89.1 WEMU

COVID-19

Mississippi is heading for a title that no state would want: It is on track to overtake Florida to become the No. 1 state for new coronavirus infections per capita, according to researchers at Harvard.

The state already faces high levels of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.

At least 36 crew members from a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Hurtigruten, the company that owns the ship. Several passengers have also tested positive in what the cruise line describes as an "outbreak" onboard the MS Roald Amundsen.

Four patients were admitted to a hospital in the northern Norwegian city of Tromso where the ship is now docked.

Miss international travel? Why not recreate the experience in the comfort of your own home with some airplane food?

A leading airline food company in Israel is offering its in-flight meals to the general public as a low-cost delivery option during the pandemic.

Tamam Kitchen, which services Israel's El Al airlines, Turkish Airlines and other international carriers flying out of Tel Aviv, piloted the idea in late July as a way to stay in business.

Adria Gonzalez still remembers the blood, the screaming, the bodies.

On August 3, 2019, she was shopping with her mother at a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso, Texas, when a gunman opened fire with an AK-47, killing 23 people and leaving more than two dozen others wounded.

In January, two weeks after Rick Solomon joined the YMCA near his home, he fell ill. The 65-year-old Bay Area resident hoped to spend the month working out, instead he lay in bed wheezing, with crippling muscle aches. He missed several days of work at a small publishing house.

"I was sick for most of the month of February with a horrible cough like I've never had before," said Solomon as he ran his fingers through his thick salt and pepper hair. "It went into my chest. I used inhalers for the first time in my life."

Despite progress made on a vaccine against COVID-19, "there's no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be," the World Health Organization's director-general warned on Monday.

A collapse in demand for suits and other office attire is leading another storied retailer across the brink, with the parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank filing for bankruptcy.

Parent company Tailored Brands had been struggling with debt and flagging demand before the coronavirus pandemic. But the temporary store closures and collapse in apparel sales during the health crisis took their toll.

Susan Cerniglia
Linkedin / linkedin.com

Tomorrow is the primary election day, and the new academic school year is right around the corner.  Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss safety precautions and preparations with the uncertainty it brings in the midst of a pandemic.  


It's no exaggeration to say this year feels like a horror movie. And now, a few filmmakers are making it official.

Alexea Gaffney battles health issues every day on multiple fronts. As an infectious disease doctor in Stony Brook, N.Y., she treats patients who have COVID-19. And two years ago, at age 37, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

As a result, the physician and single mom, who is also home-schooling her 8-year-old daughter these days, is still under medical treatment for the cancer. And that makes her more vulnerable to the virus.

Ballot Box
FutUndBeidl / flickr.com

Don’t wait.  Drop off your ballot in person.  It’s too late to put it in the mail if you want it to be counted.  That’s the advice elections officials are giving voters in advance of Tuesday’s primaries.  It’s expected a record number of votes will be cast via absentee ballot.  Rick Pluta reports on how the 2020 primary is shaping up to be a unique experiment in the future of voting.


Faith in Action
Sheri Montoye

The organization Faith in Action has provided food, shelter assistance, and other basic services to low income families in Chelsea and Dexter for decades.  With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, the organization has had to work extra hard.  Faith in Action executive director Sheri Montoye joined WEMU's David Fair to share the stories of adapting to ever-changing circumstances and why there is inspiration to be found through fostering relationships through service work. 


Ann Arbor YMCA

The Ann Arbor YMCA received a $20,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation for ongoing COVID-19 response.  

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said on Sunday that the U.S. is in a "new phase" of the pandemic, urging people to follow public health guidance as cases continue to climb in many parts of the United States.

"What we're seeing today is different from March and April," Birx said on CNN's State of the Union. "It is extraordinarily widespread — it's into the rural as equal urban areas."

Canadians are typically seen as pretty friendly people, and until the coronavirus pandemic, most were happy to welcome Americans.

But when the coronavirus began to quickly spread in March, the U.S. and Canada shut their shared border to all nonessential traffic.

