LISTEN: WTBU News Radio, Episode 4: March 17, 2020

Good morning, and welcome to your WTBU News Brunch.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are putting this show together online, via Zoom. We’ve got people in Puerto Rico, London, Barcelona, New York and Boston. As they say, “The show must go on!”

Fans across New England are in shock after Tom Brady announced just hours ago, that he will not be returning to play for the New England Patriots. After Brady’s contract expired this season, fans had been anticipating his next move. Although he did say in interviews that he was unsure what was in store for him, one Superbowl advertisement convinced fans that he would not be leaving New England.

As of Tuesday, the United States is reporting more than 3,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with a total of 68 deaths, and the White House is emphasizing the importance of is self-isolation and hygiene to help protect Americans during the global coronavirus outbreak. They advise older individuals to stay at home, and for people of all ages to avoid crowds and large events.

And perhaps a bit of good news on the virus front: human testing has begun on a coronavirus vaccine clinical trial. The first injections of the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, took place Tuesday at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

After a brutal sell-off that gave the U.S. stock market its worst loss in more than three decades, the stock market opened slightly higher Wednesday. The White House is also proposing an emergency economic rescue package, totaling around $850 billion, while Democrats have proposed their own $750 billion package.

Italy has become the country hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic after China. There have been almost 28,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths since the outbreak was first discovered on Feb. 21, and there are worries that the US may be next in line if appropriate precautions aren’t taken.

Speaking of responses to COVID-19, in addition to all Massachusetts public schools closing, many colleges are also shutting down. But Boston University is doing a balancing act: moving classes online while allowing some students to stay on campus. While the campus may feel like a ghost town, about 1/3 of the student population – 4,000 students – stayed on campus at the start of spring break, even though the university is encouraging them to stay home.

Last night Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine announced the cancelation of the Ohio primary, originally scheduled for Wednesday, due to the current health crisis. Initially, a judge refused to delay the Ohio primary, but in the wee hours of the morning, Ohio declared a state of emergency that nixed the judge’s order.

Puerto Rico has become the first among the US territories and states to enforce a curfew that essentially keeps people in their homes 24 hours a day in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. WTBU reporter Frank Hernández said this is only the latest in a long list of reasons the island is demanding not to be treated like a second class citizen.

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

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