Updated March 24, 2020
The World Health Organization’s official declaration that COVID-19 is a pandemic serves as a powerful reminder for us all of how connected we are as a planet. The measures adopted in Asia and Europe inform the local response to the virus, as America starts to see an increase of cases and implements plans to slow down the rate of infection.
Our global fellows and Report for America corps members have been reporting on the pandemic from multiple angles, helping their audiences understand the scope of the pandemic and its effect on their community and lives.
The combination of global and local perspectives provide a comprehensive look at this emergency that contributes the conversation around containment and effective responses to the spread of this threat. Here are some highlights from their coverage:
Wednesday, March 25, 2020:
- Amid business closures across the state, New Mexico farmers are working to supply fresh produce to locals, reports Theresa Davis for the Albuquerque Journal. Read more.
- Manny Ramos highlights an unintended consequence of the stay-at-home orders nationwide: a shortage of blood donations. “More than 6,000 American Red Cross blood drives have been canceled nationwide over the last three weeks, resulting in about 200,000 fewer blood donations.” Read more.
- In California’s San Joaquin Valley, a local school district is providing grab-and-go meals at 23 locations, including bus stops, to help families in need feed their kids during school closures, reports Kaitlin Washburn, with The Sun-Gazette. Read more.
- For the Malheur Enterprise, in Oregon, Yadira Lopez reports on long-term effects to the local economy due to the outbreak and closures in its wake. Read more.
- Despite calls from Connecticut advocacy groups to release some inmates early in order to prevent them from being infected with COVID-19, Governor Ned Lamont said he’s not considering that measure. Lamont has yet to articulate preventative measures for correctional facilities, reports Kelan Lyons for the Connecticut Mirror.
- Emily Woodruff, with the Advocate in New Orleans, worked with other reporters to speak to nine local healthcare workers on the front lines of efforts in the Pelican State to save patients’ lives and contain the virus. Read more.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020:
- Due to the crisis, an embattled Kentucky judge facing misconduct charges will maintain her position and salary until the hearings, set for next month, can be rescheduled. Julia Fair reports for the Cincinnati Enquirer on the Judicial Conduct Commission decision to suspend her hearings over concerns about spreading the virus. Read more.
- How can families and friends put loved ones to rest amid a pandemic? Utah funeral homes are helping locals find ways to grieve, reports Becky Jacobs for the Salt Lake Tribune. Read more.
- For Boise State Radio in Idaho, Rachel Cohen looks at how districts and residents are navigating “shelter in place” and “state of emergency” declarations – a challenge for counties like Blaine, where retail stores selling basic goods do not exist, requiring locals to drive south to Twin Falls for supplies. Listen.
- In Mississippi, Michelle Liu has been looking at how the state’s prison system is preparing for the virus, including suspending approved leave and prisoner work crews. Read more.
- With WCAI on Cape Cod, Eve Zuckoff spoke with local businesses and employees ordered to close shop by state order. Read more.
- In California, Risa Johnson writes about the ways parents and children are adjusting to remote learning, more time at home and less time with friends, highlighting the creative approaches parents have come up with to keep their children active and engaged. Read more.
Monday, March 23, 2020:
- In Newark, New Jersey, the school system’s online format comes with an upgrade for some 7,000 students: a laptop and free internet. Devna Bose reports on how the community is trying to address disparities during the pandemic. Read more.
- In Tennessee, Wyatt Massey reports on Chattanooga’s burdened system of shelters, which does not yet have the capacity to house everyone in need. The city is working with local nonprofits and community centers to find the means of protecting the area’s most vulnerable population. Read more.
- Similarly, Manuela Tobias, with the Fresno Bee in California’s Central Valley, reports on the local effort to shelter the homeless. Many of them told Tobias, however, that they were concerned about the risk of being quarantined with strangers amid the pandemic, potentially raising the likelihood of infection. Read more.
- Before the crisis, West Virginia food pantries were already feeding some 100,000 people annually. But now, job losses related to the pandemic are straining that system further, reports former corps member Caity Coyne. Complicating the problem, many of the food pantry volunteers are over 70, making them more at risk of death from COVID-19. Read more.