Since then, Canada's border patrol has effectively prevented caravans of Americans — and their RVs and their campers — from surging across the border as they normally do each summer.

But Americans can be crafty.

It's strawberry season in northwest Washington's Skagit Valley.

For Ana, a farmworker, that means long days bent nearly doubled over to snap ripe strawberries from low bushes.

"You have to lean over a lot to pick strawberries, so of course everything hurts — your legs, your back — everything," she said in an interview in Spanish.

Ana moved to the U.S. from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. She asked that we not use her last name because she's undocumented.

Amy Holditch isn't the kind of woman to let fear dictate her life.

"No, she's not," says her mom, 73-year-old Sandra Gillis. "She pretty much gets her mind on something, then it's probably going to happen."

So when the coronavirus cancelled her family trip to Hawaii, she didn't postpone the trip with her mom and 12-year-old son for another year.

"I just kind of jumped off the cliff and did it."

Rep. Raúl Grijalva tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, becoming at least the 12th member of Congress to contract the virus.

Cuba's communist leaders appear to be ready to make good on long promised reforms to the island's state-controlled economy, which has been in a tailspin since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Even before the pandemic, the economy was in recession, suffering from reduced Venezuelan subsidies and escalating Trump administration sanctions. Then in March, Cuba banned all air and sea travel to the island, cutting off tourism — a major source of hard currency for the government.

Scientists are in a sprint to find a vaccine that could stamp out the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said on Friday he's "cautiously optimistic" that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for distribution in early 2021.

Francisco Bonilla is a pastor in Carthage, Mo., catering to the spiritual needs of the town's growing Latinx community. But he's also a media personality, casting his voice far beyond the white-painted walls of Casa de Sanidad. Inside the church, Bonilla runs a low-power, Spanish-language radio station.

TheRide

The Motor City Freedom Riders group has launched a symbolic petition asking the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, also known as TheRide, to postpone collecting bus fares during COVID-19.  

YouTube

The video clip shows a beauty pageant of sorts — but no contestants are promising world peace.

The coronavirus is spreading through government-held areas of Syria at an alarming rate and the authoritarian regime uses a campaign of intimidation to suppress information about the outbreak, a medical worker inside the country says.

With hospitals overwhelmed, staff are treating patients in dirty rooms, without enough medication and with little equipment to protect themselves, one medical worker in the country told NPR.

But talking about it can be dangerous.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Hong Kong is seeing its biggest surge in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution by the end of the year, and distributed to Americans in 2021, the nation's top infectious disease specialist told lawmakers Friday.

While it typically takes years to develop vaccines, new technologies, the lack of bureaucratic red tape and the human body's robust immune response to COVID-19 have hastened the process, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is delaying the region's legislative elections by a year, citing a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Critics decry the decision, seen as the latest in a series of recent moves that curb Hong Kong's limited autonomy. That autonomy was guaranteed for 50 years after the end of British rule and its handover to China in 1997.

Americans continue to wait in long lines to get tested for the coronavirus. Many then face frustration and anxiety waiting days — sometimes even weeks — to get their results.

Could technology finally solve the testing woes that have hobbled the nation's ability to fight the pandemic? The National Institutes of Health hopes so.

A federal judge in New York issued two strongly worded rulings on Wednesday that put a temporary freeze on restrictive Trump administration immigration policies.

The measures, which are now on hold, had broadened the grounds under which immigrants could be considered "public charges," a label that can harm the chances of obtaining either a green card or entry to the United States.

Debbie Dingell
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy / flickr.com

The number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 4.5 million.  COVID-19 deaths now top 154,000.  At the same time, extra unemployment benefits expire today, and an expiration of moratoriums on evictions could lead to much higher levels of homelessness.  Yet, there is still no agreement in Congress on the next relief and stimulus package.  12th District Congresswoman Debbie Dingell discussed those topics and the uncertainty about the start of a new school year in a conversation with WEMU's David Fair. 


Pages