Coronavirus Impact Reports: Week of May 18

Rachel Hollander | May 21, 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. 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.

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MetroFocus Interviews

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

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

MetroFocus is on weeknights at 6pm on broadcast (see schedule for late-night and weekends) and livestream; listen weeknights on 88.3 WPPB at 11pm.

May 22: The Ethics of Life in Lockdown

It’s hard to know how to act when the world as we know it is changing so rapidly. Cities have become acutely attentive to others in public spaces because we’ve been encouraged to be hyper-vigilant. The pandemic has forced everyone to rethink all of their normal behaviors and how they impact others. But what is right and wrong in this new world? Whose advice do you take? How strictly do you follow it? And how much room is there for human frailty when so much is riding on adhering to rules that may often feel more like guidelines? Tonight, from “quarantine shaming” to “quarantine fatigue,” bioethicist Dr. Elizabeth Yuko helps navigate the ethical questions of life in lockdown.

May 21: Long-Term Impact of the Pandemic on Collegiate Life | Long Island Prepares for Memorial Day

Colleges across the country are bracing for a drop in enrollment as they grapple with when and how to reopen. Some enrolled students argue tuition costs should be significantly lowered during this time because the pandemic is forcing many classes to be taught online instead of in classrooms. Others are considering taking a gap year out of concerns for safety. The educational and financial stakes are huge. And institutions know they will need to strike a delicate balance between safety, and their own survival. Tonight, Robert Franek, Editor-in-Chief of The Princeton Review joins us to examine what college life will look like come this Fall and what the future holds for higher education in a post-pandemic world.

Long Island’s beach towns rely on summer tourism for their local economies, but with cancelled events and 50 percent capacity caps, will the mom and pop shops that make up these destinations be able to stay afloat? For visitors who do descend on the area this Memorial Day weekend, health measures will be key in making them, workers and locals – feel safe as they try to find some normalcy in this time of crisis.

May 20: Mobile COVID Testing for Low-Income Communities | NYC Teachers Look for Safe System

Dr. Alexander Salerno is a physician who for decades has provided care for the underserved in New Jersey. He was so frustrated by the difficulties he saw in getting testing for this underserved population that he literally took matters into his own hands – and into his own wallet – and created a pop-up clinic that would travel to different locations to test more than 100 hundred people a day.

As New York City looks to reopen schools for the start of the new academic year, there is growing concern about the safety of returning to normal schooling–particularly as a dangerous inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19 emerges in kids. The city’s teachers union is pushing for new safety measures before schools consider reopening their doors, and they’re cautioning lawmakers to learn how classrooms work before making decisions to “reimagine” them. President of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, joins us.

May 19: How NYC School Officials Played Down the COVID-19 Threat

Did officials at the Department Of Education minimize the threat of COVID-19 in the early days of the outbreak, even as teachers and students were getting sick? That’s the conclusion reached by the non-profit news outlet The City, whose special investigation into those chaotic weeks leading up to the closure of public schools uncovered a pattern of education officials playing down the threat of the virus in the days before the schools shuttered, during the week teachers were required to go in for training, and even after the start of remote learning. The report has already triggered at least one probe into education officials’ handling of the crisis. But what will it all mean for the reopening of public schools? The City‘s investigative reporter Greg Smith joins us to discuss.

May 18: Homeless Crisis Will Surge | Infertility & Conceiving During a Crisis

Nearly one million New Yorkers may be at risk of losing housing because they can’t pay their rent. And that number is 16 times the current population of the shelter system. Though landlords cannot currently evict tenants who can’t pay their rent, former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn predicts when the state mandate expires August 20 there will be a tidal wave of homelessness. She also discusses her emergency housing plan to prevent what could be a homelessness disaster due to COVID-19. For women and couples who can’t conceive, the current lockdown restrictions and focus on family make matters more stressful. Fertility Specialist Tsao-Lin Moy discusses the physical, emotional and psychological toll of longing to create a family in a time when being part of one is heavily emphasized.

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.

May 22: How Will the Trauma of the Pandemic Affect Mental Health?

This is a time of stress — the world over. In New York, the U.S. city worst hit by the pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to get citizens to open up about their mental health with the “How Are You Really?” campaign. Professor Jack Saul, psychologist and author of “Collective Trauma, Collective Healing,” joins the show from New York to discuss treating trauma on a massive scale.

