Pandemic Stress

Kids Feel Pandemic Stress Too. Here’s How To Help Them Thrive

Spending quality time with kids and listening deeply into them is one method to help them tame stress\. Here Maryam Jernigan-Noesi and Mariano Noesi play their 4-year-old son Carter. Jernigan-Noesi is a child psychologist.

Lynsey Weatherspoon for NPR



Lynsey Weatherspoon for NPR

Spending quality time with kids and listening deeply into them is one way to assist them tame anxiety. Here Mariano Noesi and Maryam Jernigan-Noesi play their 4-year-old son Carter. Jernigan-Noesi is a child psychologist.

Lynsey Weatherspoon for NPR

Since the pandemic continues, children continue to be mostly at home. Summer activities are canceled or upward in the atmosphere, and kids are suffering confusion and stress\. Parents may be stressed themselves, but there are ways\.

During the first few weeks of staying at home, Maryam Jernigan-Noesi’s 4-year-old son Carter was excited. His parents were around him all the day, and it looked like a extended weekend. But after a few weeks, ” she says, things shifted.

“With regards to getting dressed and brushing teeth and that type of routine, he had been somewhat slower to do that… analyzing the limitations with mother and daddy,” she recalls.

Carter was utilized to some two-hour nap at school. But today at home, he didn’t need to nap. And it had been hard for him to get to sleep. “So in some instances, he was in bed only wiggling and twisting and turning,” Jernigan-Noesi says. He would tell his parents he wasn’t tired and couldn’t fall asleep.

As a child psychologist, Jernigan-Noesi knows that if kids are mentally stressed, they could revert to behaviors from earlier childhood. Those that are potty-trained might have the bed. Thumb sucking may be started by others. “So, Carter, for instance, who has not been rocked to sleep in a while, wanted to sit in my lap and be rocked in the chair that I used to breastfeed him in and rock him to sleep once he had been much younger,” she says.

A range of Jernigan-Noesi’s friends tell her their children, 8, 9 and even elderly are unexpectedly clingy, after parents around the house, asking them to sit in the bathroom while bathrooms are taken and teeth are brushed. “It’s almost as though they didn’t want to do anything individually, which was uncharacteristic,” she states. “These were developmental milestones they had met before this moment.” She adds she has begun to see this problem.

During these stressful times, children may also experience behavior changes like moodiness, anger and even tantrums, according to child psychologist Mary Alvord who studies injury and resilience. She says anxiety can cause headaches and stomach aches, especially among kids\.

What parents need to be on the lookout for, states Alvord are behavior changes that affect daily functioning. Including things like eating, sleeping and interactions . They may want to consult with a therapist, if parents detect such major changes in operation, ” she states. Here are a few idea to try yourself at home.

Model calm

What are parents to do? The first step she states.

That is because, she says, kids and teens pick up the level of stress in their parents. “They don’t always understand what is happening, but they can sense the tension.” The more serene a parent can be, the more they’re reassuring their child, she says.

Of course, staying calm obviously is not always easy and often requires a conscious effort. Produce a break for to reset your stress levels.

“It might mean you go into the bathroom and lock the door for 10 minutes if you need to just kind of chill out and have your own space,” she suggests. “It may mean that you go for a quick walk to reduce any tension that you have.”

Focus on what is working

Another way to help: Shift focus from your child’s worrisome behavior, states Alvord. Pay attention to what is going and reinforce it.

Try saying things like,”you look really mad, but you talked about it, you remained composed, you used an’indoor voice’, and you asked what you wanted.” She says it’s important to educate kids at a young age, to assert themselves and to determine what they want.

Create relaxing spaces

Some parents have found it useful to help their children create soothing spaces only for them, places they could go when they need to feel better. Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman resides in Silver Spring Maryland and has two children, Evelyn, 10, and a boy Sagan, 7. Not long after the pandemic began, Evelyn built a fort for herself”a tiny cozy corner in her room that is totally enclosed with a Harry Potter cape and a Portuguese flag and another fabric,” says Pavao-Zuckerman. “When she is just feeling stressed or angry, she goes and sits in that tiny corner.”

The cat sleeps in Evelyn’s fort also. Under normal circumstances, Pavao-Zuckerman says that she would have insisted Evelyn dismantle the fort so that the area may be cleaned and vacuumed. “But under the situation today, it is totally fine; she needs that type of comfy area where she feels secure, and to me personally, it looks like a fairly healthy way of managing tension and anxiety.”

Indeed, it is a healthy option agrees Alvord, that says it’s often as straightforward as that. “Kids have always liked being in their treehouses, their own little area where they can put their items,” and truly feel safe.

Support kids’ friendships

Connections to friends really are very important to children’ psychological growth, Alvord says, particularly for teens. “Are they losing friends or are they disconnected?” She says. “Because while we will need to physically distance, we need to be sure we’re all socially attached.” States Alvord.

There are ways for kids to maintain friendships even with all the necessary steps to avoid transmission. Alvord advises parents to encourage their kids to join whether it be activities that are online or distanced activities like \websites, texting, phone calls and cuts\.

“I’ve noticed kids sitting out on blankets, like one family on a single blanket and another family on another blanket,” she says. Like blowing bubbles at each 18, they are able to continue to keep their distance, but still engage\. And, of course, if they’re not everyone ought to be wearing a mask. For older kids, Alvord says \physical distancing walks and bike riding can be an opportunity for physical exercise and for emotional bonding.

Encourage hobbies

With all these things that are beyond our control right now, Alvord suggests parents try talking”some things their kids can, in reality, control. By way of instance, how they spend their time, what hobbies they participate in and enjoy, how they interact with family members and friends, even what they could do to”stay secure.”

“We need a proactive orientation,” she says. “We do not want our kids to feel like victims.” Kids can be invited to”play their guitar more, learn a new hobby, invest more time talking with their friends.”

Have open and honest conversations

When kids are obviously sad or angry, the best gift parents can give them is time, says psychiatrist Joshua Morganstein, spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association. “Sit with them and provide them time, time to wait and listen to what they must say.” He says this lets the child know that, number onethey are”worth waiting for” and that you will try to comprehend what they’re going through.

And be honest, he says, when speaking with your child regardless of what their age. That might indicate also offering to look it up together, and admitting you do not know the reply to a question concerning the pandemic. This models the attitude you would like them to develop as they grow older, he says.

