Posts tagged with "CNN"

‘Trump is Mussolini, Putin is Hitler,’ says House Majority Whip Clyburn—warning, ‘I don’t think he plans to leave’

August 4, 2020

Bill Maher— the host of Real Time on HBO who has predicted for more than three years that we will not see the last of President Donald Trump if he is not re-elected—agrees with at least one Congressional leader about the POTUS’s true intentions.

Both Maher and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) are becoming increasingly fearful that the current POTUS will not leave the Oval Office when the time comes on January 20, 2021.

On Sunday, May 2, Clyburn likened Trump to Italian fascist Benito Mussolini—insisting that the commander-in-chief has no plans to leave the White House if he loses in November, Slate reports.

During an interview with Clyburn Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked the 14-term congressman about a PBS interview that aired on Friday, July 31, during which he said, “Trump thinks that the American people will be duped by him, like the people of Germany was duped by Adolf Hitler.”

When Bash asked whether Clyburn really thought Trump “is comparable to Adolf Hitler,” the number-three House Democrat did not shy away from comparing the president to a brutal totalitarian although the historical reference changed. “I feel very strongly that this man has taken on strong-arm tactics. And I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini,” Clyburn said. “Putin is Hitler.”

Clyburn went on to explain that he thinks Trump will try to cling on to power, Slate noted. “I believe very strongly that this guy never had any idea about being—want to peacefully transfer power. I don’t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections,” Clyburn said. “I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue hold onto office.”

Clyburn went on to call on Americans to “wake up” because history is full of warning signs. “I know a little bit about history, and I know how countries find their demise. It is when we fail to let democracy and the fundamentals of which is a fair, unfettered election. And that’s why he is trying to put a cloud over this election, floating the idea of postponing the elections,” Clyburn said.

Research contact: @Slate

Getting the brush-off: Clarisonic is shutting down and its devoted fans are panicking

July 30, 2020

Clarisonic, the brand that invented vibrating skin cleansing devices, stunned fans earlier this month when it announced that it was shutting down for good, CNN reports.

The news originally came via an Instagram post on July 14, in which Clarisonic, owned by L’Oreal, said the brand would shutter its operations on September 30 after “more than a decade of game-changing innovation.”

The brand—which has sold has sold more than 15 million devices and counting—has become part of the daily skincare rituals of both women and men worldwide, CNN reports.

Now, fans are responding with a mix of shock, denial and fear: One Twitter user even asked investors from the ABC-TV show Shark Tank to step in, tweeting, “@ABCSharkTank can’t help out @Clarisonic??? We don’t want this to be the end.”

Lawyer Jessica McElfresh tweeted at @LOrealParisUSA: “Do not do this! Everyone knows Clarisonic is the best. You are making a massive mistake.”

McElfresh has used a Clarisonic device since college. She said the news “just came out of nowhere” and confused her because she didn’t think there was any problem with the device or any valid reason to discontinue the brand.

“Every aesthetician I’ve ever visited uses one,” she said. “The market has more facial cleansing devices all the time, but I truly don’t believe any are as good.”

Clarisonic said the decision to close the brand was made in an effort to help L’Oréal “focus its attention on its other core business offerings.” L’Oreal did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.

In recent years Clarisonic has been grappling with competition in an increasingly crowded marketplace where other lower-priced alternatives have been winning over consumers.

A more immediate problem for all Clarisonic users now, is how to get replacement brushes since the device requires users to buy a new cleansing brush every three months.

In an FAQ section on its website, Clarisonic said it won’t sell devices, brushes, or other attachments after September 30, and all of its subscription services for replacement brushes will be inactive after July 31.

In 2018, Clarisonic owned 14% share of the U.S. market for skin cleansing devices, according to market research firm Kline & Co. As the market grew, it became fragmented with newer brands like Foreo and NuSkin, which ate into Clarisonic’s share and following.

It remains to be seen if these options will help placate disappointed Clarisonic users. “I’ve tried other options before and just didn’t like them as much,” said McElfresh. “They’re not the same as a Clarisonic.”

