social distancing

Doris Bravo-Hieger

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a plan to reopen public schools at full capacity in August. Weeks prior, he had approved the opening of summer camps throughout the state. Local officials in South Florida, who were at first apprehensive about summer activities, are now allowing them under social distancing guidelines. 

Although kids have been cooped up for months, many parents are skeptical about taking them to camp this year. 

Lizzy Celine
Courtesy Celine Peccatte and Lizzy Hoke / WLRN

Drive-by birthday parties. Passover Seder on Zoom. Even weddings livestreamed on YouTube.

 

It’s been a little more than three months now, since we really could be together with friends and family the way we are used to. These are just some of the ways people are coming together in a socially-distant way to mark some of life’s major moments. 

River
Courtesy of Diana Haneski / WLRN

Sometimes cute, sometimes irritating — it might be a familiar occurrence at this point: A dog barks in the background of a video conference.

In this case, though, it's definitely cute, because the dog is River, a fluffy Bernedoodle who's certified in canine therapy. And her owner is Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's librarian.

Las Olas Fort Lauderdale
Wally Gobetz via Flickr / WLRN

Fort Lauderdale’s city commission met virtually on Wednesday to discuss ongoing social distancing measures.

One of the main topics was last weekend's closure of one lane in each direction on Las Olas Boulevard. Mayor Dean  Trantalis said pedestrians and businesses appreciated it, as it provided additional space to walk on and expanded restaurant seating.

The commission plans another partial closure this weekend — weather permitting.

Stock traders wore masks at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday as the trading floor reopened for the first time since March. The exchange has been restricted to electronic trading for two months out of concern over the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Sweden's controversial approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic has so far failed to produce the expected results, and there are calls within the country for the government to change its strategy.

"We have a very vivid political debate," Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the United States, told NPR. "I don't think people are protesting on the streets but ... there's a very big debate, if this [strategy] is the right thing to do or not, on Facebook and everywhere."

This week, NASA and the commercial company SpaceX are set to launch two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in a new capsule. This is the first launch by NASA of astronauts from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, but it's happening in the middle of a pandemic.

Here are some of the ways that the coronavirus will, and won't, change the plans for the space agency's latest launch.

Astronauts have been quarantining since before it was cool.

Champale Greene-Anderson keeps the volume up on her television when she watches 5-year-old granddaughter Amor Robinson while the girl's mom is at work.

"So we won't hear the gunshots," says Greene-Anderson. "I have little bitty grandbabies, and I don't want them to be afraid to be here."

As a preschooler, Amor already knows and fears the sounds that occurred with regularity in their St. Louis neighborhood before the pandemic — and continue even now as the rest of the world has slowed down.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

COMMENTARY

We know one likely reason Brazil’s coronavirus emergency is in full meltdown. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro calls the pandemic a “media hoax” and has done everything in his power, like hosting a large pro-Bolsonaro street rally last weekend, to undermine social distancing.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Nearly half of the Twitter accounts spreading messages on the social media platform about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said Wednesday.

Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.

If you're a supporter of President Trump, longing for the excitement and MAGA-kinship of a big rally, Trump's campaign has built the next best thing. It's a massive digital operation that creates an interactive world where Trump is flawless and Republicans are saviors, while Democrats and Joe Biden are wrong and dangerous.

They encourage supporters to "forget the mainstream media" and get their "facts straight from the source," an insular information ecosystem featuring prime time programming, accessed in its most pure form through the new Trump 2020 app.

YESICA FISCH / AP

Brazil is now the world’s fastest growing COVID-19 hotspot. Each day the country is reporting more than 10,000 new infections – and about a thousand new deaths. Brazil’s top scientists say the country isn’t even close to its pandemic peak yet. And over the weekend its health minister quit – the second to leave in a month.

WLRN’s Christine DiMattei spoke with Americas editor Tim Padgett about Brazil’s COVID-19 meltdown – and the political chaos that’s making it worse.

Mental health specialists are working now to bolster the resilience of Americans who are suffering from feelings of despair — in hopes of preventing increases in suicides among people who are under increased pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Time is of the essence, public health researchers say. Experience with past natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, shows that a rise in suicide often happens in the months after the immediate physical dangers of the disaster have passed.

At a time when we really need to keep a sense of humor, comedy clubs are closed. Stand-up comedians are on lockdown. So what do you do if your career is making people laugh? You can write jokes while you shelter in place, but how do you know if they're funny?

As more states begin to ease coronavirus restrictions, restaurants are working through exactly how they will get back to business.

When Florida eased restaurant restrictions this week, the notorious Flora-Bama roadhouse reopened its doors, the sounds of live music drifting with the sea breeze.

This sprawling 11-acre complex on the Gulf of Mexico at the Florida-Alabama state line is known for its local musicians, Gulf oysters and cold beer.

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