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Wednesday Update: 100 Test Positive At Lake County Jail, Amtrak Cuts Longer Routes, Florida Officials Worried About Surge

Photo: Hansel Wong

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100 coronavirus cases reported at Lake County jail

Joe Byrnes, WMFE

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 connected to the county jail in Tavares.

That’s an increase of 41 since Monday.

The cases include 85 inmates and six employees. Lt. John Herrell says the identities of the other nine had not been confirmed.

As of late Wednesday, he says, most cases were asymptomatic but some patients were showing mild symptoms, including headaches, body aches and nausea.

No one had been hospitalized.

All 759 inmates are being tested.

Florida officials worried about spike in coronavirus cases

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Officials say that in parts of Florida, people under the age of 35 are testing positive for the coronavirus at a higher rate since the pandemic began, contributing to a recent surge in the number of cases in the state.

Because of this, some mayors are considering tightening restrictions on places where younger folks gather — namely, bars and restaurants.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, as of Wednesday morning, Florida has reported more than 80,000 positive tests out of more than 1.4 million tests conducted, giving a positivity rate of 5.5%. But the number of positive tests has been ticking up in recent days, causing alarm for officials.

Amid confusion about reopening, an expert explains how to assess COVID risk

Fresh Air, NPR

Across the country, states are loosening the restrictions that had been put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 — with varying results. New cases are decreasing in some states, including New York, Michigan and Colorado, while case numbers and hospitalizations have swelled recently in several states, including TexasArizona, and Florida.

“Since the very first day of this pandemic, I don’t think [we’ve been] in a more confused position about what’s happening,” epidemiologist Michael Osterholm says. “We just aren’t quite sure what [the virus is] going to do next.”

Osterholm is the founder and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. His 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, was recently republished with a new forward about COVID-19. Mark Olshaker is co-author.

From the earliest days of the pandemic, the virus has often been treated as a political issue rather than a public health issue — and much has been made of President Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in public. But Osterholm says that the risks from COVID supersede partisanship.

“We will all know somebody — we will all love somebody — who will die from this disease,” he says. “Eventually there won’t be any blue states or red states. There won’t be any blue cities or red rural areas. It’ll all be COVID colored.”

Osterholm says that face masks and physical distancing remain the best practices in terms of curbing the spread of the pandemic. But he adds that “distancing” shouldn’t mean cutting off all social contact.

“It’s physical distancing. … Don’t socially distance. If there was ever a time when we all need each other, it’s now,” he says. “We need to start an epidemic of kindness right now to take on this pandemic of this virus.”

Trump golf course seeks lower rent because of virus shutdown

The Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The golf course President Donald Trump owns near his Mar-a-Lago getaway is seeking a break on its rent because of lost business caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump International Golf Club wants Palm Beach County to defer some of its $88,000 monthly rent.

Trump leased the land the private club sits upon from the county two decades ago under a 99-year agreement.

Palm Beach County ordered the closure of golf courses in March as part of its pandemic response and they weren’t allowed to reopen for more than a month. The county has taken no action on the rent request.

Amtrak to cut back on its longer routes because of virus

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Amtrak will cut service later this year on most of its long-distance routes nationwide to three times a week instead of the current daily service because ridership has fallen significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said Wednesday that the cuts will take effect Oct. 1 and remain in place until at least the summer of 2021, but daily service could be restored if demand improves along its long-distance routes.

Jim Mathews, president and chief executive of the Rail Passengers Association advocacy group, said these cuts are short-sighted and will hurt long-term demand for these routes.

Visit Florida applies for federal grant to offset effects of pandemic

Lynn Hatter, WFSU

Visit Florida is applying for an $8 million dollar federal grant. The agency’s CEO Dana Young says it could be a game changer in helping local governments attract more tourists as the state tries to regain lost revenue ground.

“It will be such a win-win for everyone if we’re able to get these funds and use that to augment what we already have. It will be a tremendous boost to our campaign for sure,” Young said.