Research contact: @CNN

An open or shut case: CDC refuses to revise school reopening guidelines

July 10, 2020

Pandemic experts at the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not agree with President Donald Trump’s “school of thought” on COVID-19. School administrators, teachers, staff, and students also are on the fence.

Indeed, the CDC is refusing to cave under intense pressure from the White House to allow K-12 educational facilities nationwide to reopen quickly and cheaply, without following the agency’s strict guidelines.

During an appearance on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America on Thursday, July 9, CDC Director Robert Redfield asserted that the agency will not revise its guidelines for reopening schools, despite calls from the White House to do so.

Instead, additional reference documents will be provided, Redfield said, noting, “Our guidelines are our guidelines, but we are going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities in trying to open K-through-12s. It’s not a revision of the guidelines; it’s just to provide additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance we put forward.”

The comments risk further adding to a sense of confusion about how best to reopen schools as the new academic year approaches amid a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases.

According to a report by CNN, “The president has vehemently called for schools to reopen— one of the keys to restarting the economy and getting the country back to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy— calling the existing guidelines “very tough and expensive,” and going so far as to threaten to cut off school funding, though the federal government’s ability to do so is limited.”

During a press briefing on July 8, Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week. Both he and Redfield said the agency’s recommendations should not be viewed as a barrier to returning children to classrooms.

In response to comments about the guidelines being too tough or impractical, Redfield said Thursday this depends on how the guidelines are put together.

“Right now, we’re continuing to work with the local jurisdictions to how they want to take the portfolio of guidance that we’ve given to make them practical for their schools to reopen,” he said.

Current CDC guidelines for schools to reopen rely on extensive protocols to keep children safe. They call for desks to be placed six feet apart, when feasible; and for children to face in the same direction on one side of tables, as well as use cloth face coverings.

The CDC suggests the closing of communal areas, such as dining rooms and playgrounds; and the installation of physical barriers like sneeze guards, where necessary. It proposes that staff who are at risk of COVID-19 complications because of health conditions could telework or be assigned other duties while children with medical conditions could learn online.

Given such advice, it was not clear how the CDC guidelines could be eased without raising the risk that the return to school could cause infections. The current guidelines say the highest risk of COVID-19 transmission could come with full-size classes, a lack of social distancing and with children mixing between lessons.

Research contact: @CNN

CNN exclusive: Vindman to retire; blames White House campaign of bullying and retaliation

July 9, 2020

You talk, you walk: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman—a key witness in Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry—is retiring from the U.S. Army after more than 21 years of military service because he believes that his future in the armed forces “will forever be limited” due to political retaliation by the president and his allies, his lawyer told CNN exclusively Wednesday, July 8.

Vindman has endured a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” spearheaded by the president following his testimony in the impeachment inquiry last year, according to his attorney, Ambassador David Pressman.

Vindman delivered explosive testimony during public impeachment hearings that Trump’s push for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden was “inappropriate” and that he knew “without hesitation” that he had to report it.

Vindman said that he reported his concerns out of a “sense of duty,” and he defended his fellow witnesses from what he described as “reprehensible” attacks.

News of Vindman’s retirement marks the culmination of a months-long saga dating back to his public testimony in November, CNN said.

Trump fired Vindman as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council in February and also ousted his twin brother who also played a key role in impeachment proceedings while serving at the White House as an NSC lawyer.

In recent weeks, the controversy has centered around allegations that the White House was attempting to block Vindman’s upcoming military promotion to the rank of colonel.

“The President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers,” Pressman said in a statement to CNN.

“These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it,” he added, noting that Vindman “did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the President and his proxies.”

Top Pentagon leaders, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, have insisted that Vindman is not being targeted for political reasons, but a source familiar with his decision said military officials have communicated to Vindman that the White House has sought to become involved in the promotion process.

In response, Vindman was told that that there have been discussions within the Department of Defense about sending his name forward on a “list of one” or holding his name back until after the election to avoid impacting the promotions of other service members, the source said.

It is “absurd and frightening” for the White House to be involved in promotions at this level, the source added.

