Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Health of Small Businesses: ShortCutz

The small business community has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. Local barbershop ShortCutz on A Street in Hayward is just one of the many businesses that have been temporarily closed and deemed non-essential.

Owner and operator of ShortCutz, Trevoi “Big Tree the Barber” Fortson has been cutting hair for 20 years.  ShortCutz, however,has only been around for 13 years and this is the first time Fortson has ever seen anything like this.

Several barbers alongside Fortson have been out of work for two months and counting due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), resulting in the shop’s employees looking for work elsewhere. “I have a barber who is now working at 9-5 just to make ends meet,” says Fortson. 

Fortson and other barbers in ShortCutz “have been taking classes and test on sanitation and safety prior to the pandemic outbreak,” states Fortson. “Now to be forced to close is horrific.” 

When allowed to reopen, ShortCutz wants clients to feel safe and not be afraid to be in its establishment.

“I will be implementing new routines,” says Fortson. “Wiping chairs prior to service, partitions between each stylist, mask, gloves, and if you’re not being serviced you can stay in your car until we are ready to service them.” 

Those are just a few things Fortson plans on instituting to ensure to safety of his customers when ShortCutz is allowed to reopen its doors. As of now, barbershops are still deemed non-essential, however, a source of income is essential.

Zoom Overload ?

With the quarantine in place, most schools have shut down their campuses and moved to online learning. The leading platform so far is Zoom. 

But how is having all of these constant Zoom meetings affecting the students?

Chabot student Gabriel Pena said, “I don’t think my stress so much comes from Zoom, but more so from the professors.”

“For me, it wasn’t like that because my teacher didn’t know what to put online because our class was super hands-on,” says Bryan Garcia, another Chabot student. “I didn’t feel overwhelmed by any of it because it was just a PowerPoint that I can just chill and watch from home.”

This issue is not tied down to Zoom specifically, as it is more an issue of now everyone is at home, so everything else is more relaxed. Students get distracted easier and quicker, and with how sudden things were, some school districts have made participation in this last quarter optional.

“I don’t feel overwhelmed by the meetings. They are just pointless since they told us that we would just get the same grades as last semester,” says Xotchil Oropeza, a high school senior. “The meetings just feel like they just want to check in on us.”

Students have expressed how they feel about Zoom meetings. Some instructors have different opinions on how some students react to the Zoom meetings.

“The main thing that I noticed because we are all at home, there is a more relaxed setting, and when we plan these meetings to be at 8 or 9 in the morning,” says Theresa Oropeza, a paraeducator. “Few students do show up to these meetings, and when they do, they are still in pajamas, laying down in bed.”

So it seems that there isn’t that big of an issue among the students with the switch to online classes.

Abortion in Quarantine

The coronavirus has everyone concerned with their health. Facemasks and gloves are a must during this time — but some lawmakers are using coronavirus to push a different healthcare agenda.

In February 2020, Florida state legislators passed a bill requiring minors to ask for parental consent when seeking an abortion. As COVID-19 slowly began to spread, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas ordered an immediate halt to all non-necessary surgeries — including abortions where the mother’s life is not at risk. 

In an interview with Vice News, one 17-year-old “Jane Doe” explained the process of getting an abortion in Florida. Fortunately, she was able to get a judicial bypass: the approval from a judge to receive the abortion, so long as the request was filed in the same county as the minor lives. After reaching out to Jane’s Due Process, a facility that helps women navigate the abortion system, she explained how the legal system treated her.

“[The judge] asked why I didn’t want to go through with the pregnancy, and if I knew the abortion could risk my fertility. That kind of scared me, but the person I was talking to at Jane’s Due Process already prepared me for that and told me that wasn’t true.”

According to Dr. Jen Gunter of the New York Times, abortion is not linked to a risk of infertility, as shown in data collected by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

As of March 1, only 29 states require that sex-education be given, 27 of which include HIV and AIDS education. As for Florida, sex-ed options are left up to the various school districts, many of which follow abstinence-only teaching.

Other restrictions in Florida include:

  • In-person, state-mandated counseling is necessary in order to influence the decision of the person seeking an abortion. 
  • An ultrasound is required before the abortion occurs; these two can happen on the same day. 
  • Only a licensed physician can perform the abortion, regardless of the qualifications of other healthcare professionals. 

In regards to the Texas abortion ban, neighboring states have seen an increase in their abortion rates as a result. NPR reports that “clinics in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada saw 129 patients from Texas between March 23 and April 14, compared with 16 Texas patients during the entire month of February.”

