Coronavirus

The new coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. It has since been found in countries all around the world, including the United States. Vermont announced its first case late on Saturday, March 7.

Credit Centers for Disease Control

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I'm hearing a lot of talk about the coronavirus spreading through aerosols — is wearing a mask in a grocery store enough protection? What else should I do to stay safe?

Quick answer first: Going to the grocery store where you and everyone else is wearing a mask and keeping a distance from each other is still considered a low-risk activity. Go get your summer strawberries!

A sign urging social distancing greets visitors to the Davis Center on UVM's campus.
Abagael Giles / VPR

Live call-in discussion: Vermont's state government has issued guidelines college campuses will have to follow in order to reopen on campus this fall. They include: mandatory health checks, a compressed academic calendar, and codes of conduct students pledge to follow. We're talking with Vermont colleges about what's happening on their individual campuses, and the concerns many still have for the fall.

Phil Scott at a podium
Screenshot / ORCA Media

As the economic toll of COVID-19 intensifies longstanding concerns about housing insecurity in Vermont, the state is poised to disburse $25 million to renters and homeowners that might otherwise face eviction or foreclosure.

Around the country, communities of color continue to be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So in many of these communities, local leaders are stepping in to try to help solve a problem they say is years in the making.

In Richmond, Va., crews of local firefighters and volunteers have been fanning out across the city, going door to door with plastic bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and information about staying healthy.

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public as the rate of new coronavirus cases surges to record heights in parts of the United States.

The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.

Vermont News Updates For Friday, July 10

Jul 10, 2020
A horse sculpture
Peter Crabtree / For VPR

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of ongoing local coverage of the coronavirus, cyanobacteria blooms, and more for Friday, July 10.

An exterior of a holiday inn hotel
Screenshot / Google Maps

Officials in Rutland are concerned that hundreds of teenagers who bussed into Vermont from out of state for a summer camp are breaking the state's pandemic rules by overcrowding a local hotel.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

The new chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges is not starting an easy job. Plus: face masks, Shelburne Museum reopens, and COVID-19 cases.

Vermont News Updates For Thursday, July 9

Jul 9, 2020
Sign in village of Fairlee
Sarah Priestap / For VPR

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of ongoing local coverage of the coronavirus, efforts to develop a new statutory code of ethics, and more for Thursday, July 9.

Middlebury College Professor Jonathan Isham
Middlebury College, Courtesy

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that international students pursuing degrees in the U.S. will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities or colleges switch to online-only courses this fall. A number of higher education facilities, including Harvard and MIT, are doing just that as a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile at Middlebury College, some professors are promising to help students stay.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Matthew Smith / VPR File

Early voting has already started for Vermont’s August primary. Secretary of State Jim Condos says many voters are interested because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. This hour, we look at some of the major changes in Vermont’s election law, including a new vote-by-mail system that goes into place this year.

Jeanne Norris is a teacher, the wife of a teacher and the mother of an 8-year-old in St. Louis. She'd love to send her son back to school in August. But, she says, "I feel like my government and my fellow citizens have put me in a position where it's not really in the best interests of our family."

Norris has a long list of reasons why. She says she has taught in buildings where ventilation systems are outdated and malfunctioning, and even soap for hand-washing is in short supply.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

What Vermont businesses got from the Paycheck Protection Program. Plus: COVID-19 numbers, an investigation into a Rutland police shooting, and bears.

A solar site in Shoreham, with panels against a green field
SunCommon, courtesy

A recently released database shows that some 12,000 Vermont companies – some with very ample balance sheets – received low-interest, forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.  

Vermont News Updates For Wednesday, July 8

Jul 8, 2020
A stuffed mountain lion with a mask on in a window.
Sarah Priestap / For VPR

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of ongoing local coverage of the coronavirus, a police shooting in Rutland, and more for Wednesday, July 8.

Just two days after federal officials barred international students from attending U.S. colleges that go online-only this fall, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made their objections clear. They sued the U.S. government in federal court Wednesday, seeking to have the U.S. Immigration Customs And Enforcement policy reversed and declared unlawful.

A growing number of governors and mayors are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus by requiring people to wear masks in public places.

Experts say these public health rules will reduce the risk of people getting sick. But some local police and sheriffs are refusing to enforce the rules.

"COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, it's getting worse," warned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, when he announced his state's mask mandate ahead of the July Fourth weekend.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

A profile of Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker. Plus: guidelines for the fall semester, COVID-19 cases, and relief grants for businesses.

A man in a suit and tie stands at a podium with a screen behind him.
Screenshot / ORCA Media

Vermont colleges will be required to follow a series of guidelines in order to hold in-person classes this fall, including mandatory COVID-19 testing for all students.

A man in glasses sitting in front of a police plaque in an office.
Nina Keck / VPR

When Jim Baker stepped down after 30 years with the Vermont State Police in 2009, he became the guy state and local officials call when they’ve got a high-profile problem.

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