COVID-19 now third leading cause of death among Black people

America’s economic situation has substantially deteriorated since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and families across race and ethnicity feel the pain, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution, which notes that the coronavirus now stands as the third leading cause of death among African Americans.

“If I told you on January 1 that a new virus that we did not even know about would, in August, be the third leading cause of death for Black Americans, our hair should have been set on fire and we would have an extensive public policy response to this unprecedented pandemic,” noted Trevon Logan, professor of economics at the Ohio State University.

Logan co-authored the report titled, “The Hamilton Project, Racial Economic Inequality Amid the COVID- 19 Crisis,” with Bradley L. Hardy of the American University in Northwest, Washington D.C. “In 2020, more Black Americans will die of COVID-19 than will succumb to diabetes, strokes, accidents, or pneumonia. In fact, COVID-19 is currently the third leading cause of death for African Americans,” Logan and Hardy concluded.

Among the reasons for the disparity is that African Americans are more than twice as likely as the average worker to be employed in the healthcare support service industry, which has been decimated by COVID-19 in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

African Americans are also significantly overrepresented in the personal care and service and food preparation industries, which are disproportionately essential worker industries, the authors discovered.

“Black Americans also comprise more than a quarter of the meatpacking industry’s frontline workforce, which has seen several outbreaks of COVID- 19. Among those out of the labor force, the outbreak of the virus among the incarcerated has a disproportionate racial impact as well, given the overrepresentation of African Americans in the prison population,” Logan and Hardy wrote. Additionally, on average, African Americans share their living quarters with more people. While only 48 percent of white households have three or more members, more than 58 percent of Black households do, the authors noted, citing a 2013 Pew Research Center study.

“This increases the scope for exposure to COVID-19 in living quarters for Black households. For nearly all of the health conditions that increase the likelihood of serious COVID-19 complications, African Americans have higher rates of prevalence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Logan and Hardy said.

For example, African Americans are more likely to have cancer, be obese, have diabetes, and have kidney disease relative to white Americans. African Americans also have higher rates of lung disease than White Americans, which is particularly pertinent for respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19.

Death rates among African Americans due to diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and obesity are all higher than among White Americans, according to the CDC.

The authors summarized the report by noting that America’s economic situation has substantially deteriorated since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 32.9 percent from April to the end of June 2020. It’s the most significant decline on record.

Families across race and ethnicity are feeling the pain, but African Americans are generally in an even weaker position to absorb this economic adversity, the authors said.

Further, Black families face a range of economic risks without the buffer from stable employment, adequate earnings, or sufficient savings and wealth accumulation.

“Amid substantial economic and policy uncertainty, there is the potential for this crisis to have negative, long-term economic and educational consequences. COVID-19 has exposed and further highlighted existing racial inequality across economic and health status,” the authors wrote.

They continued: “As a result, these preexisting factors have left many Black families at greater risk to bear the consequences of this historic economic crisis. Inadequate, additional federal economic relief, such as legislation that does not provide enough unemployment assistance and supplements to the safety net, potentially threatens Black families’ economic security.

“Ultimately, robust, reliable fiscal policy responses to the crisis will help to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic on families. If the economic and public health crisis continues at its current pace, many American families will require such assistance, including a disproportionate share of Black families.”

Me Black Too

One of the iconic images of the of Spike Lee’s movie “Do The Right Thing” was a Korean storeowner located within the community posting a hand printed sign on his store window saying, “Me Black Too.”

The purpose of the signage was to prevent his store from being looted or burned by identifying with the angry Black people within his community who had become extremely agitated by injustice and racism.

Similarly, rioting occurred after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when the power keg of racial abuse and injustice exploded and cities throughout America where set on fire.

Time and time again, there have been precipitating incidents against African Americans that have ignited the fuse on a time bomb burning in communities right below the surface.

Sparked by blatant police violence, or some atrocity against the personhood of an African American, or some racist action is all that is needed for people within communities to explode.