Research contact: @CNN

Watch out, Tesla: Nikola is the trendy new electric truck

June 10, 2020

Elon Musk and his e-car company, Tesla, have some fierce, new competition—in the auto market, on Wall Street, and on social media, CNN reports.

Nikola—a company also named after the Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer, Nikola Tesla, at its founding in 2014—just went public in Arizona and already is bruited to be highly competitive in the market for hydrogen fuel cell and battery-powered electric trucks.

In fact, Nikola’s founder and executive chairman, Trevor Milton, is bragging about it—and touting preorders for the company’s Badger truckon Twitter, CNN says.

Shares of Nikola are up more than 120% since it completed a merger with an already public shell company named VectoIQ on June 3, notes Transport Topics.

The stock jumped 103% on Monday alone, though it plunged 22% early Tuesday morning in volatile trading along with the broader market before bouncing back. Nikola shares were up nearly 10% by late morning.

VectoIQ—which changed its name to Nikola and ticker to NKLA last week following the merger,—already has soared more than 600% in 2020; with most of those gains taking place after Nikola announced plans to buy VectoIQ in March.

Tesla shares, which also have also skyrocketed lately to a near record high, were down slightly.

Nikola, which also makes semi trucks, is now worth about $26 billion based on Monday’s closing price, even though it’s not expected to generate any sales— let alone profits—until 2021, according to CNN.

This makes the company more valuable than Ford and Fiat Chrysler—and it is catching up fast to GM—a fact that Milton boasted about on Twitter on Monday, saying that “‘I’ve wanted to say this my whole adult life; $NKLA is now worth more than Ford and FCA. Nipping on the heels of GM.”

Nikola already has announced sales to big customers, including an 800-truck order from Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev and a multimillion dollar order with freight shipper US Xpress Enterprises.

Research contact: @CNN

The new toilet paper: Bikes are flying off shelves, overwhelming shops

June 5, 2020

Eric Attayi, owner of the Urban Bicycle Gallery in Houston, Texas, has watched the pandemic transform his shop in a way most businesses can only envy.

In fact, he recently told CNN, bicycles are selling before he has time to assemble them for display—and he already had matched his 2019 sales by the start of May. He’s had to hire new employees to meet demand, and hasn’t taken a day off since February. Attayi said he’d given raises and started buying lunch for his stressed staff.

As unemployment reaches record levels and small businesses scramble to survive, bike shops have been an exception.

They’re thriving whether they’re in car-dominated cities like Houston and Los Angeles or in more traditional biking areas like Portland, Oregon, New York City, and Washington D.C. Keeping enough bikes in stock, and finishing repairs in a timely manner, has become a challenge. Customers are being turned way, in some cases.

A recent survey by the National Bicycle Dealers Association found that 83% of shops are concerned about their inventory levels. Bike manufacturers are struggling to keep up.

“We’re usually a pretty slow, chill shop,” Attayi said. “Now the phone doesn’t stop ringing. My guys get overwhelmed and I totally get it.”

New customers are looking for ways to be active and outdoors. Bike shop owners say that the closing of gyms and yoga studios during the pandemic has contributed. Others say customers are looking for a commuting alternative to public transportation. Social spacing is easiest on individual modes of transportation, like cars and bikes. In March 2020, US cycling sales increased 39% when compared with March 2019, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales.

“Bikes are like the new toilet paper,” Attayi told CNN.  “If it’s available, buy it.”

Garfield Cooper, owner of ZenCog Bicycle Company in Jacksonville, Florida, has extra mechanics working to try to keep up with a repair backlog. Repairs that usually are done in 24 hours now require up to a month. Cooper, like Attayi, said he hadn’t had a day off since February.

While his sales usually decline in the summer months with increased heat and humidity, Cooper said he hasn’t seen a lag in business yet.

“It’s been a long time since the bicycle has been this important to the American people,” Cooper said. “It’s so cool they’re this interested in bike riding.”

He’s struggling to keep things like bike seats and helmets in stock. Cooper said he’s regularly calling other shops to find parts he needs for repairs.

