Coronavirus Coverage | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage

Credit Centers for Disease Control

Important links:

For more info on COVID-19 in N.H., visit the N.H. Dep. of Health & Human Services page here

The American conversation around masks and COVID-19 has taken a dizzying turn. For months, wearing masks has been politicized as a sign of liberal leanings. But in recent days, ever more governors — many of them Republican — have moved to mandate masks. This week President Trump — arguably the nation's most visible mask un-enthusiast — started referring to wearing them as "patriotic."


Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill that makes permanent some parts of the expanded telehealth system put in place for COVID-19.

The bill requires equal insurance coverage for medical visits done remotely and in person, including for Medicaid users.

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It also adds parameters for telehealth to state law, including spelling out where and how treatment can be given and received. 

Courtesy of Steve Rothenberg

Governor Chris Sununu’s guidelines for reopening New Hampshire’s schools leave many decisions up to local school boards - many are looking at a hybrid model, a mix of in-person and remote learning.

But as districts work to solidify these plans, vocational and technical education schools are already experimenting with how to offer students hands-on education at a safe distance. 

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Nearly 700 students have now signed a petition asking for an extension on when a signed consent agreement is due before arriving on the UNH campus in the fall for classes.

The petition is asking that the deadline to sign the agreement be pushed back two weeks. 

Anybody who has waited for hours in line for a coronavirus test, or who has had to wait a week or more for results, knows there has to be a better way. In fact, the next generation of tests will focus on speed.

But what should the Food and Drug Administration do with a rapid test that is comparatively cheap but much less accurate than the tests currently on the market? A test like that is ready to go up for FDA approval, and some scientists argue it could be valuable despite its shortcomings.

Black mayors in many of the nation's largest cities on Tuesday formally called on governors to repeal orders prohibiting them from enacting strategies that reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The African American Mayors Association passed a resolution beseeching state leaders to repeal any rules that prohibit local leaders from implementing strategies like requiring the use of face masks.

"State, local and tribal governments are uniquely positioned to determine the level of mitigation required to combat the virus in their communities," the resolution states.


Bus drivers are among the many school employees raising concerns about districts' plans to reopen.

New Hampshire has struggled for years with a school bus driver shortage, and the pandemic could make it even harder to retain drivers.

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Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts recently announced that it was ending its pandemic moratorium on reusable shopping bags, saying towns could go back to reinforcing their bans on single-use plastic bags. 

Meanwhile, New Hampshire and many other states are still not letting shoppers bring their reusable bags to stores. But is that actually helping to slow the spread of coronavirus?

Ann Levett's worst day as superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public School System wasn't March 26, the day Georgia's governor first closed schools, keeping Levett's more than 37,000 students home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her worst day came just a couple of weeks ago, Levett says, when she realized the infection numbers around Savannah were so high that she wasn't going to be able to reopen schools.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Update: This story was updated on Monday, July 20 with a statement from the University System of New Hampshire.  

The University of New Hampshire is asking students to sign an informed consent agreement before arriving on campus in the fall for classes, though some students say they want more information from the university before signing.

As scientists study the burden of COVID-19 around the globe, it's pretty clear that despite some cases of serious illness, kids tend to get infected with the coronavirus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults.

"It seems consistently, children do have lower rates of infection than adults," says Dr. Alison Tribble, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

File photo

A continuación, pueden leer las noticias del lunes 20 de julio.

También las puedes escuchar haciendo click en el siguiente audio. 

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes. 

Se reportan 18 nuevos casos de coronavirus en NH

Los funcionarios de salud anunciaron 18 [dieciocho] nuevos casos de COVID-19 en el estado, y dos fallecimientos adicionales el domingo. Las dos personas que fallecieron tenían más de 60 años. 

Congress returns from a summer recess Monday as many states experience spikes in confirmed coronavirus cases.

State governments face a precipitous drop in revenue, parents and teachers are debating how kids will return to school in the fall, and millions of unemployed workers face the prospect of their pandemic assistance running out at the end of the month.

For Lorena Schneehagen, the additional $600 unemployment payment each week during the coronavirus pandemic has held her family's expenses together.

She's an out-of-work preschool teacher in Ann Arbor, Mich., whose son is about to start college.

"I need that to help pay his tuition," Schneehagen said. "And for food and just to pay the general bills."