But as Dr. Kristina Tocce explains in her NPR interview, these restrictions ultimately endanger women in more ways than one, as travel is not currently safe. The fight against abortion risks the safety of countless people.
There are more than one health concerns to consider during this pandemic. Fortunately, there are still facilities and officials fighting for women’s right to choose. Many Planned Parenthood locations are still open with reduced hours. See for more information and how help is still available.

Zoom Issues

Now that all classes have transitioned to online, the video chat app Zoom has become more prominent, but why was it chosen above all others, and what are some of the issues it has come across in its past?

The state chancellor for community colleges had worked out a deal years ago with Zoom that allows all community college employees to have upgraded accounts.

A problem with the video platform has already been discovered. Zoom-bombing is where an uninvited participant can get into your call and spam it with various things.

This issue is due to how simple the app tries to be. It sacrifices basic privacy controls, such as kicking uninvited guests instead of banning them to keep it as the simplest and best user experience. 

Last year Zoom had a significant privacy breach for its users on the Mac platform. Zoom decided that it would be a good idea to install a web server client-side for Mac users, and this led to a major breach that was quickly found and exploited by hackers. 

When brought to the development team’s attention for zoom, they did nothing to try and fix the situation they had created; instead, they just kept focusing on new features for the platform. It took so long with nothing being done that Apple had to step in and fix it themselves. 

With this massive influx of users, it has been a surprise that the user experience has been able to keep up … or has it?

“Zoom is just really clunky and has too many security issues,” says Jacob Jenkins, Chabot student. “It’s hard to concentrate especially if you’re already not interested in the subject.”

“I feel like with Zoom, it’s difficult to pay attention because there’s so much going on in the background both in your home and in the homes of the others,” said Jheremy Morales, Chabot Student. “Don’t get me started on the fact that this is all done on PC, so as soon as I start up mine, I see Steam, Blizzard, and all the other gaming apps just ready to distract me.”

Even though the platform had some issues, it has become the go-to platform for many people during this quarantine. The question remains, is this the best platform to be using?

Social Distance for All

Despite proof that social distance guidelines have been effective with slowing the growth rate of the COVID-19 virus, Americans are protesting for stay at home orders to end.

On April 30, protesters gathered around the state capitol in Michigan after the news that Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to extend the stay at home order. Protestors also gathered around the Governor’s home right outside her driveway.

Protestors spoke and shared their concerns with their small business and the Governor’s lack of prioritizing them.

FOX News spoke with Charlie Hurt, opinion editor for the Washington Post and FOX News contributor. “The problem comes when you have politicians who appear to be acting in their political best interest.”

Hurt questions Gov. Whitmer’s true intention to extend the stay at home order and believes it’s a tactic for convincing Joe Biden to select her as his Vice President.

A study done at the University of Kentucky (UK) had been released by the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise suggests that social distancing and stay at home orders are working.

The report was done by professors of Gatton College of Business and Economics at the UK, as well as fellow professors working in the department of economics. 

The report, Did Social-Distancing Measures in Kentucky Help to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve?, takes confirmed cases of COVID-19 in counties of Kentucky, comparing them to neighboring counties, such as counties in Tennessee. 

The report describes the matters of how a region would have been affected by the virus with no official government restriction in place, with only strictly voluntary self-distancing, or if the region was put under restrictions. 

Aaron Yelowitz, one of the Kentucky professors who worked on the report spoke with LEX18 News on May 1. “The social distancing measures, the stay at home orders, the closing of dining at restaurants, dramatically bent the curve and saved lives,” Yelowitz stated in regards to the spread of COVID-19.

The report states that instead of 4,000 confirmed cases of the virus by April 26, it would have been up to 45,000 with an additional 2,000 deaths. 

Yelowitz told LEX18 News that there’s something to learn from neighboring states as Kentucky will begin to reopen business on May 11, “I think it’s too early.” 

On the widely known app TikTok, users are using this outlet to express their frustrations with people not wanting to comply with social distance guidelines. 

Samantha Lee Hager began her video by briefly explaining the Michigan protests, “but that’s not even the part that pisses me off,” the woman goes into listing peaceful protests against social injustice that were all shut down by police and or faced charges. 

Hager ends her video with her frustrations with the fact that Michigan protesters were being aggressive, ignoring social distance guidelines, forcing themselves into the capitol building while carrying firearms. 

“None of them are arrested and if that isn’t discrimination I don’t know what is,” Hager said. 

@lakewoodpapi shared his belief in the selfishness of the people wanting states to reopen, “it was to force everyone else to go back to work, so they (conservatives) could enjoy life again.” The young man also adds that the majority of the people who would be at risk of the reopenings would be people of color. 

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) have detailed tips on how to social distance:

  • Follow guidance from authorities where you live.
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
  • Consider a grocery delivery service.
  • Avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis, if possible.

