Fashion firm J Crew has filed for bankruptcy protection, making it the first big US retailer to do so amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The retailer announced that its parent company, Chinos Holdings, had filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It is the first major retailer to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, but given the economic situation in the United States, J Crew probably won’t be the last.
Under the terms of the Transaction Support Agreement (“TSA”), the Company’s lenders will convert approximately $1.65 billion of the Company’s debt into equity. They are also providing about $400m of fresh financing to keep J Crew’s operations afloat.
“This agreement with our lenders represents a critical milestone in the ongoing process to transform our business with the goal of driving long-term, sustainable growth for J.Crew and further enhancing Madewell’s growth momentum,” said Jan Singer, Chief Executive Officer, J.Crew Group in the statement. “Throughout this process, we will continue to provide our customers with the exceptional merchandise and service they expect from us, and we will continue all day-to-day operations, albeit under these extraordinary COVID-19-related circumstances. As we look to reopen our stores as quickly and safely as possible, this comprehensive financial restructuring should enable our business and brands to thrive for years to come.”
The Company has filed a series of customary “first day” motions with the Bankruptcy Court seeking to maintain its operations during the restructuring process to help facilitate a smooth transition into Chapter 11. Its 500 stores have been closed by the pandemic and some will not reopen.
The full broadcast ended up lasting a little over eight hours and is now available on YouTube. The star-studded line-up featured dozens of celebrities around the globe, allowing viewers to see a home performance from artists like Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Finneas, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Charlie Puth, David Beckham, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, and a whole lot more.
By the end of the televised event, the broadcast raised over $127.9 million towards the cause. However, as of writing, the COVID-19 Response Fund total now sits at $194.6 million!
According to the event’s website, the money will be going towards frontline workers and vaccine development:
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading and coordinating the global effort with a range of partners, supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. Donations support WHO’s work, including with partners, to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.”
Missed the broadcast? Check out the full stream below. And if you want to donate yourself, visit COVID-19 Response Fund.
Convicted rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine may be released early from prison as soon as the end of the week. As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the country, those imprisoned are beginning to fear for their safety with being enclosed in a space with over hundreds of people who have the potential to have the virus.
Experts have warned that the prison symptoms could explode with the virus, which has promoted all prison systems to announce that every inmate will be under a 14-day mandated isolation period in order to contain the virus. Celebrity inmates, such as R. Kelly have requested early release in order to avoid exposure to COVID-19.
Tekashi 6ix9ine is considered a medical risk because of his asthma
Last week, Tekashi 6ix9ine made this request with the judge overseeing his case, Judge Engelmayer. His lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, relayed in a statement that Tekashi 6ix9ine was fearful for his health due to being a part of the high-risk group because of his asthma diagnosis. Judge Engelmayer ultimately denied his request, but told him that his lawyer would have to take that up with the Bureau of Prisons.
On Wednesday, April 1, Inner City Press reported that the Brooklyn-bred rapper was having issues figuring out which establishment would be able grant the early release. Once Tekashi 6ix9ine’s legal team went to the Buereau of Prison’s as suggested by Judge Engelmayer, it was then revealed that he must take it up with the United States Marshals Service due to his status as a witness.
Lazzaro explains the systems release process
On Wednesday, Lazzaro talked to Complex about the Bureu of Prisons decision and next steps.
“The remedy at that point was to apply to the Bureau of Prisons, which I knew would more than likely deny him,” he explained. “But they had up to 30 days to issue that denial. I kept pushing them to make a decision immediately because, in today’s environment, with the virus spreading in a way that nobody could have imagined, it was imperative to get a quick decision. So the Bureau of Prisons through the general counsel this morning denied my request for compassionate release. That now becomes an appealable decision in front of Judge Engelmayer.”