Bike shop owners are also wondering how long the current boom will last. Some said customers were more interested in biking because with less car traffic, roads felt safer. Their interest may wane as traffic returns. But some cities have begun to reallocate street space to bike lanes, which could lead to more biking in the long term. Roughly 400 miles of protected bike lanes have been built in the US in the last decade, according to the advocacy group People for Bikes.

Phil Koopman, owner of BicycleSpace in Washington, D.C., compared the current bicycle boom to 1999, when many people bought computers to prepare for Y2K.

“Then those companies didn’t sell a lot of computers for a few years because everyone already had one,” Koopman said. “That’s the big question. Is this a one-time thing or is it something sustainable?”

Research contact: @CNN

Biden says he thinks Trump will try to delay the presidential election

April 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on April 23 that he believes President Donald Trump will try to delay November’s presidential election, CNN reports.

“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser, according to a pool report.

Biden has maintained the November election should not be postponed and has previously made similar comments.

However, were the president to try to switch dates on the American public, he would have to use sleight of hand: CNN has done its homework—and the cable news network says, “Trump cannot unilaterally change the date of the election in November, as it has been set into law by federal statute and Congress would have to OK such a move.”

That’s good news for Democrats, but it hasn’t stopped them from worrying that Trump will try to do so. In fact, voters had asked the previously large field of Democratic presidential candidates if they had concerns that Trump would try to delay the election.

And comedian and commentator Bill Maher has repeatedly said on his HBO show that he fears that Trump will refuse to leave office if he is defeated in November.

“Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement Friday. “President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd.”

Fears over the coronavirus and its spread have increased concerns over how the election will be held safely, with new calls to expand access to voting and voting by mail. Biden said Congress needs to ensure that states have sufficient funding for expanded voting options during the pandemic.

He referenced the Wisconsin primary, which went ahead with in-person voting earlier this month after courts halted Democratic efforts to delay the primary and extend the deadline for ballots to be returned by mail. Wisconsin was the only one of 11 states with April primaries that moved forward with in-person voting, after the other 10 delayed their primaries or shifted to by-mail-only voting.

“Republicans were trying to force in-person voting no matter the health cost. We have to figure out how we are going to conduct a full and fair and safe election in November, and no one should have to risk their lives to cast a ballot,” Biden said Thursday.

“The idea you had all the governors and so many mayors — Republican and Democrat — asking the President and asking (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell, ‘We need local funding for our local support, for the things we have to do,’ ” he said. “I think it’s absolutely mindless, mindless, that they are unwilling to do it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

The former vice president also accused Trump of “already trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud.”

Indeed, CNN reports, in recent weeks, Trump, who opposes expanding voting-by-mail options, has made false claims about voting-by-mail being “corrupt” and “dangerous,” even while states embrace it as a safe alternative during the pandemic.

Biden referenced a report by The Washington Post  saying that the Trump Administration was considering leveraging an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which needs to be approved by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to force changes at the U.S. Postal Service. The move could allow the administration to influence how much the agency charges for delivering packages and how it manages its finances, according to the Post.

What’s worse, it could affect the states’ ability to offer mail-in voting.

“Imagine threatening not to fund the post office,” Biden said. “Now what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote. That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.”

“You can be assured between (Trump) and the Russians there is going to be an attempt to interfere” in the election, Biden said.

Research contact: @CNN

Santa in April: Anonymous donor mails gift cards to every household in Iowa town

April 22, 2020

Some people have all the luck: Residents of a small town in Iowa found themselves to be $150 richer one morning in late March, when they opened their mailboxes and discovered gift cards addressed to their households, Goodnet reports.

Earlham is a small city—more like the size of a town, with a population of 1,450—many of whom know each other’s names, but haven’t seen each other in weeks due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

But they all feel a lot more connected again, now that an anonymous donor has given each family three $50 certificates to local food establishment—among them, West Side Bar and Grille, Hometown Market, and Trostel’s Broken Branch.

According to the  Des Moines Register, about a week earlier, Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie received a phone call from a man who said he was representing a potential donor to the community who wished to remain anonymous.

