COVID-19

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.

Two African-American students at St. Augustine's University interact in front of a laptop computer.
Courtesy of St. Augustine's University

 

Maria Lumpkin was drawn to St. Augustine's University years ago. She remembers driving into campus for the first time and seeing the historic stone chapel, quarried and built in 1895 by students who were just one generation free from slavery.

Facebook / First Presbyterian Church

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court sided with church leaders ⁠— and ruled against Gov. Roy Cooper's prohibition on in-person church gatherings. After Cooper chose not to pursue an appeal of the provisional restraining order, thousands of churchgoers returned to pews across the state.

Nicole Willis, left, of Clayton, NC, dines with her friend Crystal Keefe of Raleigh, on Saturday morning at Mama Dip's Kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Over the weekend, restaurants in most of North Carolina were allowed to serve sit-down customers again, though with social distancing and restrictions on capacity.

But the pandemic is expected to continue taking a harsh toll on an industry that has become one of the state's largest. It's likely to do lasting economic damage, especially in the neighborhoods, towns, and cities that have built reputations as eating destinations in recent years as the restaurant industry boomed.

Stylist Mike Wood trims the hair of Vina Vinluan on Saturday at Salon2eleven in Carrboro, NC. Amidst COVID-19, Salon2eleven is offering customers the option of hair styling services indoors or outdoors. As the state of North Carolina transitions from the
Kate Medley / For WUNC

A lot of people across North Carolina were out and about over the Memorial Day weekend as more state restrictions on where you can go and what you can do have been lifted. And while restaurants are filling up again – to 50% capacity anyway – personal grooming also seems to top people's to-do list.

Meet 'The Coronavirus Hunter' Ralph Baric

May 25, 2020
Image of Epidemiologist Ralph Baric
Christopher Janaro/christopherjanaro.com

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 took most of the world by surprise — but not Ralph Baric. He is an epidemiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill who has been dubbed “the coronavirus hunter.”

African American Research Collaborative

national poll, in collaboration with the NAACP and the Yale School of Medicine, shows African Americans are a lot more trusting of local elected officials than President Donald Trump, during the coronavirus pandemic. But blacks aren’t as favorable of governors in the South.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As restaurants, salons and pools reopen (partially) in North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend, there are varying levels of worry about the coronavirus. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation chat about the loosening of public health restrictions, more record-setting unemployment numbers, and the news that there will be no criminal charges against the chemical manufacturer Chemours for contamination in the Cape Fear River. 


Members of the Chinese American Friendship Association of North Carolina stuff bags with facemasks in front of the Cary Senior Center.
Jared Weber / For WUNC

Some folks saw posts on social media. Several received messages from elected officials. Others heard via word of mouth. Regardless, by the time May 1 arrived, a line of cars curved two blocks down the road from the Cary Senior Center, as drivers waited to pick up 10 free facemasks from their cars.

Pages