Tourism is Florida’s biggest economic driver and the coronavirus-induced closures of beaches and hotels, restaurants and theme parks has put a massive dent in the state’s economy.

More than 2,600 new cases reported in Florida

Danielle Prieur, WMFE 

There were 2,610 new cases of coronavirus reported yesterday in Florida, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 82,719 cases.

More than three thousand people have died and 12,389 people have been hospitalized with the virus.

Osceola and Brevard counties saw their highest daily coronavirus counts on Tuesday.

Here’s the rundown so far in Central Florida counties:

Orange County: 3,476 cases, 380 hospitalizations, 48 deaths

Osceola County: 842 cases, 164 hospitalizations, 22 deaths

Seminole County: 867 cases, 128 hospitalizations, 13 deaths

Volusia County: 980 cases, 178 hospitalizations, 50 deaths

Brevard County: 639 cases, 84 hospitalizations, 16 deaths

Lake County: 537 cases, 81 hospitalizations, 16 deaths

Sumter County: 267 cases, 45 hospitalizations, 17 deaths

If you’re grieving right now, here are 5 shows that get it

Eric Deggans, NPR

If there is one emotion that hangs over our world these days — other than fear and anger, perhaps — it is grief.

There’s the grief that comes from watching the death of George Floyd captured on a bystander’s video, pleading for his mother and his breath, while a police officer kneels with a knee on his neck.

There’s grief over what that moment said about police and the policing of black people, along with grief over the protests and violence in some American cities as people demand answers.

And there’s the grief of coronavirus, as we mourn lives cut short, and shoulder the loss of jobs, business opportunities, weddings, vacations, graduations, senior proms …

In this difficult time, television shows have emerged as a surprising resource, with important examples of how people process grief and handle journeys of loss. An increasing number of fictional dramas and comedy series center on characters struggling with grief in raw and emotional ways, which some experts say can actually help all of us learn how to process those feelings better…

I Know This Much Is True (HBO)

In this miniseries, based on a Wally Lamb novel, Mark Ruffalo gives anguished, emotional performances as two people; twin brothers, Dominick and Thomas. Though the first episode features Thomas committing a horrific act while struggling with mental illness, it is Dominick we see constantly suffering from grief – pushing away friends and family members after the loss of his mother, his baby, his marriage and more.

At times, Dominick seems the brother most in need of help, as his twin’s commitment to an institution sends him into a spiral of anger, self-loathing, guilt and anxiety that lasts for years. In the miniseries, Dominick’s ex-wife, girlfriend, best friend and stepfather all step back in the wake of his blistering anger; for viewers, it makes watching the middle episodes of the miniseries a challenge as we plunge deeper into his dark world.

Experts say: “Grief is really messy; it can be a lot of tangled emotions, positive and negative, over many months or many years,” says Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, a physician who also was an executive producer of End Game, a Netflix documentary short about end-of-life issues. “Anxiety is the missing stage of grief that nobody talks about, but so many people are feeling that right now. Giving ourselves permission to feel that can be really therapeutic.”

Read the full article and other recommendations here.

After weeks of no new cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, 2 arrivals test positive

Laurel Wamsley, NPR

After 24 days with no new cases of the coronavirus, New Zealand now has two. Both are women in the same family who traveled from the U.K. via Australia.

“I can say now both women are self-isolating in the Wellington region, and we’re very confident the arrangements that are in place are the best place for them to be right now,” Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health, said in a news conference Tuesday.

One woman experienced mild symptoms; the other was symptom-free.

The two women had been in a managed isolation hotel in Auckland since arriving in the country. They came to the country on June 7 and traveled to Wellington on Saturday.

Bloomfield said they have been following the country’s regulations, including not using any public facilities and not having any contact with anyone during their journey by car from the isolation hotel in Auckland to self-isolation in Wellington. Contact tracing is now being conducted, ranging from the people who were on their flight from Australia to the staff at the airport and isolation facility.

Read the full article here.

How many people transmit the coronavirus without ever feeling sick?

