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Coronavirus

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Many elderly residents depend on skilled nursing care. But as the number of cases of COVID-19 grow across the state, families are increasingly worried about their loved ones in facilities. Older adults are most vulnerable to the coronavirus, and in Connecticut, nearly 4 in 10 deaths from COVID-19 are people in nursing homes.

This hour, we take a look at the COVID-19 pandemic in Connecticut’s nursing homes. We talk about the state’s latest plans to try to mitigate the spread of the disease, and hear about the impact of the pandemic on residents and staff.

Despite cranky computers, conflicting schedules, shaky Internet connections and stubborn software glitches, Danielle Kovach got her whole class together a few Fridays ago for a video chat.

Kovach teaches special education in Hopatcong, N.J., and this Friday class session was a celebration: They'd made it through the first few weeks of distance learning.

Updated at 7:21 p.m. ET

The White House unveiled guidelines on Thursday it said the nation can use to plot a course out of the coronavirus disaster and toward something like normal.

Trump also spoke via teleconference with the governors of the 50 states earlier Thursday to outline his plan for the way they'll proceed with re-opening and normalization.

Pandemic Exposes Stark Health Disparities Generations In The Making

Apr 16, 2020
drive-through COVID-19 testing
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Soon after Minerva Cuapio, a 48-year-old Mexican immigrant who lives in New Haven, was laid off from her job at a dry cleaner in March, she developed a headache, an itchy throat and a dry cough.

Then came the shortness of breath that really worried her daughter, Izarelli Mendieta, 29, of New Haven.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The road to reopening Connecticut’s economy will likely require a phased-in approach that will consider hospitalization numbers, widespread COVID-19 testing and detailed tracking of infections in different regions, Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday. 

An official at the U.S. Department of Justice is warning of an increase in domestic violence due to the wave of recent gun-buying spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, echoing concerns advocates have raised for weeks.

Travis Wise / flickr creative commons

I haven't been grocery shopping in 21 days. The last time I went, March 26, was a harrowing experience.

It was before this particular grocery store, at least, had started limiting the number of customers in the building at a time, before it had made aisles one-way, before it started wiping down carts after each use and providing sanitizing wipes for customers to use.

Staff and customers alike didn't seem to understand just how far six feet is, and the aisles were too narrow to afford that sort of distancing anyway. Fresh meats were in short supply, cleaning products were nowhere to be found, and canned and frozen foods were few and far between.

And so I haven't been back.

social distancing
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

It’s been 24 days since Gov. Ned Lamont’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” initiative went into effect. It’s been 39 days since the first Connecticut resident tested positive for COVID-19.

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected to the ones we love. Especially those that are feeling isolated during this trying time. 

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said that recent data suggest that the United States has made it through the worst of new coronavirus cases, as he seeks to reopen the pandemic-beaten national economy.

"The data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases. Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden at the daily coronavirus task force briefing. The task force did not share the data they used to reach that assessment.

DOL Says Unemployment Payment Backlog Solved By Computer Fix

Apr 15, 2020
unemployment website
Connecticut Public

Connecticut will pay tens of millions of dollars of backlogged unemployment insurance benefits in the next two weeks after crafting emergency upgrades to its nearly 40-year-old computer system, eliminating a major obstacle to mitigating the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, state labor officials said Wednesday.

Though gun sales skyrocketed last month in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Rifle Association’s fortunes appear to be headed in the opposite direction.

Thousands of gun enthusiasts were slated to gather in Nashville for the NRA’s 2020 annual meeting this month, but like nearly every other large gathering planned for the spring it fell victim to the coronavirus isolation orders. That cost the group a valuable fundraising opportunity. The NRA says it led to layoffs.

Would Biden Follow In Obama’s Footsteps On Guns?

Apr 15, 2020

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and his own former VP, in a roughly 12-minute video posted to YouTube on Tuesday. He lauded Biden’s career, family, and personal values while pledging support for the ways Biden could take the reins of the United States’ fluctuating economy amid the COVID-19 crisis. He’s also eager to see Biden further grow Obama-era policies like the Affordable Care Act and rejoin the Paris Agreement.

face mask
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday that he is considering an executive order spelling out when and where Connecticut residents should wear face masks in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Despite a few flickers of hope that Connecticut was rounding the bend on COVID-19 cases, Lamont said virus infections continue to grow, with nearly 200 newly reported deaths. 

empty parking lot; Midway Restaurant & Pizza
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

The economic impact of the coronavirus continues to be felt both here in Connecticut and around the world.

