COVID-19

Michael Cox
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox says it's part of the world we live in today to prepare for protests, adding "hopefully peaceful protests" in light of everything going on both locally and nationally.

Lisa Barry talks with the police chief, who says it's important to him to remember his purpose as a police professional by finding joy in the job "in making a difference and serving the community."


Peeling paint. Cracked buckets. Employees dragging unsealed bags of medical waste. Procedures ignored. Inadequately trained staff.

Scientists and public health experts agree that masks are effective at lowering the spread of the coronavirus indoors, where the vast majority of transmission is likely to occur.

But what about outside?

About two dozen states have statewide mask mandates that generally require people to wear masks outside when they're not able to stay at least 6 feet apart. Many cities have their own rules.

Untold Stories of Liberation and Love / liberationstories.com

This week on "On The Ground Ypsi," Lisa Barry and Sarah Rigg talk about a zine, which is a project of an Ypsilanti-based poetry collective organized by women of color called "Untold Stories of Liberation and Love."  They are joined by local poet Connstynce Chege, who reads part of one of her poems she submitted to the collective and is being included.


Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

"I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend," he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn't feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

Facing a yearlong siege from the coronavirus, the defenses in another, older war are faltering.

For the last two decades, HIV/AIDS has been held at bay by potent antiviral drugs, aggressive testing and inventive public education campaigns. But the COVID-19 pandemic has caused profound disruptions in almost every aspect of that battle, grounding outreach teams, sharply curtailing testing and diverting critical staff away from laboratories and medical centers.

The European Union's drug regulator said Tuesday it had concluded there is a "possible link" between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and several cases in the U.S. of a rare type of blood clot, but emphasized that the shot's benefits "in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects."

Chris Reimer had never heard of Leopold, Mo., when he found himself rushing down a winding, two-lane road toward the rural, 65-person community in February.

Reimer, a social media manager in St. Louis, had made a split-second decision when he saw a local television reporter tweet about a 2,000-dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic opening to anyone after 3 p.m. that day.

Deb Polich / Creative Washtenaw

What do you get when you connect 13 Michigan members of Congress with 40 Michigan arts + creative industries advocates on Zoom?  Find out as Creative Washtenaw's Deb Polich and WEMU's David Fair discuss the state of the arts + creative industries on this edition of "creative:impact."


Gretchen Whitmer
Governor Gretchen Whitmer / twitter.com

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office has confirmed she traveled out of state more than a month ago to visit her father.  This was before the governor was vaccinated against COVID-19.  We have more from Rick Pluta.


Clipboard
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

The Michigan Bureau of Elections says a petition campaign to initiate a law to curtail the governor’s use of emergency powers has gathered the signatures it needs.  As Rick Pluta explains, the next step is to have that ratified by a state board.

The U.S. State Department on Monday announced plans to expand travel advisories, urging U.S. citizens to stay home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose "unprecedented risks" around the globe.

The updated travel guidelines are intended to curb visits "to approximately 80% of countries worldwide" that are experiencing dramatic spikes in cases, the department said in a statement. New guidance is expected be released later this week.

College-bound high schoolers are making their final deliberations ahead of May 1, the national deadline to pick a school. That day will mark the end of a hectic admissions season drastically shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many colleges dropped standardized testing requirements, and because some high schools gave pass/fail grades and canceled extracurriculars and sports, admissions counselors had to change how they read and evaluate applications.

On Monday, Australia and New Zealand launched their long-anticipated travel bubble that will allow residents of each country to visit the other without having to quarantine upon arrival.

Emotional videos capturing long-awaited reunions in arrival halls in various airports across Australia and New Zealand have been circulating online since the first passengers touched down. Thousands are reported to have made the journey across the Tasman Sea in the bubble's opening first day.

To say Leah Juelke is an award-winning teacher is a bit of an understatement. She was a top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2020; she was North Dakota's Teacher of the Year in 2018; and she was awarded an NEA Foundation award for teaching excellence in 2019.

But Juelke, who teaches high school English learners in Fargo, N.D., says nothing prepared her for teaching during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The level of stress is exponentially higher. It's like nothing I've experienced before."