Short Wave, NPR

It’s called asymptomatic spread. Recently a scientist with the World Health Organization created confusion when she seemed to suggest it was “very rare.” It’s not, as the WHO attempted to clarify.

NPR science reporter Pien Huang explains what scientists know about asymptomatic spread, and what might have caused the WHO’s mixed messages.

Coronavirus, racism and kindness: How NYC middle-schoolers built a winning podcast

Cory Turner, NPR

First, the end:

“Please be kind to one another. That’s all for today.”

So closes the middle-school top-prize winner of NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge. World, meet The Dragon Kids.

That’s the moniker of an afterschool podcast club at PS 126/Manhattan Academy of Technology, located in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood. They are sixth-graders Leo Yu, Angelo Chen, Becky Liu, Si Chen Xu, Zoe Jiang, Nicole Zheng and tenth-graders Joyce Jiang and Amanda Chen. Their winning podcast, “Masked Kids,” is both a time capsule and a cautionary tale about life in the time of the coronavirus.

Now, the beginning:

The pod starts gently, interweaving innocent, COVID-inspired vocabulary lessons in Mandarin — think “mask” and “sneeze” — with safety tips that needed repeating back in February and March, when the students were writing and recording: Wash your hands with soap and water “and remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze into your elbow. The Mandarin word for sneeze is … ” You get the idea.

One of our favorite moments comes when the student narrators (they all take turns) drop a bit of COVID-poetry — a famous saying in Mandarin that means, ‘Sickness comes in like a landslide but goes out as slow as spinning silk.'”

Read the full story here. 

Brazil reports big surge in coronavirus infections

Scott Neuman, NPR

Brazil on Tuesday reported a national record of nearly 35,000 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, even as the government has insisted that the outbreak is under control.

The health ministry added 34,918 new cases, but Brazilian media, in collaboration with state health departments, said the figure was probably undercounted by a few thousand. The ministry also announced 1,282 additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to more than 45,000 since the pandemic began.

In the number of confirmed cases and deaths attributed to the disease, Brazil now ranks second only to the U.S.

Meanwhile, Walter Braga Netto, a top Brazilian government official dealing with the response to the outbreak, said Tuesday: “There is a crisis, we sympathize with bereaved families, but it is managed.”

Netto’s statement is in line with President Jair Bolsonaro’s consistent efforts to downplay the danger posed by the disease. The right-wing Bolsonaro, who has called the new coronavirus “a little flu” and campaigned against shutdowns, has been widely accused of endangering the public.

He has said that the economic costs of remaining in lockdown outweigh the risk to public health.

In April, Bolsonaro fired then-Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta over the official’s support of broad isolation measures recommended by the World Health Organization and international medical experts.

Most of the infections in Brazil have been concentrated in the heavily populated states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and in the northeast.

Despite the uptick in cases, Brazil’s towns and cities, urged on by Bolsonaro, have been gradually re-opening for business.

The rich have stopped spending and that has tanked the economy

Scott Horsley, NPR

The wealthiest American households are keeping a tight grip on their purse strings even as their lower-income counterparts are spending a lot more freely when they emerge from weeks of lockdown. That decline in spending by the wealthy could limit the whole country’s economic recovery.

Researchers based at Harvard have been tracking spending patterns using credit card data. They found that people at the bottom of the income ladder are now spending nearly as much as they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

“When the stimulus checks went out, you see that spending by lower-income households went up a lot,” said Nathan Hendren, a Harvard economist and co-founder of the Opportunity Insights research team.

However, the wealthy are not matching them. “For higher-income individuals, that spending is still way far off from where it was prior to COVID and it has not recovered as much,” Hendren said.

That’s potentially crippling because consumer spending is a huge driver of economic activity. In fact, so much of the country’s economy depends on shopping by the top income bracket that the wealthiest 25% of Americans account for fully two-thirds of the total decline in spending since January.

Read the full article here.