More information on the CDC website:

Link for the full UK report: 

Graduation Ceremony Will Be Virtual

Chabot College’s 58th Annual Commencement Ceremony will be conducted online this year due to the shelter-in-place order preventing large public gatherings. Previous commencements have been livestreamed before, but this will be the first to be online-only.

The Commencement will be hosted on a website that will become available to view on Saturday, May 23, at 9 a.m. The ceremony will include videos of speakers and a slideshow of the graduates.

Graduating students must have submitted their information and a photo of themselves in the cap and gown by Wednesday, May 13, at 8:59 p.m. to be included in the slideshow. Students who did not order a cap and gown were allowed to send an appropriate alternative photo.

Graduates could log in to the website by using their Zonemail accounts. The Commencement website is being operated by the media company Envision Pro AV.

The petition-to-graduate due date was extended to April 17 from the original date of April 1. The due date to order a cap and gown provided for free this year was April 20.

“We just wanted to do our best to celebrate the amazing success of our graduates despite the shelter in place,” said Dr. Matthew Kritscher, Vice President of Student Services.

All students were invited to participate if they have met or will meet graduation requirements for a Certificate or Degree at the end of Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 semesters.

Still, some remain disappointed about the substitution.

“I feel like it’s not really a celebration. I feel like it should have been postponed…,” said Navin Bansal, a graduating Chabot student.

Speakers for the day will include Chancellor Ronald Gerhard, College President Susan Sperling, and “Senate Leadership,” according to the website. The keynote speaker, Danny Munoz, is a graduating student who is part of Alpha Gamma Sigma, Indigenous Peoples Club, and RISE, as well as a tutor.

“When I was asked [to be the speaker], I felt that I should do it because where I come from, stuff like this doesn’t happen every day,” said Munoz. “I feel like I can shine a light on an underrepresented and misunderstood population. I’m formerly incarcerated, and I want everyone to know that we can overcome the stigma.”

For more information, see the official Commencement information page at the Chabot website:

Modified Shelter-in-place Order for the Bay Area

The stay-in-place order that was issued on March 31 has been extended until May 31 by Dr. Erica Pan, Interim Health Officer of the County of Alameda with ease on certain restrictions. 

The key objective of this Order is to ensure that County residents continue to shelter in their places of residence to slow the spread of COVID-19 and lighten the impact on critical healthcare services. 

This new extended April 29 Order supersedes the March 31 Order of the Health Officer directing all individuals to shelter in place. The Order clarifies and extends certain terms of the prior Order to ensure continued social distancing and limit person-to-person contact to lower the spread of COVID-19.

This Order allows a limited number of additional essential and outdoor business activities to resume while the Health Officer continues to assess the transmissibility and clinical severity of COVID-19 and monitors indicators. The Order continues to restrict most activity, travel, and governmental and business functions.

However, the new Order will allow a limited number of additional Essential Businesses and certain lower-risk Outdoor Businesses to resume operating. It will also allow Essential Activities and Essential Travel.

According to Order of the Health Officer No. 20-10, Essential Businesses are “healthcare operations, establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing.”

Other Essential Businesses are classified as businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals and construction, but only as permitted under the State Shelter Order and only pursuant to the Construction Safety Protocols.

The new Order also required essential businesses to develop a social distancing protocol before April 3. The Alameda County Health Department now has Social Distancing Requirements according to Order of the Health Officer No. 20-10. 

“Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, into the sleeve or elbow; wearing a face covering when out in public, consistent with the orders or guidance of the Health Officer; and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms.”

With new social distancing requirements, Essential Activities have been expanded, but people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are strongly urged to stay in their residence to the extent possible, except as necessary to seek or provide medical care.

“The use of outdoor recreational areas and facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, pools, spas, and barbecue areas, are prohibited outside of residences, and all such areas shall be closed to public access including by signage and, as appropriate, by physical barriers.”

Violation of or failure to comply with the new extended Order is a misdemeanor and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Sex and Dating During Covid-19

During the coronavirus pandemic, dating and sex have been put at a standstill because of social distancing or state-mandated shelter-in-place guidelines.

It’s not okay to go out on dates right now unless those dates are over FaceTime or some other video chat app, such as Duo, Facebook Messenger, or Zoom. However, if you are in a solid relationship in the same residence, sex is at the forefront of the mind during these unprecedented times.

According to, the New York City Health Department issued specifications on COVID-19 safe sex exercises, which recommends people against having sex with anyone outside of your household.

There has been an idea floating around of individuals finding a “sex buddy.”

A “sex buddy” is a person with whom a person has a relationship based on casual sex only. However, in this case, you and said person only having sex with each other during the coronavirus pandemic, which is not recommended.

