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Six Things Employees Don’t Know about Coronavirus

Here are the six corona tips, covering issues from the large to the smallest imaginable, that most seem to check the twin boxes of generally not known but generally helpful to know for health and/or financial reasons.

1. You may be able to skip a mortgage payment…but you still owe it

Most people don’t know whether their mortgage is backed by the government or not, since it’s a “mortgage servicer” that sends them the bills and answers the phone. If it is, you get a reprieve. That doesn’t mean you never have to pay. You just don’t have to pay now. To find out if yours is or isn’t, call the number on your bill, but expect to wait on hold long enough to make Comcast blush.

2. Your landlord may not be able to evict you

Likewise, if you rent an apartment in a building with a government-backed mortgage as many tenants do, a specific provision in the CARES Act applies—there is a 120-day moratorium on evictions.

Obviously, no one ordinarily has any clue whether this applies to them or not, but it’s worth finding out. Otherwise, no CARES Act provision benefits renters. As a practical matter, eviction proceedings have come to a halt in many states or cities, and some are outright preventing it. There is no “official” list of these jurisdictions but try this website. They seem legit.

There may be no risk to your credit score either — landlords rarely report to credit agencies because for them eviction has been the go-to remedy for non-payment. Yours may start doing this but obviously they would threaten you with it first since reporting does no good if the tenant doesn’t know they’re being reported.

Not just for rent, but In all bill-paying cases, those of us who are not familiar with “stretching” strategies might not realize that, for just about any bill, partial payments and proactive communication go a long way towards not getting cut off.

4. No product on the internet “boosts” your immune system

Google on “boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus” and you’ll get 11 million hits, virtually all of which are wrong – including zinc, essential oils, and the “electrolyte elixir drink.” (We can’t make this stuff up.)  Here is a good example of the right answer:

“Obviously good and balanced nutrition is important, but I actually do not think there is any strong scientific evidence for any specific type of food being linked to better immune function, and certainly there is no serious work on the are that I am aware of,” says Shiv Pillai, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard immunology program.

5. Drink gallons of tonic water only if that’s your idea of a good time

Tonic water is flying off the shelves, because the active ingredient is quinine, as found in the remedy-du-jour of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil).

Where to start? First, you’d have to drink maybe a dozen bottles of tonic water to get to the level of quinine found in Plaquenil. Even then, it’s not the same formulation, and even then, it is very far from clear that the latter has any noticeable beneficial impact in the prevention or treatment of coronavirus. (We were skeptical of this one early on.)

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