5 radical schooling ideas for an uncertain fall, and beyond

Anya Kamenetz, NPR 

There is no one answer for what the coming school year will look like, but it won’t resemble the fall of 2019. Wherever classrooms are open, there will likely be some form of social distancing and other hygiene measures in place that challenge traditional teaching and learning. Future outbreaks will make for unpredictable waves of closures. Virtual learning will continue. And all this will happen amid a historic funding crunch.

American education has long been full of innovators practicing alternatives to the mainstream. When the giant, uncontrolled experiment of the pandemic rolled across the country, certain approaches proved their mettle in new ways. Here are some ideas that seem newly relevant given the constraints of 2020 and beyond.

1. Support families to help teach children.

Recently, parents told the U.S. Census Bureau that teachers were spending around four hours a week in online contact with their children, while they, the parents, spent an average of 13 hours a week helping children with schoolwork themselves.

The debate over equity in emergency remote learning during the pandemic has centered on the lack of equipment like computers and hotspots. But access to home support is arguably even more important. A national survey by the advocacy group ParentsTogether found big gaps by income in the ability to access emergency learning. When asked about barriers to children’s participation, lower-income families who took the survey were more likely to name issues such as “school resources are too complicated” or “it’s hard to get my child to focus” than they were to cite a lack of equipment.

“Never in the modern history of our education system has the importance of family engagement been more apparent,” says Alejandro Gibes de Gac, the founder of Springboard Collaborative. Springboard is a social enterprise that looks at families as the “single greatest resource” for helping struggling readers.

In pre-pandemic times, it offered a series of hour-long workshops to family members, mostly in low-income communities, coaching them to set goals and practice specific reading concepts with elementary school-age children. In just five weeks, on average, 3 out of 4 of their participants get to the next reading level or even further. And these strategies work even though one-third of Springboard’s parents, grandparents, and other relatives are unable to access the text their child is holding, because of language differences, their own literacy gaps, or both.

Now that parent-assisted learning has become the default across the country, Springboard has created an app for the 10,000 families they already work with. They’ve offered professional development webinars for teachers, through unions and other organizations, on engaging families. And they’ve recently announced a partnership with Teach For America. This summer, 3,000 fresh TFA recruits will offer a remote version of Springboard’s reading strategies workshop for up to 9,000 pre-K through fourth-graders nationwide.

Gibes de Gac is excited about the impact this experience will have, not only on families, but on the pre-service teachers themselves: “I expect to look back on this as a turning point in how America prepares teachers to partner with families not as a peripheral responsibility, but as the very essence of teaching.”

Read the full article here.

Honduras president, first lady test positive for COVID-19

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández has said he and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19.

Hernández said in a television message late Tuesday that over the weekend he began feeling some discomfort and on Tuesday received the test results.

He said it was part of the risk that comes with the job. Hernández said his symptoms are light and that he’s already starting to feel better.

He said he had started what he called the “MAIZ treatment,” which stands for microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc. He said his wife is asymptomatic and two people who work with them are also infected.

As Florida test numbers rise, the NBA prepares for Disney

The rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Orlando, Florida, area has been soaring in recent days.

The NBA hopes that doesn’t matter.

After spending weeks on putting together an incredibly elaborate series of health and safety protocols, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association believe they have done what is necessary to keep the 22 teams and others who will be part of the season restart at the Disney campus near Orlando next month safe and healthy.

DeSantis likens upcoming budget cuts to Red Wedding in Game Of Thrones

Lynn Hatter, WFSU

Governor Ron DeSantis likens upcoming budget cuts to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones—lots of spending is going to die, including some of his own agenda items.

The state has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue during the pandemic and is expecting the outlook to get worse. State agencies will likely have to hold back a portion of their budgets.

“If you’re prudent about it, there are ways you can make an impact, but we’re going to be outlining that very soon in terms of the budget over the next two weeks and so, I know you guys will want to be there for that. And we’ll see you then,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis job growth grant fund is also caput. Though he’s not planning to touch state and teacher pay raises.

