COVID-19

A masked woman looks out her window.
Victoria Bouloubasis for Enlace Latino NC/Southerly

According to a recent poll from Elon University, Governor Roy Cooper has way more support among Democrats for his mandate to wear masks in public.

Ninety-one percent of Democrats who responded to the survey -- versus 57% of Republicans -- support such a policy. But the poll results are less clear when it comes to reopening schools this fall.

This Week In State Politics: the Governor delayed a decision about whether public schools would open in the fall.

As Democrat Roy Cooper said he needed more time, he was also served with a lawsuit. His political opponent, Republican Dan Forest, contends that the Governor is implementing too much unilateral authority.

And with lawmakers away for a little while, news trickled out of the General Assembly that a lobbyist tested positive for COVID-19. Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss those stories, as well as their fireworks plans for this weekend.


Gun sales continued to mushroom in June, apparently due to a confluence of Joe Biden’s surge in polls, the spread of COVID-19, and ongoing protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Americans bought 2.4 million firearms in June, according to industry estimates from Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is a 145% increase from June 2019. Handgun sales make up the bulk of those estimates and increased at an even higher year-over-year rate of 178%.

The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. faces challenges within his own party this week in advancing the Republican health care bill.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Senate Health Committee is discussing plans for reopening schools and offices that have been shuttered by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Thierry Raimbault/Flickr / https://bit.ly/2YH4TU6

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 June 22.

2:44 p.m. - Hopscotch organizers have canceled this year's Raleigh-based music festival. Dates have been scheduled for mid-September 2021. - Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

This is no ordinary year.

A pandemic is sweeping across the world as cries for changes to address systemic racism fill the streets of American cities. The economy is reeling, and a presidential election is looming. But sometimes self-expression thrives amid turmoil.

Another bustling week in North Carolina politics included the toppling of Confederate monuments in the state capitol and elsewhere, the governor's decision to mandate face coverings statewide because of the coronavirus, and an after-hours marathon session at the General Assembly.

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss executive actions, legislative inaction, and what the addition of GOP donor and policy wonk Art Pope may mean for the UNC Board of Governors.
 


Two women at a Black Lives Matter Protest
Elvert Barnes

 

American voters have a notoriously short political memory. The United States is struggling to come to terms with the inequities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic and the recent police killings of numerous Black people — and some pundits are wondering which of the issues front of mind today will influence the upcoming elections in November.

The White House
Noah Fortson / NPR

The White House coronavirus task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, is holding a briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday.

Keri Brown / WFDD

Karleigh King stands on her front porch, warming up her voice while her kids are down for naptime. This is her new normal, singing hymns at home, not with her congregation at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The building reopened earlier this month, but it looks a little different. Space is limited to 50 people, so there’s an online signup sheet. Every other church pew is blocked off for personal distancing. Only about a quarter of the congregation is attending indoor services right now.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers finished most of their work for the year early Friday, setting another Medicaid overhaul date, funding a monument to honor African Americans and trying again to reopen businesses shuttered by Gov. Roy Cooper due to COVID-19.

Speedway (stock)
Frank Fujimoto/Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/2Z5qhBy

A North Carolina stock car racetrack must remain closed and propose a new social distancing plan after a judge sided with health officials in an effort to curb the coronavirus spread.

Madison Cawthorn for Congress

A 24-year-old political newcomer handily defeated a candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump in yesterday’s Republican runoff election in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. 

Mitchell Northam / WUNC

Ally Watt is a newcomer to the North Carolina Courage, having been selected sixth overall in the National Women’s Soccer League’s college draft back in January. Her new teammates have years of experience flourishing at the professional level, as many have played in — and won — Olympics, World Cups and NWSL titles. 

But Watt has played on one rare stage that most other Courage players haven’t.

U.S. House of Representatives

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding oversight hearings on the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Top public health officials including Anthony Fauci and CDC director Robert Redfield will testify.

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 June 15.

