Coronavirus Impact Reports: Week of August 17

Rachel Hollander | August 21, 2020

A PBS NewsHour segment from August 16, 2020

THIRTEEN and PBS offer regular, in-depth reporting on the coronavirus to help everyone understand the disease and emergency response measures, and the behaviors that are best for your – and others’ – health, as areas begin to reopen. Here is the latest from infectious disease doctors, medical professionals, officials and journalists who cover coronavirus news. This page will be updated as reporting continues.

Recent COVID News and Numbers

Click for Hotlines and Information Sources

On August 18, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that for the 12th straight day, New York State’s rate of positive tests was below 1 percent. We’re offering updates via email or mobile on the coronavirus now through the duration of the pandemic. Sign up for email alerts here, or text UPDATES to 30644 for mobile notifications.

MetroFocus Interviews

MetroFocus hosts Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford.

MetroFocus hosts Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford.

MetroFocus airs weeknights at 6pm (see schedule for late-night and weekends) and livestreams; listen weeknights on 88.3 WLIW-FM at 11pm.

August 19: Comptroller Stringer Wants to Save Small Businesses

Walk just a couple of blocks in NYC these days and you’ll be frequently reminded of the economic devastation inflicted by the pandemic, particularly when it comes to small businesses. Restaurants are shuttered. Retail stores are boarded up. According to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s recent data- while many shops are surviving, at least 2,800 small businesses have permanently closed their doors since March, leaving thousands of New Yorkers out of work and in financial peril. Tonight, he shares the details of his new proposal to “Save Main Street” and rescue small businesses in New York.

August 13: Effects of COVID on NYC & Tri-State Economy

Walking around New York these days, one may notice that while some parts of the city appear to be bouncing back, others are not doing so great. In fact, 80% of bars and restaurants say they could not pay their full rent in July. And according to a recent report, roughly one-third of the city’s small businesses may never reopen.

PBS NewsHour Reports

PBS NewsHour is broadcast weeknights at 7pm and weekends at 6pm and streams live. Listen to half-hour broadcasts on 88.3 WLIW-FM weeknights at 6pm. See PBS NewsHour Essential Coronavirus FAQ.

August 21: The Role of Face Masks in Pandemic History and Culture

Face masks have become part of our daily lives in a way few would have anticipated only months ago. Yet the coronavirus pandemic is not the first American crisis in which face coverings have played a central role. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History is preserving artifacts from this pandemic — and placing them in historical context.

August 16: How Black Immigrant Mainers are Fighting COVID-19

Despite low rates of COVID-19 infections, Maine has the largest racial disparity of infection rates in the country. Special Correspondent Kira Kay reports that Black immigrant Mainers have been disproportionately affected and that state aid needed to fight the virus has been slow to reach them. The story is part of the ongoing series, Chasing The Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.

August 14: The Pandemic’s Unexpected Summer Jobs for Young People

The summer job is a rite of passage for many teens and younger adults. Because of the pandemic, however, traditional roles such as camp counselor, lifeguard and waiter, are scarce. But some local governments are providing these young people with other unemployment options, from computer coding to coronavirus test coordination.

August 14: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Playing in a Pandemic

Nearly 10 months after the NBA season began, the professional basketball league will hold its first playoff games. Teams and their staff are playing in a so-called bubble in Orlando, Florida, where they are required to stay. The league is publicly supporting Black Lives Matter, printing the message on the court. Commissioner Adam Silver joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the unusual season.

Amanpour and Company

Amanpour and Company

Left to right: Walter Isaacson, Michel Martin, Christiane Amanpour, Hari Sreenivasan

Amanpour and Company airs Monday – Friday at 11pm; repeats at 4pm. Watch broadcast or livestream.

August 17: Is This the End of the American Era?

With protests on the streets, a global pandemic, and a polarized political landscape, you’d be forgiven for wondering if the age of American exceptionalism is coming to an end. Wade Davis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, certainly would argue it is; in a recent article for Rolling Stone, Davis wrote about how Covid-19 signals “the unraveling of America,” and speaks with Hari Sreenivasan about how even great empires eventually have their day.


See the NJTV News Coronavirus hub for coverage of the disease and its impact on New Jersey.

August 21: Rental Cars Scarce Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Panic

Rental cars in the NYC metro area can be hard to find with many places having waiting lists and minimum rental requirements. The prices can be double or triple what people are used to paying. Like so many other upheavals, it’s due to COVID-19’s impact on the car rental and sales industries, and more people deciding that it’s safer to drive during the pandemic.

