Anita Rao  00:06

In late May, a Waffle House employee in Colorado was shot and wounded. The reason? A patron allegedly grew angry after the employee told him to wear a mask, according to multiple reports.

Some of North Carolina’s key COVID-19 metrics are trending slightly downward, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is close to being over.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Rose Hoban, editor of North Carolina Health News, about the latest COVID numbers and the state of rural hospitals and vaccine trials in North Carolina.

We also hear producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond discuss ethics during the pandemic with Jim Thomas, associate professor of epidemiology and a fellow at the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen will be available today for a briefing regarding COVID-19.

Watch, live, here starting at 2 p.m.:

UNC-Chapel Hill covid masks
Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Aug. 17.

2:20 p.m. - The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association has announced it will allow private schools to begin fall sports, including football, in September. All sporting events will be held without fans. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association, by comparison, has delayed all sports practices for public schools until at least November. Higher contact sports have been delayed until winter or spring. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

A Black man looks directly at the camera with tired eyes. He's wearing violet lipstick and is wearing his bleached hair in dreadlocks. Atop his head is a glittering fabric crown.
Courtesy of D'Arcee Charington

How to disclose on Tinder … maybe a full-body profile picture? Is a wheelchair emoji in the bio too cliche? Maybe just mention it after matching? For people with physical disabilities, dating can be a barrage of stigma and questions about what their bodies can and cannot do. And no, an arranged date with another physically disabled person — usually with no regard for compatibility —  is not ideal either. 

UNC-Chapel Hill covid masks
Gerry Broome / AP

As North Carolina college students return to campuses to resume in-person classes, universities are providing infrequent coronavirus updates with wildly different levels of transparency.

Meanwhile, two schools in the University of North Carolina System reported new COVID-19 clusters.

SeXXXed: Porn For All

Aug 20, 2020

Anita questions whether her inner feminist will ever let her come around to enjoying porn without shame.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.

Anita Rao  00:07

The Old Well on the UNC- Chapel Hill campus.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

This story was originally published by ProPublica. ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

The mouse infected with a lab-created type of SARS coronavirus was squirming upside down, dangling by its tail as a scientist carried it to a weighing container one day in February 2016. But the mundane task turned dangerous in seconds inside the North Carolina laboratory, which has drawn scrutiny for its partnership on similar research with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Monday that it will be moving all undergraduate classes online after the university reported 130 new positive COVID-19 cases among students and multiple clusters of cases. 

Host Dave DeWitt examines how some students are responding to the change of plans by the university after a stressful first week of the fall semester.

We also hear about the efforts of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina in combating the spread of COVID-19, and how their tradition of collective responsibility has helped keep the virus at bay.

Greenville Covid
City of Greenville, via Flickr /

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Aug. 10.

4:12 p.m. - UNC Wilmington's chancellor sent a letter to the campus community today reminding students they can be prosecuted for violating Governor Roy Cooper's mandates. Those mandates prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The message comes one day after NC State University announced it would join UNC Chapel Hill in moving all undergraduate classes online due to COVID-19 outbreaks, many of which were linked to off campus gatherings. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

The Old Well and flowers on the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Updated at 4:18 p.m.

Effective Wednesday, UNC Chapel Hill will move all undergraduate classes to remote learning.

Gov. Cooper and members of the Coronavirus Task Force are scheduled to hold a media briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday.

Andrea Lingle with four children
Andrea Lingle

How do you heal from losing a child before getting the chance to meet them? The answer to this question is told in the painful experiences of 1 in 100 pregnancies affected by stillbirth each year in the United States. The loss can feel isolating. The grief can lie underneath the surface even on good days. For some people, the best medicine is in sharing their story.

As COVID-19 Spikes In Some ZIP Codes, Causes Aren't Always Clear

Aug 13, 2020
Vehicles drive through a crossroads near the unincorporated community of Dudley, NC on Monday August 10, 2020. The majority minority 28333 zip code, which includes Dudley, had a coronavirus infection rate higher than the Wayne county average and has one o
Travis Long / The News and Observer

A few miles south of Goldsboro, in a county with thousands of acres of sweet potato and tobacco fields and speckled with hog farms, lies a ZIP code with one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in North Carolina.

Anita Rao  00:06

Brent Hoard via Flickr /

About 20 parties, including one with nearly 400 people in attendance, were shut down at East Carolina University in Greenville during the school's opening weekend, campus police said.