May 21: What an Epidemiology Expert Learned From Beating COVID-19

Coronavirus cases are surging past 5 million worldwide, with most of the new cases coming from just four countries: Russia, Brazil, India, and the United States. But some good news comes as the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced today it could supply 400 million doses of a vaccine as early as September, should the vaccine trials at Oxford University prove successful. To discuss this, Christiane speaks with Peter Piot, one of the world’s leading epidemiologists. He co-discovered Ebola back in 1976, but more than 40 years later, another virus nearly felled him, after he contracted coronavirus earlier this year – a gruelling experience that he is still recovering from.

May 20: Designer Creates Handbags for Front Line Workers

As the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, a number of fashion brands are stepping up to help. High end labels like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and others have converted some of their garment and perfume factories to make hand sanitizer and masks. Joining the efforts in the UK is world-renowned designer Anya Hindmarch. She caused a sensation back in 2007 with her famous “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” project, and now she has designed a sort-of-handbag for our frontline heroes.

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 WPPB weeknights at 6pm. See PBS NewsHour Essential Coronavirus FAQ.

May 22: What We Know About COVID-19 Antibodies — And What We Don’t

Scientists say antibody testing could be a key tool in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Still, many questions remain about the accuracy of antibody testing. The Food and Drug Administration has tried to crack down on inaccurate tests, but scientists aren’t even sure yet what a positive test means for immunity.

May 17: Voter Suppression and Covid-19’s Impact on People of Color

The Rev. William J. Barber has long tackled the issues of race, poverty and hatred. His Poor People’s Campaign in June will hold a digital assembly and march on Washington to draw attention to civil rights issues. Hari Sreenivasan spoke with the reverend about the impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color for our on-going initiative Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America.

May 16: New Jersey Plans for Cautious Reopening of Beaches

With summer right around the corner, New Jersey announced this week that beaches would be open by Memorial Day weekend, with some restrictions. The openings are weeks behind other coastal states like Georgia and Florida. But as one of the states hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey officials say they are proceeding cautiously. Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

May 15: Why Do Some Kids Develop Inflammatory Response to COVID-19?

While only a small percentage of children infected with the novel coronavirus become seriously ill, researchers are now learning about a potentially dangerous syndrome in young people apparently caused by the virus. In more than 100 cases in New York and 60 in Europe, doctors have seen an inflammatory response similar to Kawasaki disease. William Brangham talks to pediatrician Dr. Jane Newburger.

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Firing Line is broadcast Fridays at 8:30pm and streams live.

May 22: Sean Penn

Actor Sean Penn discusses his efforts to expand coronavirus testing access through his non-profit, CORE. The organization initially offered free drive-through tests in Penn’s hometown, Los Angeles, and is now in a number of cities. Penn urges people to come together in this moment of crisis rather than focus on partisan politics.

May 15: Susan Rice

Susan Rice, President Obama’s National Security Advisor and the former ambassador to the United Nations, calls President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic abysmal. She says the lack of leadership has led to the loss of American lives and jobs. Rice says that she would run as Joe Biden’s vice president if asked.

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.

May 23: An Interview with China’s Ambassador to the United States

Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the U.S., insists it’d be impossible for his government to cover up the extent of COVID-19 cases in his country. Does he make a compelling case? Then, what life is like in Wuhan, China today: the city where the outbreak began.

May 16: Where’s the Beef? America’s Meat Supply Crisis

With just a few companies controlling the vast majority of beef, pork and poultry processing in America, the country’s meat supply chain was already fragile. Enter Covid-19.

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 health information, 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. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza have announced remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Read their message to families, here.

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 episodes. Weekdays at 11am on THIRTEEN through the end of the school year. See program details and schedule information. You can also livestream episodes at
  • 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.
  • WLIW21 at Home Learning for K-12 airs Monday-Friday from 6:30 a.m. -4 p.m., and focuses on all major school subjects, drawing from WNET’s vast archive of PBS and locally produced content. See schedule.
  • NJTV Learning Live airs weekdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., featuring on-air classes taught by some of New Jersey’s finest public school teachers. NJTV’s on-air classroom lessons are livestreamed and 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.