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Names and faces

by The Associated Press | April 11, 2020 at 3:51 a.m.
Actor Sean Penn, founder of the nonprofit organization Community Organized Relief Effort, is interviewed at his home, Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

• After nearly a decade of helping communities in distress abroad, Sean Penn is joining the fight against the coronavirus much closer to home. The two-time Oscar winner's disaster relief organization CORE has teamed up with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's office and the city's Fire Department to safely distribute free drive-thru covid-19 test sites for those with qualifying symptoms. Penn hopes the program can "save lives and alleviate depletion of resources" through the efforts of CORE, which stands for Community Organized Relief Effort. His nonprofit organization stepped in to help rebuild Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and the devastating Hurricane Matthew. Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell said in a tweet that CORE's efforts are helping with the Fire Department's workload and freeing up first responders for emergency services. So far, CORE has provided more than 6,500 free tests since March 30. The organization is operating at four sites with plans of expanding and began managing a new location in Los Angeles on Friday. About 60 staff and volunteers are working in California including 10 Peace Corps volunteers. The actor said he and his staff decided to "pull the trigger" very quickly to help run the test sites. "It's something that we can adapt to very quickly with the training of the Los Angeles Fire Department initially," Penn said. "And then we're able to take all those firemen and put them back in to serve the people in the way that we need them to."

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• U.S. health officials have warned conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones to stop pitching bogus remedies for the coronavirus. In a letter Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration ordered Jones to stop falsely claiming that toothpaste, mouthwash and other products sponsored by his show can help prevent covid-19. Jones, known for pushing conspiracy theories about school shootings and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, touted the products on multiple shows last month, according to the letter. The agency states that by making these claims Jones is promoting illegal, unapproved drugs, which can carry financial penalties and risk product seizures by government agents. The letter gives Jones' company, Infowars.com, 48 hours to remove or correct the false material. FDA warnings are not legally binding, but the agency can take individuals to court if they are ignored. An email seeking comment from Jones' website was not immediately returned. The FDA has not approved any treatments or vaccines against the coronavirus. New York Attorney General Letitia James sent Jones a cease-and-desist letter March 12 demanding he stop promoting many of the same phony products.

Photo by AP
FILE - This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 file photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. On Thursday, April 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter ordering Jones to stop falsely claiming that toothpaste, mouth wash and other products sponsored by his show can help prevent COVID-19. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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