The names of people who because of police brutality caused the fuse of resistance to be lit due to abuse have in many cases resulted in people responding by burning and looting. We can no longer accept signage on stores we must demand dollars to buy stores.

In the case mentioned above, by posting the “Me Black Too” sign that Asian American’s store was spared.

Is this the secret to avoiding destruction by identifying with the plight of African Americans and posting some version of “Me Black Too” signage?

In many ways that’s what happening all over America, institutions and individuals you would never imagine are posting their version of “Me Black Too” and hoisting #BlackLivesMatter signs and writing statements expressing they are empathic with the movement and how they now seek to display their “Me Black Too” sign.

Can you imagine no more Aunt Jemima, gone is Uncle Ben, so long to Mrs. Butterworth and good-bye to the imagery on Cream of Wheat; every corporation and organization is doing a self analysis and quickly displaying their “Me Black Too” sign.

Why? Is it possible they understand what we don’t fully recognize, the power of the consumer dollar of the African American community?

According to a 2019 study by University of Georgia’s Multicultural Economy Report, “African American buying power has seen impressive gains since the end of the last economic downturn, jumping from $961 Billion in 2010 to an estimated $1.3 trillion in 2018. Since 2000, the African American market has seen a 114 percent increase in buying power.”

Is that the reason why companies and advertisers are displaying their “Me Black Too” signage? They don’t want their economic businesses destroyed or threatened.

Some economic researcher will do an analysis on lost revenue by racial breakdown and we will discover factually what we know intuitively, African American consumer spending greatly impacts the bottom line of most companies in America. Without African American consumer spending most businesses would not be profitable. Sucking the dollars out of the African American community creates wealth for other communities!

Check out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement, though highly criticized as hypocritical, “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much- needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players coaches, fans and staff.”

That’s the biggest “Me Black Too” sign I’ve ever seen! For all of the hades Colin Rand Kaepernick endured and the minimization of the Black Out by the African American Community of football games, now the NFL aligns itself with #BlackLivesMatter.

Maybe the NFL understands something we don’t fully understand, if the Black Players and the Black Community joined together and took a stand, there would be no NFL: television viewership gone, advertisers gone, and all the profits the owners have enjoyed would be gone too.

“The National Football League (NFL) achieved a B for racial hiring practices and a C+ for gender hiring practices in the 2019 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, released by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This gave the NFL a combined B-grade. Their overall score of 79.3 percent is the lowest the League has recorded in the last 15 years. The B for racial hiring practices broke a streak of nine consecutive years of earning an A- or higher.” Maybe the ‘Me Black Too” sign is being posted by the Washington Football team, who has hired Jason Wright as the first Black President in NFL history. When you add Doug Williams, Senior Vice President of Player Development, overnight the Washington Football teams has put on display, #BlackLivesMatter” and “BlackBrainsMatter.

For “Me Black Too” and #BlackLivesMatter to have a lasting impact, it has to be more than a symbol or a slogan to stem the destruction of a particular enterprise. It must mean we as a community, society and culture realize the structural impediments to equal access to capital and ownership must be dismantled. Incremental progress has had too many starts and stops; we are in the two-minute drill to get the ball across the finish line of economic equality.

Dr. Al Hathaway serves as the Senior Pastor of Union Baptist Church located at 1219 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore City.

PayPal dedicates $500 million for black business owners and startups

PayPal Holdings has announced a $530 million commitment to support black and minority-owned businesses and communities in the United States, especially those hardest hit by the pandemic.

The fund is part of PayPal’s larger pledge to fight economic inequality. It includes minority-owned businesses in Baltimore, according to a news release.

As part of its investment, the company is bolstering its internal programs to further increase diversity, equity and inclusion within the PayPal community.