“Do I need them to make up things or pretend they don’t feel concerned about something? Or do I need them to go get some advice, or to ask\? A trusted source, as an instance,” he says.

Construct a hopeful vision of the future

Being honest and guide is actually a method of teaching your kid to feel hopeful, he says. “Hope isn’t about pretending that everything’s OK; it is all about recognizing that things can be very, very difficult and in the midst of all of that, we can still find ways to grow as people and as a family and also to strengthen our connection with each other and with the people we care about.”

Learning these items, he says will help”sustain a vision of a more hopeful future.”

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Coronavirus Pandemic Technology

The coronavirus pandemic is expanding California’s digital divide

Kevin Frazier

A Masters of Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School and JD candidate in the UC Berkeley School of Law, kevin Frazier, uses his spare time to advocate for better authorities.

More posts by this contributor

If every California student without a decent internet connection got together and formed a state, it would comprise more residents than Idaho or even Hawaii.

A total of 1,529,000 K-12 pupils in California don’t have the connectivity necessary for sufficient distance learning.

Analysis from Common Sense Media also revealed that students lacking sufficient connection commonly lack an adequate device as well. The homework gap that divides people on the side of this divide and those with relations will become a prep chasm without drastic and immediate intervention.

To raise awareness of the enormity and immediacy of the digital divide, I started No One Left Offline (NOLO) at San Francisco. It’s an all-volunteer nonprofit that’s developing a coalition of Bay Area organizations focused on giving people, seniors and students to high-speed, affordable Internet.

During the week of July 27, the NOLO coalition will launch the Bridge the Divide campaign to increase 50,000 in capital which will be used to directly pay broadband bills for households on the edge of the digital divide.

At this point in our reaction to COVID-19, emergency measures have only ceased the homework gap from climbing instead of really shrinking it. That’s precisely why we want a sort of addressing pupils’ lack of apparatus and internet. The digital”haves” should adopt directly covering the broadband invoices and updates required from the”have nots.” This kind of giving is both the best and efficient means of giving every student high-speed net along with a device.

But a lot of people are conscious of just how dire life can be on the wrong side of this digital divide. That’s why I’m trusting you — as a fellow member of the digital”haves” — will join me in taking a day off(line) on July 17. I’m convinced that it will take a day (or even more) from the electronic dim for more Americans to recognize just how hard it is to flourish, let alone endure, without stable net, a device and a sufficient degree of electronic literacy.

The increased attention to the digital divide generated by this day off(line) will spur a collective and significant reaction to stopping the formation of a prep chasm.

Present efforts to shut the assignments gap have been laudable and restricted. For instance, internet service providers (ISPs) deserve praise for taking a voluntary pledge to limit fees, forgive fines and eliminate data caps. But that assurance expired at the end of June, months before college starts and in the center of an expanding economic calamity.

It’s true that many ISPs are still likely to extraordinary lengths to help those in need — look no further than Verizon donating phones to Miracle Messages to help people experiencing homelessness associate with loved ones. But, these extraordinary measures won’t fully compensate for the fact that hundreds of thousands of Californians are experiencing financial insecurity that is higher . They call for and want a solution for their digital needs — not just voluntary pledges that finish in the center of a pandemic.

In the same way, many school districts in the Bay Area have quickly loaned hotspots and devices to pupils and families in need. In fact, before COVID-19, the Oakland Unified School District and the 1Million Project were providing hotspots to students in need. These sorts of interventions, though, do not afford pupils on the side of the research gap exactly the chance to develop their literacy as people that have devices to predict net connections and their own sufficient to perform more than just homework.

Every student deserves a device to call their own and a relationship that enables them to become specialists in securely and smoothly navigating the internet.

Direct giving is the solution. Financially secure people across the Bay Area may and should”host” internet plans and apparatus for families in need. By sponsoring a family’s high-speed online strategy for a year or more, donors will provide pupils and parents with all the safety they should concentrate on each one the other challenges. What is more, sponsored apparatus would come without strings attached or”used” labels.

Students would have a totally equipped laptop to phone their own as well as one that didn’t lack essential functionalities, which is common among devices that are donated.

Due to the internet is a human right, the authorities ought to be solving the homework gap. It hasn’t been up to this job. In the interim, we’ll require a private sector solution. The fantastic news is that we seem up for the endeavor. Based on Fidelity, many charitable donors plan to maintain or increase their giving this year.

Consider that even 46% of millennials strategy to maximize their philanthropy. Regrettably, 1 inhibitor to lending is that the fact that”many donors don’t feel that they have the information they need to efficiently support efforts” to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19.

That’s where NOLO along with other digital addition coalitions measure. We’re sounding the bell: the prep gap isn’t currently closing; it to ensure children have devices and the connections they need to thrive. NOLO is also supplying the capacity to act with this data — during its own Bridge the Divide effort, donors will have a opportunity to host broadband invoices for community members served by associations across the Bay Area such as the SF Tech Council, BMAGIC along with the Mission Merchants Association.

Our collective assignment is creating the homework difference a priority. Our date is nearing. The first job is taking a day off(line) on July 17. The next is donating to the Bridge the Divide effort throughout the week of the 27th.

Let us get to work.


Business Pandemic Planet

How to reach another planet when a pandemic is hobbling yours

The Mars Hope orbiter

The Hope orbiter is place through pre-launch tests in the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. Credit: MBRSC

On 15 July 1965, humanity got its first close-up look at Mars if NASA’s Mariner 4 spacecraft flew past the red planet, documenting grainy images of a barren, cratered surface. As seen from distance, they had been the very first glimpse of another world.

Nearly exactly 55 years later, 3 long-awaited Mars missions are the result of launch. Amid a coronavirus outbreak and raging geopolitical anxieties, the assignments, from the USA, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are a potent symbol of how countries could transcend their Earthly woes as they try to explore and understand other worlds.

In the decades since Mariner 4, NASA has delivered 19 missions to Mars, 4 of which failed. The agency has three active missions orbiting the planet and two robots which are carrying out experiments on its surface Nowadays. The hottest US mission, Perseverance, which lifts off on 30 July at the first, is meant to push this exploration into another level. It’ll roll an ancient river delta from the Jezero Crater, searching for signs of past life around. More importantly, it will drill into Martian rocks and collect dirt and rock samples since it travels. Retrieve these rock samples the dream is to property at Jezero and return them to Earth. If it happens, it would be the sample return from Mars — something researchers can’t wait to innovate.