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Sunday

Over a 24-hour period, the world saw nearly 260,000 new coronavirus cases — a new record. Deaths were also on the rise, with 7,360 new fatalities reported Saturday in the highest one-day increase since May.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu added to his record number of vetoes this legislative session Friday, rejecting bills dealing with energy policy, unemployment benefits and privacy laws. Here’s a rundown.

What Will Reopening Schools Look Like?

Jul 17, 2020
Empty classroom

What will school look like this fall? The state released its school reopening guidelines last week, which leave a lot of decisions up to individual districts. We chat about how parents, teachers, and administrators are feeling about possibly returning to school in September. 

Air date: Monday, July 20, 2020. 


A continuación, están las noticias del viernes 17 de Julio.

Puedes escucharlas haciendo click en el siguiente audio o las pueden leer aquí.

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para las grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ven algunas anotaciones diferentes. 

Corección: ayer dijimos que el banco de alimentos visitará Manchester de 3 p.m. a 5 p.m. Es hoy viernes a 1 p.m. a 3 p.m. en el estacionamiento de Comcast en Manchester. La dirección es: 676 Island Pond Rd. 

Target and CVS are the latest national retail chains requiring customers to wear masks as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket.

The companies announced the new policies on Thursday following similar moves by a growing number of retailers acting to fill a void left by local, state and federal agencies that have so far refused to set mandatory face coverings policies.

As of Thursday, only about half of the country's states require masks in public places.

Cori Princell / NHPR

A continuación, les tenemos las noticias del jueves, 16 de julio. 

Las pueden escuchar haciendo click en el siguiente audio, o las pueden leer a continuación. 

Una nota: Lo escrito es nuestro guión para nuestras grabaciones. Tenlo en cuenta si ves algunas anotaciones diferentes.

Pediatras ofrecen consejos sobre cómo abrir las escuelas de manera segura

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu’s guidelines for reopening New Hampshire schools call for in-class instruction in most circumstances, but leave major decisions for how to resume teaching during the pandemic to local districts.  

Updated July 16, 9:40 a.m. ET

The Trump Administration has mandated that hospitals sidestep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment to a different federal database.

From the start of the pandemic, the CDC has collected data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, availability of intensive care beds and personal protective equipment. But hospitals must now report that information to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Chris Sununu issued a series of executive orders in March shuttering huge segments of both economic and community life in New Hampshire. Suddenly, workers and industries were split into two camps: those deemed essential, and those not. 

More than 100 days later, nearly all corners of the state’s economy now have permission to reopen. At 11:59 p.m. on June 15, Sununu’s ‘Stay at Home’ order expired, as did the cap on gatherings of more than ten people. 

Eviction Cases On The Rise In New Hampshire

Jul 14, 2020
Shane Adams via Flickr/CC -

The New Hampshire Judicial Branch has released  court filings related to landlords and tenants. The data, released weekly, shows that eviction cases are on rise in New Hampshire since the state's coronavirus-related ban on evictions ended on July 1.


President Trump holds a news conference as schools grapple with how to reopen and coronavirus cases continue to climb.

Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons

The state’s unemployment rate fell to 11.8% in June as more residents returned to work following the coronavirus shutdown.

New figures released Tuesday by N.H. Employment Security show that approximately 25,000 residents who lost their jobs earlier this year were back to work in June. 

Still, there are nearly 100,000 fewer people working right now than there were last year at this time. Retail, restaurant, and hotel jobs are still heavily impacted, as are white-color positions and those in education and health care.

Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

As the state awaits an announcement from Governor Sununu on schools reopening, New Hampshire mayors say they’re moving forward with plans for next year.

NOTE: On July 14, Sununu released the state's guidance for reopening New Hampshire schools. You can find more on that here

Shifting Engagement Through Virtual Events

Jul 13, 2020

For months now, many conferences, festivals, seminars, and other gatherings have shifted online. We discuss what's lost in translation and what might be gained, including new audiences who couldn't attend in person. Also, we examine why some virtual events are more engaging than others and whether they're here to stay. 

Air date: Monday, July 13, 2020. 

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

More than 1,200 current employees at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed a letter calling for the federal agency to address "ongoing and recurring acts of racism and discrimination" against Black employees, NPR has learned.