Coronavirus

Stories from WBFO and NPR about how COVID-19 is affecting Western New York, the United States and the entire globe.

New York State Legislature

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declined to testify at Monday’s public hearing on the COVID-19 crisis in upstate nursing homes, leaving lawmakers to instead question nursing home stakeholders about issues like shortages of testing and personal protective equipment, as well as restrictions on visitation.

 

 


There's a new class of medical students at the University at Buffalo, starting their training amid a worldwide pandemic with little treatment and a high death toll.

Upstate New York Poison Center

Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, calls about hand sanitizer have been increasing at the Upstate New York Poison Center. Those calls have ratcheted up even more in recent weeks because of some dangerous hand sanitizer on the market.

File Photo / Office of the Governor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined in a telephone news conference Monday by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to try to put pressure on Congress to finally resolve a stalemate over a federal aid package for cash-strapped states affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Buffalo Public Schools / Facebook

Buffalo Public Schools are about a month away from opening for the new year and even that's not definite. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash told an online public meeting Monday night there are a lot of "ifs" and "buts" in the future.

File Photo / WBFO News

The Buffalo Teachers Federation is looking at a lawsuit against city public schools reopening under the plan submitted to Albany.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York doesn’t have enough money in its budget to meet a requirement in President Donald Trump’s executive order to fund $100 a week in additional unemployment benefits.

New York State Legislature

Monday’s public hearing on the COVID-19 crisis in upstate New York nursing homes will likely feature talk about reforming visitation policies and a lack of personal protective equipment, but don’t expect to hear from who some consider the state’s most important nursing home witness, state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

 


U.S. International Development Finance Corporation / Twitter

The federal agency that announced on July 28 that it was signing a letter of intent to provide a $765 million loan to Eastman Kodak, so that the company could establish a pharmaceutical division to make ingredients for generic drugs is now apparently putting a hold on moving ahead with that financing.

File Photo / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday formally gave schools the green light to reopen, saying the coronavirus infection rate was low enough in New York for students to return to class in the coming weeks. But students and staff will have a very different experience at schools this year, with new precautions in place to prevent the disease from spreading.

Schools in New York will reopen in the fall, Cuomo Says

Aug 7, 2020
File Photo/WBFO News

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally gave schools the green light to reopen, saying the coronavirus infection rate was low enough in New York for students to return to class in the coming weeks.

Buffalo.edu

As the debate continues over reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, one example out of Georgia is providing a lesson in how NOT to get back to school safely. "It was just amazing," said Dr. Nancy Nielsen of the images of the crowded hallways of North Paulding High School. "Nobody was socially-distanced. Nobody was wearing masks," said Nielsen, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy at UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. "We're going to get in trouble if we have that sort of thing happen." During an interview with WBFO, Nielsen shared some findings on the threats schools face and encouraged parents to "influence" school reopening plans.


Aspen Athletic Clubs / Facebook

Indoor gyms are some of the few, last remaining businesses that have had to stay closed in New York State, and there is no word yet from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as to when they can reopen. Gym owners continue to suffer from the closures, but health experts say gyms can pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Left: Luke Copping Photography; Right: Courtesy of Pompea Disanto-Owens

In the first story of WBFO’s new series, “The Toll: Western New York Stories of Loss & Survival in a Pandemic,” reporter Kyle Mackie sheds light on one unusually strong relationship forged at the hospital bedside of a COVID-19 patient.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

Canada’s largest school board has released plans for students returning in September. But there are concerns about the provincial government’s decision to keep classes the same size.

Noelle E.C. Evans / WXXI News

The New York Civil Liberties Union has reached a settlement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement over coronavirus protections for detainees being held in Batavia.

WXXI News

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the circumstances involving last week’s announcement that Eastman Kodak will receive a $765 million government loan to make ingredients for generic drugs.

WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's comments in recent days about coronavirus testing at schools are causing confusion and concern in local districts.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The Erie County Department of Health has closed several bars and restaurants for allegedly not following COVID-19 regulations, and county lawmakers want to know if the shutdowns were justified.

 

 


Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

Parent leaders and the Buffalo Teachers Federation are criticizing Buffalo Public Schools for a lack of transparency and community feedback in the district’s process of developing reopening plans for this fall. The district posted a “working draft” plan on its website Friday night and has said “it’s not done until it’s done.”


Office of the Governor

The New York State Legislature on Monday held the first of two hearings on the thousands of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents. Questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, focused on a controversial March 25 directive that required nursing homes to take back COVID-19 patients from hospitals.

Center for Hope

While most businesses are worried about surviving the COVID-19 pandemic, attorney, social worker and Buffalo School Board member Hope Jay has started a new business helping survivors of abusive relationships. But not just any abuse, "narcissistic abuse."

Dan Clark / New York Now

It's crucial that parents and teachers feel comfortable for schools in New York to open successfully this fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

New York broke a COVID-19 testing record on Friday by conducting 82,737 tests, the highest number ever conducted in a single day in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday.

Dan Clark / New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll decide this week on whether schools can partially or fully reopen in September. Meanwhile, many school districts have been busy figuring out safe ways to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some have already made some preliminary decisions.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

What do bus drivers and supermarket workers have in common? They are essential workers and they joined together at the newly remodeled Tops Market in North Buffalo to pitch a continuation of heroes pay.

WAMC

New York State Thursday adopted maximum contaminant levels for three chemicals in drinking water. Environmental and community advocates wanted to see lower levels adopted, and more PFAS chemicals included, but say it’s a good start. One of the limits is a national first.

New York Now

New York, fearing the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, has decided to pull an item from this year’s ballot that would have asked voters to decide if the state should borrow $3 billion to fund a series of environmental projects related to climate change.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

New York state finally gave nursing homes permission to allow visitation July 15, but more than two weeks later, the overwhelming majority of nursing homes remain closed off to visitors. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki examines the slow reopening, which some blame on nursing homes not planning ahead and others blame on what they say are overly strict state guidelines. 


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Erie County leaders held a conference call Thursday with representatives of the Buffalo Bisons, Toronto Blue Jays and Major League Baseball to discuss ground rules for when Buffalo is scheduled to begin serving as the Blue Jays' temporary home. That meeting left local leaders feeling good about the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Buffalo. But then a short while later, the Jays announced their weekend games were postponed.

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