China’s plan is just as ambitious. After this month, the China National Space Administration plans to launch an orbiter, lander and rover combination or’quest for heavenly truth’. Many details have not yet been revealed, maybe due to the chance of failure — China attempted unsuccessfully to send an orbiter to Mars in 2011. However, it’s pulled off several recent accomplishments in space, including a series of Moon missions that culminated last year in the first mission to the lunar far side. The time may be right to get Beijing to succeed in reaching Mars.

And then there is Hope, a Mars orbiter to be established by the six-year-old UAE Space Agency no sooner than 15 July. It is the first interplanetary attempt by any state. Much of the spacecraft technology has been developed in collaboration with NASA mission engineers hired by the UAE Space Agency. However, Emirati researchers: a young and vibrant team of explorers are primarily driving the science. Hope intends to build the biggest map of Martian weather generated so far.

All three missions, that are due to arrive at Mars next February, need to start in the upcoming few weeks while Earth and Mars are in the top positions in their orbits for a spacecraft to travel between them — an event that occurs only once every 26 weeks. It’s remarkable that the coronavirus pandemic didn’t derail their plans. There was to have been a fourth largest Mars mission this summer, but the European Space Agency postponed its launch 2022, in part due to the pandemic. Because flights were grounded, NASA needed to deploy some of its planes to fly the launch site in Florida of Perseverance and engineers involving California. Meanwhile, China and the UAE both scrambled to finish their missions as COVID-19 raged.

equally remarkable is the three assignments are not competing with each other, even though some commentators are calling the present state of US–China connections a new cold war.” Whereas the first cold war between the USA and the Soviet Union dominated both countries’ distance ambitions the space agencies of today have comparatively more-cooperative relationships.

That said, though NASA and the UAE Space Agency plan to make data from their assignments publicly accessible, China’s data coverage remains unclear. China has been rolling out tranches of data from its Moon assignments — last month, the batch out of its own lunar mission that is far-side premiered. It should join vow, and the others to share information from its Mars mission also.

Whereas intergovernmental connections on Earth seem ever more fraught, researchers should keep attempting to transcend geopolitical squabbles. That includes ensuring that international collaboration on those missions continues, and that data are quickly made publicly accessible.

If those 3 emissaries launch successfully in the coming weeks, we then wait. We wait for them to traverse hundreds of millions of campuses throughout the vacuum of space, piloting themselves by the occasional control relayed from Earth. As Earth grows bigger, red Mars will look bigger. They’ll arrive at an alien, yet familiar, world. So will we.

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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus pandemic reduces access to safe abortions | DW | 08.07.2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has shut borders and closed abortion clinics. Some countries have blocked access to websites that advise individuals on terminating pregnancies. This is creating secure abortions considerably harder\.

Girls on Internet is a source for those who reside in countries that prohibit abortions or permit them only under specific conditions. According to Canada and founded in 2006, Women on Internet offers online counseling to individuals who wish to terminate pregnancies, and may arrange for pills to be sent to people who would otherwise not have access.

According to this business, together with many clinics either closed or operating at diminished capacity, the coronavirus pandemic has made it more challenging for people to gain access to safe abortions.

“Right now, medical doctors and physicians in many countries are preoccupied with treating Covid-19 patients,” help desk coordinator Hazal Atay said. “it is a disgrace, now that women are so desperate for assistance, that some countries are devoting authoritarian measures to make abortions more difficult, or bookmarking sites,” she added.

Read more:  Colombia high court upholds abortion restrictions

Google Analytics reports that 2 million individuals see monthly. The website is available in 22 languages. Most people are followed by Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Poland and the USA\. According to Girls on Web, some countries — including Saudi Arabia and Turkey — have blocked users.’s’great value’

Spain, also, has blocked access to this website. A representative of the Interior Ministry told DW because prescription drugs online is prohibited in Spain, that the step was taken.

Read more:  US Supreme Court strikes down stringent abortion law in important ruling

“The Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices cannot take responsibility for medicines of unknown origin, which aren’t licensed in Spain, and aren’t administered under medical supervision,” according to a statement from the ministry.

The statement admits that provides professional services of”great value” for women in nations where abortions aren’t legal. But it calls such services unnecessary in Spain, in which abortions are legal in the first 12 months of pregnancy.

Abortion pills made available by contain mifepristone and misoprostol. In accordance with some 2018 guideline in the World Health Organization, this makes the pills safe for self-medication. “When employing the combination mifepristone and misoprostol regimen, the medical abortion procedure can be self-managed for pregnancies up to 12 months of gestation, including the capability to take the medications at home, without immediate supervision of a healthcare provider,” the WHO reports.

Read more: ‘Roe’ says she was paid to flip against abortion movement

Mara Clarke founded Britain’s Abortion Support Network, which aids people based in countries that prohibit abortions in the majority of cases, for example Malta and Poland, travel to places that permit them.

“Coronavirus restrictions have made girls who wish to terminate pregnancies panic even more,” Clarke told the German weekly Der Spiegel. Considering borders were shut, she said, her organization has received twice as many calls from Malta.Many of the men and women who have sought help say they fear that abortion pills will no longer reach them through mail. 

Many German consumers have visited, too –“maybe because there is so little info regarding abortions, maybe it’s the fear of being stigmatized, not having health insurance or even a residency permit,” Atay said.

Read more:  New Zealand decriminalizes abortion

Regine Wlassitschau, the media speaker of the Pro Familia family-planning institution, said Girls on Internet seemed to be particularly popular with people”who do not need to get known to the German healthcare system.” In, users can seek guidance from healthcare employees in the neighboring Netherlands, for instance.

In accordance with the Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Ministry, Germany’s government has no official cooperation with “So-called home usage, where prescription drugs are gathered at pharmacies and then administered under telemedicine supervision, isn’t authorized in Germany,” a spokesperson told DW. Abortion is lawful in certain circumstances.

The team behind the platform takes a pragmatic approach to the simple fact that some governments block access to the site. The group has teamed up with a nongovernmental organization known as Girls on Saturdays\.

The company, which was created in 1999 from the Dutch doctor Rebecca Gomperts, has made headlines for carrying out abortions on chartered ships in international waters. The site of the group now features connections to blocked programs\.

