MANALAPAN TOWNSHIP, NJ – A New Jersey man is facing charges of terroristic threats, harassment, and obstruction after allegedly coughing on a grocery store employee while claiming to have COVID-19.
Even the state’s governor referred to the accused as a “knucklehead” in a recent press conference.
Governor Phil Murphy made the comment on March 24th while making reference to the incident that played out at a Wegmans grocery store on March 22nd.
George Falcone was allegedly having some kind of a dispute with a female employee inside of the store on March 22nd, when he started to cough on her.
According to the press conference that Governor Murphy held after the incident, the suspect did the following:
“He coughed on the woman and told her, after doing so, that he had [COVID-19].”
When police got involved in the matter, the 50-year-old suspect was being uncooperative as all get-out.
Falcone had apparently refused to provide his name to authorities or produce his driver’s license in excess of 40 minutes.
Well, that display landed Falcone a court summons.
State Attorney Gurbir Grewal’s office released a statement on March 24th detailing the incident:
“The employee was concerned that Falcone was standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods, so she requested that he step back as she covered the food.
Instead, Falcone allegedly stepped forward to within 3 feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed. He allegedly laughed and said he was infected with the [COVID-19].”
Grewal also noted that Falcone could be looking at up to six years in prison for that stunt he pulled.
He explained that now is not the time to create this kind of panic during the ongoing pandemic:
“These are extremely difficult times in which all of us are called upon to be considerate of each other — not to engage in intimidation and spread fear, as alleged in this case. We must do everything we can to deter this type of conduct and any similar conduct that harms others during this emergency.”
Governor Murphy issued a stern warning to those who find themselves considering acting out in a similar fashion:
“We will not take any non-compliant behavior.”
A journalist from Reuters had reached out to Falcone on Facebook, inquiring about his take on the accusations made against him.
Falcone denied the accusations in his response:
“Didn’t cough on anyone and never mentioned [the virus].”
— SAten ❄✊🏼❄✊🏼❄ (@1215she) March 24, 2020
Falcone also happens to be the co-owner of Rosario’s Pizza, based in Borden Town, New Jersey. Due to the recent accusations, his company’s Facebook page has been swarmed with comments related to avoiding the establishment.
There’s also a still-active Google search result for Falcone’s LinkedIn profile.
However, likely due to the online harassment, Falcone’s LinkedIn page describing his ownership of the establishment has since been deleted.
While some people are acting foolish during the pandemic, there are some really stepping up to help those in need.
With worries increasing over availability (or really, a lack thereof) of certain medical devices and supplies to combat COVID-19 spread and alleviate symptoms, Ford has begun work on using their facilities to develop additional respirators.
The automotive industry giant has began collaborating with 3M to help redesign the powered air-purifying respirator, or PAPR.
Innovations in the design could help protect both first responders and health care workers from contracting COVID-19 while interacting with patients.
Another look at a go-fast hood prototype for the PAPR (papper) that Ford is working on with 3M to help protect medical workers by filtering the air they breathe. Clockspeed is in days and hours! #BuiltFordProud pic.twitter.com/cS1dc6Oagc
— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) March 24, 2020
Ford had utilized existing technology that they’ve used to ventilate the seats of their F-150 model.
In tune with the Ford tech is 3M’s HEPA filters accompanied by a battery typically used for portable power tools.
At their Advanced Manufacturing Center, Ford is looking to get them into production of 1000 units out per month. Assuming no problems present themselves in the production, Ford would only look to scale up manufacturing from there.
Ford also is working alongside GE Healthcare to see if a simplified version of the healthcare company’s existing ventilators can be mass-produced within a Ford facility.
Ford Motor Co. says it is partnering with 3M and GE Healthcare to speed up production of medical equipment and supplies for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/GQwuSD3pHX
— ABC News (@ABC) March 25, 2020
This is also on top of the motor vehicle company getting to work on transparent face-shields that can be used by the healthcare industry in light of COVID-19.
The company anticipates that those face-shields will start manufacturing at a rate of 100,000 units per-week by the end of March.
Bill Ford, Ford’s Executive Chairman, stated the following about the ongoing work:
“We’re doing it on our own. Obviously, the White House has put a call out for companies to help but, frankly, we were doing this, getting all this in motion before that. We’re so happy to help and we’re going to do absolutely everything we can.”
We’re proud to work with @3M, @GEHealthcare and @UAW to lend our engineering and manufacturing expertise to quickly expand production of urgently needed medical equipment and supplies for healthcare workers, first responders and patients fighting #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/fzMMDjgVmS
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) March 24, 2020
As if the company wasn’t doing enough already, Bill Ford also mentioned the following regarding compensation for the work the company is putting in:
“We haven’t talked to anybody about any kind of reimbursement or anything like that.”
This pandemic has really shown us which individuals and what companies are stepping up to the plate to assist in our country’s time of need.
Even MyPillow is getting involved, too!
It looks like MyPillow, the company that crafts those comfy pillows, among other household goods, is joining in on helping address the shortage of face masks during the pandemic.
The Minnesota-based company announced via Twitter on March 24th that the company is working on creating face masks that can be utilized by hospitals.
The company is joining a budding group of private entities jumping in to tackle the lack of face masks U.S. healthcare employees are dealing with as the pandemic continues to increase in diagnosed cases of COVID-19.
MyPillow is excited to announce that we are now manufacturing face masks for hospitals across the country! pic.twitter.com/KcW4L7i9WC
— MyPillow (@MyPillowUSA) March 24, 2020
We’ve heard time and again that hospitals are trying to get appropriate inventory levels of the coveted N95 respirator mask. However, MyPillow did not detail as to whether that was the specific mask they were aiming to manufacture.
Entities like Honeywell and 3M are among those specifically slated to ramp up manufacturing of the N95 respirator masks.
Considering that hospitals have been inundated with complicated instances of COVID-19 infections, there seemingly isn’t enough of these masks to go around.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, stated that the company intends to donate millions of face masks in order to help the cause related to medical-supply shortages.
Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 21, 2020
Peter Gaynor, the FEMA Administrator, recently appeared on ABC News to discuss the ongoing issues related to the shortage of N95 masks. Gaynor noted that masks that have been obtained are already in the process of shipping, but also stated that certain areas of the U.S. will be prioritized:
“We are trying to focus those shipments on the most critical hotspots in the country. Place like New York City, Washington state, California; that is our priority.”
Pressed on when the national stockpile of masks will be distributed to health care systems, FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor tells @martharaddatz "it is happening," without offering a concrete timeline or quantity currently shipped. https://t.co/v9QowRWPnC pic.twitter.com/O64M5rPmNU
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 22, 2020
From all of us at Law Enforcement Today, we’d like to thank every one of these companies for joining the fight in these trying times within our country. While there’s still more work to be done, these efforts are the example to follow during this pandemic.
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