Lake Effect

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There have been a lot of mysteries about COVID-19 since it first appeared in humans in late 2019. How does it spread? How does the coronavirus mutate? Which organs does it affect? Virologist Thomas Friedrich is one of the people tasked with answering these questions.

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The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of us rethinking the ways we put food on the table. For the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, that has meant a return to traditional farming practices.

Instead of tilling soil and planting seeds in rows the European way, many indigenous groups in the Milwaukee area planted native crops like corn, squash, and beans in a grid of soil mounds. Sometimes they bury fish in the mounds to act as a natural fertilizer.

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If you're home with kids, you've probably been reading a lot of books together. A new book from a Madison-based children's author could be a good next read for everyone in your flock.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s safer-at-home order in a 4-3 decision, effectively removing most statewide orders concerning the coronavirus lockdown. The court met virtually as it delivered the ruling, which caused a lot of confusion. Some bars opened almost immediately after the ruling, despite some local safer-at-home orders already in place.

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Restaurants put $225 billion into the economy every year. While some are still in business, almost 450,000 independent restaurants must change operations to meet new safety measures or face the risk of closing completely due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will also impact the 11 million food service jobs — most of which were part of the initial flood of unemployment applications. 

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Ann-Elise Henzl

There have been reports about humans infecting felines with the coronavirus, such as big cats at the Bronx Zoo. That led researchers at UW-Madison to start looking into cat-to-cat transmission.  

Peter Halfmann is one of the lead researchers. He says the study included three pairs of cats. 

"We took one cat from the pair and infected it by internasal inoculation, some virus in the eye and then in the mouth. And then we house that cat by itself for 24 hours," he explains.

Essay: We Have Managed, So Far

May 14, 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic is in some ways an echo of our history. People have compared it to other health crises, like the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. Others have compared concerns about an economic downturn to what happened during the Great Depression. 

For essayist Aleta Chossek, these parallels were born out in letters from her grandfather, a business owner who lived through the Depression:

“We have been having bad times here in America, but we have managed, so far."

“There are 12-13 million good laborers unemployed.”

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When vape pens first came out they were marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking. But as more research has been released about the longterm affects of vaping, it’s complicated that narrative. 

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If you've driven through the intersection of First Street and Pittsburgh Avenue in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood during the last few weeks, you might have seen a bold statement painted on the windows of BlackPaint Studios: Wisconsin's Pandemic Primary = Crime Against Humanity. 

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History is happening every day, and it’s not just recorded by people in power. The coronavirus pandemic is a huge moment in our collective history happening to all of us and it’s important that people in the future can learn about our experiences. There's no better way to do that than through first-hand accounts.

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Emergency room visits have been cut in half during the coronavirus pandemic. But there’s still a reason for some people to get medical help other than the virus.

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There’s a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer. Since the coronavirus pandemic began to escalate in March, suppliers have had difficulty keeping up with the intense demand.

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Many health care workers risk their physical and mental health to do their jobs. The coronavirus pandemic has intensified these challenges.

Just last month, emergency department medical director Dr. Lorna M. Breen committed suicide. Her family cites her work helping COVID-19 patients as the reason.

Courtesy of Craig Griffie

Coronavirus-related school closures present some unique challenges to vocational education because hands-on learning isn’t possible right now. Even though their last few months of training were cut short, a Brown Deer teacher is working with his high school seniors to arrange job placements in the construction field.

>>Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

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Outbreaks in the meat industry aren't new. In the early '90s, mad cow disease was a trade problem that affected the entire industry, halting the sale of beef worldwide. Then a large outbreak of bird flu in early 2013 was a pathogenic problem that led to thousands of birds being euthanized.

Coronavirus is a different challenge for the meat industry since it affects plants' high concentration of workers. Some meat plants have about 1,200 workers, and they're at greater risk of getting COVID-19 because they're often standing elbow-to-elbow while working.