COVID-19

COVID-19

News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

N.C. tries to speed vaccine rollout as the federal government puts out new guidelines

North Carolina, which remains one of the slowest states in vaccinating people for COVID-19, is facing new federal recommendations on who should be among the first to get shots.   Questions about stumbling vaccine distribution consumed Raleigh on Tuesday: Two legislative health oversight committees spent more than two hours talking about vaccine distribution, and it was the major topic at Gov. Roy Cooper’s news conference.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: COVID cases skyrocket in NC while vaccine rollout lags

It's Monday, Jan 11. At least 7,425 North Carolinians did not see the sunrise today after dying of COVID-19. The number of cases and deaths is growing, as the state grapples with record-high daily new cases, a shortage of hospital beds and a slow vaccine rollout. “In the ten months that we have been fighting this pandemic, this is the most worried that I have been for our state,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said last Friday at a press conference.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

In inaugural address, Gov. Roy Cooper looks to North Carolina emerging stronger after the pandemic

Gov. Roy Cooper started his second term Saturday facing the challenges of a pandemic that is killing dozens of North Carolina residents each day, as well as political divisions in the state and the nation.  Dozens of North Carolinians ...
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COVID-19 Law and the Courts News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Fewer people incarcerated in NC’s county jails during the pandemic, but the ones left are staying longer

Backlogged court system and delayed trials create social justice inequities during COVID-19

While the number of people in county jails has dropped because of the pandemic, some incarcerated people in North Carolina are staying locked up longer, a study monitoring these populations shows.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

The year in review: Five “PW investigates” stories to remember

Looking back on the pandemic, some of its many disturbing impacts, and one community's controversial plan to revive its economy In a year upended and dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Policy Watch covered the crisis with daily stories and investigative pieces from the institutional to the personal.

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News Top Story

Monday Numbers: For North Carolina, a devastating year for job losses

As 2020 draws to a close, the COVID-19 pandemic continues have a devastating economic impact on North Carolinians. Many businesses remain closed or are operating at limited capacity; some have closed permanently. More than 1.3 million North Carolinians applied for benefits between March 15 and Dec. 16, according to data released last week by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security. More than 40,000 people filed claims last week alone.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Experts warn of pandemic-related “eviction tsunami”

With the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine arriving in the state, many North Carolinians are feeling a new kind of hope as the pandemic stretches into 2021. But without swift government action at the state and federal levels, the new year could usher in an “eviction tsunami” and economic devastation, according to experts who gathered to discuss the problem Tuesday.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC students: Are you ready to return to campus? The administration says yes.

With UNC System schools looking ahead to the spring semester, tensions over COVID-19 planning and the question of returning more students to campus have have intensified between students, staff, faculty and administrators. While most of the system’s 17 universities kept students on campus for the fall semester, the largest schools — N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University — sent students home after just a week of classes.

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COVID-19 Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Faculty members revolt over UNC plans to triple number of students living on campus next semester

With clusters of campus COVID cases, the fall semester was a failure. In the spring, history could repeat itself. Faculty members and administrators in the UNC System are butting heads over pandemic planning for the spring semester, as some schools consider bringing more students back to campuses.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A fitting conclusion to two decades of neglect

In one of her final acts, outgoing NC Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry declines to help protect workers from COVID-19 It shouldn’t and doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Some things in the world of 21st Century policy and politics – President Donald Trump telling outrageous lies, Senator Phil Berger blocking the expansion of health coverage to hundreds of thousands of struggling North Carolinians, Senator Richard Burr always making sure to look out for Number One – are as predictable as the sunrise.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

When it comes to the pandemic, the NC political right should #StoptheStupid

#StoptheStupid. That little zinger of a Twitter hashtag drew national headlines in recent days after a Michigan Republican congressman named Paul Mitchell used it in a public plea to President Trump to cease his baseless, irresponsible and destructive claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

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COVID-19 Environment Top Story

COVID-19 quarantine creates record amounts of trash

Dan Parker wants to talk trash.  Actually, he’s been talking trash for more than six years. Parker’s job at Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department brings him up close to the discards and undesirables of the city’s residents. But the last seven months of the pandemic brought a load unlike any other for Parker and his team. 

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News Top Story

Biden wants mask mandates nationwide: ‘We can save tens of thousands of lives’

As U.S. cases of COVID-19 surpass 10 million, some states could still resist requiring an important precaution to reduce the spread of the disease. WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus response plan would establish a national mask mandate by calling on all governors to require people to wear face coverings in public in their states.

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COVID-19 Other Voices Top Story

Love and death in the time of COVID

A caregiver for her terminally ill friend contracted COVID. Not only did it make dying — and grieving — more difficult, but it also unveiled the shortcomings of the U.S. health care system.

My best friend didn’t die of COVID-19. But COVID-19 would make a huge difference in the way she died.

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COVID-19 Defending Democracy Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As new poll workers step up in pandemic, elections directors say they are ready for November

Even with an increase in absentee voting, election directors expect a large in-person turnout. Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began upending so many aspects of American life, elections directors across the state have worried about the impact on the November election.

Health concerns have led to an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests. But a divisive presidential election and tumultuous political season could also lead to heavy in-person turnout. That’s a problem for the backbone of the election systems across the state: the more than 15,000 election workers, the majority of whom are older people for whom coronavirus infection is most dangerous.

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COVID-19 Original Commentary Progressive Voices Top Story

Congress must pass robust COVID relief; failure is not an option

There has never been a more urgent time for Congress to step up and pass a relief package that acknowledges the breadth and depth of the hardships that North Carolinians and millions across the country are facing. Last week, after months of stalled negotiations, the U.S. Senate put forth a COVID relief bill that cut in half what Senate leaders had agreed to spend as of early August. It was, in effect, an almost empty gesture toward the need for aid to address hunger, job losses, the risk of eviction, and more.

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