“For far too long, Black people in America have faced deep-seated injustice and systemic economic inequality. Black lives matter and we need to drive transformative change. We must take decisive action to close the racial wealth gap that sustains this profound inequity,” Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal,” said in a news release. “PayPal is uniquely positioned to help in this area, and we are committed to doing our part to address the unacceptable racial divide by advancing a more just economy and society. We’ve listened to leaders in the Black community about the challenges facing Black business owners and the support and investments needed to sustain Black-owned businesses and create long-term economic opportunity. The holistic set of initiatives we are implementing are

designed to help address the immediate crisis and set the foundation for sustained engagement and progress towards economic equality and social justice.”

The commitment includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term investments in the community:

*$10 million fund for empowerment grants to black-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19 or civil unrest. These grants will provide direct support to business owners to cover expenses

related to stabilizing and reopening their businesses. The fund will be managed in partnership with Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a leading national nonprofit expanding economic opportunity for Black entrepreneurs through its Tapestry Project. Interested businesses can apply for a grant at

*$5 million fund for program grants and employee matching gifts for PayPal’s nonprofit community partners that are working to strengthen Black business owners by providing them with

microloans, technical assistance, information, mentoring and access to digital solutions to speed their recovery from the impact of the pandemic. Local partners are best positioned to know the needs of their communities and these grants are intended to catalyze and further empower the necessary work they are doing to sustain Black-owned businesses. Initial organizations receiving grants through the fund include Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Baltimore Business Lending, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, Expanding Black Business Credit Initiative, Kiva, MORTAR,

Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Opportunity Fund, Rising Tide Capital, Start Small Think Big, Walker’s Legacy Foundation and Women’s Opportunity Resource Center. As part of this the company will expand the PayPal Gives Employee Matching Gifts program. PayPal will match $2 for every $1 employees donate and $10 for every volunteer hour dedicated to racial and economic justice efforts in local communities, up to $500,000.

*$500 million commitment to create an economic opportunity fund to support and strengthen Black and underrepresented minority businesses and communities over the long term, and designed to help drive financial health, access and generational wealth creation. This initiative will include bolstering the company’s relationships with community banks and credit unions serving underrepresented minority communities, as well as investing directly into Black and minority-led startups and minority-

focused investment funds.

“AEO advocates for economic inclusion and works to create transformational change in the marketplace for small businesses,” said Connie Evans, president and CEO, Association for

Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). “Now, more than ever, it’s critical to invest in Black-owned businesses, create a more equitable system and break through the barriers that have historically challenged Black business ownership and wealth creation.”

PayPal is committing $15 million to strengthen its internal diversity and

inclusion programs to foster greater awareness, build equity, and support

recruiting, hiring and career advancement of Black and minority employees.

“These initiatives build on the extensive financial health and small business empowerment programs PayPal already supports. They will add a particular

emphasis on Black-owned businesses, sharpen the focus of that work, accelerate the deployment of PayPal’s resources and fuel employee engagement,” the company stated in the release.

For business and startups to take

advantage of this opportunity, visit

From Drive-In Theaters To Online Services, Churches Celebrate Easter In Safe And Creative Ways

In South Carolina, a drive-in movie theater played the role of a church’s pulpit and pews on Easter Sunday.

At churches across the country, congregants flooded the parking lots — only to stay in their cars and listen to preachers on loudspeakers.

This is the first Easter in the age of Covid-19, and many churches got creative in their celebrations.

Drive-in Easter services pop up. The Cross Community Church in South Carolina held its Easter services at the Highway 21 Drive-In movie theater.

Congregants tuned to a radio station to hear Pastor Taylor Burgess, who preached from the top of a flatbed trailer.

“We wish we could see everyone and give all of you hugs and handshakes, but right now loving our neighbor means loving them from a distance,” the church said. “Please remain in your cars.”

Similar scenes played out across the country.

Pastor Aaron Goodro preached and played music from the roof of First Baptist Church In Plaistow, New Hampshire, as worshippers stayed in their cars.

In Michigan, musicians braved the chilly rain to perform for drive-in congregants outside LIfe Church in Saginaw.

“You all need to make some noise for the band!” Pastor Jonathan Herron said from atop a large step stool.

