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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.

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 due to nations' lockdowns and broken supply chains throughout industry have meant millions of Germany's workers are eligible for public financial aid. Known as Kurzarbeit, the government's compensation program allows firms to reduce employees' hours while the state provides much of the lost income.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 got 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.

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.

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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.

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.

Health scams are popping up as the coronavirus crisis grows around the country, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

The agencies warn about the proliferation of fraudulent products that claim to test for the coronavirus and prevent or cure COVID-19. The FDA has sent warning letters to seven manufacturers of therapy products including essential oils, nasal sprays and herbal concoctions.

A cruise ship with four dead and nearly 200 people who have been sick with suspected COVID-19 may be allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Holland America ship Zaandam has been denied permission to disembark passengers by several countries.

Executives with the cruise line's parent company, Carnival, are working with the Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local officials in Florida's Broward County on a plan that would allow healthy passengers to disembark.

During Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is "a great governor" who "knows exactly what he's doing" in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence added to the DeSantis accolades, saying the Republican governor has "been taking decisive steps from early on."

But according to public health experts, thousands of heath care workers and a pending lawsuit, DeSantis' leadership has been woefully inadequate.

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.

At a White House briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, laid out a grim vision of the future.

The best computer models, she said, predict that between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 during the coming months, even if the country continues the strict social distancing measures that most states have adopted. Relaxing those restrictions would send the toll much higher.

In an effort to tamp down the COVID-19 infection rate across the nation's corrections system, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced on Tuesday that starting Wednesday, inmates in all of its institutions across the country will be kept in their assigned cells or quarters, effectively putting them in lockdown.

The order will hold for at least 14 days, but it may be extended to a later date.

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