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Coronavirus

Federal health officials are hoping to stretch the supplies used to test for the coronavirus by combining samples from a number of people and running a single test. Chinese health officials used that strategy to rapidly test large populations in Wuhan and Beijing.

The technique, called pooled testing, won't resolve the testing bottlenecks in the United States. But it could help.

State of Connecticut

Ballot drop boxes are beginning to appear in towns and cities across Connecticut in time for the Aug. 11 primary election. All eligible primary voters will have the option to cast a mail-in or drop-off absentee ballot this year.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said the idea is to offer an alternative to in-person voting at polling places amid the pandemic. 

Universal Pictures

The raft of renaming going on right now obviously hasn't spared popular culture. The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum are now The Chicks and Lady A, respectively. Björk's record label changed its name. Democrats want to rename John Wayne Airport. FedEx has formally asked the Washington Redskins to change their name, and Guilford's board of education voted to drop the town's "Indians" nickname. And, while Splash Mountain is going to keep being called Splash Mountain, it won't be based on Song of the South anymore.

And: The King of Staten Island is the sixth feature film directed by Judd Apatow. It stars Pete Davidson (who also co-wrote the movie with Apatow and Dave Sirus) as a 24-year-old high school dropout who lives with his mother on Staten Island. It's available for rental on digital platforms.

We’re all naked under our clothes. It’s when we take them off that things could get complicated.

I didn't want to be clothesminded, so in 2012 I did something that I had never done before. I took off all my clothes and spent time at Solair, a nudist resort in Woodstock, Connecticut, all in the name of radio. Then, I revisited the resort a few years later to go skinnydipping with four members of one family to find out what the nudist lifestyle means to their hearts, minds, and of course, bodies.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Like the country at large, New England states are taking a patchwork approach to reopening during the pandemic. Rhode Island just entered phase three on Tuesday, while most of the other states are still in phase two — meaning we can now go inside a restaurant to eat, more stores can open, and in many states, people can go to the gym. But don’t be fooled, experts say: Reopening does not mean the pandemic is over.

Lamont: Full Reopening Of Connecticut Bars In Mid-July Must 'Take A Pause'

Jul 2, 2020
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont shut the door Thursday on a full-scale reopening of Connecticut bars in mid-July, though he said a formal announcement won’t come until next week.

Dr. Joseph Tagliarini is operating his dental office at nearly full staff and hopes that a new generation COVID test will be developed that will give results on the spot at work or at home.
Steve Hamm / Connecticut Health I-Team

After the COVID-19 crisis came to Connecticut, the New Haven office of Comprehensive Dental Health shut down completely for two weeks. Later, Dr. Joseph Tagliarini began opening the office a few days a week with a skeleton crew to handle emergencies. Now the office is operating at nearly full staffing—with six full-time and six part-time employees.

A group of friends hang out at Hammonasset Beach State Park Friday to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

What’s typically known as a busy holiday travel weekend will look a little different this year. Many people may opt for road trips that don’t take them too far from home this Fourth of July.

Lamont: Connecticut Faces Two Contagions, COVID And Racism

Jul 1, 2020
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

The mayor went first. The governor, lieutenant governor and the others waited their turn to condemn racism, America’s new ritual in the days and weeks since George Floyd breathed his last in the custody of police in Minneapolis.

New Haven Symphony Orchestra
New Haven Symphony Orchestra / Facebook

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will not perform in front of a live audience until 2021. Instead, the ensemble will focus on virtual programming. The decision is a response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Real estate agents say the fight over homes on the market in Fairfield County is heating up as millennials who lived in New York City want out due to COVID-19.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

State contracting officials have allowed vendors to redact pricing information for COVID-19 tests from more than half a dozen public contracts, and newly obtained emails show the state went out of its way to accommodate at least one company after it missed a deadline to claim its pricing should be kept secret.

Bonnie-Brown / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut has released the details of its plan to return K-12 students to in-person classes in the fall. So what could it mean in practice? Teachers representatives are concerned and call the plan “lacking.”

Ray Hardman / Connecticut Public Radio

Lake Compounce bills itself as “the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America,” but COVID-19 threatened to end that 174-year streak.

Now, with clearance from the governor’s office, the Bristol amusement park is ready to open, but there will be some notable changes to ensure the safety of guests and staff.

June 25, 2020: These travelers coming to Connecticut from South Carolina are being asked to voluntarily enter a two week quarantine upon entering the state.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut added eight states Tuesday to its travel advisory that calls for visitors from now 16 states to quarantine for two weeks. Meanwhile, as Connecticut reported just over 150 new COVID-19 cases, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor warned that the U.S. could experience 100,000 new cases a day.