A chorus of car horns responded in appreciation.

Virtual church services abound. Across the United States, many churches broadcast services online to help congregants protect themselves and others.

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow delivered an Easter message during a livestream by Passion City Church in Atlanta.

In New York, the biggest hotspot for coronavirus in the United States, Cardinal Timothy Dolan spoke to worshippers online from an almost empty St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Even President Donald Trump livestreamed an Easter service from a Dallas megachurch.

Last month, Trump said he hoped churches could be packed on Easter Sunday. But on Easter, Trump stayed at the White House and livestreamed the service by his friend, Robert Jeffress.

Those who ignore distancing rules could face consequences, Most states have enacted shelter-in-place orders, though some allow exemptions for religious services.

In Kentucky, authorities will punish those who gather and violate the state order, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Authorities will record the license plates of those who show up to any gatherings and will give that information to local health departments.

Health officials will then order those violators to quarantine for 14 days, Beshear said.

Friday, the governor said about seven churches across Kentucky were still “thinking about” having in-person services this weekend.

“Folks, we shouldn’t have to do this,” Beshear said. “I think it’s not a test of faith whether you’re going to an in-person service — it’s a test of faith that you’re willing to sacrifice to protect your fellow man, your fellow woman, your fellow Kentuckian and your fellow American.”

Applications open for Philanthropy Tank Baltimore

Baltimore teens are full of creative ideas to address pressing issues facing their communities. From planning inner-city gardens that bring fresh vegetables to local residents to developing STEM curriculum for young refugees, dozens of Baltimore City middle- and high-school students have been hard at work developing enrichment programs and activities to improve the quality of life in Baltimore.

Now, thanks to Philanthropy Tank, these Baltimore City students can apply for the financial support needed to make their philanthropic dreams come true. Through this newly launched initiative, Philanthropy Tank follows the Shark Tank model and awards students the funding they need as well as mentors to guide them as they bring to fruition their programs and activities.

Applications for the first year of Philanthropy Tank Baltimore open from April 1 through July 2, 2020 and are accessible at

Applications will be judged on their potential for community impact, program feasibility, creativity and sustainability. The students whose applications qualify for funding will receive mentorship from Baltimore’s leading philanthropists and business leaders.

They will present their ideas in a Shark Tank-style presentation on November 5, 2020. Each student-generated idea has the potential to be awarded up to $15,000 for their program or activity.

Attorney General Frosh Defends ACA Birth Control Coverage Mandate In Supreme Court

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting Pennsylvania in its case defending contraceptive coverage and counseling mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In the brief filed in Donald Trump et al. v. Pennsylvania, the attorneys general explain that states have an interest in safeguarding the ACA’s birth control coverage requirement, which has benefited more than 62 million women across the country. The coalition argues that access to affordable birth control is critical to the health, well-being, and economic security of the states’ residents.

“The ACA is clear that cost-free contraceptive care and services is guaranteed,” says Attorney General Frosh. “As long as the federal government continues to illegally ignore this requirement, Maryland will continue to take action to protect its residents and ensure access to contraception.”

In 2017 and 2018, the Trump Administration issued rules that ignored the ACA’s birth control requirement and allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees based on religious or moral objections.

Maryland, along with California and a group of 12 other states, had obtained an injunction in the Northern District of California, and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, blocking the regulations in those states. A nationwide injunction obtained by Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, stopped the regulations from going into effect while litigation was pending.

After California and Pennsylvania won injunctions that protect the birth control coverage mandate, the federal government, Little Sisters of the Poor, and March for Life filed petitions for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court granted the petitions in the Pennsylvania litigation. The petitions from the California litigation remain pending.

In the brief, the attorneys general argue that the states have a vested interest in providing women seamless contraceptive coverage. Tens of thousands of women will lose their cost-free contraceptive coverage if employers are allowed to exempt themselves from the ACA requirement. This loss of coverage will result in a reliance on state-funded programs that will increase the states’ costs associated with the provision of reproductive healthcare, and will likely lead to an increase in unintended pregnancies.

