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The Spill: NY Plastic Bag Ban

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NY Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags

The state of New York has banned single-use plastic bags from stores. People who still wish to use plastic bags for their groceries can still pay five cents to get one.

Some New Yorkers are not happy about this new law, saying it is inconvenient and may cost them extra money. Businesses could be fined $250 if they choose to hand out the bags to their customers. If they do so again within the same year, they may get a $500 fine.

Others suggest that laws like this help reduce the amount of single-use plastics released into the ecosystem. New York alone is thought to use 23 billion single-use plastic bags every year, most of which end up in landfills or as environmental pollution.

The new law was approved last April and went into effect on March 1 of this year. Shoppers can buy reusable bags made out of canvas or some other environmentally friendly material that they can take home and bring back to the store each time they shop.

Other states have imposed similar bans, and officials say it has helped to reduce the use of plastic bags. In Washington, D.C., single-use paper and plastic bags cost shoppers five cents, which officials claim reduced the use by 50%. Other places across the globe have similar laws, including Europe and Australia.

Coronavirus: Should People Worry?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread across the world and caused a lot of people to worry. Some have said that it could become a pandemic (a disease that exists all over the planet). From its origin in China, the virus has spread to over 40 countries, infecting thousands of people – some in the United States. Washington state has been the area hit hardest in the U.S., with 11 deaths so far; all of those who tested positive for the virus were patients at the Life Care nursing home in Kirkland.

The disease has taken the lives of more than 3,000 worldwide. Some people have panicked when an outbreak occurred near them, but is this new flu a reason to worry?

The disease is most harmful to people who already have weak immune systems, and sufferers may experience symptoms like coughing, fever, and a hard time breathing. More than 92,000 people have caught the virus worldwide – nearly 49,000 have recovered, while around 3,100 have died.

It is a good idea to compare this to regular influenza, which people catch every year. Flu season sees between 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu season began in October and already there have been about 18,000 deaths.

Is the coronavirus a pandemic? It’s too early to tell yet. Still, it is a good idea to keep up basic hygiene to avoid the spread of germs. This can include washing hands and not touching your face too often.

Super Tuesday

This week saw progress in deciding who will stand for the Democratic Party during the 2020 presidential election. March 3 was Super Tuesday, one of the biggest days for choosing a presidential nominee. Fourteen states held primary votes on Super Tuesday. American Samoa and Democrats who live overseas took part, as well.

Joe Biden

After a few candidates dropped out of the race, five were left to compete on Super Tuesday: former Vice President Joe Biden, businessman Michael Bloomberg, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The victor of the day was Joe Biden. He won in at least nine states, including Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

Bloomberg soon dropped out of the race, since he only won in American Samoa.

Each candidate who does well in the primaries gets delegates – people who will support them to become the party nominee for the presidential election. There is still a long way to go until any candidate gets the 1,991 delegates needed to gain the party’s presidential nomination. So far, the number of delegates held by each candidate are:

  • Joe Biden – 381
  • Bernie Sanders – 336
  • Elizabeth Warren – 43
  • Tulsi Gabbard – 1

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