Another week, another Friday. Today is not just another Friday though, it is, as noted earlier in the day, Good Friday

Some may wonder why the day that Christians use to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which was a very dark moment, is now referred to with the adjective “good.” The actual origin of the name of the day is unknown, though the popular theories are that it is a translation from either “God” Friday or referring to the holy week in the church.

A little religious trivia to round out your day…Oh, yes, and the five things.

1) A little bit of positive news happening today – the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that some of the stimulus payments that stem from the $2 trillion stimulus package will be in recipients’ hands by April 15.

First in line is anyone who has already filed their 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns AND authorized the IRS to deposit their refunds directly to their account.
Those who receive Social Security benefits will also get their payments at the same time.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin initially hope that the first payments would be sent out this week…but he’s not TOO far off schedule.

Anyone who doesn’t meet the aforementioned criteria, however, is going to have to wait to get that much-needed check in the mail, and those waits may be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s even possible that you won’t be able to get your check UNTIL you file your taxes, or register, whichever comes first.

The IRS has created an online tool to collect basic information from low-income individuals who do not usually file taxes in order to ensure that they receive their stimulus payment. The IRS also is going to unveil a new tool at some point next week for anyone who has not yet authorized direct deposit to their accounts to do so to not only get their payment faster but also to see what their payment status is.

2) This is something of a disturbuing trend…another person has been killed while engaging in social distancing. In Chicago, IL, a 27-year-old woman was hit by a stray bullet and died while standing on line outside a 7-Eleven located just a few blocks from her home.

The incident occurred Tuesday around 8 p.m. Alexa Baute was hit in the chest once, and witnesses stated they saw her collapse. She was pronounced dead just 45 minutes later. Her mother and father, Patricia and Jeffrey Baute, are devastated and have offered a $7.000 reward for information about the shooter.

On Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a press conference to denounce the rising violence permeating her city, with 21 gun-related incidents that resulted in 14 injured and 7 dead. After an outburst of violent gun attacks Tuesday, the mayor banned liquor sales after 9 p.m., hoping this will help reduce the crowding that has been seen outside stores that sell alcohol.

3) New York State is going to need millions of antibody tests that can detect if a person has had the novel coronavirus before it can reopen for business and unPAUSE, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Unfortunately, the state has nowhere near that number of tests on hand.

Cuomo confirmed that whether social distancing can be relaxed, enabling people to return to work and re-enter society will be based on the results of the antibody tests. The state Department of Health has already developed the test and can conduct about 300 a day as of right now, and is anticipating that they will be able to go at a rate of 2,000 per day within the next two weeks.

Theoretically, immunity to COVID-19 will allow people to resume some semblance of normal life without fear of spreading the bug to others.

Even 2,000 tests won’t be enough, however, according to the governor, who said 10 million tests will be needed to get the economy fully back on track. Cuomo also is requesting improved COVID-19 testing – specifically a test that produces results in no more than 20 minutes – and he would like these tests to be automatically available to medical staff and anyone who will visits a nursing home.

4) In Broadalbin Perth, the robotics team that goes by the name of The Nut Jobs has shifted its attention from competing in the world championships to making shields for medical workers.

Coached by Jill Becker, this group of super smart sophomores was looking forward to the upcoming competition in Detroit. But when that event was cancelled, they decided to put their skills to work helping others. They’re using leftover plastic filament to print face shields and have so far delivered more than 200 of their handiwork locally. The design has been approved by the National Institute of Health.

5) Members of the Rivers Casino & Resort team have volunteered to help feed the community during the COVID-19 crisis. They have so far delivered to many different community organizations and will continue delivering turkey dinners throughout the holiday weekend.

Have a safe and Happy Easter and Chag Pesach Samech.

Photo credit: George Fazio.