- In North Carolina, food distributor Meals on Wheels is trying to address the issue of food delivery, and safety protocols for interactions with seniors, the most vulnerable to the virus. Read Adam Wagner’s reporting.
- Reporting for Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune, Becky Jacobs speaks with a couple trying to adapt their marriage plans to the new reality of social distancing. Read her reporting on love in the time of coronavirus.
Friday, March 20, 2020:
- For Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, corps member Rachel Cohen reports on how local businesses are learning to adapt to new containment measures. Read more.
- In Miami, Lautaro Grinspan reported for the Miami Herald on some “eyebrow-raising” scenes at one local nursing home, where the facility has had to make its own sanitizer, skirmishes over supplies were witnessed and school closings have forced desperate employees to bring kids to work despite a visitor ban. Read more.
- Reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina, Lauren Lindstrom is covering the outbreak in Mecklenburg County, where the reported cases more than doubled overnight. Read more.
- Across California, job losses due to shutdowns are causing community members to go hungry and ask for assistance that is already under strain, reports corps member Jackie Botts for CalMatters. “A line of 500 to 600 people standing six feet apart snaked around a parking lot and multiple city blocks in downtown Los Angeles,” she writes.
- In Mississippi, Eric J. Shelton, a photojournalist, has been covering the outbreak’s local effects for Mississippi Today. See his latest work in this story about the impact on local food supplies.
- Camalot Todd, who covers mental health in Western New York state, reminded her Spectrum News’ Buffalo audience that it is normal to be anxious or stressed in times like these and shared behavioral and mental health resources for those who feel that might need support.. Read more.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
- From domestic workers to stand-up comedians, members of Chicago’s gig economy are caught in a microcosm of the crisis amid the global pandemic. As gigs decrease and disappear altogether, locals are getting creative in paying their rent, corps member Carlos Ballesteros reports for the Chicago Sun-Times. Read more.
- Corps member Obed Manuel covers Latino issues and the 2020 census for the Dallas Morning News, and reports that the U.S. Census Bureau has suspended local field operations due to the pandemic and will reopen in April. Read more.
- In Buffalo, Wyoming, corps member Mara Abbott is covering the outbreak’s impact on the local oil industry. Accounting for 15% of her county’s property and production taxes, the global drop in gas prices, compounded by the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia, hits home, and hard. “According to the Petroleum Association of Wyoming,” she writes, “each time a dollar is sliced off the price of oil, the state sustains a $12.5 million annual loss.” Read more.
- For St. Louis Public Radio, Eric Schmid reports that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced statewide Medicaid expansion to cover COVID-19 infections. Read more.
- As the outbreak spreads across the Bay Area and volunteers become scarce, the city of Sunnyvale is deploying its own staff members to help distribute food to those in need. Corpsmember Erica Hellerstein is on the ground with Mercury News. Read more.
- Reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, corps member Alex Acquisto speaks with the local officials leading the effort to distribute the first major shipment of safety gear – surgical masks gloves and gowns – to the commonwealth’s hospitals. Read more.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
- For the Victoria Advocate in Texas, corps member Ciara McCarthy is covering the state’s investigation into Matagorda County’s first potential COVID-19 case. Read more.
- In Kentucky, the wide swath of residents finding themselves without work following the governor’s order to close down all dining-in at restaurants and bars is overwhelming the commonwealth’s unemployment system with thousands more claims per week, reports corps member Will Wright. Read more.
- Despite the national and local states of emergency declarations, Moab, Utah expects as many as 6,000 tourists next weekend. But as corps member Kate Goetzinger reports for KUER, the local hospital has a message for potential visitors: “stay at home.” Read more.
- “Organizers are scrambling to help get food and other essentials to older or vulnerable people who are staying at home to protect against the spread of the coronavirus,” reports corps member Camille von Kaenel for the Chico Enterprise-Record in California’s Butte County, where there has also been an outpouring of offers from healthy residents to help neighbors in need. Read more.
- In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Katherine Lewin asked Dr. David Scrase, secretary of Human Services of the state, about what members of the population are most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 during a one-on-one interview this week. Read more.
