Trossman told BuzzFeed News:
“There was nothing magical about it. We just rolled up our sleeves and tried anybody who we thought might have a supply. It really was old fashioned elbow grease.”
The healthcare justice union, which has long engaged in battles to improve conditions for members and quality care for patients, also found a supplier that promised to produce 20 million more masks per week. Another supplier also pledged to supply millions of protective face shields.
The supplier has already sold many of the masks to the state of California, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Dignity Health, Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and Los Angeles, Riverside and Santa Clara counties.
SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan said:
“SEIU-UHW members and healthcare workers all over California are desperate for more protection, so we are seeking out supplies wherever we can get them.
We are continuing to turn over every rock to see if we can find more personal protective equipment to make sure that healthcare workers, who are heroically putting their own health on the line to care for patients, can do their jobs as safely as possible.”
The union is now working with states, counties, and healthcare systems to connect them directly with suppliers to arrange the purchases. Masks will be distributed both to unionized and non-unionized facilities. Regan continued:
“We want the masks to be distributed as widely as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough to go beyond California and New York, and so far hospitals in Arizona have not responded to an offer of 2 million masks, but as we locate more masks we want to expand the circulation as much as possible.”
However, SEIU-UHW leadership stressed that more needs to be done on a nationwide level—especially on the part of Washington, D.C. Regan explained:
“While we are pleased with these initial results, we recognize they are stopgap measures in light of the estimated 3.5 billion masks that could be needed during this pandemic. We urgently need the federal government to step in and drive a coordinated national response to the personal protective equipment shortage.”
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.
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