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COVID-19

A "talking" dog, a wiry 13-year-old Schnauzer, has become a pandemic hero since the canine made her first appearance on Facebook last week. She's very funny.

Pluto and her human, Nancie Wight, have been churning out viral videos with advice on hair trims, how to do without toilet paper, how to find snacks and how to stay cheery at home.

The dog looks straight into the camera and her mouth seems to move (with the help of a video program) and a high voice appears to come out of it.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University announced its first confirmed case of a student with the coronavirus.


Not enough toilets – and the ones there are often dirty. Beds crammed together. The only way to shower is with water from a bucket that everyone has to share. No soap or hand sanitizer.

There's been a furious reaction in Brazil after President Jair Bolsonaro demanded an end to lockdowns imposed in his country's biggest cities in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Having played down the virus for days as "exaggerated," the president doubled down Wednesday, labeling governors and mayors who have imposed restrictions as "criminals" who are "destroying Brazil."

Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

As the number of cases and fatalities from the coronavirus continue to increase, WEMU's Lisa Barry checked in with Washtenaw County medical director Dr. Juan Marquez to talk about what health officials are seeing locally as a result of the health pandemic.


In a surprising turnabout, drugmaker Gilead Sciences asked the Food and Drug administration on Wednesday to rescind orphan status for remdesivir, the company's experimental coronavirus treatment.

The Senate coronavirus relief bill now under consideration would give states $400 million to protect upcoming elections against the pandemic threat. The money, far less than the $4 billion some Democrats had wanted, would allow states to expand mail-in and early voting, as well as online voter registration. The money could also be used to help secure in-person voting sites.

Online platforms have "an ethical obligation" to root out price gouging on hand sanitizer and other high-demand products during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, top law enforcement officials from across the country say.

As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, some communities will be better equipped to treat the sickest patients — specifically those requiring admission to intensive care units — than others. Not only do ICU capabilities vary from hospital to hospital, but also some parts of the country have far more critical care beds by population than others.

An NPR analysis of data from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice looked at how the nation's 100,000 ICU beds are distributed across the more than 300 markets that make up the country's hospital system.

Updated 8:31 a.m. ET Thursday

First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's staggering when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000.

The legislation that the Senate passed Wednesday night is set to provide $2 trillion in economic aid as the nation braces for this massive economic blow.

Businesses controlled by the president, senior executive branch officials or members of Congress will be barred from receiving funds under the huge economic rescue package the Senate could vote on as early as Wednesday, according to the Senate's top Democrat.

Michigan Medicine
Michigan Medicine / medicine.umich.edu

It's difficult not to feel emotionally uneasy in light of the spreading coronavirus and the impact trying to stop the spread is having on our lives.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Dr. Melvin McInnis, director of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan Depression Center, about ways to make sure we are staying emotionally healthy in these difficult times.


Medical device manufacturers are asking the Trump administration to step in and centralize the distribution of ventilators, life-saving devices that are in desperately short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that because of the coronavirus pandemic, he is delaying a constitutional referendum that could allow him to stay in power until 2036. The vote had been scheduled for April 22.

"You know that this is a very serious matter for me," Putin said in a speech on Wednesday. "However...our absolute priority is the health, life and safety of the people. This is why I believe the vote should be postponed."

The Sheetz convenience store chain is giving hourly pay raises of $3 to roughly 17,000 workers in its stores, the company announced Wednesday in response to the coronavirus crisis. It's one of the most aggressive moves yet by companies that are boosting pay to retain, attract and motivate employees.

The widescale raise is retroactive to March 13 and will be in effect through April 23.

Weber's Restaurant and Hotel is one of many local businesses that have had to change the way they operate during the coronavirus pandemic.  WEMU's Jorge Avellan tells us how they've adapted to the new normal.


As the new coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, researchers say the virus is changing its genetic makeup slightly. But does that mean it is becoming more dangerous to humans? And what would the impact be on any future vaccines?

ESPN has gone from gearing up for March Madness to featuring marble racing.

As the coronavirus shuts down Broadway, bars, bowling alleys and more, consider the predicament of cable giant ESPN: The self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports" is now operating in a world where there are nearly no live sports.

At a time when the nation is desperate for authoritative information about the coronavirus pandemic, the country's foremost agency for fighting infectious disease outbreaks has gone conspicuously silent.

"I want to assure Americans that we have a team of public health experts," President Trump said at Tuesday evening's coronavirus task force briefing — a bit of reassurance that probably would not have been necessary if that briefing had included anyone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Italy, when political analysts say, "Here comes the cavalry" ("arrivano i nostri"), they're not talking Hollywood Westerns. They're saying, "Here come our guys: the USA has got Italy's back."

But today, the "our guys" have included less traditional friends.

The U.N. is calling for countries to reduce the number of people in detention, saying that "physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible."

U.N. High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet says authorities should look for ways to release people in detention who are especially vulnerable to the disease, such as those who are elderly or who have health issues. She says they should also consider releasing low-risk offenders.

A New Jersey man has been charged with making terroristic threats after allegedly coughing in the direction of a local supermarket employee and claiming he suffered from the coronavirus. The state's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, announced the charges against George Falcone on Tuesday.

Here's how his office explains what happened at a Wegmans supermarket on Sunday evening:

The country of Jordan has implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus, forcing most people to stay indoors and temporarily shutting down even grocery stores and pharmacies.

The Middle Eastern country with its 10 million residents has so far arrested more than 1,600 people for breaking the five-day-old curfew, which bans even going for walks or allowing pets outdoors.

As confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany soared past 10,000 last week, hundreds of Berliners crowded Volkspark am Friedrichshain to play soccer and basketball, and to let their kids loose on the park's many jungle gyms.

The conditions seemed ideal for the spread of a virus that has killed thousands. Indeed, as of Wednesday, Germany had the fifth-highest number of cases.

Yet Germany's fatality rate so far — just 0.5% — is the world's lowest, by a long shot.

Spain is now reporting more than 3,400 COVID-19 deaths, making it the second European country with a death toll higher than in China, where the new coronavirus was first detected in late 2019.

Italy is reporting 7,503 deaths from the viral respiratory disease — the most in the world, and more than double the 3,285 deaths reported in China.

Spring is usually the busiest time of year at the Aalsmeer Flower Auction in the Netherlands, the world's blossom trade capital.

There are chrysanthemums for Easter. Roses for Mother's Day. Tulips in full bloom for everyone.

Now most of these flowers are being composted. The coronavirus has grounded deliveries and shipments. And now the Dutch government has banned public gatherings of any size until June. People are hardly buying flowers right now.

NPR is curating two podcast playlists to help you manage anxiety and stay informed during the coronavirus pandemic.

How To Stay Busy And Manage Anxiety

You can stream this playlist via Spotify and NPR One.

Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and is now in isolation, according to a statement issued by Clarence House, the prince's royal residence in London. The prince and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 72, are currently living at Balmoral Castle, the royal family's estate in Scotland.

"The statement said the 71-year-old prince of Wales is displaying mild symptoms but 'remains in good health,' " NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. He adds that Camilla, 72, has tested negative for the virus.

Saline Area Schools
Saline Area Schools / salineschools.org

Saline Area Schools is putting together a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan after racist incidents occurred prior to the Coronavirus shutdown.  WEMU's Jorge Avellan has the details.


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