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In Germany, nearly half a million companies have applied for government funds to support employees with reduced work hours, as the country with the largest economy in Europe pushes to contain the new coronavirus.

Heavy restrictions on public life, an export slump because of nations' lockdowns and broken supply chains throughout industry have meant millions of Germany's workers are eligible for public financial aid.

By the middle of March, the problem was undeniable: America didn't have enough ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the next two weeks, U.S. manufacturers worked frantically to boost output, in an effort that's been compared to the mobilization of industry in World War II. Medical companies paired up with automakers to increase their production to previously unthinkable levels.

Solo Para Chicos y Chicas: Un Cómic Sobre El Nuevo Coronavirus

54 minutes ago

To read this comic in English, click here.

Chicos, chicas, este cómic es para vosotros.

Se basa en un reportaje de radio hecho por el corresponsal de educación para NPR, Cory Turner. Entrevistó a unos expertos sobre cosas que a lo mejor los jóvenes les gustarían saber sobre el coronavirus que se descubrió en China.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the nation, U.S. hospital workers will be among the first to bear witness to the growing crisis.

Wednesday marked the first day of a furlough of roughly half the 9,000-strong Korean workforce staffing U.S. military bases in South Korea. The layoffs without pay — the first in the history of the seven-decade U.S.-South Korea alliance — were forced by an impasse between the two countries on paying for the cost of stationing some 28,500 American troops in South Korea.

Factories in the U.S. are hunkering down like the rest of us.

Manufacturing activity slowed in March, according to a survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management.

Production and factory employment fell sharply, as the coronavirus pandemic and other problems weighed on the factory sector. New Orders hit their lowest level in 11 years.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The U.S. Coast Guard is telling foreign-flagged cruise ships to be prepared to care for people with COVID-19 for an "indefinite period of time" at sea or to seek help from countries other than the U.S., citing a health care system that is being overwhelmed. The instructions are in a new safety bulletin that took effect this week along the southern Atlantic coast, including Florida – which is reporting more than 6,700 coronavirus cases.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he finds it "hard to envision" an in-person Democratic National Convention taking place in July as planned.

"The fact is, it may have to be different," the leading Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday night.

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place from July 13-16 in Milwaukee. The Republican National Convention is planned for Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, N.C., and neither party has announced alternative plans.

Around 70 people in their 20s are under investigation in Austin, Texas, for possible infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 after they chartered a plane for a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, last month. At least 28 of the passengers from that flight have tested positive for the coronavirus, with dozens more tests pending.

Professor Alice Kaplan has been scrambling to revise her lectures for the French literature class she teaches at Yale University.

On the syllabus, coincidentally, for her online class is The Plague, Albert Camus' 1947 novel about a plague epidemic that ravages a quarantined city in Algeria.

"I never imagined I would be teaching this novel in the midst of an epidemic," Kaplan says. "I never imagined I'd need to give a trigger warning for teaching Camus' The Plague."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting. This week, Malaysia's government also had a serious public relations issue after an ill-conceived plan went online.

It was a pretty normal St. Patrick's Day. Nathan Stewart and a couple of friends were hanging out, drinking a few beers, soaking up senior spring at the University of Virginia. Then an email landed in their inboxes: Classes were moving online and graduation was indefinitely postponed.

Rent is due for the first time since millions of Americans lost their jobs or incomes as the coronavirus pandemic shut down large swaths of the U.S. economy.

Many renters are in a tough financial spot because they received fewer protections out of the $2 trillion economic rescue package than homeowners did.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The sounds of signature gatherers walking door-to-door in many states would normally be just on the horizon as spring comes into bloom.

As the coronavirus began spreading in Washington state in late February, Linda Larson, a volunteer organizer across the border in Idaho for one effort to get on the ballot, decided to take precautions to protect her group and the public.

Now more than ever we are looking for ways to feel less alone — and poetry can be one way to bring people together.

Last month NPR asked listeners to respond to art with a poem — a style of poetry called ekphrastic. For inspiration, Kwame Alexander, NPR's poet in residence, selected two paintings: Kadir Nelson's Heatwave and Salvador Dali's Young Woman At A Window. Both show women inside looking longingly out into the world.

We're all social distancing these days, and it's unclear when exactly that will end. But Billy Barr has been doing this for almost 50 years. He's the only full-time resident of Gothic, Colo.

"I'm the mayor and chief of police," he said. "I hold elections every year, but I don't tell anybody when they are, so it works out really well."

Mike Herrick and his wife, Jane, have been heading from their home on Lake Superior in Herbster, Wis., to Tucson, Ariz., for the past 11 winters. They were hoping to return home at the end of April. Then Herrick discovered that local officials had asked some homeowners not to return.

If they couldn't leave, he wondered if his landlord would charge them rent to stay longer.

As the coronavirus spreads across the country, millions of Americans already struggling with health and finances — especially those in minority communities — could bear the brunt of it.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET

A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.

But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

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