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Coronavirus

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Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., were on edge as early as March, when patients with COVID-19 began to show up in areas of the hospital that were not set aside to care for them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had advised hospitals to isolate COVID-19 patients to limit staff's exposure and help conserve high-level personal protective equipment that's been in short supply.

Cynthia Maclin cannot get out of bed most days.

Chronic lung disease leaves her short of breath and ended her 45-year career as a medical administrator. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in her hometown of Chicago, and Maclin has already lost eight friends and family members to the virus, including the father of her two daughters. For the first time, this month, she's also unable to pay rent.

Months after it was tabled due to COVID-19, indoor dining is coming back to New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that restaurants can resume indoor service on Sept. 30 at 25% capacity and with other safety precautions in place.

"We want to thank New Yorkers for the increase in compliance," Cuomo said at a press briefing. "And because the compliance has gotten better we can now take the next step."

Courtesy: Kathy Flaherty

The physical symptoms of coronavirus are well known by now. But there's another effect that doctors are beginning to find in COVID-19 patients; depression and anxiety.

Newington resident Kathy Flaherty was already diagnosed with both. She started experiencing COVID symptoms in March.

Pfizer's Groton Site Helped Develop A COVID-19 Vaccine. Will It Work?

Sep 9, 2020
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Pfizer’s facility in Groton has a history of developing some of the most popular drugs ingested by Americans, including Zoloft, which treats anxiety, and Zithromax, able to kill the toughest bacteria.

But the pharmaceutical company’s work on a COVID-19 vaccine may give the Connecticut facility its greatest fame — birthplace of a drug to shield humanity from a lethal virus that has so far taken the lives of more than 189,000 Americans and 894,000 people worldwide.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

High school football players and their parents from across the state are urging the governing body of high school sports to change course and allow for a football season this year.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Three Connecticut schools have been temporarily closed and staff members in several others have been sent home to quarantine following positive tests for the new coronavirus just days into the start of a new academic year.

Updated at noon ET

The U.S. Senate is holding a hearing Wednesday on the development of vaccines aimed at eradicating the coronavirus amid escalated political rhetoric regarding the potential effectiveness of a fast-tracked vaccine.

As President Trump has promised to expedite treatments against the virus that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans, he has appeared publicly rankled by critics who question his handling of the pandemic and those who are skeptical of the viability of a safe vaccine in such record time.

In America's four largest cities, at least half of people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. That's the finding of a new poll published Wednesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Tuesday’s planned opening of Hartford Public Schools was postponed after officials reported that a ransomware virus caused an outage of critical computer systems. The district announced on its website that school for both online and in-person learning will begin Wednesday, Sept. 9. 

Thousands Wait Months For Unemployment Compensation During COVID

Sep 8, 2020
Jamie Kelo visits Avery Point Beach in Groton nearly every day as a way of managing stress. “When I come here, I feel like my problems go away. I can really focus,” Kelo said. “Because it’s just too much.”
YEHYUN KIM / CTMirror.org

When Jamie Kelo lost her $20,000-a-year job as a receptionist at a hair salon in New London after COVID-19 touched down in Connecticut, she thought she could rely on unemployment benefits to help cover some of her bills.

She was wrong.

While it's still unknown when musicians and touring artists will again be able to perform in venues, those based abroad and hoping to tour the U.S. will face increased costs to do so legally.

Nine drug companies pledged Tuesday that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.

Six months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this:

Are they eating?

The answer, based on recent data and interviews with school nutrition leaders and anti-hunger advocates across the country, is alarming.

Few people have been looking forward to colleges reopening – and staying open — this fall, as much as the people who run Cornwall's Tavern in Boston's Kenmore Square. A go-to for students and faculty at Boston University, the family-owned pub has been counting on the back-to-school crowds to help it survive. In an industry hard-hit by the pandemic, it's a test Cornwall's can't afford to fail.

"It's a frightening time," said Pam Beale, who owns the place with her husband John. "It feels like the earth is moving under your feel all the time."

For most of her 34 years, Stephanie Parker didn't recognize she had an eating disorder.

At age 6, she recalls, she stopped eating and drinking at school — behavior that won her mother's praise. "It could have started sooner; I just don't have the memory," says Parker. In middle school, she ate abnormally large quantities, then starved herself again in the years after.

Westhill High School volleyball team practices outside for fall season
Ali Warshavsky / WNPR

The CIAC decided to cancel full-contact high school football for the season, but other high school coaches in Connecticut are holding out hope that their student-athletes will get to play this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

CPTV Sports

School is back in session across the state and, for now, so is fall sports. Workouts are underway in preparation for a shortened, modified schedule. Full practices commence September 21. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

When Connecticut officials approved more than $34 million in contracts with private vendors to test for coronavirus at nursing homes, the contracts shared a common clause: The Department of Public Health wanted quick results, ideally, within one day.  But interviews with health officials, contracted vendors and state documents show that hasn’t always been the case.

Lebanon's capital, Beirut, remains devastated by the massive explosion at the city's port last month. The country is in the depths of an economic collapse, and the coronavirus is spreading.

But as Lebanon reels from multiple tragedies, conservationists are pointing to one bright spot. They say a record number of endangered green sea turtles have come to nest on the country's shores. Loggerhead turtles have also come in large numbers.

During this pandemic, I've been worried about my grandma — Nanay, to me. That's Tagalog for mother.

Her name is Felisa Mercene. She's a Filipino American immigrant. She's 92. Since March, she's been living in isolation from most of our family in Southern California. Her relatives have been wary of visiting. What if they had COVID-19 and infected her?

3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., where I live, I wondered: Is she feeling safe? Is she happy? Or ... is she lonely?

There's a LOT of education news these days. Here's an overview of the stories from this week that you might have missed, plus some valuable links we've gleaned from around the web.

First let's turn to the world of higher education.

Hopefully, summer won't end the way it began. Memorial Day celebrations helped set off a wave of coronavirus infections across much of the South and West. Gatherings around the Fourth of July seemed to keep those hot spots aflame.

Now Labor Day arrives as those regions are cooling off from COVID-19, and public health experts are calling on Americans to stay vigilant while celebrating the holiday weekend.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

The state Department of Public Health is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among staff at Backus Hospital in Norwich, where employees say as many as 11 people have so far tested positive. 

With the annual flu season about to start, it's still unclear exactly how influenza virus will interact with the coronavirus if a person has both viruses.

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

McDonald’s workers at service plazas along I-95 celebrated a victory Thursday, receiving thousands of dollars in back pay from their franchise owner. 

Another 881,000 people applied for state unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department says. That's 130,000 fewer than the previous week. But the report comes with an asterisk.

The department just changed the way it adjusts claims data to account for seasonal variation. That should make the reports more accurate in the weeks to come. But it also means the reported change from the previous week is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Without the seasonal adjustment, state unemployment claims rose by more than 7,500.

If this were a normal school year, Denison University senior Matt Nowling and his fellow College Democrats would be "dorm storming" around their campus, near Columbus, Ohio.

"We ran to people's dorms, knocked their doors and got them registered to vote," he said. "Sometimes we got kicked out of dorms," he added.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

State Republican lawmakers say Gov. Ned Lamont shouldn’t have extended his emergency powers under the pandemic for five more months.

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