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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus pandemic puts Alaska’s epidemiologists front and center

Presented by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Before COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., you might not have thought much about the role of epidemiology in your life. But behind the scenes, Alaska’s collaborative community of epidemiologists is constantly at work, studying the diseases and trends that impact everyone’s health.

“Epidemiology is an everyday science,” said Carla Britton, lead epidemiologist at the ANTHC Alaska Native Epidemiology Center. “Public health is really something that everybody participates in every day. There’s just a bigger context now for it than there ever has been.”

Tracking diseases through data

When the Indian Health Service introduced Tribal Epidemiology Centers in 1996, Alaska was one of the first service areas to open one. Now under the management of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (or “the EpiCenter,” as it’s called for short) is one of 12 such centers nationwide. The centers’ core functions, outlined in the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, include collecting data and making targeted recommendations about public health issues that affect Indigenous people in each service area. In Alaska, that means working with partners including the State of Alaska and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arctic Investigations Program to address infectious illnesses like COVID-19 as well as non-infectious diseases such as cancer and substance abuse.

“When people have connected with epidemiology, it’s always kind of been around infectious disease,” Britton said. “But epidemiology is really about our everyday health, even when we’re not having a pandemic.”

One of the EpiCenter’s focus areas is “surveillance” — a term that’s used quite a bit in epidemiology. Surveillance, in this case, doesn’t mean disease investigators are using listening devices or camped out with binoculars. In epidemiological terms, “surveillance” simply means the systematic gathering of data about health outcomes and risk factors to inform future prevention and control efforts. Information is gathered in many ways, including by telephone surveys and increasingly through the growing body of anonymized health data like trauma registries and discharge datasets that Britton describes as “the pulse of the health of the state.”

The ANTHC EpiCenter works to collect and share this data and translate it for different audiences (including in reports that are available to the general public). That information is used as the foundation for grant applications, program planning, funding decisions and public health initiatives. The EpiCenter also assists the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology with the contact tracing and case investigation that are an essential part of disease control.

“(Data) informs action,” said Dr. Ellen Provost, director for the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center. “It helps to inform decision makers so that they can make decisions about what actions to take. It helps to garner resources to address issues of concern.”

And right now, it’s informing Alaska’s response to the global pandemic.

Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska

Before the pandemic hit, ANTHC Director of Organizational Development Kalani Parnell mostly engaged with the EpiCenter in the course of facilitating meetings and supporting strategic planning. With the advent of COVID-19, Parnell was put in charge of ANTHC’s Incident Command System’s Coronavirus Situation Unit, which works on data infrastructure, reporting, data surveillance, predictive modeling, and media monitoring related to the virus — and epidemiology is now part of his everyday life.

Parnell’s unit collaborates with state and local government, the University of Alaska, experts from multiple scientific and technical fields, and epidemiologists from across the country, including Provost and two others from the EpiCenter who have been embedded in the unit.

“We have been trying to answer several big questions,” Parnell said.

Among them: What is the pandemic presenting to ANTHC today, and what resources does the organization have to address it? And what will the answer to that question be in two weeks?

“Every community within the state has experienced the coronavirus differently,” Parnell said.

Part of his team’s mission is to understand how communities are being impacted by the virus, as well as what they’re doing to confront it. And with a brand-new virus, that can be especially tricky.

“We have generally abided by the quote attributed to George Box that says, ‘All models are wrong, but some are useful,’ meaning that all models fall short of the complexities of reality but can still be of use,” Parnell said.

In other words, just as it’s important to learn everything that can be learned about the virus, it’s also important to understand what is unknown and how confident researchers can be in the data they do have.

“Keep in mind that in this pandemic, understanding is constantly changing, which impacts how we define things, which impacts our models that then need to be adjusted and communicated,” Parnell said.

That’s where the EpiCenter comes in.

Every day, the Situation Unit meets to evaluate the latest information and adjust course as necessary. The epidemiologists are there to explain epidemiological research practices and help their colleagues know what data should be available — and filter good information out of the “noise,” according to Parnell.

It’s fascinating work, he added, and it plays a key role in helping the team make good recommendations to its partners in Alaska’s Tribal health system.

“I tend to react emotionally to data because I don’t understand it within a larger context, so I make assumptive leaps that aren’t necessarily value-adding,” he said. “The epidemiologists I’m working with are calming, collected, and understand the big context and complexity of it all.”

That means they can help the team keep perspective and formulate responses based on analysis, not emotion — a contribution that Parnell said provides a valuable grounding effect.

“I am just smart enough to know that I work with a group of real brilliance,” Parnell said.

‘It is still among us’

One thing epidemiologists have observed: Alaska’s uniqueness, sometimes a challenge in the health care world, has probably been a protective factor in keeping the virus at bay.

“I think we’ve benefited greatly by being Alaska, by being a little bit more isolated from other populations, and then benefitting from learning from others — from other cities, from other countries,” Provost said. “We’re not densely populated. We have fewer people per square mile than many other places. That’s maybe a unique factor that has maybe contributed to things not going as badly as it has gone elsewhere.”

The actions taken by local communities to slow the spread and “flatten the curve” have also helped mitigate what could be “a really terrible situation,” Provost added.

“It’s really going to be up to people now as we start relaxing restrictions, and communities to continue to make decisions for their own protection, because it is still among us,” she said.

While the virus continues to spread, there is good news: Advances in data gathering and availability, along with scientific development, mean that the response to new diseases like COVID-19 can move much more quickly than it would have in the past. Britton points out that while the disease was unheard of a few months ago, researchers have already identified the responsible organism and sequenced its genome.

“That’s kind of unprecedented,” she said. “We weren’t able to do that with the 1918 flu epidemic. H1N1, and now coronavirus, has just been a really different picture in how we respond and how epidemiologists work.”

This story was sponsored by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, a statewide nonprofit Tribal health organization designed to meet the unique health needs of more than 175,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Alaska.

This story was produced by the creative services department of the Anchorage Daily News in collaboration with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The ADN newsroom was not involved in its production.

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Pandemic woke-ist

Amid a pandemic, the woke-ist Press are experiencing a psychotic break

If the media suffered a nervous breakdown after the 2016 election ⁠– and they did ⁠– they are experiencing a full-on psychotic break amid the COVID-19 pandemic and also the George Floyd protests.

It is as if the lockdowns and nationally demonstrations caused media executives to snap, leaving them at a wide-eyed, obsessive frenzy to cleanse society of problematics, yelling all the while,”Out, damned spot!”

