The State of Things

 

The issues, personalities and places of North Carolina right to you, every day in your podcast feed. Hosted by Frank Stasio and Anita Rao. Listen and subscribe on Google PlayApple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite shows. Tweet us @state_of_things and see more show content on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Courtesy of Ty Meyer

For students and educators around the state, this year’s learning is in a state of flux. Public schools are holding out hope that they will reopen their doors before the school year ends. 

Collin Parker

Has anyone checked on the huggers? As weeks of social distancing wear on, many are missing the comforts of a warm embrace — especially those who live alone. Touch has always been an essential emotional and physiological need. In its absence, more people are seeking out creative solutions. From self-massage and weighted blankets to pet fostering and adoption, those sheltering in place are finding new ways to connect with their bodies and their inner selves.

In a statewide special, public radio stations from across North Carolina join together to examine the impact of Coronavirus on our health, schools and economy.

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. 

Courtesy of Jon Reep

The news is filled with constant updates about the coronavirus pandemic, from outbreaks in prisons and nursing homes to an ever-increasing number of deaths. Mental health experts have been vocal about the need to take breaks from the news, but what specifically can help us reset? Try humor.

Red racecar speeding away.
Mark Menscer

Mark Menscer likes living between worlds. The “shock nerd” might spend the day chumming it up at a race track before heading home for a solitary night spent photographing the remains of a supernova. The Fayetteville native points to his unique upbringing for sparking his curiosity and wide-ranging interests.

Cartoon image of fertilization.
Flickr Creative Commons

Infertility is a disease that affects millions of people in the United States but is rarely discussed openly. Twelve percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 experienced infertility, along with just over nine percent of men in that age group, according to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers translate to about one in eight couples who have trouble getting or staying pregnant. There are a variety of treatments for infertility, but they can be costly and are not accessible to everyone.

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. 

Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

North Carolina’s unemployment filings since March 16 hover just over 470,000, and about 87% of those claims are related to COVID-19. This amounts to years worth of claims that need to be processed in only a matter of weeks. 

(AP Photo/ Daniel R. Patmore)

As of April 7, a surge of COVID-19 cases at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner sent the total number of infections to 62 — the highest among the nation’s federal prisons, according to The News and Observer.

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. 

Courtesy of Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Whether passing the peace, the communion chalice or the collection plate, touch is central to many church congregations. But while church members are sheltering at home, pastors and faith leaders have had to find new ways to provide their parishioners with a sense of togetherness.

Rae Hsu

Could American democracy be better? It is a big and existential question that is now even more pressing as many watch their friends, neighbors and loved ones fall through the cracks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wikimedia

Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, wrote “all diseases begin in the gut.” He continued the line with the famous advice: “let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine.” New research confirms Hippocrates’ thinking, showing the human gut does much more than just process food.

Molly Milroy / Chai Pani Restaurant Group

Home cooking is taking a creative turn as folks take fewer trips to the grocery store. Listeners chimed in with their favorite quarantine recipes, including cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez reminding us of the infinite versatility of canned tomatoes. 

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Grocery clerks and delivery drivers are on the frontlines alongside healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. But, unlike nurses, coming in contact with highly contagious diseases was not included in their job description. Low wages, limited benefits, and now the pervasive threat of illness?

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

When former schoolteacher Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, founded Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC in 1979, no one could have imagined all that the institution would become: a religious movement with global impact; a community that provides housing and job opportunities to its congregation; and a cult dogged with allegations of physical, psychological and spiritual abuse

Fort Bragg provides an ideal environment for the St. Francis Satry, a critically endangered species of butterfly.
Courtesy of Nick Haddad

Of all federal agencies, the Department of Defense manages the highest density of threatened and endangered species, more than even the National Park Service. The special relationship between the Pentagon and environmentalist organizations originates at Fort Bragg.

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.

Courtesy of Ways & Means

What does it mean to take a unique approach to solving problems like gun violence, climate change, voter apathy or racism? It means asking hard questions in different ways and tracking the answers through close study of human behavior. 

Graphic of a bed.
WikiHow

A solid eight hours can be hard to come by in our non-stop, tech-saturated world. But the modern science of sleep shows that shut-eye is just as critical as diet and exercise in shaping both mental and physical health.

Pixabay

While North Carolina politicians ponder their role in the pandemic response, healthcare workers know they will be the first responders no matter what. That is why hospitals are pleading that state and local governments order people to shelter-in-place. 

PBS

After filming five seasons of the Peabody award-winning series, “A Chef’s Life,” Vivian Howard has the cameras pointed in a different direction — this time, away from her. While she is the host of her new show, “Somewhere South,” her role is more like that of a food ethnographer. 

Pixabay

Who are we when faced with widespread contagion? Disease and humanity’s varied responses to sickness are on full-display in cinema – from zombie flicks to documentaries that help deepen our understanding of epidemics in the real world.  

U.S. Congress

A week before the U.S. stock market started to slump, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr sold off a significant portion of his portfolio — while reassuring the public that the nation was prepared for a pandemic. 

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.
 

Melissa Carrico

Nothing changes your life like the addition of a child. Suddenly, there are so many new things to consider for a tiny human whose brain works in really mysterious ways. 

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

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