The Register said that the man told the mayor that the donor wanted to pump up the local economy, which had been hard hit by the coronavirus, by purchasing 100 gift cards to a local grille and a grocery store. The mayor told the donor’s proxy that a new restaurant just opened before Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ended dine-in-service and that it should also be included in this stimulus package.

This was agreed to and the donor upped the amount of gift cards to 250 one hour later—and then doubled it to 500 one hour after that.

“I said to him, at 500, you’re darn near giving a gift card to every single household in Earlham,” Lillie told CNN. “When I told him there were 549 households in town, he said ‘Done.’ And that was it. I was ecstatic because it made sure everyone would get a card.”

After ascertaining that the businesses agreed to come up with all the gift cards—which was no easy task, especially for a new eatery—it was a done deal. That meant that every household received three gift cards, totaling $82,350 for the town, with each local business receiving more than $27,000.

Trostel’s Broken Branch was so new that they didn’t even have gift cards yet. “We were in the middle of interviews for our employees, hiring some waitstaff and trying to get everything ready,” restaurant owner Jennifer Trostel told CNN. “Just about then, everything closed down. It hit right when we were going to open our restaurant.”

Trostel was unable to make the switch to take-out but now she knows that the restaurant will be able to open when the restrictions are lifted.

Lille told reporters that he was “completely overwhelmed” by this act of generosity. Especially since people in the town had lost their jobs and were struggling financially. “It came at the end of a couple really hard weeks.”

The major explained, “I remember going home and walking through the front door, and I couldn’t speak for a minute. I was just crying like a baby, and my little boy saw me and wrapped around my leg and said, ‘Daddy what’s wrong?’ And eventually I was able to choke it out: ‘Buddy, right now, for once, nothing’s wrong.'”

The secret was kept by the mayor and the business owners so that it would be a complete surprise when the mail arrived according to the Register. The envelopes contained a letter that explained the situation along with the cards.

“That was the longest two days ever,” Lillie told the Register.

The city wants to pay this gift forward. If people do not need to use the gift cards, they can donate them to families in need by dropping them in the bill pay slot at city hall. The cards will be given to needy families in the local school district to distribute.

Research contact: @goodnet_org

Governors call Trump’s testing claims ‘delusional’ and ‘absolutely false’

April 21, 2020

Although President Donald Trump is pushing to “reopen” parts of the country by May 1, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), along with the leaders of six other states and the District of Columbia, already have extended their COVID-19 lockdowns through May 15.

What’s more, several governors are not mincing words about their opinion of the president’s decision, The Huffington Post reports.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)—who has extended the lockdown for his state’s residents to June 10 and has instructed non-essential business to remain closed at least through May 8—on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was “delusional” for President Donald Trump to claim the U.S. currently has the testing capacity needed for states to relax social distancing measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s Republican leader, Governor Larry Hogan, told Tapper that Trump’s claim “is just absolutely false.” “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” Hogan said. “That’s just not being straightforward … Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests.”

Hogan added, “Look, we have increased our testing in Maryland by 5,000% over the past month, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be.”

And they are not alone: Multiple health officials in the Trump administration have cautioned against setting May 1 as a target date to loosen social distancing guidelines, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said last week that the U.S. has not yet developed the testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the economy.

But that hasn’t stopped the president. On Saturday, echoing comments Vice President Mike Pence made a day prior, Trump claimed “experts” had said that “America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally.”

Indeed, The Huffington Post reports, Trump has taken an adversarial stance toward a number of governors as states struggle to overcome nationwide test shortages. The Trump Administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic and has faced criticism after initially calling concerns about the coronavirus a “hoax” and downplaying its impact.

In recent weeks, Trump has used language that appears aimed at shifting responsibility for the economic recovery from the administration to individual states.

“People’s initial reaction is always to look to the president, but as time goes on and it becomes clear other states are doing other things, that blame and credit will shift to the governors, considering they are the ones making the calls,” one Trump political adviser told Politico.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Gray area: Getting a message to grandma during the COVID-19 lockdown

April 20, 2020

Families who are separated during the novel coronavirus pandemic are being forced to find  new ways to communicate—especially with the elderly members of the clan,  who may not even know have heard of Facetime, Skype, or Zoom.