Judge & government both agree Tekashi 6ix9ine should get early release
Well, Judge Engelmayer seems to be leaning towards his release with a statement that suggests that he plans to let 6ix9ine serve the rest of his sentence at home unless the government has any major obections. However, the government said in their decision that they would not get in the way of Tekashi 6ix9ine being released. “In the event the Court finds ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ presented by the defendant’s medical condition, placing him at high risk during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government does not oppose the defendant’s motion for compassionate relief.”
Update: no 69 order yet by Judge Engelmayer. No way to know what timing is in his mind. I’ve seen the joke about him studying up on memes, and maybe that’s it. Meanwhile, playground across from courthouse has now been locked. Time to write up today’s other cases. https://t.co/pKfOJSz09s
If released, Tekashi 6ix9ine will be on home confinement until the end of his sentence, which was initially set to be early July due to a portion of his time already having been served prior to his sentencing.
Social media distancing may be the only way some of us can mentally survive the current state of the world. As many of us are getting familiar with the indoors due to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, most of us turn to our phones to scroll social media and attempt to take our minds off of the gushing outpour of madness that is happening.
We log on and see the annoying aunt we avoid on Thanksgiving posting conspiracy theories and panic propaganda in the droves. We feel the familiar pit in the center of our stomach grow as the dread of impending anxiety turns into reality. We keep scrolling hoping you will see something funny or a cute kitten video to put us in better spirits, instead we see a friend from high school has posted a strongly worded manifesto about the mishandlings of the government and how the far left or the far right are singlehandedly dismantling the country. Pending anxiety is now turning into a full-fledged panic.
Those of us who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and/or PTSD have most likely been feeling this a lot lately. Fear and uncertainty are big triggers for some, and the stockpiling of panic information, false news, politicalized debates are weighing heavy on the brains for those of us who overthink or become overloaded with empathic thoughts and feelings.
Staying informed and connected to the world is important as we take this new normal in day-by-day. However, putting yourself first is the number one priority, and to do this practicing healthy social media distancing is key.
Here are some tips on how to enact social media distancing:
Reducing your social media intake to an hour or two a day and giving your brain a break can do wonders for curbing anxiety triggers and rediscovering yourself, the individual.
Find and discover new ways to reconnect with yourself
Yoga, painting, reading a book, meditation, watching a cartoon, writing a list of future goals, and more are all things you can do while taking control of your life and reducing the whirlwind of information being thrown at you daily.
Turn off news notifications
Turn off the news push notifications on your phone. Having headlines thrown at you like hard rocks daily throughout the day can be damaging, limit your news intake to only 30 minutes to an hour a day.
If you have a therapist, continue your routine
If you go to therapy continue your normal therapy routine if possible. Check if your therapist or if any local therapists offer remote therapy sessions and continue your everyday journey of healing even through these times of social distancing.
Set boundaries with loved ones or even strangers
If you see a loved one who is constantly posting theories or information that triggers your anxiety then it is okay to “unfollow” or “unfriend” them for a while until you feel comfortable reconnecting again. You can do this without explanation or if you do explain just explain that although they can post whatever they want for your mental health you have to disengage for a bit.
If loved ones engage in conversation with you that you feel is draining you mentally or making you uncomfortable. You can respectfully explain that to protect your mental welfare you would like to talk about something else or you would like to end the conversation. If they do not understand then this is probably someone you may want to distance yourself from for a bit.
Engage in lighthearted activities
Watch a nostalgic cartoon on sites like DisneyPlus, play a board game on Skype or FaceTime with your friends, or even engage in a solo cooking or baking session. Scrapbook or color in a coloring book. Engage in activities that aren’t so harsh on the brain. Give your thoughts a break.
No matter what you choose to do, know that you deserve mental peace and sometimes social media distancing is the best way to do that.
Idris Elba is the latest celebrity to share that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The 47-year-old English actor took to Instagram in a video with his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba to explain that he did test positive for COVID 19.
“I feel ok”, Idris Elba Says
He explained, “I feel OK. I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus.” He added, “Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I am doing No panic.”
