COVID-19

Student, Classroom, school, class
Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

The pair of COVID-19 recovery bills passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper provide broad relief and numerous funding streams dedicated to K-12 public school students.

Those individual line items - paid for with federal aid - cover a cornucopia of students' needs.

"Today's bills provide for feeding schoolchildren, summer learning programs to help them catch up and funding to purchase computers for students who need them," Cooper said at a press conference.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Since the coronavirus pandemic swept into North Carolina a couple of months ago, Dr. Mandy Cohen has become a familiar figure.

The state health and human services secretary appears in near daily briefings with the governor and other officials leading the response. 

The decisions are hard, she says, especially when the science around COVID-19 is still evolving. 
 
On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, she talks about balancing public health protections with the consequences, how worried she is about reopening the economy, and how much sleep she's getting (hint: not much). 
 


Holden Thorp
Washington University in St Louis

Recent polls have shown that a strong majority of Americans trust the most prominent scientists during this pandemic, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.

Their ability to communicate complicated scientific topics has helped them gain the public trust, for the most part. But that doesn't mean there's not a lot of misinformation put out every day; some of it extremely harmful.

Courtesy of Justin Catanoso

When in-person classes were cancelled for the semester at Wake Forest University, Professor Justin Catanoso knew he would have to break some of his own rules. 

Legislators look out the window to see packed protestors.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

North Carolina lawmakers gaveled in Tuesday for a legislative session unlike any other — their first since the coronavirus pandemic hit the state. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a couple of tough calls this week in the face of increasing frustration with social distancing restrictions.

He extended his stay-at-home order. And he declared public school buildings will stay shut for the rest of the academic year. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss what lessons could be learned from online learning, and what decisions state lawmakers should make in response to the coronavirus crisis when it's their turn next week.
 


Protestor holds a sign that reads 'end the tyranny.'
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Governors find themselves in the political crosshairs of the pandemic — navigating the threat of an economic depression with a second wave outbreak. This week, states began diverging from the federal government’s recommended strict restrictions. 

A woman dressed in black, wearing a mask looks gazes off towards a stream of light
Kate Medley / WUNC

 Death is a taboo topic. Acknowledging it feels like an admission of defeat — that there is no hope left. But in the face of a pandemic, death surrounds us. 

Nina Jones Mason, the manager of Ellis D. Jones & Sons Funeral Directors in Durham, NC, seats funeral attendees with six feet distance as a precautionary measure during COVID-19.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

North Carolina's stay-at-home order includes a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. In Durham, that restriction is no more than five people. Even though health experts say social distancing is critical in saving lives during this pandemic, it's been difficut for people not to gather at funerals.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As the Republican leader of the state Senate, Phil Berger is the most powerful man in North Carolina politics. For weeks, he's been pushing for random COVID-19 testing so the state can get a handle on the outbreak and reopen for business. 

Meanwhile, the legislative leadership decided to close the doors of the General Assembly to the public, just before lawmakers are set to reconvene for an in-person session. Berger says that wasn't an easy call. 

The senate leader talks about protests against the governor's stay-at-home order, social distancing, and missing baseball on this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast. 
 


Courtesy Bevin Strickland

Bevin Strickland is an ICU nurse, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a single mother of three. Two weeks ago, she started a temporary position at Mount Sinai hospital, in New York City, one of the nation’s coronavirus hot spots.

Artist Shana Tucker looks out her apartment window.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

 

Red-tipped hair swept to the side, Shana Tucker bites her lower lip before looking back at the camera. 

“I learned today that someone that I grew up with is fighting for her life as a result of COVID-19,” she says through tears. “That's the first time that it sat me down and took my breath away.”

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

There were new calls this week for the reopening of business across North Carolina — there was even a protest in Raleigh against the governor's stay-at-home order. 

The General Assembly will soon be convening to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, but top leaders in the state House and Senate have announced the legislative building will be closed to the public. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss the growing discord and whether the evidence suggests the state is ready to ease social distancing restrictions. 
 


Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

A COVID-19 outbreak at a North Carolina state prison has spread to approximately 150 inmates, health officials said Friday.

Donn Young

Seventy-two of the 33,863 people currently detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, April 13. That is a higher infection rate than the general U.S. population, and immigrant rights groups dispute those official numbers, saying new detainees are not tested upon arrival. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders and staff walk down steps on Capitol Hill
Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is out of the Democratic presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden is now the presumptive nominee who will face President Donald Trump in November. 

YouTube thumbnail from coronavirus and mental health video.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically transformed home and work life in North Carolina. For many, it has blurred the line between the once separate realms of home, office and school. And with that comes new sources of stress and anxiety. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Republican Greg Murphy represents eastern North Carolina's 3rd District in the U.S. House. He's also a urologist, and the only doctor on Capitol Hill still seeing patients. 

He's been on social media in a lab coat or scrubs often lately to update constituents on the coronavirus outbreak. He's delivered a mea culpa about one claim: sunlight, he'd said, can kill the virus — several fact checks rated that false. 

On this edition of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Rep. Murphy talks social distancing, the federal response to COVID-19, and being both a physician and a politician in the middle of a pandemic.


Clouds sit low on North Carolina mountains.
Flickr, Peter Miller

The Environmental Protection Agency relaxed environmental standards during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency says it is suspending civil penalties temporarily because of potential worker shortages, social distancing mandates and travel restrictions. But the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says state rules still apply. 

Lonon faces away from the cemetery while walking away.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

COVID-19 is changing all aspects of life — including the rituals we associate with death. All funerals have been upended, but veterans have now lost one particularly important ceremony: burial with military honors. 

lowe's
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Home Improvement store Lowes says it will limit the number of customers who can enter a store at one time. That decision comes about a week after Governor Roy Cooper's stay-home order, and after many stores saw large crowds of shoppers.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina is rounding out its first week under a statewide stay-at-home order. 

Two years' worth of unemployment applications have suffocated the state agency charged with handling them. 

And the coronavirus pandemic has now reached into the state's nursing homes, prisons, and even the legislative building. 

Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch discuss what's transpired, what lawmakers should do to prepare for the inevitable budget shortfalls, and the conundrum of political fundraising during a crisis. 
 


Leoneda Inge / WUNC

As more people adhere to social distancing guidelines, there's one truly essential place where it's tougher to follow the rules: the grocery store.

Kevin Fuller
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order went into effect earlier this week. That presents a particular problem for the 9,000 North Carolinians who make up the state's homeless population.

Curbside sign reads: Please remain in your vehicle, we will be right with you.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

North Carolina is still in the early phase of its COVID-19 outbreak. The statewide case count jumped over the weekend, from 888 last Friday to about 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases Tuesday morning. 

Two boys reading on a couch with grandfather
Courtesy of Amy Scott

Homes across North Carolina are becoming workplaces, schools and daycares as families make plans to shelter in place for the next month.

Dawn Booker, Pack Light Global

Late last week, the U.S. State Department officially put a halt on international travel as we know it. It is recommending United States citizens stay home, amid this coronavirus pandemic.

The timing of that declaration meant I barely made it back from Morocco before its government suspended all international flights. I was travelling with a group of African American women on a once in a lifetime excursion.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered North Carolinians to stay at home for thirty days starting 5 p.m. Monday, March 30. Healthcare providers worried about being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients cheered his decision. Businesses not necessarily. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers this week began meeting, telephonically, to consider things like how to provide tax relief and get money to all the people who are suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus crisis. 

From a safe social distance, Rob Schofield of the progressive NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the conservative John Locke Foundation, weigh in. 
 


ThinkStock

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having broad financial consequences, and college students are not immune to the effects.

Dalvin Nichols 8-Bit Photography

Dealing with the COVID-19 crisis means coping with feelings of fear, confusion and sadness. For musicians, it also means financial precarity as venues and festivals across the state continue to cancel or postpone.
 

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