CNN, by way of instance, participated in explicit political activism this week when it sought to shame businesses that have yet to pull ads from Facebook over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s persistent refusal to censor the platform’s users.

“These are the big brands which haven’t pulled advertisements from Facebook yet,” reads the headline. Bear in mind, this will be a news article. The report goes on to name and shame the businesses that have had the temerity to continue to advertise on the planet on one of the biggest social media platforms.

This really is not news coverage. It’s activism. It is a poorly disguised attempt by a major newsroom to force companies into boycotting a social networking platform that is too dedicated to political neutrality and also opposed to governmental censorship for the media’s preference .

In any other time and place, the media could have mocked and condemned the CNN article. However, these are unusual times. Many journalists today agree with the shaming tactics of CNN, and thus that the Facebook report came and went this week from our Fourth Estate that is brave with barely a whimper of objection.

Over in the New York Times, the inhabited opinion segment, which claims to own criteria against”needlessly harsh” commentaries that fall”short of the thoughtful approach which advances useful debate,” published an article this week titled”America’s Enduring Caste System.”

“Throughout human history, three caste systems have burst outside,” writes contributor Isabel Wilkerson. “The lingering, millenniums-long caste system of India. The tragically accelerated, frightening and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. Along with the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the USA.”

She adds,”Each variant relied upon stigmatizing those deemed inferior to warrant the dehumanization essential to keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom and also to rationalize the protocols of authorities. A caste system endures because it is often justified as divine will, arising out of sacred text or the presumed laws of nature, strengthened through the civilization and passed down throughout the generations”

Yes, it appears somewhat off to bulge the U.S. in with Nazi Germany, but that is not even the craziest part. It is an exceptionally dumb assertion that 2 of the very notable caste systems in history come in the past 250 years. Several historical empires would beg to disagree .

Then again, if your view is the perfect one, New York Times editors will not be sticklers for facts.

Elsewhere at the New York Times, the information section decided this week which now is a fantastic time to remind its subscribers that Mount Rushmore is really debatable .

“Mount Rushmore was built on property which belonged to the Lakota tribe and sculpted by a man who had strong bonds with the Ku Klux Klan,” the paper reported. “It features the faces of 2 U.S. presidents that were slaveholders.”

All true. Also, while we are on the topic of unjustly captured land, please love this excerpt from Reason magazine explaining how the New York Times Building in midtown Manhattan was assembled \

On September 24, 2001, as New York firefighters were still picking their comrades’ body parts from the World Trade Center wreckage, New York Times Co.. Vice Chairman and Senior Vice President Michael Golden declared that the Gray Lady was ready to do its part.

“We believe that there could not be a larger contribution,” Golden told a clutch of town officials and officials,”than to have the chance to start construction of the first major icon construction in New York City after the tragic events of Sept. 11.” Bruce Ratner, president of the real estate development company
Times on its planned new Eighth Avenue headquarters, also called the project a”very important testament to our values, culture and democratic ideals.”

Those”values” and”democratic ideals” included using eminent domain to forcibly evict 55 companies –such as a school faculty, a student housing system, a Donna Karan outlet, and several mom-and-pop shops –against their will, under the legal cover of erasing”blight,” to be able to clear ground for a 52-story skyscraper. The
Times and Ratner, who never bothered making an offer to the land owners, purchased the Port Authority-adjacent property at a steep discount ($85 million) from a state agency that seized the 11 buildings on itshould legal settlements with the initial tenants exceed that amount, taxpayers will have to make up the gap. On top of this present, the state and city offered the
Times $26 million in tax breaks for the undertaking, and Ratner even lobbied for $400 million value of U.S. Treasury-backed Liberty Bonds–instruments made by Congress to help rebuild Lower Manhattan. That is four miles off.

The report’s authors state the history of Mount Rushmore is relevant now because President Trump plans to attend July Fourth festivities in the monument. Curious, then, that the New York Times didn’t feel that history worth revisiting when former President Barack Obama visited the exact same website during the 2008 campaign or if the New York Times’s very own Maureen Dowd wondered in 2016 if Obama would qualify as a”Mount Rushmore president”

Lastly, ABC News published a report this week titled”New government data, shared first with ABC News, shows the country’s premier outdoor spaces — the 419 national parks — remain overwhelmingly white.”

The story’s headline reads,”America’s national parks face existential crisis over race,” adding from the subhead,”A mostly white workforce, visitation threatens parks’ survival and public health.”

“Only 23% of visitors to the parks were folks of color,” the report adds,”77% were white. Minorities make up 42percent of the U.S. population.”

Since it happens, white people really enjoy hiking and camping, which is debatable. The post then goes on to estimate people of colour who say they do not feel welcome at national parks. These advocates, the report reads,”say that they hope the moment because George Floyd’s death in police custody brings focus on systemic racism in the outside as well as some other parts of society and translates to some long-term shift in attitudes and behavior.” Yes, everybody. National parks are stereotypical today. I understood those bald eagles were good.

This is not normal behavior from our press. This is a breakdown in the functions. People of the future will appear at of this and wonder how in the world that made it into print.

The best thing that could happen now for the news industry is for the pandemic to maneuver, the lockdowns to lift, and for everyone to go out and get some fresh air. \Since how nearly everybody in the press is acting now, it seems evident that cabin fever has become hard, and it is an epidemic we might not shake as quickly since the coronavirus.

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Pandemic Social

VICE – Amid a Pandemic and Social Unrest, Chinese Students (and Their Parents) are Eyeing US Schools with Caution

Over the past few weeks, universities and colleges across the United States have begun announcing plans for reopening this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering students much-needed certainty after months of unprecedented upheaval.

However, for many of the thousands of Chinese nationals with plans to begin graduate or undergraduate studies in the U.S. this September, things remain in a state of flux.

Like students from all over the globe, most Chinese students have been unable to get the necessary F-1 visas ever since the State Department suspended all routine visa services at its embassies and consulates in March. In China, visa appointments are now being scheduled for November, months after the start of the fall semester. But for some, the question of whether it will be possible to obtain a visa in time has become secondary to the question of whether they should be going to the United States at all.

“They see the numbers [of coronavirus infections here] compared to the numbers in China, so they consider America extremely unsafe,” said QiMei Pan, owner of ISM Consulting Group, an upstate New York educational consulting firm with a large mainland clientele. “That’s [really] their first concern.”

