89.1 WEMU

COVID-19

Now that China appears to have snuffed out local transmission of the coronavirus, it is trying hard to keep the disease from rebounding back in from abroad. China has reported just a handful of new domestic COVID-19 cases in recent days, but has seen a spike in cases coming in from elsewhere.

As thousands of travelers have begun entering China in anticipation of the eventual return to normalcy, the government has put in place a strict regime of health checks, monitoring and quarantine in the hope that it can catch any new inbound cases before infections can spread.

With just about 500,000 employees, the United States Postal Service is one of the country's largest employers, but many workers say they're not receiving the training or supplies they need to deal safely with the coronavirus. They fear becoming carriers of another kind — catching and unwittingly spreading the virus.

Across the country, medical professionals are working to save the lives of people suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In many places, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) means that that nurses must reuse masks and do without certain protective measures.

Fresh Start Clubhouse / https://freshstartclubhouse.org/

The Fresh Start Clubhouse in Ann Arbor continues to offer mental health services even in the face of having to close their doors.  WEMU's Jorge Avellan tells us how they're continuing to aid their clients during the coronavirus pandemic.


At a time when millions of Americans are losing jobs at restaurants, hotels and airlines because of the coronavirus pandemic, a few large companies are on a hiring spree.

That's because despite mass shutdowns and lockdowns, Americans still need food and medicine. And that means a new hiring push at supermarkets such as Kroger and Albertsons, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, convenience and discount stores like Dollar General and 7-Eleven, and retail giants like Amazon and Walmart.

The U.S. economy has been staggered and shocked by the coronavirus pandemic. A stock market meltdown was followed by a more seismic event — waves of business shutdowns, putting millions of jobs at risk.

Dylan Baddour is a freelance journalist covering South America who is now stuck in Cajamarca, Peru, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It was time to give up our adventure and head home to Texas. Every village in the Peruvian highlands was buzzing with talk of the spreading coronavirus. South American countries were starting to close their borders.

The Spanish military has found older residents of some care homes "completely abandoned" and even "dead in their beds," Defense Minister Margarita Robles said in a television interview on Monda

One of the pioneers of Afro-funk music, the saxophonist Manu Dibango, has died of COVID-19. He was 86 years old, and died in Paris. Internationally, he was best known for his 1972 song "Soul Makossa," though his entire oeuvre could have been the soundtrack to a cooler 1970s than most people lived. But that one, funk-drenched hit, lit by Dibango's burning saxophone, went on to influence the sound of American disco — and its hooky spoken intro helped power songs by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

In a bid to stem the tide of the coronavirus, India has declared the world's largest stay-at-home order yet in the fight against the global pandemic.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a 21-day lockdown during an address to the country Tuesday, instructing its more than 1.3 billion residents to stay right where they are, beginning at midnight Tuesday night.

As COVID-19 begins to hit jails and lockups around the country, the Trump administration is coming under growing pressure to release elderly and other particularly vulnerable inmates in the federal prison system to mitigate the risk of the virus' spread.

Already, three inmates and three staff at federal correctional facilities across the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In detention centers at the state and local level, including in New York City's jail system, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise.

In a chalet in Chamonix, in the French Alps, 73-year-old Danièle Enoch-Maillard waits out the coronavirus epidemic — and thinks of her father.

He also took refuge not far from here, in the village of Notre Dame de Bellecombe, though at a different time and for entirely different reasons.

"My father survived the Second World War because he was able to hide out in the high mountains only a couple kilometers from where I am now," she tells NPR by phone.

China's Hubei province is preparing to emerge from a two-month lockdown that was prompted by tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases. In recent days, the province and its capital city, Wuhan, have reported a dwindling number of new coronavirus cases.

The federal government is now adding supercomputers to its tool set in the hunt for ways to stop COVID-19.