This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing 👊🏾👊🏾 No panic. pic.twitter.com/Lg7HVMZglZ
Elba might have contracted from Prime Minster Trudeau’s wife
He found out about the diagnosis on Monday morning, and revealed that he had been exposed to someone who had tested positive for the virus as well. On March 4 Idris Elba had an appearance at the WE Day 2020 Event in London where he posed with a picture with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Her positive test was revealed last week.
Although his wife was by his side in the video he posted, he revealed that she is feeling okay and has not yet been tested for the virus.
He touched on the need for solidarity and thinking of others in the time of crisis. “Look we live in a divided world right now…but this is the time for solidarity. Now is a time for thinking about each other. There are so many people whose lives have been affected.”
Tom Hanks gave update on his coronavirus contraction
Idris isn’t the first actor to be met with a positive test for the coronavirus in Hollywood. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for the virus and have been on isolation ever since.
In a Sunday Instagram post on Tom Hanks page he wrote, “Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other.”
In a televised Oval office address last night, President Donald Trump announced a temporary travel ban, limiting most Europeans from coming to the U.S.
After weeks of playing down the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, President Trump finally issued a word of caution, telling Americans to be “very, very careful.”
The travel ban will take effect at midnight on Friday, and will initially be in place for 30 days.
“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus,” Trump said.
The address was only his second time speaking to the nation from the Oval office, the first being in January 2019 during a partial government shutdown when President Trump asserted that funding for a border wall was essential for the nation’s security.
The specifics of the travel ban
Although it was unclear in President’s Trump address, the travel ban will not prevent Americans abroad from coming home. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their families, health professionals that are part of international efforts to combat the spread of the virus, diplomats and air or sea crew are all excluded from the ban.
Although Americans travelling abroad at the moment should take note of the spreading virus, yesterday classified as a global pandemic by the WHO, and return home immediately, regardless of whether the travel ban applies to them or not.
Which countries are included?
The 26 European countries in the Schengen zone—Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are included in the travel ban.
Which countries aren’t?
The U.K., despite having almost 600 cases and hardly any social-distancing restrictions in place to stop its spread, and Ireland are not included in the ban. This technically means that if you are a European foreign national flying to the U.S., you could schedule a stay in the U.K. for more than 14 days and then be cleared to enter the U.S.
It’s interesting to note that the U.K. and Ireland both host Trump golf resorts.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is due to meet the President on Thursday, and that meeting is still scheduled to go ahead.
Trade and cargo under a Europe travel ban
During his Oval office address, the President suggested that trade with Europe would be affected, saying “these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.”
However on Twitter afterwards, he said it was “very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”
Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.
The second assertion is correct—trade and cargo will not be affected. The exemption for air and sea crew from the ban in meant to keep goods moving smoothly.
Trump attacks Europe
The President accused Europe of spreading a “foreign virus” on American soil, saying the EU “failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”
In fact, COVID-19 reached the U.S. a full 11 days before it reached Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. And many clusters of infection in the U.S. are now caused by community transmission, rather than foreign travel. Despite this, little to no social distancing measures have been put in place, and testing remains inaccessible to most.
The EU, in turn, condemned the President’s unilateral ban. In a joint statement on Thursday, the presidents of the European commission and European council defended Europe’s record in managing the pandemic and sharply criticised the White House for its failure to consult its allies.
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel said in a statement.
Markets are not assured
Always sensitive to the stock market, the President said in his address that “this is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.”
However, the markets seemed to be unassured by this statement, tumbling further when they opened today.
In other coronavirus news, many were saddened to learn that Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus. Hanks is one of the highest-profile celebrities to contract the virus as it has spread through the globe. At 63, he is more at risk, falling into a range where the fatality rate is estimated to be 3.6 percent.
