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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.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how we socialize and how we work. For some people, particularly essential workers, this has made it difficult to navigate an evolving workplace with employee protections in the limelight.

>>Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

Employers now have more leeway in the questions they can ask their employees, which raises concerns about accountability and potential discrimination.

Eitan Silver

The modern piano keyboard has 88 keys. And the late Joan Wildman was a master of all of them.

Her improvisations would go from low, low bass notes to the very high upper register. She played stride, blues, bebop, eighth notes, quarter notes, intervals, you name it. And sometimes she'd play the inner strings and sides of the piano — not just the keys.

Wisconsin National Guard

The duties of the Wisconsin National Guard keep expanding during the COVID-19 pandemic. In one community, nearly 20 Guard members are helping the local medical examiner with the dead.

In Dane County, the Air National Guard's 115th Fighter Wing Fatality Search and Recovery Team is assisting with the removal of decedents from their home or other location, any needed transportation of bodies to other counties, and with cleaning and decontamination. COVID-19 has killed almost two dozen people in Dane County. The Guard says it's helped with about 50 decedents in the region. 

Chuck Quirmbach

More COVID-19 testing sites are opening Monday in southeastern Wisconsin, including two state-sponsored locations in Milwaukee.

Emily Files / WUWM

As Milwaukee Public Schools begins its budget process, it’s facing an uncertain future but some reassurance from a recently approved tax referendum. Superintendent Keith Posley wants to spend about half of the referendum revenue on employee salaries and benefits, and use much of the rest to add 229 new positions.

MPS’s total budget is about $1.2 billion. The referendum will increase funding by $57 million next school year, gradually growing to $87 million in 2023.

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In April, a TV news station in Bakersfield, Calif., interviewed two immediate care doctors about their views on the coronavirus outbreak. Within days, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine condemned the interview as “reckless” and their opinions “untested.”


Since going to a movie theater currently isn't an option, and may not be for a long time, most of us are turning to streaming services for entertainment. 

The motion picture distribution system was under stress before the coronavirus pandemic, but as services like Netflix grow worldwide, the future of the traditional film industry and movie theaters post-pandemic is uncertain, to say the least. 

Courtesy of Ashley Bequest-Roeder

Who and what is essential? While people in health care are working tirelessly to combat the spread of COVID-19, they've also shared the spotlight with workers we often take for granted: people working at the grocery store, mail carriers, janitors, and countless others that are doing essential work so we can continue to have what we need.

Jason W. Edwards / U.S. Army

A drug that could help speed the recovery of some COVID-19 patients by several days is now being given to a person in Wisconsin. The trial use of remdesivir is taking place at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa.

Emily Files

University of Wisconsin System leaders are working on safety protocols that could enable students to return to campus if the coronavirus pandemic stretches into fall, system President Ray Cross told regents Thursday.

Cross told the regents during a teleconference that system leaders want to be able to test all faculty, staff and students — a task he called “monumental.” They also want to be able to trace student contacts, create a way to isolate and quarantine the sick as well as infected people who aren't showing symptoms.

Courtesy of John Berges and Erica Young

School closures triggered by the coronavirus are especially hard on students with disabilities and their families. These students often get one-on-one help at school, along with services like speech and physical therapy. In March, students and families suddenly lost all of that support. 

“Our new normal is barely coping,” said John Berges, whose son Theo is a special needs student at Shorewood High School. Berges sent WUWM a voice memo describing his family’s experience. 

Wisconsin Republicans Push For Regional Reopening

May 7, 2020
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Republicans in more rural parts of Wisconsin joined with business owners to push for a regional reopening plan Thursday to give the economy a boost, as the Department of Workforce Development warned that the state fund that pays unemployment claims could run out of money in five months.

Marina Marr / stock.adobe.com

The true economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is still unclear. Unemployment has had its highest surge in U.S. history, dwarfing previous records. Small businesses are struggling to survive, and the stock market has been vacillating between extreme lows and highs.

In the Milwaukee area, people are concerned about what this is going to mean for themselves, their loved ones, and the community. Rob Henken, president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, has been analyzing how this pandemic may impact local budgets.

Imagine MKE / Facebook

Milwaukee artists are some of the people most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. With galleries and performance venues closed, there aren't many places where art can be shared. But, as with all unusual circumstances, they can count on their creativity to get by.

David Lee, the CEO of Imagine MKE, and Deanna Tillisch, the president and CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), talk about the financial and creative hurdles local artists have had to overcome: