As of May 14, 5,503 New Mexicans have tested positive for COVID-19, with health care workers among the most likely to be exposed to the virus. Catherine Delaney, a physicians assistant and recovered COVID patient, talked to Your NM Gov host Khalil Ekulona about what it was like to be infected with COVID-19, the rocky road to recovery, and the range of symptoms she, family members and her patients have experienced.
As Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham eases restrictions in New Mexico starting Saturday, we talk about the factors that signal when and how to reopen the country: testing, contact tracing, modeling, antibody tests and treatment. In episode 61, we hear about test expansion and antibody test development, a new treatment involving plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, and what it's like to be sick with the virus.
Episode 60 we maximize the connective power of radio in service of appreciation and love for the people we might not be able to talk to—whether they're in a hospital, somewhere that phone service or net isn't so good, a senior living facility, a jail or prison, or just far away. And if you have any worries we've strayed too far from our mission, you know, with "government" in the name of this show, it's all good. We do have shoutouts from some government officials, too.
Many New Mexicans are being told to stay at home and distance themselves from others to minimize the cases of COVID-19 in the state. But that’s not an option for those stuck in jails and prisons, who usually have close contact with each other in tight spaces. Expanding on an earlier episode, this conversation is all about the dangers that these inmates face – as well as the staff who oversee them and the community at large.
The stay-at-home order is dragging on and things are getting kind of grim. People have been cooped up together for weeks now, money issues are coming to a head, and uncertainty and instability are persistent facts of our everyday lives. After yesterday's discussion of domestic violence, this episode is all about how to get through this difficult time—spiritually, psychologically and emotionally.
In Episode 57, we talk about the dangers that domestic violence survivors face during shelter-in-place orders when home isn’t a safe place. We hear what advocates, agencies, and the government are doing to help survivors of abuse stay safe, and how they’re keeping services running during social distancing.
In episode 56, we explore New Mexico’s upcoming limited reopening of restaurants and retail stores. What needs to be considered in terms of how to stay safe during a reopening and what are the best practices?
In episode 55, we return to the conversation around recovery from substance use during the pandemic. It's a special episode devoted to a conversation between Executive Producer Marisa Demarco and her cousin, Orlando Watts, who went to a remote rehab before the pandemic, and then returned home after it was in full swing. A lot of the conversation around reckoning with a loss of control, being present, sitting with discomfort and reaching out to connect could be useful for anyone during this time—not only people in recovery or seeking treatment.
Your New Mexico Government honors the memory of four people whose lives were ended by COVID 19. These are not conversations about the virus, nor about the state of New Mexico's response in episode 54. Today we talk about the people, who they were and how they lived. Beyond the data, numbers or projections, it's about the humans who lived and the legacies they have left with their families and communities.
Episode 53 is all about re-entering the world from jail or prison during the pandemic, and holding onto your recovery from addiction during quarantine. What does the world feel like right now if you've spent some part of your last years inside a prison? And what do you do if a requirement of your probation or parole is that you find a job when there isn't one to be found? How are folks managing their sobriety during a time of isolation or social distancing? What's keeping them on track?
We devote episode 52 to some of the many people working on the front lines of the pandemic caring for COVID patients in New Mexico, sometimes without enough protective gear to feel safe. We ask them what urgent calls to reopen the economy sound like from where they're standing. And we find out how it's going for them, whether they're supported and heard by the institutions they work in.
In episode 51, we talk about food access, cooking and gardening during the pandemic. Being able to get healthy food is a problem for many people all the time in New Mexico, but it's become even more of a struggle these last weeks. Many people are working to make sure folks here have food despite new obstacles, like people buying up some items at grocery stores and disrupting the supply chain, social distancing, and extra sanitation precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Episode 50 is all about athletes and sports, and the pandemic's impacts on the players, the communities, the economy—and our spirits. What are games like when the stands are empty? How do student athletes support each other as they navigate missed opportunities for big seasons, and maybe scholarships? How do physical activity and teamwork help keep folks connected and on the right track? And what do you do when some of that's gone for a minute?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued interim guidance saying municipalities should not clear homeless encampments during the pandemic, because that can increase community spread and cause people to lose touch with service providers. The City of Albuquerque is still clearing encampments, but over the last several weeks the Albuquerque Police Department has changed some practices in interacting with people experiencing homelessness, according to APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina. He spoke with Khalil Ekulona, host of Your N.M. Government.
Episode 49 is all about the elections that are still coming up and the 2020 census. Advocates tell us that New Mexico is hard to count because it's big, area-wise, and because plenty of communities are intentionally discouraged from filling it out through fear tactics. The census determines how much federal funding comes to the state for all kinds of programs over the next 10 years, and it's how voting districts are determined. If brown and black communities around the U.S. don't participate in the census, advocates tell us, their political power is diluted.
Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically.
We devote Episode 46 to local companies and makers who have switched up what they create or kicked production into high gear to make personal protective equipment and parts for ventilators. They're trying to fill the gaps at hospitals, for first responders and for other essential workers in New Mexico.
In episode 45, we take a look back on four weeks of COVID coverage on the show. We offer about updates to stories we covered, revisit interviews and examine the impact to our lives and what we’ve learned in covering the pandemic so far.
In episode 44, we talk about CDC data and state data showing that the virus is harming, disproportionately, brown and black people around the U.S.—and here at home. We hear from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez about the bureaucratic hurdles to accessing billions of dollars allotted to tribes in the relief package, and why that money hasn't reached the ground yet, despite the dire public health emergency unfolding for tribes.
In episode 42, we talk to people of diverse faith backgrounds about how the pandemic is affecting them and their worship practices. On Monday, Legacy Church filed a lawsuit against the state, saying Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's weekend order banning gatherings—even in places of worship—was unconstitutional. We spoke about the lawsuit with Legacy Church Pastor Daniel McCabe, who clarified what they're fighting for.
In episode 41, we're tackling the impact of the shutdowns on local news outlets and thinking about the public service of journalism, and reporters and producers as essential information disseminators. We also hear about a proposal to include funds specifically for local news, as papers and broadcasters make impossible choices while they try to cover the pandemic for their communities.
In episode 40, we talk about the shutdown's impacts on local arts and culture. The arts are not only providing a distraction as we watch movies and listen to music at home right now, but they offer solace, reflection and they give us something that helps make sense of our experience. They also become part of documenting, in a visceral way, what we are going through.
Episode 39 is focused on migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in our communities, and on Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, which are often overcrowded around the United States and are criticized for bad medical care. ICE announced it will review cases one-by-one and release vulnerable people. Officials and advocates say that's not anywhere near fast enough as COVID cases are cropping up around the country in ICE detention centers, and outbreaks in them could overwhelm regional hospitals.
In episode 38, we're talking about the state's small businesses struggling to hang on during the shutdown and what resources they can find from government. We also try and find out what the holdup is with the federal relief money destined for the state's businesses.
In episode 37, we're talking about companies and federal officials squeezing through changes to environmental regulation, oil and gas leases, and laws about anti-pipeline demonstrators while the nation's been focused on the pandemic.
In episode 36, we're talking about the struggle to pay rents or mortgages and to keep the lights on during the pandemic. Because when money's tight, people are forced to make choices. And some of those choices—about food and medicine—could interfere with their health and immune systems as we all try to avoid this virus.
In episode 35, we ask people to reflect on shifts in their perspectives, about their lives, about how things have been working or not working for people in our country or around the world. KUNM's Nash Jones reports on delivery drivers working for corporate apps who saw a big shift in the urgency and necessity of their work. They speak about the human connections keeping them in it, despite the dangers.