Anita realizes she never got 'the sex talk' growing up. And even if she had, it probably wouldn't have gone like this.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.

A large brick industrial building with a Tyson sign on the side
Jacob Biba / Carolina Public Press

Nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities and childcare centers are required to report information about coronavirus outbreaks to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The state agency then shares that information publicly in its regularly-updated COVID-19 dashboard, which includes details about the specific facilities in which the outbreaks are happening and how many people have tested positive for the virus.

But the agency does not publish similar data about meat processing facilities, even though they have been a hot spot for the virus. 

There are now more than 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina, as a result of more than 2 million conducted tests. But testing is not the only method to determine the prevalence of the virus in a community.

Researchers are also analyzing the wastewater in sewage systems to determine levels of COVID-19 in several towns and cities across the state.

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Dr. Rachel Noble, professor of marine sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, about her team’s wastewater research and how it can improve efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

We also hear about a new study that asked people across the country how they have experienced pandemic-related stress.

Marisela Martinez stands for a portrait after an interview about working conditions as a housekeeper at Mountaire Farms, a poultry processing plant, on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, in Siler City, N.C.
Casey Toth / The News and Observer

On the first day of April, when confirmed cases of COVID-19 had barely broken 1,500 in North Carolina, Marisela Martínez started a housekeeping job through a subcontractor at the Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Siler City.

Courtesy Jon Gardiner / UNC-Chapel Hill

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of Aug. 3.

6:20 p.m. - Monday is the first day of school for North Carolina's K-12 public school students. A majority of school districts have chosen to at least start the school year virtually. Some of those districts, including Orange County, Guilford County and Durham Public Schools are still waiting to get enough devices or wifi hotspots to distribute to their students. Some districts needed time to figure out funding. A Durham Public Schools spokesman says some of their device shipments were held up at U.S. Customs. Snags like these have some districts calling the first week an orientation, with the expectation that meat-and-potatoes instruction may have to wait until students are more prepared. About 40% of school districts, mostly in rural areas, will start the year in person with social distancing and mask wearing. - Liz Schlemmer, WUNC

N.A.H. Addresses COVID-19 Inequities With Community-Driven Solutions

Aug 6, 2020
Bahby Banks stands behind the letters N-A-H
Bahby Banks

Public health expert Bahby Banks has been hearing about COVID-19 since before the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic back in March. 

Health Secretary Mandy Cohen and Governor Roy Cooper
N.C. Department of Public Safety

  North Carolina's COVID-19 restrictions keeping some businesses with higher risks for spreading the virus closed and mass gatherings severely limited will remain in place for another five weeks, Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday.

After pivoting to virtual instruction in the spring, colleges and universities are now taking different approaches to try to keep students and faculty safe as a new semester gets underway.

Some smaller private institutions are keeping things remote, and offering all-online classes. Meanwhile, the 17 schools within the UNC system are welcoming students back into dorms and offering a mix of in-person and virtual classes. 

Host Dave DeWitt talks with Randy Woodson, chancellor of North Carolina State University, about the school’s preparations for an unprecedented semester. 

DeWitt also reflects on his experience as a parent sending his oldest child off to college, and adjusting expectations during the pandemic.

Gerry Broome / AP

This post will be updated periodically with the latest information on how the coronavirus is affecting North Carolina. Scroll down for older updates. For a recap of last week's news, check out Coronavirus Live Updates: Week of July 27.

6 p.m. - The Raleigh Christmas Parade will not proceed through North Carolina's Capital City this year, due to concerns over the pandemic. Instead, the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association will host a televised virtual event in late November. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

South Pointe Apartments Facebook

Residents in a mental health and substance abuse treatment program that has a troubled past say they were recently locked out of the agency's apartments in Greensboro.

Stethoscope lying on papers with a pen in background

Organizations publish ranked lists of the country’s best hospitals every year in an effort to guide patients to high-quality care. One of the most visible, U.S. News and World, released their 2020-21 Best Hospitals Honor Roll on Tuesday.

Photo: Ferris wheel at the N.C. State Fair
Flickr, Kevin Oliver

The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled.

Organizers of the annual fair in Raleigh announced in a statement Wednesday morning that the decision to cancel the 2020 event was based on the safety and health of visitors, vendors, competitors and staff, current COVID-19 statistics in the state, North Carolina’s pause in Phase Two of reopening, contracts and the long-term financial health of the fair.