Joining Attorney General Frosh in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

BGE Reminds Homeowners And Contractors About The Importance Of Calling 811

April is National Safe Digging Month, and BGE is joining Miss Utility 811– the one-call notification center for Maryland – to remind homeowners and contractors that safe digging must remain a priority to prevent damage to critical utility services and keep communities safe.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has homeowners spending more time than ever at home potentially engaged in home improvement activities requiring digging, it is imperative that underground utilities be marked before any digging takes place. Calling 811 or placing an online request before digging is free of charge and will help residents avoid accidentally damaging buried utility lines. Projects such as gardening and landscaping, installing a mailbox, deck or fence can result in serious injuries, service disruptions and costly repairs when gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines are damaged.

More than 60 percent of BGE’s electric lines, approximately 17,000 circuit miles, are located underground and BGE manages more than 7,000 miles of buried natural gas lines in its region, many of which may cross through residential properties. Properly locating these lines is essential to safely completing a digging job.

Residents and businesses should take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.

Plan ahead. Call several days ahead for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.

Confirm that all lines have been marked.

Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.

If a contractor has been hired, confirm that the contractor has called 811. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

Visit for more information.

When calling 811 at least three business days prior to digging, customers and contractors are connected to Maryland One Call that will take the caller’s information and communicate it to local utility companies. Professional locators will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint, flags or both. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

To promote safety around electric infrastructure in the communities it serves, BGE also reminds residents and businesses that customer-owned structures are not permitted within BGE’s easements or near overhead equipment. Customers must contact their local municipality to obtain the necessary permits prior to any construction near company-owned transmission or distribution lines.

For information on digging safely, including how to get lines marked and what to do after lines are marked visit, or contact the BGE Damage Prevention team at 410.470.6698 to arrange for free damage prevention training. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and impact our community, we want to reaffirm with you our commitment to the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and contractors. Safety is our top priority. We have implemented important procedures to prioritize the health of our community. All BGE employees and contractors have been instructed to follow health and safety best practices consistent with CDC guidelines including but not limited to practicing safe social distancing.

BGE joins the Exelon family of companies, the other 1,700 Common Ground Alliance members, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and governors across the country in marking April as National Safe Digging Month to bring extra attention to the issue of underground utility line safety and reduce the risk of unnecessary infrastructure damage.

BGE, founded in 1816 as the nation’s first gas utility and headquartered in Baltimore, is Maryland’s largest natural gas and electric utility. The company’s approximately 3,200 employees are committed to safe and reliable energy delivery to more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 natural gas customers in central Maryland. In the J.D. Power 2017, 2018, and 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Electric Service in the East among Large Utilities. In the J.D. Power 2018 and 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Studies SM BGE was ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Business Natural Gas Service among utilities in the East Region. BGE is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (Nasdaq: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider. Connect with BGE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and engage with the latest BGE stories on

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (or “BGE”) received the highest score in the East Region of the 2019 Gas Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study and the East Large Segment of the 2019 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study of gas and electric utility customer satisfaction among business customers. Visit

The Coronavirus: Your Spirit Is Stronger By Far

A storm is passing over Planet Earth. It has picked up momentum. It is wreaking havoc on human beings of every stripe. It is not bounded by geography, nationality, economic status or age group. All are threatened. But we must keep in mind: The storm is indeed passing over. It is temporary and it will cease.

Now is the time to call upon your greatest weapon to speed its demise. It is your spirit. You see, while the power of the Coronavirus is limited, your spirit’s power is infinite. It has no limits. To mount a counter-offensive, you need only to activate the power in you that was acknowledged in Genesis 1:13. There, in this most sacred message, is the secret that can empower you to overcome any menace, any danger, any fear.

You are told – in no uncertain terms – that you are made in the image and likeness of the Creative Force that brought the entire universe into existence and sustains it. Every galaxy, every planet, every energy force and every ecosystem known to our species, all were created by the power that you have residing within you.