5:05 p.m. - North Carolinians must now wear a mask in public where it is difficult to maintain physical distance from others. Governor Roy Cooper's executive order went into effect at 5 p.m. The mandate relies largely on the honor system although law enforcement will be able to issue citations to businesses that do not require employees and customers to wear masks. However, several sheriffs have said they will not enforce the governor's order. Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department is warning that "mask exemption" cards circulating on the Internet are fraudulent and do not carry the weight of law. – Rebecca Martinez, WUNC

As North Carolina Parks Reopen, Officials Tackle New Challenges And Precautions

Jun 22, 2020

When COVID-19 shut down the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Kristine Johnson had two particular worries in mind: garlic mustard and coltsfoot.

North Carolina lawmakers this week approved a plan to provide teachers with a one-time bonus. Meanwhile temperature checks at the General Assembly building were halted — albeit briefly — as the capital city moved to require masks to curb COVID-19. And a group of lawyers sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders arguing Confederate monuments violate the state constitution. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, and two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.


an eviction notice on a front door
Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons/http://bit.ly/2HmJ9nV

A statewide moratorium on evictions in North Carolina expires this Sunday, unless Governor Roy Cooper extends it.

Courtesty of Cassandra Brooks

 

Cassandra Brooks owns and operates The Little Believer's Academy, with daycare centers in Clayton and Garner. After working a corporate job at IBM, it was her dream to start her own business caring for children.

Major the Bull wears a protective facemark in the downtown plaza in Durham, N.C. Friday, March 27, 2020.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Starting Friday, the city of Raleigh will be requiring face coverings in public. Durham and Orange counties have already implemented local requirements.

Clifford Shuping feeds his goats outside his home in Rockwell, N.C. A Korean War era veteran, Shuping died of COVID-19 at the N.C. State Veterans Home in Salisbury last month.
Courtesy of Carrie McKinney

Clifford Paul Shuping, who served in the Army during the Korean conflict, passed away from COVID-19 at the State Veterans Home in Salisbury. As part of an effort to honor North Carolina veterans who have died during the pandemic, WUNC spoke with Shuping's family about his life and legacy.

Sarah Blake Morgan / AP

Edward Brown has always found a way to deal with his husband's military deployments in the past, but the most recent one felt different. Instead of an endless parade of family visits and last-minute errands, Brown and Staff Sgt. James Clyde were holed up inside their Fayetteville, North Carolina apartment watching Netflix and making TikTok videos.

When his mandatory two-week quarantine ended last Friday, Clyde made the short drive to Fort Bragg and boarded a plane for a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

High school graduations across the state have taken a different form due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as drive-throughs and virtual celebrations became the norm. Instead of walking across a stage, shaking hands and throwing caps into the air, the class of 2020 had to find new ways to celebrate.

furniture on the street
70023venus2009 via Flickr

Updated June 19, 3:30 p.m.

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s moratorium against evictions ends on June 21. Those living in federally-subsidized housing — also called Section 8 — have until July 25.

Throughout American history, faith-based communities and leaders have been at the forefront of many civil and political movements. This is especially true for the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, which had religious leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X being driving forces in history. 

The North Carolina House of Representatives' meeting room
North Carolina General Assembly

Cities around the country are facing pressure to reform their policing and take a hard look at systemic racism. Minneapolis announced the intent to defund portions of their police department. Other cities have ended relationships between school systems and the police. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence have put the country on edge, and the unrest appears to be a recruiting opportunity for some anti-government groups.

Experts say economic devastation, fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus — as well as heavy-handed government tactics — are pushing some Americans toward groups like militias that espouse self-reliance, armed resistance and a dim view of government.

A bus stop is covered with signs, posters and flowers in remembrance of George Floyd, who died in police custody.
Creative Commons

As of June 2, The Washington Post reports on-duty police officers have shot and killed 422 people in 2020 — on par with the average number of fatal police shootings in the U.S. despite the way the coronavirus pandemic has changed or slowed down everyday life. 

Gun sales continued to boom in May, the third-straight month with a spike in estimated sales.

Americans bought more than 1.7 million firearms in May, according to estimates from industry analyst Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting. That is down from an estimated 1.8 million firearms in April, but an 80% year-over-year estimated increase.

The FBI says it performed more than 3 million background checks in its NICS database in May, more than 700,000 more checks than it performed in May 2019.

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