Despite Chinese officials’ early attempts to cover up the emergence of the novel coronavirus when it first appeared in Wuhan late last year, China ultimately imposed stringent measures to contain the virus. More than six months on, the country’s largely successful efforts at tamping down new infections have emerged as a point of pride for Chinese citizens. Meanwhile, the response of their country’s greatest rival, the United States, has been shambolic by comparison.

Now, with rising infection rates and deaths, an ugly spate of racist incidents against Asians, and ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism, a consensus is emerging, even among China’s intellectual elite, that the U.S. has become a dangerous and volatile place.

Yujian, a rising freshman at an arts college in Los Angeles who asked to be identified only by his first name, doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about, but his parents want him to stay home in Qingdao next year and take his classes online.

“They are always saying, ‘Don’t go to America this year,’” he said. “Whenever they see the news, they just think, oh, the virus in America is so serious.”

While Yujian’s parents have faith that China can effectively deal with the virus should it return, they don’t trust California to do the same.

“They are just worried about my health,” he added. “The media makes people think that the American government just does nothing for the people.”

Lu Feng, a data analyst in Beijing who previously worked in medicine and is set to go to Cornell’s MA program in biostatistics, said that she too finds the U.S.’s comparatively laissez-faire approach to containing COVID-19 alarming.

“Just the way people treat this virus makes me worried,” she said, noting that she was confounded by some Americans’ refusal to wear face masks.

And should she get her visa in time to come to the U.S. this fall, she’s anxious she’ll become a target of discrimination or violence by virtue of being Asian and wearing a face mask, something she has heard happens quite frequently.

“Americans think this virus was brought to them by Asians,” Lu said. “[That] maybe threatens the safety of Asian students. If I [go and] wear a mask, I don’t want people to think I’m sick.”

Pan, the consultancy owner, confirmed that reports of coronavirus-related racism have created a sense of unease among those in China either going or sending their children to the United States for school. She noted that her business has been contacted by an increased number of students and parents about the F-1 visa delays, and deferring admission until spring, or even next year.

“There are many hate crimes going on around the country, and parents really worry about their children’s safety. They’ve said, ‘We don’t know if all kids will be discriminated [against] because they’re coming from China,’” she said.

Those fears have only been compounded by China’s political leveraging of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in May. State media coverage of the movement has been quick to cast the United States’ history of systemic racism as evidence of its hypocrisy on human rights, and reports played up violence at subsequent protests as proof of the U.S.’s inherent weakness and instability.

Whether or not the students come isn’t just an important consideration to the students themselves—U.S. institutions of higher learning have increasingly come to rely on international students, a third of them Chinese, to supplement declining domestic enrollment and subsidize rising costs. However, after a decade of rapid growth in Chinese students coming to the U.S., their numbers have declined since 2018.

Pan believes this trend will likely continue, especially in light of U.S. President Donald Trump’s proclamation last month suspending visas for mainland post-graduate students and researchers with ties to Chinese institutions linked to the People’s Liberation Army. A separate measure introduced in the House of Representatives, similarly prompted by espionage fears, calls for suspending visas altogether for Chinese graduate and post-graduate students in STEM fields.

Pan has already begun to see real hesitation among her clients.

“I’ve had parents of college students come to me and ask if the new policy will affect their children [since they] are STEM major,” she said. “High school seniors who want to study sensitive majors like aerospace engineering, artificial intelligence, physics, and data science are asking my advice. Many students are considering applying to universities outside of America as a backup.”

However, Christopher Frey, an educational historian and Associate Professor at Bowling Green State University, points out that fewer international students overall have been coming to the U.S. since Trump took office, though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why.

“It could be news of violence and shootings in the U.S., but embassies have also been taking longer to issue visas, and fewer students have been able to come because of bureaucratic slowdowns,” he said.

Frey doesn’t see Chinese students completely turning away from American universities, noting that the opportunities that studying abroad provides seem to be worth the risk to most.

“I think you’ll have a hard time finding examples of entire countries or nationalities rejecting study abroad in the U.S. because of policies directed at international students,” he said. “They may be kept out, but that doesn’t seem to diminish the desire to come here to study.”

Indeed, Lu Feng, the student, has resigned herself to online classes this fall, but still hopes to be in New York by the spring. As a student of data sciences, she is a little concerned about having her visa declined, but doesn’t think her field ”could be any threat to the United States’ domination in technology or national security.”

Yujian, meanwhile, seems to have convinced his parents to allow him to go to L.A. in September if the embassy opens in time. Now, he says, all he can do is wait.

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Pandemic summer

In a pandemic summer, picnicking ‘nurtures the soul’

The Outermost Inn – one of the most exquisite properties on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard – has an elegant, special-occasion restaurant. But this summer, it’s trying something different: no-fuss picnics packed in traditional baskets that customers can tote to a beach, carry onto a boat, or just take back home.

“It’s a massive pivot for us,” says co-owner Alex Taylor. “We were inspired by our staff and how we all choose to enjoy our free time.”

Indeed, during the summer of 2020, as the pandemic persists, people are making all sorts of new and different choices. And as they seek ways to gather with friends in a coronavirus-safe manner, outdoor picnics have emerged as the dinner party of choice.

“It’s everyone’s preferred way to meet up these days,” says Annie Copps, a cookbook author who herself has been picnicking.

Recently Connie Helms and her husband reunited for a lakeside picnic with friends they’d only seen on video calls for the past few months. The group did potlucks in summers past, but this time felt different. Says Ms. Helms, a Vermont education consultant: “Being together again was even more special.”

The French get all the credit. Sure, pique-nique is a French word with a history dating back to the 17th century, when the French would gather for a shared meal. And then later in the early 1900s, people from Paris to Provence took those meals into a bucolic outdoor setting.

French impressionists often depicted the picnic tradition on canvas – most famously, Édouard Manet with his iconic “Le déjeuner sur lherbe.”

And the French are known for picnicking with style – packing baskets brimming with assorted cheeses, charcuteries, pâtés, fruits, and chocolates, and of course the requisite baguette, wooden-handled Opinel knife, and pretty Provençal tablecloth.

But it’s not just the French who can pull off a classy picnic or appreciate the casual, carefree ambiance associated with dining en plein air.