In happier news, China has passed the peak of its outbreak, according to a spokesman for the country’s health ministry. COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan in December 2019, and saw a rapid spread through the country in the months since—Chin has recoded about two-thirds of the cases worldwide. However, on Thursday, there were just 15 new cases from the previous day.
For those who are doing the math and estimating that their own personal lives may be affected for only two to three months, it’s worth noting that China adopted very aggressive quarantine, social distancing and public health policies—things that are not being adopted elsewhere.
The spread of a mysterious pneumonia-like coronavirus, now named COVID-19, which appears to have originated at a food market in Wuhan, China, has been met with international alarm.
More cases are being reported every day. At least 1,669 people worldwide have reportedly died from the virus, and some 69,000 infections have been recorded globally—the vast majority of these cases are in China, although COVID-19 has spread to 26 other countries, including the U.S.
At the end of January at a press conference in Geneva, the World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” over the coronavirus outbreak. Other outbreaks that have been given a designation of international emergency include ebola in 2014 and 2018, zika virus in 2016 and swine flu in 2009.
The WHO’s decision to declare COVID-19 an international concern was “not a vote of no confidence” in China, said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, emphasizing that China’s response has been swift. Instead, it was a global precaution.
“We don’t know what sort of damage this virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system,” Ghebreyesus said.
In late January, Chinese officials began implementing a partial quarantine around Wuhan, population 11 million. As of February 6, the city was under a military-style lockdown with authorities going house-to-house and moving infected people to giant quarantine centers.
Despite the virus’s rampant spread and international attention, the WHO only announced the official name for the disease this virus on Tuesday: COVID-19, which stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, the year the first case appeared.
Here’s the latest update on COVID-19.
First of all, what’s a coronavirus?
According to the CDC, coronaviruses are “common throughout the world,” and they “commonly cause mild to moderate illness.” However, newer strains of the virus have causes severe illness, such as SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012. According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is only the seventh type reported to have infected humans.
Do I have COVID-19?
If you’re reading this from a phone or computer screen in the United States, probably not. As of February 16, over 69,000 infections have been reported worldwide with most of them in mainland China.
According to China’s National Health Commission, the best way to combat the spread of the virus is quarantine, as it spreads by droplets from the nose and mouth. However, reports indicate that the virus could be infectious for up to as much as two weeks before people start to show symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Has COVID-19 reached the U.S.?
Yes. The U.S. has confirmed 15 cases of COVID-19, with patients testing positive in Texas, Washington state, California, Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin and Massachusetts. None of the infections within the U.S. have proved fatal, although there was a case of an American citizen who did die in Wuahn.
The U.S. government has also been evacuating Americans from Wuhan, the first 195 of whom were released on February 11. They had been under mandatory quarantine for two weeks (the suspected incubation period of the virus) at March Air Reserve Base in California, while other groups remain confined on military bases in other parts of California, Texas and Nebraska.
With the number of confirmed cases rising every day, the CDC has issued a warning level 3, advising everyone to avoid nonessential travel to China. In addition to increasing your risk for COVID-19, there is limited access to adequate medical care in the affected areas. It is also advised that travel to the following areas be avoided if possible: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau.
Some airlines are suspending flights between mainland China and other countries. Delta has suspended all flights to and from China between February 6 through April 30, at the earliest. And American Airlines and United have instituted similar bans.
On January 31, the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar announced that all passengers on flights to the U.S. who had been in Hubei province within the past 14 days would spend two weeks in quarantine. U.S. citizens who had visited other parts of mainland China would undergo a risk assessment and symptom screening at one of seven airports in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. If no symptoms were detected, passengers would be allowed to continue their travels, although they would continue to be monitored by health officials.
On January 31, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation “temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals” who have traveled to China within the past 14 days.
Chinese officials have placed Hubei province on lockdown, along with 30 million people in the coastal province of Zhejiang, about 500 miles away. Fear of the virus has also interfered with trade, but so far, the U.S. is not quarantining goods imported from China.