Major League Baseball is officially coming back this summer after a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but aspects of the game will look a little different.

MLB announced Monday that it would shift some of its in-game rules, making significant and historic changes.

Many of those rule changes were made with concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in mind, including a threat of immediate ejection if a player or coach comes within 6 feet of an umpire or opponent in the course of an argument.

Image Catalog / Creative Commons

Your sex life doesn't have to suffer just because you're cooped up at home every day. Researchers say that sex is a healthy way to calm the anxiety of pandemic, even if you live alone. Virtual dating, masturbation, and coronavirus-related porn are more popular than ever.

Bus Company First Student Gets $7M For Not Driving Kids

Jun 30, 2020
Sam Gurwitt / New Haven Independent

New Haven will pay its school bus contractor $1.5 million less than normal for time the buses were idle during the pandemic — but more than they should, according to some Board of Education members.

State Releases Plan To Return Students To School

Jun 29, 2020
Governor Ned Lamont Bradley International Airport
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The state released requirements and guidance Monday for local districts to open schools this fall as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state fell under 100 for the first time in months. 

Addiction Programs Adapt To Meet Challenges of Pandemic And A Rising Need

Jun 29, 2020

Earlier this year, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) examination of death certificates in the U.S. showed a sharp rise in alcohol-related deaths between 1999 and 2017. Connecticut mirrored those numbers, and addiction organizations stepped up their efforts to reach those in need.

Then came the pandemic. Treatment centers, support groups and the state were suddenly ordered to shut down.

David / Creative Commons

There are just over 10 million cases of coronavirus globally and almost 500,000 deaths. U.S. deaths recently rose to 125,000.

Yet, the Trump Administration continues to downplay the seriousness of this pandemic. The White House Coronavirus Task Force met Friday for the first time in two months, with Vice-President Pence acknowledging the surge in several states but insisting, "We're in a much better place," than we were two months ago. 

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

This article was produced in partnership with the Propublica Local Reporting Network.

On a recent Sunday, protesters marched through the center of Weston, a small, wealthy town in southwest Connecticut. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and raised handwritten signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.” 

Somewhere in the crowd, Brian Murray hoisted his own message.

“Fact check: Weston, CT. No Black teachers. No Black police officers. No Black board members. No Black town of Weston government office members.”

When asked if he could imagine a college party where everyone is wearing masks, Jacques du Passage, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, laughs.

"No. I don't think they would do that," he says. "I think [students] would just have the party and then face the repercussions."

That's exactly what Apramay Mishra, student body president at the University of Kansas, is worried about when it comes to reopening campus amid the pandemic. "Right now it's kind of slipped from most people's minds," he says. Students "don't really think it's a big deal."

Signs at Bradley International Airport remind travelers to wear masks at all times and maintain proper social distancing on June 25.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The number of patients in Connecticut hospitals with COVID-19 increased Friday -- the first uptick in hospitalizations in the state in a month, as concerns grew across the country about rising coronavirus infections. 

The first independent investigation into the deadly coronavirus outbreak at a state-run nursing home for veterans in Western Massachusetts was released this week.

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities account for at least 40% of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus. In reaction, nursing homes have banned family visitors, scrambled for scarce personal safety equipment, and attracted scrutiny from state and federal lawmakers.

What's received less attention is that many nursing homes have remained virtually COVID-19-free. If researchers could figure out what made the difference, that could help protect nursing home residents now and in the future.

But so far, their studies have drawn wildly different conclusions.

As it struggles to control a rising number of new cases of the coronavirus, Florida took a dramatic step, suspending the consumption of alcohol on the premises at bars statewide. Officials in Texas took a similar step Friday, requiring bars to close at noon and be available only for takeout and delivery. The order in Florida came as the state recorded another spike Friday.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Wearing a mask and speaking through a megaphone, Jesse Martin prompted a crowd that had gathered outside the state Department of Public Health building in Hartford late Thursday afternoon.

“What do we want?” he asked.

“Hazard pay!” the crowd yelled back.

“When do we want it?”

“Now!” 

Scientists are monitoring the virus that causes COVID-19 for genetic changes that could make a vaccine ineffective. But so far, they're not seeing any.

Connecticut Orders Schools To Reopen In Fall, Teachers Are Concerned

Jun 25, 2020
School buses
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Connecticut schools will reopen for a five-day school week in the fall – as long as the coronavirus behaves, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday.

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