Alexandria Morrow, a single mother of two, was just getting on the dating scene when the pandemic hit Sacramento and the city, like many others, was put under the shelter-in-place order by California Governor Gavin Newson.

“I just wish I would have got back out there before this happened or at least met someone I can chill with,” Morrow said. “Now I have to use dating apps and catfishing is like a real thing. How am I supposed to know if that’s really you and you don’t know if I am me either. It’s just all so not worth the time. Which I have a lot of.”

Having a sex buddy “goes against social distancing, and you don’t actually know how closely (if at all) they’re staying away from other people,” Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN, states in a New York Times article.

You are your safest sex partner. 

Self-stimulation is both safe and satisfying, and the New York Health Department endorses washing your hands and any sex toys for 20 seconds with soap prior to using them.

Entertainment Guide: The Dictionary

While everyone is finding new ways to spend time at home, some turn to books and TV for regular entertainment. However, there is one book that contains everything ever written in books or articulated on TV — the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary is a 407-page work containing 40,000 definitions with pronunciations, a punctuation guide, and a list of standard abbreviations.

Noah Webster published his first dictionary in 1828. After Webster’s death, G. & C. Merriam Company purchased the rights to his dictionary. It used the text in their editions.

According to the FAQ page on, the company changed its name to Merriam-Webster in 1982 to solve a copyright dispute where imitators had been calling their products ‘Webster’ dictionaries.

This book will not contain every possible word, such as countries or people’s names, being a pocket edition. Still, it may provide some surprises for what words are included. One page contained the words ‘OK,’ ‘okra,’ ‘oleander,’ and ‘oleomargarine.’ The Massachusetts-based publisher also wanted readers to know that ‘sox’ is a real way to spell the plural of ‘sock.’

There are several ways to use a dictionary; the most common is to look up one word when encountering it while reading something else. Another way is to choose several uncommon words and learn them together, gradually expanding a person’s vocabulary.

The 2006 pocket edition is printed on good paper that makes it easy to turn pages. The cover has rounded corners to prevent curling. The text is a good size that is not too small to read but does not make the page cluttered or empty. Even in a digital age, this book holds up for casual research.

COVID-19 Mobile Tracking

Privacy concerns rise as measures become more desperate to help people through the pandemic. As not everyone is following the social distance guidelines, questions on how to ensure the public health have brought in government surveillance as an option.

In California, there are over 43,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19,  in Los Angeles County alone there are nearly 20,000 confirmed cases. Strict social distance guidelines have been placed to help ensure safety, especially in heavily populated areas.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has set the stay at home order to expire on Apr. 30 at midnight. Not all businesses will reopen and those that do won’t be at the normal capacity.

On Apr. 30 protesters gathered around the Michigan State Capitol to end social distancing guidelines. Pictures that were uploaded to the UpNorthLive website show that the protesters were not staying six feet away from each other or wearing any form of face covers. 

USA Today reported on Apr. 28 that Apple and Google would be setting up apps in mid-May to help track who has been infected with the COVID-19 and if you have been in close proximity with a person who has the virus.

However, this leaves a lot of worry for potential users and their private information. People worry about who will have their direct information, and for how long.

Australia has already begun using this technology and about two million people have downloaded the app, COVIDSafe. Philip DeFranco, a popular YouTuber, recently posted a video to his channel discussing the progress Australia has made with digital tracking of the virus.

“Very notably here the app is not mandatory. If you want it you can get it and the Australian Government will not collect location data,” DeFranco stated.

The Australian Government pointed out that because it uses Bluetooth, the information is encrypted into the phone and no one, not even the user, can log into private information. The system will erase all data that’s been collected after 21 days on a repeated cycle.

The COVIDSafe app has no power to enforce isolation, restrictions, or any laws. All information concerning the app itself was given out by the health administrator of Australia and nothing has been set in law. 

“The app is already extremely popular,” DeFranco added as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted out on Apr. 27 that over 2 million people have downloaded the app.

DeFranco added the fact that the Australian government stated that in order for the app to become effective in slowing the spread of the virus, 40% of the population need to download the app. The Prime Minister also noted that the more people download the app, the sooner economical restrictions would be lifted.

The country reported that the daily infection growth-rate is less than 1%.

Google and Apple have stated that all apps would be completely voluntary, “Google says access is granted only to public health authorities whose apps have to meet standards for privacy, security and data control,” as reported on USA Today.

The tracking app would work similarly to the COVIDSafe app in Australia, in that it uses Bluetooth. The app would also delete information, or “codes” as it is referred.

All apps will be reviewed before being accessible to the public.