Pam Smith
Pam Smith / United Way of Washtenaw County

This year marks the United Way of Washtenaw County's 100th anniversary.  Appropriately enough, "Washtenaw United" has now surpassed 100 episodes on WEMU.  David Fair marks both milestones in a conversation with UWWC president and CEO Pam Smith and touches on what the future holds. 


Supermoon
Old Farmer's Almanac / almanac.com

Buying a telescope has become increasingly more difficult over the past year due to the pandemic. People are finding skygazing a safe, socially-distanced thing to do during the global health crisis, and interest is skyrocketing.  Lisa Barry talks with Eastern Michigan University professor and director of the Sherzer Observatory Norbert Vance about what will be visible in the night sky coming up in the next few weeks.


After a year of grim milestones, Sunday marked a hopeful statistic in America's fight against the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all American adults have now gotten at least one vaccine dose.

Back in December, I spent what felt like every moment agonizing over whether or not I should get vaccinated against COVID-19.

I was early in my second trimester of pregnancy, and I'm also a family physician, which meant I was eligible to get my shot as soon as the vaccines were authorized for use in the U.S.

For Denver-based flight attendant Ken Kyle, getting a coronavirus vaccine was as convenient as pulling up to the place he knows so well.

"It was great to be able to be vaccinated at the airport," Kyle says, quipping: "You know where you're going."

Kyle is one of a growing number of workers who are benefitting from a strong push by some companies to provide shots at employment sites, all in coordination with local and state health authorities.

Global COVID-19 Deaths Top 3 Million

Apr 17, 2021

Global deaths from COVID-19 has surpassed 3 million, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University.

Leading in those deaths are the United States, with more than 566,000, and Brazil, with more than 368,000. They are followed by Mexico, India and the United Kingdom.

The global death toll reached 1 million in September 2020 and 2 million in January.

It's no secret why poor countries don't have as many vaccines as rich countries.

"There's really just a scarcity of doses," says Kate Elder, senior vaccine policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders' Access Campaign. The question is, how do you fix it?

The Chinook Indian Nation has about 3,000 members who mostly live near the mouth of the Columbia River in southwest Washington. But they're not on the list of federally recognized tribes — so they get nothing from the Indian Health Service.

"We have all the problems of Indian Country, but no means of dealing with it," Chinook chair Tony Johnson says. Without recognition, they get no reservation, no housing allowance, no clinics.

And, during the pandemic, no federal recognition has meant no testing supplies or vaccine allocations.

Government officials are trying to figure out how to make better use of drugs that can keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital. That's an urgent but daunting challenge in Michigan, where hospitals are struggling to keep up with a surge in new cases.

Mr. B
Mr. B / mrbpiano.com

It's Public Radio Music Day, and WEMU is celebrating with a one-day fundraiser.  One of many musicians who has benefited from WEMU's jazz and blues programming is boogie-woogie piano player Mark "Mr. B" Braun.  He joined WEMU's David Fair to talk about what public radio has meant to him, his career, and why having access to live and local music programming, presented by members of his hometown community, is so vitally important. 


It's been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic completely upended our lives. For young people especially, it reprieved them of fully experiencing the world during a crucial time of growth and development.

Parents all over the world are beaming with all sorts of questions to get a grasp on the pandemic's toll, such as: How has the pandemic been affecting our children? Has remote learning slowed their education? Has reduced socializing hurt their development?

India surpassed a somber COVID milestone Thursday, confirming more than 200,000 new cases in a single day as patients and doctors grapple with a shortage of beds and cities announce curfews.

There are more than enough shots to go around in communities such as Hartsville, Tenn., the seat of Trousdale County, a quiet town tucked in the wooded hills northeast of Nashville.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 4:52 PM ET

Signs of an economic boom are emerging as Americans open up their wallets to spend freely.

Retail sales soared 9.8% in March, according to a report Thursday from the Commerce Department. The increase follows a 2.7% slump in February, which analysts blamed partly on severe winter weather.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 2:39 PM ET

CNN. ABC News. The New York Times. Fox News.

Those are the publishers of four of the five most popular Facebook posts of articles about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week. They're ranked 2 to 5 in total interactions, according to data from the tracking tool CrowdTangle.

The No. 1 posting, however, isn't from a news organization. Or a government official. Or a public health expert.

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