Picnics are plentiful in New England, too, particularly during the summer of 2020, as a pandemic persists, temperatures heat up, and Americans seek ways to gather with friends in a coronavirus-safe manner. Outdoor picnics have become the dinner party of choice.

The French Picnic sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu at the Cheese Shop, June 27, 2020, in Concord, Massachusetts. The Cheese Shop has taken measures to safeguard staff and customers by limiting the number of patrons in the store to five and requiring masks and gloves.

Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.

“It’s everyone’s preferred way to meet up these days,” says Annie Copps, a cookbook author from the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown, who has been picnicking often now that restrictions in her state have eased and summer weather has arrived. “It feels more important than ever to check in with one another, and eating together outdoors is a safe way to do that.”

Connie Helms, an education consultant in Monkton, Vermont, would concur. Recently, she and her husband reunited for a lakeside picnic with friends they’d only seen on video calls for the past few months. In summers past, she’d gathered for weekly potlucks with the same group, but this time felt different. “The food was less of the focus since we weren’t sharing,” she says, “and being together again was even more special.”

Not that the meal is an afterthought for either of these women. Ms. Helms likes to make “fun food,” as she says, such as deviled eggs or her grandmother’s recipe for baba ghanouj, and Ms. Copps might whip up a beet tzatziki, eaten with pita chips, or her favorite gazpacho, which is smooth enough to be enjoyed without a spoon. (See recipe below.)

But by nixing the potluck aspect to picnics – in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines – some pressure can be lifted. People who aren’t inclined to cook or who have been working all day needn’t worry about wowing others with their homemade tagliatelle or gorgeous fig tart.

To simplify and at the same time support a business they care about, they might even pick up a beach-, park-, or backyard-ready picnic box or basket offered by one of the myriad restaurants, markets, or specialty food shops that have pivoted to picnics in response to this timely trend.

Peter Lovis, owner of the 53-year-old Cheese Shop in Concord, Massachusetts, says he’s been selling about 100 custom-prepared picnics each week since March. Customers might order sandwiches or a variety of salads along with a loaf of crusty bread and a couple of wedges of cheese – more often cheddar or Comté than Camembert or chèvre, as harder cheeses can take the heat. Then they often head to nearby Walden Pond, to the Old North Bridge, or for a sunset kayak tour on the Sudbury River.

“The simple act of sharing a great meal outdoors with people you care about nurtures the soul,” says Mr. Lovis. “I hope this renewed interest in picnics is here to stay.” Meanwhile, jokes Mr. Lovis, who can no longer offer his store’s much-beloved samples: “I’m waiting for someone to create a mask that allows for cheese tasting!”

Peter Lovis, owner of the Cheese Shop in Concord, Massachusetts, says he’s been selling about 100 custom-prepared picnics each week since March. “I hope this renewed interest in picnics is here to stay,” he says.

Even some fine-dining establishments are packing picnics, swapping out their silver, china, and white tablecloths for paper and plastic.

The Outermost Inn, one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most exquisite properties with an elegant, special-occasion restaurant, is about to roll out a menu of no-fuss picnics packed in traditional baskets that customers could tote to one of several beaches in Aquinnah, carry onto a boat, or just take back home.

“It’s a massive pivot for us,” says co-owner Alex Taylor. “We were inspired by our staff and how we all choose to enjoy our free time.”

Picnic baskets and price tags will vary, she explains, from the $15 “Kiddo” with such child-pleasers as PB&J and classic ham sandwiches, to the $25 “Low Tide,” starring fresh littleneck clams, lemons, and mignonette sauce and the essential shucking knife and glove. There’s also the similarly priced “West Basin” basket filled with an assortment of drinks and snacks.

Whether one opts to gather with loved ones over chips and salsa in the backyard or clams on the half shell aboard a sailboat, all interviewed shared their hope that today’s dinner party is here to stay and just might be one of those silver linings emerging from the current crisis.

(From left to right) Fatima Franco, David Lemus, and Wendy Franco eat a meal from a local taqueria at a picnic table in Piers Park on June 30, 2020, in East Boston.

Pallavi Mehta, a cooking teacher from Sharon, Massachusetts, certainly feels that. “After being in seclusion for so long,” she says, “I decided to meet this crisis head-on. So my husband and I invited friends to join us on a picnic to my favorite park. What a sheer joy it was to be hanging out outdoors, sharing our meals, exotic or simple, enjoying these precious moments in life and making the most of this situation.”

Even in France the much-celebrated tradition is enjoying a resurgence, says Julie Mautner, a travel planner in St.-Rémy-de-Provence. “My clients ask me often to plan a picnic for them, but especially after staying home for months, they are more excited than ever to share a leisurely meal in a beautiful outdoor setting with nothing to worry about but the occasional mosquito.”

Here is Ms. Copps’ gazpacho recipe, as well as a quinoa salad recipe from Ms. Helms:

Spoon-free gazpacho

1 English cucumber, peeled (or 2 regular cucumbers, peeled and seeded) and chopped

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

2 to 3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

4 medium ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

4 cups (1 quart) tomato juice

1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs

1/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, purée all ingredients. You might need to blend in two batches. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into containers suitable for a picnic. Serves 4.

– From Annie Copps, cookbook author based in the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown

Tangy quinoa salad

White quinoa has the fluffiest texture and most delicate flavor, but other types of quinoa could be substituted.

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 to 4 scallions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

Half of one English (long, thin variety) cucumber, diced

1/4 cup carrots, peeled and grated

About 1/4 cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped (can substitute cilantro or use parsley and cilantro)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa several times. Transfer quinoa to a saucepan, add 1 3/4 cups water, cover, bring to a boil, and then let simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, until water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, prepare vegetables. Once quinoa is cooked, release lid to cool and let off steam. When cooled, add olive oil and vinegar, and mix thoroughly. Then add vegetables, and salt and pepper, and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.

If there are leftovers (unlikely!), add a bit of rice vinegar before eating, as the dish can lose some of its tang over time. Serves 4.

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– From Connie Helms, frequent picnicker in Monkton, Vermont

Editor’s note: As a public service, all our coronavirus coverage is free. No paywall.

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Amidst Business Pandemic

Even amidst a pandemic, SpaceX is launching more than ever

Halfway to 2021 —

SpaceX’s 11 launches match the total this year by Russia, Europe, and Japan combined.

