LISTEN: WTBU News Brunch, Episode 5: March 24, 2020

Good morning, and welcome to your WTBU News Brunch. Like last week, we’re running our show on Zoom and will be for the rest of the semester. This week, we’ve got reporters in Puerto Rico, London, New York, Boston and California. 

The Tokyo Olympics are officially being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This morning, the International Olympic Committee and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the Tokyo Olympics will now take place no later than Summer 2021 but will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Twenty US states have stay-at-home orders, all varying in scope. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has strictly limited Californians’ ability to socialize and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday that their public schools would be closing.

The Philippine Congress has approved a bill declaring a national emergency. They also are authorizing the president to launch an $18 million aid plan for families and to tap private hospitals and ships to help fight the outbreak.

All eyes are on the United States Senate to see if they can finally agree on a coronavirus spending deal. The proposal will support those affected by layoffs and unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak. Tuesday’s vote on a $2 trillion virus aid package failed, and Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should have waited until a more firm agreement was reached.

Pandemonium hit the supermarkets of Puerto Rico this past weekend after widespread rumors on social media said there would be a shortage of food due to the island’s shelter-in-place and overnight curfew. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vasquez was quick to deny those rumors on a Facebook livestream, scolding those who spread the rumors and calling those who violated the shelter-in-place irresponsible.

Corona has shut down a majority of colleges in the country and most, like Boston University, have moved classes online. This does not only affect how we do things but when and where we do them. WTBU commentator Emily Wilson says for some students, the COVID-19 virus means chaos to their normal routine.

The United States is cutting $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan and is threatening even more. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit to Kabul Monday to meet with political rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. The two Afghan politicians both declared themselves the president after last year’s election.

Pacific Gas & Electric will plead guilty for 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2018’s Camp Fire in California. The fire destroyed three Northern California towns and has led the utility company to bankruptcy.

Residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover who were affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions in September of 2018 will soon be receiving compensation for their suffering. Payments from the class-action Columbia Gas settlement have been expedited as a result of economic downfall from COVID-19. The first round of payments will go out in mid-May.

The official Census Day is April 1, but data for the 2020 census has already started being collected by mail from every household in America. But in the time of COVID-19, a lot of students are not residing where they typically would be which may be a problem for student-heavy states like Massachusetts.

As the pandemic continues, we look back to the last global outbreak of this scale: the 1918 influenza pandemic, which hit Boston particularly hard. More than 1,000 Bostonians died, many of them soldiers returning from World War One in Europe. But there are big differences between 1918 and today.

The last few weeks have been pretty stressful for Boston University students. However Liquid Fun, one of BU’s improv comedy groups is looking to provide a humorous escape from it all. This Friday the troupe will perform an improv show directly on Zoom, the same platform we’re using for our News Brunch. 

This edition of WTBU News Brunch was produced by Emily Wilson, Frank Hernández, Hannah Harn, Katherine Swindells, Kendall Tamer, Sofie Isenberg and Ina Joseph. Our Technical Producer is Danny Roa. 

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