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Coronavirus

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.

Governor Ned Lamont
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The school year may have just ended, but plans are taking shape for the return of students inside schools this fall. Gov. Ned Lamont announced the plans Thursday, noting that several COVID-19 trends are holding steady in Connecticut while the virus continues to spread in other parts of the country.

Bradley Airport
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The state’s travel advisory to visitors from coronavirus hot spots took effect Thursday.

Gov. Ned Lamont and his counterparts from New Jersey and New York say that a visit from areas with high infection rates requires a 14-day self-quarantine.

But the way Lamont was talking as he spoke Thursday from Bradley International Airport, self-quarantine is more of a recommendation than a requirement.

spring cleanup
Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Amid what amounts to a new civil rights movement, Black-owned businesses in Fairfield County say they are feeling the support of the community in ways they never have. And that boost comes in the wake of the devastating pandemic shutdowns that hit minority businesses harder than most. 

Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Faced with a massive deficit -- only exacerbated by the economic pain of coronavirus shutdowns -- the University of Connecticut’s athletics department is making cuts.

coronavirus testing
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut is paying more than half a dozen outside vendors to test people for the coronavirus. But state officials are redacting the contracts that spell out how much taxpayers are paying for each test because the vendors say those prices are trade secrets.

The Office of the State Comptroller has redacted at least six public contracts at the request of vendors who say their prices for a budgeted $50 million in taxpayer-funded tests shouldn’t be publicly disclosed.

a closed sign
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The economy has been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus pandemic, but predicting the longer-term effects of the downturn can be a tricky business. U.S. consumer spending was up a record 18% in May, despite the fact that unemployment remains in double digits. So how do we chart the future now that the pandemic has changed everything?

DMV Reopens With COVID-Inspired Changes

Jun 23, 2020
Welcome to the DMV: Cynthia Brown greeted customers by taking their temperature and quizzing them about COVID-19 symptoms.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

The new COVID-ready Department of Motor Vehicles opened for license and registration renewals Tuesday, and the long-awaited first look at how public schools will operate in the fall will come Thursday.

In New England, Declining Car Sales Prompt Call For Electric Bike Rebates

Jun 23, 2020
Richard Masoner / Flickr Creative Commons

As interest in cycling rises and electric vehicle sales drop off amid the pandemic, advocates are calling on Connecticut officials to extend the state’s rebate program to include electric bicycles.

Bob Jagendorf

Pride Month is looking a little different this year. Traditionally, Pride is marked by big parades and celebrations. But social distancing and racial unrest means that celebrations won't look the same as they did years prior. This hour, we discuss how the Connecticut LGBTQ community is celebrating this year.

UConn Students Contemplate Life Back On Campus

Jun 22, 2020
Jackson Mitchell / WNPR

The University of Connecticut plans on having students back on campus for classes in the fall, after students were sent home in March to shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the announcement of a return to campus life is drawing mixed reactions.

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