How do you activate this power? Matthew 17:20 is instructive: “And nothing shall be impossible unto you.” If you have the faith, you are a million times more powerful than the Coronavirus. Now, allow your spirit to direct your mind and you will begin to visualize an army of billions of soldiers taking their defensive positions against the Coronavirus with its limited capability. It will first become defenseless and then it will be destroyed.

While exercising the other day, I asked the Almighty to explain what the Coronavirus is. The answer was crystal clear: “It is strong against a weakened system and weak against a strong one.”

Knowing this, ask yourself: Am I working to build my strength or am I housing a weak immune system that can become a welcoming host to the Coronavirus or any countless number of other diseases? Also ask yourself: “What am I doing every day to fortify the temple (your body)? A good diet, rich in vitamins C and D, foods seasoned with garlic, herbal teas like the daffodil root and green tea, a healthy dosage of raw or steamed vegetables (especially the green leafy kind), healthy protein choices, multiple vitamins, plenty of water and so forth. Physical exercise builds up the immune system, increasing your helper T-cells to a level that make the invasion of pathogens an uphill battle. And do not forget to get sufficient sleep!

Focus your thoughts on positive, productive tasks and saturate your emotional life with the greatest health enhancer of all: A love for others. Limit the amount of news coverage of this pandemic that you allow into your subconscious mind. Get only enough information to help you to arm yourself against this formidable foe. Listen to the health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci when he instructs you to practice social distancing, good hygiene (washing your hands when you are required to do so) to protect yourself and others. An intelligent use of the limited time that you listen to the news media will have revealed to you that the greatest scientific minds on the planet are collaborating; they are working feverishly around the clock to discover the virus’ vulnerabilities. I believe that therapeutics (medicines) are in our near future and that a vaccine could prevent a seasonal return of this menace.

Lastly, monitor your internal conversation. Don’t panic when you hear that the number of infections is increasing exponentially. Just remember, the virus got a head start but it will run out of steam as soon as we, individually and collectively, decide that it must be stopped in its tracks. Fear not. Focus all your energy and your belief system on pictures of its demise. See the people eventually free to socialize. See a beautiful day where you and your family are no longer concerned about the harmful effects of this unseen enemy.

The words of that great Black Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, should bring you comfort during this difficult time. He said: “The sister of misfortune, hope, in the under darkness dumb, speaks joyful courage to your heart. The day desired will come”.

Now, may the Spirit of Almighty God – whose power is in you – guide you and your loved ones through this storm to a brighter more joyful day!

Michael A. Grant, J.D. is the president of United Security Financial and the past president of the National Bankers Association. His email is:

Sun Protection And Skin Cancer Awareness During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The spread of COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) has sparked concern worldwide and prompted many leaders to take decisive action to contain the virus. Several states have mandated citizens to stay home from work, socially distance and remain indoors, meaning people have found their time outside has been drastically reduced. Although we may not be exposed to direct sunlight as often, The Skin Cancer Foundation advises everyone to remain vigilant in regard to protecting your skin and checking your body for suspicious lesions.

While spending most of your time indoors, it’s instinctive to gravitate toward places in your home that receive natural light, like windows and skylights. It’s important to exercise caution while enjoying this little slice of the outdoor world, however — sunlight streaming through glass can still harm your skin. Two types of UV light are proven to contribute to the risk for skin cancer: ultraviolet A (UVA), which has a longer wavelength, and ultraviolet B (UVB), which has a shorter wavelength. UVA and UVB rays can cause sunburns and tanning, but UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, which can contribute to signs of premature aging, like dark spots and wrinkles. They’re also better at finding you.

“UVA rays can penetrate window glass, meaning you can still be at risk of exposure while inside,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Even when home, it’s important to be cognizant of UV radiation and apply sunscreen to the face and exposed areas of the body.”