DeSantis says he doesn’t expect lawmakers to have to come back to Tallahassee before the end of the year. The state is planning to use federal money to plug some of its budget holes.

More funding needed to sustain Florida Medicaid enrollment surge, advocates say

Daylina Miller, WUSF

Florida’s Medicaid enrollment increased by nearly five percent in April and about three and a half percent in May. The program needs more money to sustain that growth.

“Unprecedented job loss due to the coronavirus means that more people across the country have enrolled in the nation’s largest health care insurance safety net program.”

Anne Swerlick is with the Florida Policy Institute. She says states are going to need more help paying for that.

“We’re going to need some more help at the federal level to preserve the program, and we need it urgently,” Swerlick said.

The National Governors Association recently asked Congress for a twelve percent increase in Medicaid funding to states, similar to the funds many states received under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

States did receive a six percent increase in Medicaid dollars through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act but Swerlick says this falls short of what they will need in the long term.

Miami-Dade isn’t monitoring bars and restaurants closed by COVID, even as virus numbers rise in South Florida

Jenny Staletovich, WLRN

As South Florida bars and restaurants re-opened this month, Miami-Dade came up with a list of rules to make sure they’re operating safely.

Bar and restaurant owners must track workers who test positive or miss work. And if an employee tests positive within a week of their last shift, establishments have to close off areas where that employee worked for 24 hours before cleaning them.

But the county doesn’t require bars or restaurants to report staff who test positive, or monitor which places close. The county said the state department of health may monitor closings, but neither state nor local officials could clarify that information by deadline.

And COVID-19 cases are climbing in South Florida. More people are getting tests. But people are testing positive at a higher rate too, which means you can’t blame signs of an expanding outbreak on increased testing.

In Miami-Dade, the rate of positive tests is up by almost 30% over the first week of June. Positive results are up 40% in Palm Beach County, and more than 60% in Broward. In the Keys, which had the fewest cases before the shutdown, the rate of positive test results has nearly tripled.

Districts scrambling to reopen schools

Mary Shedden, WUSF 

Florida’s public schools were thrown into uncertainty in mid-March, when the global coronavirus pandemic reached the United States.

School districts created a virtual learning environment on the fly, and now, they’re each deciding how to proceed. Governor Ron DeSantis is recommending in-person education resumes for the fall semester.

Leslie Postal is an education reporter at the Orlando Sentinel. She says while school districts have learned a lot, there remain major challenges that directly affect how children learn.

“I think, you know, the problems – the kids who disengage, the kids with disabilities who didn’t really get the services they need, the kids who you know were still learning English – they really struggled with it. They are all still going to be there. And that’s the big issue. The problems aren’t going to go away,” Postal said.

She says school districts also are struggling with even the most basic aspects of returning to school, such as school bus transportation and safely providing lunch.

Isolation causes loneliness. What else can it do to our bodies?

Coronavirus Daily, NPR

There’s a cost to staying home, too. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a neuroscientist and social psychologist at Brigham Young University, explains the toll that social isolation can take.

It’s been exactly three months since President Trump issued the first national guidelines for social distancing, including pausing nursing home visitors.

NPR’s Ashley Westerman recently checked in on her 100-year-old grandfather. Paul Westerman’s wife of 76 years is in hospice care. He’s alone, except for the nurses in his veteran’s home.

Plus NPR’s Chris Arnold checks in on a Boston hair stylist going back to work.

Yo-Yo Ma: Goats, rodeos and the power of music

Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls “Songs of Comfort.”

“I do believe that everything that we do,” he says, “people in every profession — medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians — we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need.”

Ma is also releasing new music. Along with Americana musicians Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan, Not Our First Goat Rodeo is a follow-up album to the group’s first project nine years ago.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly spoke to Yo-Yo Ma about getting the band back together nine years after its debut album, playing music to help us get through the coronavirus pandemic and what a more racially just classical music world might look like.

Read the full interview here.