CNN tells the story of 94-four-year old Jane Feld, who used to spend her time playing tennis, attending concerts with friends, and having family members over for dinner at her house in Syracuse, New York. Now she is alone, sheltering in place.

For Feld, who is hard of hearing, video chatting with her grandchildren or other family members poses a challenge. She has a caption-call phone, but the live captions don’t always work well. Therefore, to keep in touch during this time, she mostly uses email.

“I’m not too comfortable with tech stuff,” Feld told CNN Business in an email interview. “Email has definitely helped me keep track of offspring and grands. Hours on the phone wear me out, but it’s easy to roll with email. Just let me know you’re OK and we’ll get together as soon as possible. With a virtual hug and kiss.”

She is not alone. Only 26% of Internet users 65 years and older feel “very confident” when using computers, smartphones or other electronics to do what they need to do online, according to a 2015 study from Pew Research. More than that, it’s no perfect substitute for the real-life interactions they’ve long been accustomed to.

“Of course, it’s not the same as in person,” Meredith Doubleday, Feld’s granddaughter, told the cable news outlet. “It definitely doesn’t replace that, but it sure helps. I’m very grateful that we can still email. She keeps reminding me that in high school she was an excellent typist.”

Abby Godard has regular virtual dance parties over Apple’s FaceTime video calling feature with her 83-year-old grandmother Yvonne Simon Perotti, who lives about 15 minutes away from her in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. Godard and her extended family also get together weekly on Zoom, including with her grandmother and 78-year-old grandfather Charlie Perotti.

The Perottis consider themselves quite tech adept for their ages and have figured out how to use services like Zoom on their own. “In our neighborhood, we have a book club. So, we have a virtual book club meeting with Zoom, which is kind of cool,” said Charlie Perotti.

Other families are turning to gadgets such as smart picture frames to communicate. Ann Fraser bought a ViewClix picture frame in 2018 for her 92-year-old mother Lorraine Tangney so they could keep in touch when Fraser and her husband moved to Florida. The smart picture frame, which is designed for seniors and doesn’t require them to learn new technology, lets multiple family members share photos, conduct live video calls, and post virtual sticky notes with messages to their loved one.

In normal times, her family members upload pictures of themselves and their travels to the frame. But during the pandemic, her relatives are relying on the video chatting function to keep in contact with Tangney, who is in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. Her family set up the picture frame in front of her favorite chair. When a ViewClix video call comes in, it’s set to automatically connect so Tangney doesn’t have to get up to answer it.

“I called her the other day on it, and the nurse was in her room, so she was able to be like ‘Oh look someone’s calling you on it.’ We had a whole conversation on it, she was so excited,” Leah Briscoe, her granddaughter, told CNN. “We tried to do the tablet thing with her, and it wasn’t successful. She can’t really talk on the phone anymore, so we needed to get a little bit more creative with how we were going to keep in touch with her.” Fraser called the frame a “priceless” way of communicating with her. The 10.1-inch frame costs $199,; the 15.6-inch version sells for $299.

ViewClix said it’s seen a 201% jump in video calls from February to March. Over a five-day period in mid-March, the company said it sold out of several months of stock of both its frame options. Skylight ($159), another digital frame aimed at seniors, said it has seen a similar increase in usage: the number of video messages sent to frames has tripled compared to last month, and early April sales are three times higher than a month ago.

But for other seniors, new devices are just too difficult to figure out. Alexandra DeLessio and her family bought her 88-year-old grandmother Rosemary Adams a Facebook Portal smart speaker, which start at $129, and walked her through how to operate it, even practicing it with her. But Adams has never used it on her own because she can’t remember how.

Adams now lives in an assisted living facility, and no visitors are allowed to come inside due to the pandemic. So her family has come up with a safe, in-person way to interact: Adams comes out onto her balcony, and DeLessio, her parents and sister shout to her from outside.

Her grandmother shouts back.

Research contact: @CNN