For times like this, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher for daily use, especially if you’re going to be working right by a window. Try placing your sunscreen beside your toothbrush so you have easy access while getting ready in the morning, as it might be difficult to remember to apply when you know you won’t be venturing outside. For indoor workers who receive a significant amount of incidental sun exposure, it’s important to reapply sunscreen, especially before going outside for breaks or errands. You can further protect your skin by pulling down the window shade during peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM), installing UV-protective window film and covering up with clothing.

While preventing skin damage that can lead to skin cancer is imperative, now is also a good time to revisit skin cancer warning signs and perform at-home skin exams. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you examine your skin head-to-toe every month, and all you need is a bright light, a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, two chairs or stools, a blow-dryer, paper and a pencil. Look for for anything new, changing or unusual on your skin, and reach out to a dermatologist if you see something concerning. You can find more information about skin cancer warning signs and how to perform a self-exam at

If your dermatologist is no longer seeing patients in the office or is extra busy due to COVID-19, see if your doctor offers any teledermatology options. Teledermatology is a rapidly developing subspecialty using the latest technology to allow patients better access to high-quality dermatologic care without traveling to the clinic. If you have a medical emergency, you should still try to get in to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. But for non-emergencies, here’s how you can use teledermatology to help when it comes to skin cancer:

Take photos on your phone of anything new, changing or unusual on your skin and monitor it over time. There are even apps that will send you a monthly reminder to check on the spot to see if it has evolved.

Share the photos with your dermatologist who can look them over virtually and provide advice over the phone. They will determine if you need to come into the office or not.

If you’ve recently been treated for skin cancer, your dermatologist can provide follow-up care over the phone or via video sessions

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit

Baltimore’s Squeegee Kids Helping To Feed Residents During Coronavirus Pandemic

As recently as January, Baltimore City Police reported that they were receiving about eight calls each day from residents complaining about squeegee kids.

Complaints ranged from menacing to fear of property damage and injuries that could result from aggressive attempts by the squeegee kids to wash motorists’ windshields to earn a buck.

Today, thanks to a program instituted through Mayor Jack Young’s Office of Children & Family Success, the squeegee kids are a welcome sight and distraction from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many have been hired to give out meals to the needy, particularly families who depend on school lunches as all education facilities have shuttered indefinitely as the crisis rages on.

“The Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success leads emergency meal distribution for Baltimore’s youth and families during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Tisha Edwards, the office’s executive director.

The squeegee kids receive $50 each day— or $250 per week— for delivering the food, and based on a recent estimate, they’ve already handed out about 10,000 meals.

The Family League has spearheaded the lunch giveaways for families at eight Baltimore housing authority sites

“The kids [have done] an amazing job, and they were grateful to have a chance to help. In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to look for ways for these young people to support our emergency response efforts,” Edwards said.

“We want them to get into something that’s very productive,” Mayor Young said. “We know they have entrepreneurial skills because of what they’re doing. But we want them to change that energy into something more productive.”

When they’re not delivering food, the workers trek door-to-door to let people know about where they can find meals. They are also reminding the public to wash their hands and practice social distancing.

Officials say that the change in attitudes toward the squeegee kids has been noticeable. One official told local television news reporters that they are “seeing a lot of people saying thank you.”

“A lot of the youth who squeegee are out on the corners because there is a financial need they’re trying to meet. So, we want to support them in meeting that financial need in a productive way,” Ed Hawkins, a program official, told the Baltimore CBS News affiliate.

“I want to see everybody live a long life,” said Tony Brown, a squeegee worker.

Squeegee Alternative Plan participants are enrolled in a one-year program in which they receive a mentor, job training, and an opportunity to earn an income.

“The city’s Squeegee Alternative Plan is where we work with youth who squeegee to develop social capital and access to safer, more sustainable ways of earning income,” Edwards said.

A vital element of the plan is pairing youth with opportunities to generate income while developing personal growth and job skills, Edwards noted.

“Providing meals to families at our public housing communities during this time of extraordinary need gave 13 youth both a modest stipend and an opportunity for meaningful engagement,” she said.