Navy calls 1,629 reservists to shipyards left shorthanded by COVID-19 pandemic

Tom Bowman, NPR

The Navy is mobilizing 1,629 reservists to support aircraft carrier and submarine maintenance at its four public shipyards starting next month, officials said.

The mobilization will help reduce the maintenance backlog that has developed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, Naval Sea Systems Command authorized weather and safety leave for shipyard personnel who fell under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high risk” category for extreme complications tied to the COVID-19 virus.

With up to 25% of the production workforce unable to report to their duty location, the shipyards have not been able to handle all their work and have a backlog that, if left unchecked, would result in delays in returning ships to the fleet, officials said in a release.

The Navy says all the reservists will be on-site by September. They will be on one-year mobilization orders which may be extended or curtailed should circumstances change.

The shipyards include Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash., and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

As Texas coronavirus cases reach new high, Gov. Abbott plays down the numbers

Laurel Wamsley, NPR

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday the state’s highest-ever number of new COVID-19 cases: 2,622.

He also reported a second record high: 2,518 people hospitalized with the virus in Texas, up from 2,326 a day earlier.

Despite the concerning uptick in people sick with the virus, Abbott said that the reason for his news conference was to let Texans know about the “abundant” hospital capacity for treating people with COVID-19. He and other officials spent much of the briefing touting the state’s hospital bed availability.

Disclosing the new record high number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19, Abbott emphasized that figure is “really a very small percentage of all the beds that are available.”

Texas has so far been spared the high case numbers in other populous states. While it’s the second-largest state by population, Texas currently ranks sixth in terms of cumulative case numbers.

Before releasing the number of new cases, Abbott delved into what he said accounted for the previous daily high on June 10, which had 2,504 new cases. The governor said that spike could be largely attributed to 520 positive tests of inmates in Texas prisons being reported at once as well as a data error in a rural county.

Read the full article here.

2021 Pro Bowl to be played at new Las Vegas stadium

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Pro Bowl is headed to Las Vegas. The game was played the last four years in Orlando.

The NFL announced Tuesday that the 2021 all-star game will be played at the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jan. 31 — one week before the Super Bowl in Tampa.

Plans include what the league calls a week-long celebration of football, and will include NFL FLAG Championship games and a Pro Bowl skills showdown in which players compete in a variety of events.

There will be community and charity initiatives as well.

National teachers union spends $1M on ads pushing senators to pass HEROES Act — including Rubio

Jessica Bakeman, WLRN

A national teachers’ union is targeting Florida Senator Marco Rubio as part of a campaign to pressure the Senate to approve the HEROES Act.

That’s the bill passed by the House that would provide another $3 trillion dollars in COVID-19 relief — including about $90 billion dollars for K-12 and higher education.

“We must fund our public schools and community services. We can’t afford to forfeit our future. Tell your senator to fund our future now and support the HEROES Act.”

This ad from the American Federation of Teachers will appear on news channels and Facebook for two weeks — in Florida and nine other states, plus D.C. The Florida version instructs viewers to call Rubio’s office.

Spokespeople for the Republican senator did not respond to a request for comment.

According to an AFT spokesman, the union is spending $1 million dollars on the ads. Local unions like the United Teachers of Dade and Broward Teachers Union are affiliated with AFT.

U.S. Open tennis will start on time, New York Gov. Cuomo says

Austin Horn, NPR

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the U.S. Open tennis tournament will take place as scheduled this summer in Queens.

The event will begin on Aug. 31 without fans in the stands because of the continued spread of the coronavirus.

Some tennis stars expressed unease at the announcement. Australian tennis star Nicholas Kyrgios called the move “selfish” on Twitter and joked that he would bring his hazmat suit. Australia has lost 102 people to the coronavirus, a tiny fraction of the more than 116,000 who have died in the United States from COVID-19.

Other stars, including the women’s world No. 1 Ash Barty and 17-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic, have expressed concerns about the safety of the event, according to The Associated Press.

