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Coronavirus

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The Nose is worried about movie theaters. The pandemic has done such damage to the industry that Hollywood has started treating the U.S. as a second-run market. And now the Paramount Consent Decrees have ended. (We're not exactly sure what that means, but it's not good.) Is the future of movie theaters... Walmart drive-ins?

And: She Dies Tomorrow is a horror-comedy-thriller written and directed by Amy Seimetz. It was supposed to premiere at this year's South by Southwest, which was canceled. She Dies Tomorrow is out now on video on demand platforms.

Jeremy L. Grisham /

At least two Connecticut studies and a federal report show that the percentage of health care workers and residents in the overall population who have been previously infected with COVID-19 remains small, despite ongoing cases and hospitalizations.

And the numbers don’t come close to achieving herd immunity, when disease transmission is minimal because most people in a community are protected after vaccination or previous infection. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

It’s been three weeks since Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Like other sports, teams have played in isolation and without fans. But they’ve taken steps to make the season feel normal, from canned crowd noise (like at this Red Sox game against the Mets) to cardboard cutouts of fans in the stadium.

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

For the past five years, the Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, has handed out about 1,200 book bags to Hartford public school students in preparation for the new school year, but this year the annual block party became a drive-thru.

New data from around the U.S. confirms that drug overdoses are spiking during the coronavirus pandemic, rising by roughly 18%.

Reports collected in real time by the Washington, D.C.-based group ODMAP — the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, located at the University of Baltimore — also found a significant spike in the number of fatal overdoses.

"Overdose clusters have shifted from traditional centralized urban locations to adjacent and surrounding suburban and rural areas," said ODMAP program manager Aliese Alter.

Updated 7:09 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday attempted to soften remarks he had made hours earlier in which he appeared to confirm that he opposes Democrats' proposed boost in funding for the U.S. Postal Service because he wants to make it harder to expand voting by mail, claiming his only goal in denying the agency funds is to ensure the integrity of the Nov. 3 election.

First-time claims for state unemployment benefits dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic hit the economy in March. Claims under a special pandemic program for gig workers and others who are typically not eligible for unemployment also fell.

The drop may signal an improvement in the job market. Jobless benefits have also become less valuable, since a $600 per week federal supplement expired at the end of July.

Wallpaper Flare

When your home becomes your new office, it can be hard to set boundaries between work and personal life. This hour, we continue our series on The Future of Work by discussing the benefits, and drawbacks of working from home full time. 

glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

Elogia More finished her final shift at the Aetna building in Hartford at 1:30 a.m. on March 19.  The next day, the cleaning company she spent the last four years working for sent a layoff notice.

A box of absentee ballots waits to be counted at the New Haven Hall of Records Tuesday night. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday and received by Thursday will be counted. But ballots put in the mail Tuesday may or may not arrive in time.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

Absentee ballots in the mail for this week’s primary elections have to be postmarked by Tuesday and delivered by Thursday to be counted. But some ballots postmarked on Tuesday may not have made it through the U.S. mail in time to reach municipal clerks’ offices by Thursday. The responsibility for timely ballots lies somewhere between the voter and the postal service.

Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

Once a week outside a Newington nursing home, Peggy Johnson stands masked, 6 feet apart from her 94-year-old mom, imagining what it would be like to hug again. 

Quinn Dombrowski / flickr creative commons

"It is the rare person who doesn't own a pair of sweatpants." I am, it turns out, that rare person. Sweatpants are just too warm, is my take. But I do own a number of pairs of cotton pajama pants. They're my sweatpants proxy.

Back before the pandemic became the central preoccupation of our existence, back when we made our radio show in, ya know, a radio studio, I would always get a little dressed up on my show days. I'd wear a jacket. Or a tie. Or a jacket and a tie.

Now that we're all working from home all the time, I spend the great majority of my work hours in pajama pants and stocking feet and a bathrobe. But when it comes time for one of my shows -- like this one, for instance -- I change out of my PJ pants into jeans or chinos. That's what "a little dressed up" means these days: putting real pants on. (Or even "hard pants," as they're now known.)

Henry Boulton, capacity monitor at a poll at Conard High School in West Hartford, gives an instruction to Elizabeth Davis who voted for the first time on Tuesday,
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

The top-line races were easy. Soon after the polls closed Tuesday night, the Associated Press declared Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Joe Biden winners of the year’s final presidential nomination contest, the twice-delayed Connecticut primary.

It's a familiar moment. The kids want their cereal and the coffee's brewing, but you're out of milk. No problem, you think — the corner store is just a couple of minutes away. But if you have COVID-19 or have been exposed to the coronavirus, you're supposed to stay put. Even that quick errand could make you the reason someone else gets infected.

President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia has become the first country to approve a vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection, saying one of his daughters has already received a dose of the new prophylaxis even though it is still under development.

