Coronavirus

Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Thursday on Political Rewind, journalists and researchers are trying to determine how the public health policy of state officials is impacting the spread of COVID-19 in Georgia.

Two top public health experts joined us to discuss the latest developments of coronavirus and the state’s response.

What are public health professionals thinking about the virus at this stage of the pandemic?


Tens of millions of people are out of work because of the pandemic, but Amazon says it's willing to keep 125,000 people it hired to deal with the online shopping spike as permanent workers.

The company hired 175,000 temporary workers as people stuck at home because of the pandemic switched to shopping online. Now Amazon says it's offering most of those workers permanent full-time jobs.

Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy in March.

Just last week, another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force in April.

President Trump is warning of possible sanctions this week against China over its treatment of Hong Kong. It's the latest source of friction in what's become an increasingly tense relationship between the world's two biggest economies.

When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

Check the hashtag #quaranzine on social media and you'll see thousands of mini books — called zines — that people are making to document their lives in the pandemic.

Read the comic to find out how you can make one yourself — including how to fold your zine and what to write about. All you'll need is a sheet of paper, a pen, 30 minutes and a little creativity.

The city attorney of Los Angeles announced Wednesday that his office is suing Wellness Matrix Group for allegedly engaging in a "fraudulent scheme" related to the COVID-19 pandemic that was both "sophisticated" and "wide ranging."

Escobar Restaurant & Tapas

An Atlanta restaurant and bar co-owned by rapper 2 Chainz was temporarily closed by Georgia State Police and the Department of Public Safety on Sunday, May 24, for violating the state’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Several theme parks in Florida will open their doors to guests again over the next few weeks and have crafted plans they hope will keep employees and others safe from spread of the coronavirus.

SeaWorld received approval for its plan to reopen its parks on June 11. The plans are expected to be quickly approved by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Universal Orlando has already received the go-ahead from local and state officials for its plan to reopen its parks on June 5.

"This is Europe's moment," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament today, as she proposed a massive fund to help Europe recover from the coronavirus pandemic. "Things we take for granted are being questioned. None of that can be fixed by any single country alone."

Hungary's government says it will end a coronavirus-related state of emergency on June 20, revoking a much-criticized law that handed sweeping powers to Prime Minister Viktor Orban in March.

Creative Commons

Thousands of state employees could be laid off under new budget plans submitted to the state and many more could face furloughs as Georgia’s government braces for up to a 14% reduction in spending.

In the dozens of pages of documents submitted to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget last week, state agencies offered up more than $3.5 billion in cuts to essential services that Georgians rely on, from K-12 education to health care to food safety inspections.

Avery Hoppa's job is practically pandemic-proof: She's a nurse who does triage over the phone. So her work is still necessary, and the transition to working from her home in Hanover, N.H., was smooth. Her husband, a biologist at Dartmouth College, had a slightly bigger adjustment to make when classes went virtual.

They're both still employed, and Hoppa says she feels "so incredibly grateful" about that during this massive economic crisis. Her family has been able to do things like buy a new car and get a good deal on it.

With COVID-19 deaths spiking in many Latin American countries, Colombia — which has confirmed more than 23,000 cases and 776 deaths — is extending its nationwide lockdown until the end of this month. That has meant more hardship for people living hand to mouth.

So some desperate Colombians have been sending out an eye-catching SOS — with encouragement from local politicians.

Gwinnett County Police Department

Crashes killed 15 people across Georgia over the Memorial Day weekend. The number of collisions is a slight decrease from 2019, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

Over the past few months, cities have had to deal with tremendous challenges — fighting a pandemic, preserving essential services, protecting their own workers, coping with devastating budget cuts.

One thing local officials didn't have to worry about was traffic, as the pandemic emptied city streets.

But that's about to change.

Southwest Georgia Regional Library System

As businesses in Georgia reopen with strict guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, libraries around the state are still closed to the public. Libraries in southern Georgia are finding a way to meet community needs without fully reopening, but are struggling to provide uninterrupted access for all.

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

Rob Felt, Georgia Tech

Researchers at Georgia Tech received funding from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate specific molecules that may help the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to school's news blog.

These molecules, known as adjuvants, may improve coronavirus vaccines' ability to stimulate the immune system and help protect the general population against the virus.

Geologist Keri Belcher had a moment of relief earlier this year. Her employer, a medium-sized oil and gas company, had a round of layoffs — and she made it through. She still had a job.

Then came the coronavirus and the complete collapse in oil prices. This time around, she was laid off.

"It was kind of unfortunate, too, because I just re-signed my apartment lease," the Houston resident said.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

AP Photo/Ron Harris, Pool, File

Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday invited President Donald Trump to host this summer’s Republican National Convention in Georgia.

The invitation comes after Trump threatened to move the event out of North Carolina if the state’s Democratic governor does not allow a full-capacity gathering in August despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Virtual vigils, streamed live on Facebook.

Websites that collate the names and photos of the dead.

Video projections of those we have lost, shining onto building facades.

In the absence of collective public gatherings, people are coming up with new ways to memorialize those who have died from COVID-19.

Preschool teacher Lainy Morse has been out of work for more than two months. But the Portland, Ore., child care center where she worked is considering a reopening. Morse says she is dreading the idea, as much as she loves the infants and toddlers for which she cared.

"They always have snotty faces. It's just one cold after another," she says. "It feels just like an epicenter for spreading disease. And it feels really scary to go back to that."

Michael Zamora and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

Scientists have learned a great deal about how the novel coronavirus spreads.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made an unannounced visit to Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Del., on Monday.

It's the first time Biden has left the area around his home in Wilmington since mid-March, when he began self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wearing black masks, placed a wreath before a memorial wall commemorating war veterans from Delaware and New Jersey.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is continuing to urge Georgians to vote by mail in the June 9 primary, especially after reports of long lines and some election offices shut down by the virus.

As of Saturday, at least 1.5 million registered voters have requested an absentee ballot, more than 551,000 Georgians returned those ballots and another 77,000 voted in person.

For those million or so voters that have received a ballot but not yet filled it out, the secretary of state implored them to return their ballots sooner rather than later.

CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

A 17-year-old boy has died of coronavirus, according to the latest data from the state health department. This is the youngest death reported in the state so far. 

In Brazil's favelas, poor urban neighborhoods where residents live in crowded homes and lack basic sanitation, the toll of the coronavirus is expected to be brutal. The informal jobs that sustain 39 million Brazilians, such as selling street food or working temporary construction gigs, are also victims of the stay-at-home order, which started in mid-March. For some in these sprawling settlements, hunger is a threat as real as COVID-19.

Data: Georgia Department of Public Health

UPDATED May 27, 2020

NOTE: On May 27, the Georgia Department of Public Health began publishing the number of serology, or antibody, tests for prior coronavirus infections performed in Georgia. DPH does not, however, record positive antibody tests on its data page. Therefore, the graph above only reflects the percentage of viral coronavirus tests returned as positive. The 1.6% jump in the percent positive measure is a product of the first day of subtracting antibody tests from the total tests.

The graph  represents the new World Health Organization guideline for minimally adequate coronavirus testing of 5% of tests being returned as positive.

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