In a tweet, Cuomo stressed that the U.S. Tennis Association will be taking precautions that include “testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation.”

“It will be held without fans, but we can watch it on TV, and I’ll take that,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “The tennis authority is going to be taking extraordinary precautions.”

The U.S. Open is one of tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments and would be the second to take place this year, with the Australian Open having ended in February. Wimbledon has been canceled for the year, and the French Open, which usually takes place in May, was rescheduled to September after the U.S. Open.

Camille Thurman and Darrell Green: Alone Together Duets

Sarah Geledi, NPR

Six weeks ago, we launched this video series to give us a glimpse of some fabulous creative partnerships manifesting in isolation. But at this moment, as America slowly opens up, our nation has found itself in the midst of a vital discussion on race and equality.

For this Alone Together Duet, tenor saxophonist and member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Camille Thurman joins drummer Darrell Green to offer a firm musical message to the community: “Stand Tall.”

“We have witnessed members of our community being senselessly murdered since the inception of slavery in America, as well as losing many loved ones and elders due to COVID-19,” Thurman says. “This song is in memory of all of their lives, but also serves as a reminder and encouragement to us as a community to keep standing tall.”

Our Daily Breather: Recommended reading and viewing to find calm during the pandemic

NPR Music

Our Daily Breather was a daily series where we asked writers and artists to recommend one thing that’s helped them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. The series concluded on June 13, 2020. Many writers and artists suggested spending time with particular films, TV shows and books; here, we’ve collected some of their recommendations.


What Nashville Singer-Songwriter Kalie Shorr Read While Recovering From COVID-19

Who: Kalie Shorr
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
Recommendation: Reading books that inspire you

Kalie Shorr revisited some old favorites while recovering from COVID-19: “There’s many authors that I love — Kurt Vonnegut and Jean Baudrillard have recently gotten real estate on my nightstand. I love their work, but there’s something responsible about it. Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume has become a muse for me. It’s as untamed and wild as an Alanis Morissette deep cut. It’s philosophical, smart and provocative, but never at the expense of its sense of humor. At every turn, lyrics seem to jump off the pages. (‘His eyes, bright as torches in an ice cave, were so blue they seemed on some days to bleed into the sky’ is a choice example.) It has challenged me to up my game and take my wordsmith-ing to new levels. After a brief break, I’m so thankful to have the fire to write songs again.”

Read the full list of recommendations here.

DeSantis attributes increase in COVID cases to more testing in underserved areas

Lynn Hatter, WFSU

The median age of people getting infected by the coronavirus has dropped from 65 to 37 in Florida.

It comes as the number of positive cases has increased in recent weeks. But Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t believe the state needs to scale back on its reopening efforts.

“Would shutting down the state stop some of the examples I’ve shown? I don’t think so. You have to have society function, to have a cohesive society, that’s the best way to deal with the impacts of the virus, but particularly when you have a virus that disproportionally impacts one segment of society—to suppress a lot of working age people at this point, I don’t think would be very effective,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis attributes recent increases to more testing in communities considered high-risk. That includes low-income and farming areas, nursing homes, and prisons.

Doctors’ group wants state-mandated masks

Tom Flanigan, WFSU

Tuesday the state of Florida announced nearly 2,800 new COVID-19 cases in a twenty-four hour period.

That was the same day several physicians, including Dr. Ron Saff, stood in front of the Governor’s Mansion with a request for its occupant.

“Governor DeSantis should sign an executive order mandating that Floridians should wear masks or facial coverings in enclosed public spaces. As a snarky physician colleague has stated, ‘You may not like wearing a mask, but it beats wearing a ventilator’,” Saff said.

On June 6, Saff and other members of the group Physicians for Social Responsibility had sent a letter to DeSantis asking for the order, but had received no reply. The doctors are also upset that the governor has not worn a mask during any of his recent public appearances.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter

Danielle Prieur is a general reporter for 90.7 News. She studied journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and interned at 101.9 WDET. She is originally from the metro Detroit area.

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