August 21: Many Still Waiting for Unemployment Benefits

The state touts Department of Labor successes, but many out-of-work residents are still feeling the financial pressure.

August 20: State Epidemiologist on Dangers of Flu Season and COVID-19

Health experts are using a new term as the state prepares to enter cold and flu season: A “twindemic.”

August 19: Casinos Find Creative Ways to Work Around New Restrictions

To compensate for losses on dining and gaming indoors, casinos have had to get creative. Hard Rock moved the VIP lounge for high rollers to a tent outside that overlooks the water, and Ocean Casino Resort converted a fifth floor outdoor parking garage into a VIP lounge for top players.

August 18: Emotional Struggles Likely in Any Learning Plan for Kids

As parents decide their kid’s fall learning plans, many are balancing safety concerns with their children’s mental health. Each option poses challenges, so to minimize mental health breakdowns, experts advise creating a consistent daily schedule. But experts urge, if you sense something is wrong, don’t hesitate to get help, regardless of any embarrassment.

August 17: Families of Veterans: COVID Death Count Higher than Reported

Family members and residents at a New Jersey veterans home say the COVID-19 death toll at the Menlo Park facility should be higher than the 62 it officially claims. They want the CEO to be held accountable for administrators reportedly telling staff not to wear PPE because it could “frighten residents.” New Jersey’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs supports all its veterans home CEOs.

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover airs on Fridays at 8:30pm with a repeat on Saturdays at 10am.

Friday, August 21: Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer discusses interviewing to be Joe Biden’s VP, Michigan’s key role in the 2020 election and the challenges of voting by mail. She weighs in on the federal government’s handling of the pandemic and lockdown protests.

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Ian Bremmer, a renowned political scientist, entrepreneur and bestselling author, shares his perspective on recent global events and interviews the world leaders, experts and newsmakers. Watch Saturdays at 10:30am or stream now.

Saturday, August 22: Jared Kushner is Still Trying to Fix the Middle East

Before Covid-19 was a household name Jared Kushner came on the show to unveil Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Nearly seven months later, he’s back to discuss a new breakthrough in that plan and the pandemic that has consumed the world since.

Hotlines and Information

Stay-in-the-know about what’s on-air and online at THIRTEEN. Sign-up for free weekly eNewsletters, including on coronavirus reports.

Government Sites and Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page includes links to national case reporting, symptom information, advisories by health condition and occupation, and more.

New York City

For text updates from New York City, text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with helpful behavior tips and news related to the coronavirus. Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.

NYC’s official COVID-19 site with information on testing, resources for New Yorkers (including rent and housing and more) and business, and announcements:

NYC Workplace Laws and Protections
Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for labor law information and more.

New York City Public Schools and Learning
Create a NYC Schools Account to sign up for Department of Education notifications and track your child’s education.

NYC Department of Education-specific instructional resources for students in grades Pre-K through 12, messages for families, and more are found at More information about Google classroom, iPads, meals, and other core services are posted at

New York State

NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065
For all New York State updates, and announcements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, see the state COVID site.

The New York State Department of Health posts a daily COVID 19 case tally by county.

New Jersey

NJ State Hotline: 1-800-962-1253
Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text updates.
The official State of New Jersey coronavirus hubis

Media and Independent Sources

The New York Times is providing free access to its most important updates and most useful guidance on the coronavirus.

NJTV News and NJ Spotlight provide daily reporting on the coronavirus in New Jersey, as well as newsletters.

Covid19.NYC is an independent website offering public health information to New Yorkers, aimed at centralizing and aggregating info from a range of medical authorities. All information is sourced from WHO, CDC, NYS Department of Health and NYC Department of Health websites and guidelines.

Remote Learning Resources from WNET Education

Programs for remote learning air on THIRTEEN, WLIW21, WLIW WORLD and NJTV to better serve families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Let’s Learn NYC!, for children in grades 3K through second grade, offers lessons to supplement remote learning. Watch weekdays on THIRTEEN at noon or stream episodes here.
  • Camp TV is a day camp experience in your living room. An enthusiastic head counselor, played by Zachary Noah Piser, guides “campers” as they learn through play. Content partners include the New York Public Library, the New Victory Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Bedtime Math, Wildlife Conservation Society, and more. Watch weekdays on THIRTEEN at 11am or stream episodes here.
  • WORLD At Home Learning for grades 6-12 airs Monday-Friday from 12 noon – 5 p.m. See program details and schedule information for science, history and English language arts programming.
  • NJTV Learning Live lessons are taught by some of New Jersey’s finest public school teachers. They are archived on

Help keep students learning at home with tools for parents and educators on WNET’s Education site. All resources are free and standards-aligned.

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