FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 30, 2020
Signs of hope and healing emerge amid grim health news across America
Read one of the many articles about Topic A on everyone's mind and share a vivid quote.
Look for suggested activities and ways to stay connected while being safe. Which have you done or plan to do?
Now find a news or feature article, or a photo, that has nothing to do with disease. Summarize the topic and your reaction.
This month is unlike any other in our country's history. Parents, teachers and grandparents have lived through a lot of shocks – including terrorism and war – but they've never before experience the national health emergency that keeps you and them away from schools, jobs and pretty much everything except grocery shopping and neighborhood walks. Coronavirus, which causes a serious breathing disease called COVID-19, affects more than 124,000 Americans and has killed over 2,200 in this country as of Sunday. The U.S. has more confirmed cases than any country – surpassing China, where it began three months ago. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a federal expert who's a leading voice in White House efforts to curb the outbreak, says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die before the crisis ends.
The economic impact also is severe. Applications for government unemployment payments have soared to a level unlike any ever seen. Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week -- five times higher than the number of initial jobless claims ever in a week. More than half of the 50 state governors issued stay-home orders that shut businesses, halted outdoor group recreation and leave streets and roads spookily empty. The stock market in New York fell sharply before recovering somewhat after President Trump last Friday sign a $2-trillion rescue package passed by Congress with unanimous support from both parties. It provides money for states, businesses and individuals – including payment to most families. (See video below.)
At first, some people ignored warnings not to gather in crowds. They went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, jammed bars for St. Patrick's Day and took spring break trips – probably spreading the virus. A 22-year-old Ohio rapper apologizes on Instagram last week for televised comments in a mid-March interview from Miami. "If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from," Brady Sluter told CBS News then. "We're just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens." Back home a week later, he posted: "I wasn't aware of the severity of my actions and comments. . . . Don't be arrogant and think you’re invincible like myself."
Looking ahead, we can see at least a few reasons for optimism, including the massive federal aid spending. "Social distancing" and stay-home guidelines are widely observed in efforts to "flatten the curve" of the disease's rise. Manufacturers are rushing to make face masks and hospital breathing machines called ventilators. Fast-paced vaccine research shows promise, with clinical trials that could make protective vaccines available by winter. President Trump, who initially minimized the threat, is mobilizing military reservists, the National Guard, Navy hospital ships and other federal resources to address the crisis. He and medical advisers hold daily televised briefings at the White House.President says: "We've been working very hard on this. We've made tremendous progress. When you compare what we've done to other areas of the world, it's pretty incredible." – March 13
Columnist says: "We'll look back on this as one of the most meaningful periods of our lives. . . . And it is this very meaning that will inspire us and hold us together as things get worse." -- David Brooks, The New York Times
TV news anchor says: "At a time when the flow of solid and reliable information is critical, a White House takedown of American journalists seems out of place." – Devin Scillian, WDIV in Detroit
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