89.1 WEMU

COVID-19

School district lines have become engines of inequity in many states. Not only can they be used to keep children out of a neighborhood's schools, they can also keep a district's wealth in. But with many districts facing severe budget cuts because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report proposes a radical solution:

The race to defeat the coronavirus can be viewed in two very distinct ways. One is based on international cooperation, with a vaccine treated as a "global public good." The other is competitive, a battle between nations that's being described as "vaccine nationalism."

Many are hoping for the former, but are seeing signs of the latter.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, state and local health officials rush to try to detect and contain outbreaks before they get out of control. A key to that is testing, and despite a slow start, testing has increased around the country.

But it's still not always easy to get a test. While many things can affect access to testing, location is an important starting point.

Ypsilanti Community Schools

Ypsilanti Community Schools has a new program to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ann Arbor Public Schools

COVID-19 will continue to be a main topic of discussion at Wednesday's Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting.  

America's new socially distant reality has warped the landscape of the 2020 election.

Candidates aren't out knocking on doors, and U.S. election officials are bracing for a record surge in mail ballots.

And another subtler shift is also occurring — inside people's brains.

Over the last few months, cities have had to deal with tremendous challenges — fighting a pandemic, preserving essential services, protecting their own workers, coping with devastating budget cuts.

One thing local officials didn't have to worry about was traffic, as the pandemic emptied city streets.

But that's about to change.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

More than 20 Republican members of Congress and constituents are suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other officials in federal court to block proxy voting, arguing the practice is unconstitutional, according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

President Trump wants an arena full of tens of thousands of excited Republicans in Charlotte this summer for the party's national convention. But the coronavirus is causing a lot of uncertainty, and North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hasn't been able to make assurances that such a gathering will be possible in August.

As the number of COVID-19 deaths continues its upward march, many of the rituals designed to help people navigate the loss of a loved one aren't possible.

The Justice Department has closed investigations into stock sales made by three senators shortly before financial markets tanked because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; and James Inhofe, R-Okla., were notified of the decision on Tuesday. The Justice Department's insider-trading investigation into another senator, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, remains open, the individual said.

Performing on a Facebook livestream, Salma Hindy began her stand-up routine by giving a shout-out to everyone in the audience who was following the guidelines to keep the coronavirus at bay, such as washing hands regularly, covering one's face and keeping a respectful distance from others. Though, as a Muslim, she found these habits a tad familiar.

"You call it coronavirus, I call it sharia law!" said Hindy, referring to the set of principles Muslims abide by.

EMU

Eastern Michigan University is considering offering in-person summer instruction.  

A licensed pharmacist in New York bought up thousands of rare N95 masks and sold them at much higher prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities said Tuesday, announcing the arrest of Richard Schirripa, aka "the Mask Man," on charges that include violating the Defense Production Act. Schirripa is accused of charging up to $25 per mask – often selling them out of his car.

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

Ed Golembiewski
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Michigan has garnered nationwide attention after the Secretary of State announced that absentee voter applications will be mailed out to all residents in the state.

WEMU's Lisa Barry spoke with Washtenaw County director of elections Ed Golembiewski to find out what that means for local voters and how they are preparing for the upcoming elections.


The number of new coronavirus cases has been going up in Alabama even as the state's governor relaxes restrictions.

Last week's number of new cases was up from the week before. Of the more than 15,000 confirmed cases across the state, about one-third have been confirmed within the last 14 days.

Geologist Keri Belcher had a moment of relief earlier this year. Her employer, a medium-sized oil and gas company, had a round of layoffs — and she made it through. She still had a job.

Then came the coronavirus and the complete collapse in oil prices. This time around, she was laid off.

"It was kind of unfortunate, too, because I just re-signed my apartment lease," the Houston resident said.

From late March into April, Timothy Regan had severe coughing fits several times a day that often left him out of breath. He had a periodic low-grade fever too.

Wondering if he had COVID-19, Regan called a nurse hotline run by Denver Health, a large public health system in his city. A nurse listened to him describe his symptoms and told him to immediately go to the hospital system's urgent care facility.

California's first-of-its-kind effort to get cash aid into the hands of undocumented workers affected by the coronavirus got off to a bumpy start over the past week.

Across the state, tens of thousands of immigrants calling to apply encountered busy signals, crashed phone lines and frustration.

When President Trump took office in 2017, his team stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19. That decision is documented in federal records reviewed by NPR.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

Congregating in person for concerts is out of the question this spring and for the foreseeable future, so music fans have gotten used to watching performers livestream from home. What's less obvious is that segments of the Nashville music community that work out of view have been equally resourceful in finding virtual stopgaps during lockdown.

Virtual vigils, streamed live on Facebook.

Websites that collate the names and photos of the dead.

Video projections of those we have lost, shining onto building facades.

In the absence of collective public gatherings, people are coming up with new ways to memorialize those who have died from COVID-19.

Preschool teacher Lainy Morse has been out of work for more than two months. But the Portland, Ore., child care center where she worked is considering a reopening. Morse says she is dreading the idea, as much as she loves the infants and toddlers for which she cared.

"They always have snotty faces. It's just one cold after another," she says. "It feels just like an epicenter for spreading disease. And it feels really scary to go back to that."

Stock traders wore masks at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday as the trading floor reopened for the first time since March. The exchange has been restricted to electronic trading for two months out of concern over the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Susan Badger-Booth

Fulbright Scholar Susan Badger-Booth, EMU professor of Arts Management & Entertainment, felt well-prepared for her teaching assignment that would take her to the Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea for the winter semester.  She and her husband Bill considered all the contingencies....or so they had thought.  No sooner did they arrive when the COVID-19 virus struck.  Deb Polich and David Fair connect with Susan in Seoul to find out what happened next on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Michael Zamora and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

Scientists have learned a great deal about how the novel coronavirus spreads.

On a Tuesday morning in Albany, Ga., Cathy Cody is walking through the empty hallways of a home left vacant by COVID-19.

"Right now, I'm standing in a home we started on, packing up their loved one's belongings because that's all they have left," Cody says during a Facebook Live video.

Austin Beutner looked haggard, his face a curtain of worry lines. The superintendent of the second-largest school district in the nation sat at a desk last week delivering a video address to Los Angeles families. But he began with a stark message clearly meant for another audience:

Lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

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