CEA

Before the pandemic, most of us craved of a little solitude away from the hustle of life. Now, we've been  been thrust into a form of solitude far from the idleness of the lazy summer afternoon we imagined. Our minds are restless with uncertainty and fear and without the usual distractions we turn toward when being alone with ourselves becomes too painful to confront. 

postcards
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

As recent events in Wisconsin have reminded us, this is an important year for elections, but one where we will have to explore new paradigms for political activity.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit and we all began social distancing, election activities had been ramping up. And one cooperative effort in Connecticut is managing to keep going stronger than ever, despite physical isolation.

So Far, Colebrook Residents Elude COVID-19

Apr 14, 2020
Colebrook Town Hall
Town of Colebrook

The sleepy town of Colebrook has no traffic lights, no police department, no public sewer or water system and no confirmed cases of COVID-19.

CTMirror.org

Reshaped by a virus, the strangest race for the White House in U.S. history kicked off in practice if not officially when Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his campaign and endorsed former Democratic rival Joe Biden in his challenge of President Donald Trump.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Parts of the United States could relax their pandemic mitigation countermeasures before the end of the month, President Trump suggested on Tuesday, although the details aren't clear.

Trump used his daily briefing at the White House to tease the prospect that more than 20 states might be able to re-open in some form or change their practices before May 1 — even though he also said the federal guidelines on social distancing and other practices would stay in effect until then.

Lamont Gets Bipartisan Support From Fairfield County Mayors On COVID-19 Response

Apr 14, 2020
NEW HAVEN, CT - April 1, 2020: Gov. Ned Lamont tours a mobile field hospital with other officials at Southern Connecticut State University as the state enters what could be the worst month of the pandemic as COVID-19 spreads across Connecticut.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As Connecticut’s death toll from COVID-19 jumped by another 69 fatalities Tuesday, two Fairfield County mayors voiced strong bipartisan support for Gov. Ned Lamont’s handling of the crisis and urged caution about reopening the state too quickly.

Gov. Ned Lamont
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont has largely refrained from publicly criticizing the White House. That changed on CNN last night, when he responded to President Donald Trump’s assertion that the commander in chief has authority that is “total.”

Lamont accused Trump of throwing “verbal grenades.”

Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advises all people to wear a cloth face covering in public spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, though in Connecticut, masks are not mandatory. With shortages of medical-grade masks on the front lines of the pandemic, such masks aren’t generally available to the public. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from getting creative with DIY versions. A walk around New Haven bears that out, as you’ll see many residents with a new look, doing their part to fight the coronavirus.    

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

An incarcerated person died from COVID-19 on Monday, the first Connecticut inmate to succumb to the virus as the numbers of positive cases behind bars continued to spike.

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

President Trump and the leading immunologist on the White House coronavirus task force attempted to present a united front Monday, following speculation of a shake-up within the federal pandemic response effort.

Dr. Anthony Fauci — one of the more recognizable faces on the task force — and Trump pushed back on the notion that Fauci was on the outs with the president.

COVID-19 Risks Could Speed Transitions To At-Home Dialysis

Apr 13, 2020
DaVita Intregrated Care Photo

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely result in a “huge paradigm shift” toward in-home dialysis treatments in the future, experts predict.

Lamont, Northeast Governors Promise To Cautiously Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

Apr 13, 2020
Hospital staff thank local fire, police, and EMS.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The Democratic governors of a half dozen northeastern states outlined a regional approach Monday to devising a plan for the careful easing of COVID-19 restrictions, warning  that changes will come slowly and be guided by public health experts, not politicians or business interests.

NIH Clinical Center

Health experts have released multiple plans that all call for some version of the same thing. We need to conduct widespread testing, trace contacts of the infected, and quarantine those contacts BEFORE we can ease social distancing measures. 

Hospital staff thank local fire, police departments, and EMS as they pay tribute to the health care providers at Saint Mary's Hospital who are on the front lines taking care of patients with COVID-19 on April 10, 2020 in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Last week, cars lined up outside Saint Francis Hospital early in the morning for drive-thru coronavirus testing. Today, heavy winds forced many of these sites to close because they’re operating in tents. 

CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / Wikimedia Commons

COVID-19 has dominated our lives, but how much do you actually know about the virus that causes this disease?

This hour, we talk with NY Times columnist and writer, Carl Zimmer about the science behind the coronavirus. We learn about how viruses work and how they’re different from other disease-causing germs like bacteria.

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