  • Falcon 9 leaps off SLC-40 Tuesday with the 3rd GPS-III satellite for the United States Space Force / Air Force.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • This is the first time the United States Space Force logo has graced the SpaceX Falcon 9 payload fairing.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • The gray stripe at the bottom of the second stage is to keep the RP-1 fuel warm enough during longer coast periods.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • Falcon 9 B1060.1 standing vertically on LC-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in advance of the GPS-III SV03 launch for the United States Air Force.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • A close-up of the number “60” atop the first stage of Falcon 9.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • The number 60 also graces the bottom of the first stage, but this is much more challenging to see on subsequent flights due to the soot buildup.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • This new booster, 1060, will add to the fleet of used rockets SpaceX has available.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • Clouds make for a nice launch.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • The Falcon 9 rocket’s performance was nominal.

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • How many more launches will this first stage make?

    Trevor Mahlmann

  • SpaceX has launched the Falcon 9 rocket 88 times.

    Trevor Mahlmann

On Tuesday SpaceX launched its 11th Falcon 9 rocket of the year—with a brand-new first stage delivering a 3.7-ton GPS III satellite into orbit for improved navigation services. The mission’s customer, the US Space Force, was happy.

“The successful GPS III SV03 launch and recovery serves as another step in our journey with industry partners to create innovative, flexible, and affordable services to meet NSSL mission objectives and propel US dominance in space,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, Launch Enterprise director.

Tuesday afternoon’s launch puts the company on pace for 22 missions in this calendar year, which would break the company’s previous record of 21 launches set in 2018. What seems more remarkable about this pace is that it has occurred amidst a global pandemic that has slowed operations in many other countries.

For example, SpaceX’s 11 launches match the total so far this year by Russia, Europe, and Japan combined. Globally, the company ranks second only to China’s state enterprise, which has attempted 15 orbital launches in 2020, two of which have been failures.

Much of the company’s activity during the pandemic has been driven by its own payloads. SpaceX has launched seven Starlink missions during the first half of this year, putting nearly 420 of its own satellites into low-Earth orbit. The company is moving forward with efforts to begin offering limited commercial Internet service by late this year or early 2021.

Barring a catastrophe, it seems likely that SpaceX will easily launch a dozen or more Falcon 9 rockets between now and the end of this year. The company has as many as 18 launches on its manifest, including half a dozen Starlink missions, a second Crew Dragon mission, a supply mission to the International Space Station, and several commercial missions. Its next launch may occur in a week, with the Starlink-9 mission, on July 8.

Thanks to the successful recovery of the first stage from Tuesday’s launch, SpaceX now has five first stage boosters at its disposal for future missions. Of those, it will be most interesting to see if, or when, Booster 1049 flies again. This first stage has already flown five flights dating back to September 2018 and could be ready for its sixth mission by the end of July—if engineers deem it safe to fly again.

Listing image by Trevor Mahlmann

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Pandemic Shopping

Shopping in a pandemic: how the retail experience has changed in Winnipeg

Whether it’s shopping for bread or bridal wear, COVID-19 has created a vastly different retail experience.

Melina De Luca, owner of 7th Avenue Fashions in Winnipeg, has reopened her store for appointment-based shopping and is asking customers to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Whether it’s shopping for bread or bridal wear, COVID-19 has created a vastly different retail experience for customers.

At Winnipeg’s Harvest Bakery and Deli, on Grant Avenue, the smell of fresh bread is the same but operations manager Tina Scowen says buying it is a lot different.

“We’re a bulk bun business, so we bake fresh daily and we throw it in the bins loose,” she said. “Everything is loose, so we had to change everything.”

It used to be grab-and-go but now the bakery is asking customers to grab gloves first, after sanitizing their hands. All of the store’s baked goods are pre-packaged in bags.

The bakery has also introduced curbside pickup, in addition to a lot of extra cleaning. 

“Our staff go around about every 15 minutes and wipe everything down — door handles, bin lids, the cash area, debit machine is wiped down after every use,” said Scowen.

Tina Scowen, operations manger at Harvest Bakery and Deli, said COVID-19 has changed how the bulk bun retailer sells to customers. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

On April 1, the Manitoba government ordered all non-critical businesses and services to close in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

As case numbers in the province remained low, the province decided to allow non-essential businesses to reopen on May 4, under strict conditions. Some of the rules included limiting the number of people on site, ensuring physical distancing and increasing the cleaning of surfaces.

At Poppie Clothing on Corydon Avenue, owner Leona DeFehr opened her doors reluctantly. Initially she asked all customers to wear gloves and masks. 

“As the weeks started to go by and the numbers were really going well with COVID in Manitoba — which we’re so thankful for — we realized it would be okay for people to just come in, and as they enter the store, apply hand sanitizer.”

All fitting rooms are cleaned between uses and all garments are steamed after they are tried on, she added.

“We were a little skeptical how it would all go at first but it’s actually gone quite smoothly,” DeFehr said. “We certainly have found that people have been really wanting to shop local, really wanting to support local and I think Winnipeg is really fortunate in that way.”

Leona DeFehr, owner of Poppie Clothing on Corydon Avenue, welcomed customers back to her boutique in May with a number of extra safety measures that initially included masks and gloves. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Some stores require masks, temperature checks

Retailers across the province are taking a wide range of approaches to ensure staff and customers are shopping in a safe environment.

The Apple Store at Polo Park mall is taking customers’ temperatures.

Meanwhile, 7th Avenue Fashions, a family-run bridal store, has shifted to appointment-based shopping for the foreseeable future.

Owner Melina De Luca said she had to reduce her staff on site and appointment-based shopping is the only way to ensure the same level of service.

“For me, every time I turn that door to lock it it’s devastating,” De Luca said. “If anyone asked me 30 years ago that when I got into this business that I would be locking my door — never.”

What is normally a bustling bridal boutique — full of brides and their wedding parties for fittings — is now limited to one customer and two guests at a time, De Luca said.

The shop also requires everyone wear a mask while shopping.

“It gives me peace of mind,” she said. “We are in very close proximity with our customers when they’re trying on dresses so I think me protecting them, and vice versa, is very important.”

De Luca said COVID-19 has impacted her professionally and personally. She lost her cousin to the virus in Winnipeg this past spring.

She is trying to remain positive and said she is starting to see an improvement in consumer confidence.

“More appointments are being booked. I feel like I’m going to get my staff back in here in a lot here faster than what I expected,” she said. “I think we are feeling more optimistic.”

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