- In Wyoming, Chris Aadland reports that local Native American tribes at the Wind River Reservation are responding to the virus this week by calling a state of emergency and shutting down casinos until further notice. Read More.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020:
- After hearing about the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, two residents decided to put their time and effort into helping those in need. Reporting for the Times Free Press, Wyatt Massey followed members of We Over Me Chattanooga as they distributed food to the elderly and families with children across the city.
- ChrisAnna Mink reports on the third confirmed case of COVID-19 in Stanislaus County, California and the activation of the emergency services response in the area for the Modesto Bee.
- Is it safe to swim in the ocean? In a pool? How long does the virus stay on clothing? Eleni Gill answers these and other COVID-19 related questions for Honolulu Civil Beat readers.
- Homeless shelters are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the novel coronavirus, given the tight living spaces and the frailty of many of those who use these services. Kelan Lyons reports on the state of Connecticut’s shelters and the anxiety felt by those who live in them for the Connecticut Mirror.
- Julia Fair reports on the backlash against Northern Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie after he took to social media to criticize the Coronavirus Relief Bill passed by Congress and the measures adopted by the government.
- Given their limited budget, supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries can’t afford to stock up on food and essential items. Pascal Sabino reports for Block Club Chicago on how the wave of panic buyers and hoarders have left these people scrambling to find food for a possible lockdown. Despite not reporting any cases of COVID-19 yet, life is already changing at Malheur County, Oregon. Yadira Lopez chronicles the big and small ways this community is adapting to the pandemic for the Malheur Enterprise.
Monday, March 16, 2020:
- A quarter of the people imprisoned in Connecticut are over 45 years old. Kelan Lyons spoke with experts to measure the impact of the virus on the elderly prison population and how the authorities are preparing for an outbreak.
- Hospitality is one of the hardest hit industries by the spread of COVID-19. Lautaro Grinspan, reporting for The Miami Herald, explores the impact the outbreak is having on the hotels and its employees, many of whom depend on tourism to make ends meet.
- Although considered the group at the lowest risk of infection and death, children are still vulnerable to anxiety and other mental issues during this time of pandemic. Camalot Todd reports for Spectrum News Buffalo on ways you can talk to your children about the virus.
- In Michigan, Angie Jackson explored the effects of anxiety about the pandemic among adults with mental health conditions for the Detroit Free Press.
- California’s governor is asking seniors and chronically ill patients to stay home. For CalMatters, Jackie Botts put together an explainer for those left with questions after the announcement.
- Julia Fair reports on the state of emergency declared in Northern Kentucky after the number of confirmed cases across the state increased to eight.
- Arielle Dreher follows up on a Washington State couple who was quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship, after they were finally allowed to disembark. Their quarantine, however, is far from over.
Friday, March 13, 2020:
- Reporting from Seoul, GroundTruth alumna Kelly Kasulis compiled a timeline of how South Korea, which has the third-largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the world moved fast to respond to the emergency, keeping its death rate at the lowest level possible and offering an interesting comparison to how the U.S. has responded.
- In this week’s AAPI newsletter, Theodora Yu at The Sacramento Bee is closely following the impact of COVID-19 on the Asian American community in Sacramento, Calif. Read more.
- Chris Ehrmann with the Associated Press was in New York’s ‘containment area’ in New Rochelle, interviewing weary and anxious residents and shop owners, in one of the nation’s biggest clusters of coronavirus cases. Read more.
- In Hawaii, Eleni Gill with The Honolulu Civil Beat, has been fielding questions from the community. In her latest Q&A post, she tackles why the islands haven’t yet banned cruise ships. Read more.
- As coronavirus cases in New Orleans rise, hospital officials are worried about staffing, supplies and more. Emily Woodruff at The New Orleans Advocate has the latest. Read more.
- Another 100 cases were reported in Washington State on Thursday, increasing the number of confirmed cases to 457, but health officials think the number is much higher. Arielle Dreher, reporting for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, WA, highlights how the efforts to stop the spread of the virus in the state are being hampered by the delays in testing. Read more.
- Julia Fair examines the impact the closure of schools will have on 650,000 children and their families across Ohio in her latest story for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Read More.