The announcement of the new vaccine, dubbed Sputnik-V, has been met with initial skepticism, as it has yet to complete Phase III trials in which large numbers of people are given doses to determine whether it is safe and effective in a general population.

SGT. ASHLEY N. SOKOLOV / U.S. Air Force

The pandemic has caused major disruptions for workers' careers, but the latest numbers show women have been hit particularly hard.

Women, and especially women of color, are bearing some of the largest economic impacts of the pandemic, from facing higher rates of unemployment to holding the majority of frontline essential jobs.

Connecticut Issues First Fines For Violating COVID Travel Advisory

Aug 10, 2020
Governor Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Connecticut issued its first fines Monday for violations of the state’s requirements for travelers from COVID-19 hot spot states, making an example of two residents returning from Florida and Louisiana.

“We wanted to send a message loud and clear,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “I hate to do it, but we’re going to be serious and show people we are serious about this, and to date it’s made a difference.”

Updated at 4:51 p.m. ET Tuesday

New Zealand went 101 days without any community transmission of the coronavirus, and life in the country largely returned to normal – an experience far different from the havoc that the virus is causing elsewhere in the world.

As drug firms race to position themselves as key players in the coronavirus fight, the industry faces a renewed wave of civil lawsuits stemming from its role in the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

Thousands of cases that ground to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic are moving forward again as local, state and federal courts reopen around the United States.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Many Connecticut residents are used to spending a lot of time commuting, whether driving on a highway, riding on a train to the city or taking the bus across town. But the number of drivers and ridership across all modes of transportation have dropped dramatically with stay-at-home orders and the closing of non-essential businesses.

Power Outages Stoke Concern Over Possible Uptick In COVID Cases

Aug 9, 2020
Visitors gather to charge their electronic devices at the Westfarms shopping mall in West Hartford. Power outages after Tropical Storm Isaias have caused residents to visit public places where they can charge their devices, despite concern about COVID-19.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

As hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents adjusted to life without power last week, Gov. Ned Lamont praised the state’s COVID-19 statistics, pointing to days without recorded deaths and a low positivity rate among test results.

Democrats on Sunday slammed President Trump's executive actions aimed at providing economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measures are both ineffective and unconstitutional.

Trump signed three memoranda and one executive order at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Saturday amid stalled negotiations with Congress over a new COVID-19 relief package.

Jernej Furman / Creative Commons

As of this weekend, the number of people in the U.S. infected with SARS-CoV-2 topped 5 million, just 16 days after passing the 4 million mark on July 23. This weekend's motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, portends that those numbers will continue to rise. 

Three potential vaccines against the virus have entered phase III clinical trials, in which safety and effectiveness is tested on thousands of healthy people. 

This stage can take months or years depending on how quickly researchers can detect a difference between the two groups, but some doctors believe that we'll have a vaccine sooner than later. Are we expecting too much from a vaccine? And, what about the expanding group of people afraid to trust any vaccine developed at "warp speed?" 

Is it time for another lockdown to get things under control until a vaccine is ready?

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

It's a busy time for the tomato-producing farms in eastern Tennessee. Farms have staffed up with hundreds of workers, most of whom are Latino. Some live locally. Others are migrant workers who travel from farm to farm, chasing the summer growing seasons. Still others come from Mexico or Central America on temporary agricultural visas to work at certain farms.

But, this year, the season is taking place under a cloud of coronavirus worries that, for these agricultural workers, hit close to home.

Courtesy: Stamford Town Center

In the middle of Stamford sits Stamford Town Center, once a massive mall that drew in shoppers regionally. Now it’s a mall with a lot of empty storefronts. As of January, 86% of the mall storefronts were occupied. The portion of the mall owned by Taubman is up for sale. Macy’s, which is the flagship store, has a lease ending soon. 

Updated at 7:32 p.m. ET

The head of the U.S. Postal Service promised Friday to make the organization more efficient and more financially stable, but his remarks may do little to quell fears that the post office's cost-cutting measures will hurt service during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are at the beginning of a transformative process," Louis DeJoy said in his first public remarks since becoming postmaster general. "Our goal is to change and improve the Postal Service to better serve the American public, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead."

India is now the third country to record more than 2 million coronavirus cases. The country is enduring a terrible surge in new cases — 62,538 were reported on Friday alone. Only the U.S. and Brazil are reporting more.

India passed 1 million confirmed cases just three weeks ago.

The United States needs as many as 100,000 contact tracers to fight the pandemic, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Congress in June. We need billions of dollars to fund them, public health leaders pleaded in April.

For the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, correctional officer Kareen "Troy" Troitino says things were "pretty relaxed" at FCI Miami. There were no cases of COVID-19 at the low-security federal prison, which currently houses some 1,000 inmates.

That all changed, he says, early last month. "And then on the week of the Fourth of July, we had one case, and then it just spread in one week. I mean, tremendously. It's like wildfire. And you don't even see the fire because you don't know who has it until it's too late."

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