Public health experts say they are alarmed by President Trump's suggestion that some parts of the country could soon ease some of the dramatic measures being taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"That is exactly the wrong thing to do," Dr. Howard Markel, a noted medical historian at the University of Michigan, wrote NPR in an email. "Cases would go up and so would deaths...we now need to stay the course!"

Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET

A Senate agreement on a third wave of emergency funding to address the coronavirus could be "hours" away, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, as Republicans and Democrats seemed close to bridging disagreements that have stalled a deal on the approximately $2 trillion package.

Stay inside, don't meet with friends, don't go to work — these are the messages coming from public health officials at every level of government. But increasingly, experts say they believe those stark warnings must be augmented with another message:

If you think you might be sick, even a little sick, get tested for coronavirus.

Ford has teamed up with 3M and GE Healthcare to speed up the production of personal protective gear for health care workers and of ventilators for people in acute respiratory distress amid the coronavirus epidemic.

"We see the need and we want to jump in and help," Jim Baumbick, vice president for enterprise product line management at Ford Motor Co., told reporters during a teleconference Tuesday morning announcing the new efforts.

Updated at 4:17 p.m. ET

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 2,112.98 points, a record for a single day, as negotiations continued over a massive stimulus package to help the crippled economy deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow gained nearly 11.4%, the most since 1933.

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not begin in late July and instead will be held "by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday. The delay comes after an increasing number of athletes and sporting federations called for the games to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time an Olympics has been postponed, though the games were canceled three times, because of World War I and World War II.

Adaptive Dance / Vera Davis Photography

The upheaval of COVID-19 is felt by everyone.  Everything is shifting moment by moment, from a benign format change for "creative:impact" to a devastating life change for an artist who may become homeless.  What doesn’t change is the compunction for artists to create and for art to connect, calm, and keep us human.  Join The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair as they explore these topics week’s edition of "creative:impact."


Gretchen Whitmer
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new executive order that further limits gatherings of people.  As Rick Pluta reports, the order took effect at midnight and lasts until April 13th. 


James Smith
Eastern Michigan University / emich.edu

The coronavirus pandemic has forced significant changes in higher education instruction and campus operations.  Eastern Michigan University president Dr. James Smith joined WEMU's David Fair for a conversation on the daily changes impacting the manner in which the school is run and the impacts it's having on students, faculty, and staff. 


Barbara Niess-May
SafeHouse Center / safehousecenter.org

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, most people have been required to stay home at all times, especially after Governor Whitmer passed her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order on Monday.  Yet, home is not a safe place for those who deal with domestic violence.  Safehouse Center executive director Barbara Niess-May joined WEMU's David Fair for a conversation on how domestic abuse victims can stay safe during this time of public health pandemic. 


Jaylan Scott was in the middle of planning an upcoming event for the Young Democrats of Georgia when he found out his state's primary was postponed.

"It was pretty much a shocker for me," the Georgia State University sophomore said. "It was a shocker for everybody."

Scott first voted in the 2018 midterm elections but has yet to participate in a presidential election. He's a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but says he'll vote for former Vice President Joe Biden if he is the Democratic nominee.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan has announced it is moving all of its spring and summer courses to online-only options.


Ann Arbor District Library

As businesses shut down and more people are being told to stay home, the Ann Arbor District Library is expanding its online options so people can still access their content.


Ann Arbor Education Association

The Ann Arbor Education Association says they may have to extend a memorandum of agreement with Ann Arbor Public Schools if the district extends remote instruction with students because of the coronavirus pandemic.  89.1 WEMU's Jorge Avellan has the story.
 


Salt Lake City officials have announced tougher restrictions on families and friends meeting Mormon missionaries returning from abroad after many well wishers flouted official guidelines, thronging an airport parking lot over the weekend with welcome-home signs and balloons.

The election-year coronavirus pandemic has pushed back elections in more than a dozen states, leading to growing interest in expanding voting by mail this year in order to keep poll workers and voters safe.

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