Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Carter Best started off the show with some breaking news from Spain. Spain has now passed China in the number of infections from COVID-19, with over 85,000 confirmed cases. The latest reports also include 812 new deaths, raising Spain’s death toll to 7,340. Spain and Italy alone make up half of the world’s recorded death toll from the virus, with Italy alone reporting over 11,000 dead.
According to the Associated Press, almost 15% of those infected in Spain are healthcare workers, which is further exacerbating the shortage of resources available to treat the influx of coronavirus patients. The situation in Italy is marginally improving with daily death rates decreasing around 10% a day since Friday. Here in the United States, President Donald Trump reversed his earlier calls for a return to normalcy by Easter and has called for maintenance of social distancing protocols until April 30. With over 143,000 infections and over 2,500 deaths, experts worry the United States could face a similar fate to Italy due to overcrowding in hospitals, shortages of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and a delay in adequate testing measures.
Michael Doti reported on local UGA news concerning COVID-19. Now for the first time in 24 days, all UGA students will be able to continue their education in their classes. There is just one catch though. In order to preserve the good will of social distancing, students and staff will finish their courses for the spring semester at home in front of their computer screens. This is in response to the email that UGA students and staff received on March 16 from President Jere Morehead. The email informed students that all USG institutions would move to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester.
This is a completely new way of learning that the majority of students have not had experience with. Instead of meeting face-to-face, all classes will be taught through eLearning Commons. Professors who choose to continue giving live instruction to their students will utilize Zoom, an app where a large number of people can get together to talk and work with each other over a certain project.
UGA’s Franklin College Office of Academic Advising posted on its Facebook page that both Spectrum and Comcast are offering free internet access to students, who simply need to sign up by calling their numbers.
Jamie Baker informed listeners on the most recent state news. Governor Brian Kemp announced Sunday that President Trump approved a declaration of federal assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration applies to all 159 Georgia counties and enables the government to provide assistance to Georgia in fighting the virus.
Governor Kemp also announced that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will be enforcing new social distancing guidelines. Although Georgia residents are generally abiding by social distancing guidelines, Kemp remarked that many Georgians are traveling to vacation homes, lakes and state parks where they are less likely to follow guidelines. Kemp stated that the department will, “enforce the executive order limiting large gatherings with officials patrolling bodies of water and campgrounds.”
Michael then reported on the current financial status of the country. He said the stocks are continuing to move in the right direction as of Monday morning. According to CNBC.com, last week were the best three day win streaks for both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 since the 1930’s. This is coming off the heels of President Trump’s decision to extend the social distancing deadline until at least April 30. Dow Jones gained .9%, while the S&P 500 gained 1.3% and 1.4%.
Mary Lou Masters had the latest COVID-19 protocol story. The 15-day period of social distancing and staying home, suggested by President Trump and his coronavirus task force, ended yesterday. This left people wondering what the following weeks hold. With President Trump recently hoping for Easter as an ending to this period of isolation, many people thought this would be over soon.
According to the Associated Press, “Trump’s impulse to reopen the country met a sober reality check Sunday from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, who said the U.S. could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic.”
This statement, along with other data presented to the President by Dr. Debbie Birx and Dr. Fauci, ushered for stricter precautions to be put in place. President Trump has decided to extend this period of social distancing and isolation to April 30.
The President said the best case scenario for the U.S. would be to stay under 100,000 deaths and for the deaths to peak in about two weeks. He also said that they will have to regroup at the end of April to see if further extensions are needed, but is hopeful that by June 1, “we should be well on our way to recovery.”
Carter detailed a story of a stolen piece of work. A painting by famed artist Vincent Van Gogh was reported stolen by a museum in The Hague, Netherlands earlier this morning. The museum is currently closed as part of the social distancing measures mandated by the Dutch government; however, it was the subject of an overnight raid ending in the theft of the work entitled “Spring Garden.” The painting was on loan from another Dutch museum as part of an exhibition called “Mirror of the Soul.” Police have initiated an investigation into the theft.
Jamie had some more state news concerning Georgia-Florida traffic. On Sunday, traffic at the Georgia-Florida border on I-95 was backed up for miles due to a COVID-19 checkpoint. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced this weekend that in coordination with the Florida Department of Health a checkpoint would be placed at the Florida border near Jacksonville.
This checkpoint screens passengers coming from locations where COVID-19 is rampant, such as New York, Louisiana, Connecticut and New Jersey. The checkpoint closed for hours on Sunday afternoon because traffic from Georgia became increasingly heavy. The checkpoint reopened late on Sunday. Facebook and other social media posts from Florida and Georgia residents alike have gone viral, showing frustrated drivers stuck for miles on the road.
Mary Lou reported on an uplifting virtual concert for entertainment news. Sunday night, in an effort to bring people together during these depressing times, Fox streamed an iHeart Radio living room concert hosted by Elton John. Many artists joined in from their living rooms to bring joy through their music and show that we are all in this together.
Alicia Keys opened the show up with her song “Rise Up.” She sang a softer and more thoughtful version of it, dedicating the song to “first responders and medical professionals keeping the nation safe,” according to Fox News.
The Backstreet Boys sang their most popular song “I Want it that Way.” I know what you’re thinking, what about social distancing? Well, they all sang it separately on video, and these videos were then put together on one screen. It was truly entertaining to watch.
Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas sang an acoustic rendition of their song “Bad Guy.” Shawn Mendes played guitar for his girlfriend Camilla Cabello while she sang her hit song “My Oh My.” Sam Smith sang “How Do You Sleep?” from London. Tim McGraw sang his classic song “Something Like That” from his pool’s diving board. And the iconic Mariah Carey performed “Always be My Baby.”
Instead of commercials, breaks were used to advocate for organizations such as Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation, both of which are geared towards supporting those affected by COVID-19.
Carter brought the most recent developments concerning a hospital ship heading toward New York City. A Navy hospital ship equipped with 1,000 hospital beds was scheduled to dock in a New York City harbor Monday morning in a measure to alleviate the overcrowding plaguing the city’s healthcare facilities.
The USNS Comfort was also mobilized as a treatment facility following 9/11, and alongside the beds contains 12 operating rooms that could be functional within 24 hours. The ship will be used to house and treat non-COVID-19 patients in an effort to clear space in city hospitals for those afflicted with the virus. The state of New York recently suffered its 1,000th death from the virus less than a month after the state’s first reported infection, with New York City alone logging 776.
Michael closed the show with a new segment called “Weirdest of the Week.” This edition takes place in Springfield, Missouri last Sunday where a woman received a fortunate — but at the same time unfortunate — surprise while shopping in Walmart. While she was doing what most Americans have done amidst coronavirus fears, buy as much toilet paper as possible, the miraculous tragedy occurred: her water broke.
With no way to get home or to a hospital on time, she had no choice but to give birth to her newborn child in the toilet paper aisle in Walmart.
Thankfully a nurse was also buying toilet paper at the same time and helped deliver the baby, while Jessica Hinkle, the alerted store manager, was assigned to hold up a sheet to give the two some privacy, along with making sure nobody interfered with the miracle of human life. Shortly after the process began, firefighters arrived at Walmart to assist in the delivery as well.
In the end, the whole labor process was a quick 45 minutes, and the woman was transported in an ambulance to a hospital after she gave birth. After it was over Hinkle said, “You know a feel-good moment, everybody is going through so much with a baby it’s like everything comes full circle.”
Four days later, Hinkle was able to contact the woman and receive the good news that she and the baby are both doing well. The empty toilet paper shelf that resulted from the panic buying was certainly the best, but also the weirdest, substitute for a hospital bed that the woman could ask for.