Coronavirus


When Willow Belden goes holiday shopping she likes to support local businesses. This year, though, it's meant calling stores and asking, "Are you guys wearing masks? But are you really wearing masks? And, like, what else are you doing?"

Nevada recently hosted its annual rural health conference, with a particular focus on infrastructure as COVID-19 continues to ravage rural America.

The Mountain West is facing a hospitalization crisis, and even states that cracked down early are feeling the effects of those that didn't.

In Washington State, the frustration is palpable.


University Showcase Friday, 11/20, 8a: On this episode we meet Dr. Tracie Collins, the women selected this month by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to be the new secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health. Collins has served as Dean of the UNM College of Population Health since 2019.

The vaccine developed by the pharmaceutical company Moderna may be easier to distribute in the rural West, according to regional public health experts.

It can survive up to a month in a freezer, is shipped in small doses, and it doesn't need a special, ultra-cold freezer to survive – unlike the vaccine developed by the company Pfizer.


Going to a bar tonight in Boise, Idaho or Reno, Nev.?

There's about a 50-50 chance someone carrying COVID-19 will be there too.

 


Margaret Wright

On Saturday, Nov. 7, just after the presidential race was called for Biden, hundreds turned up on the steps of the state’s capital for a rally against election results--though there has not yet been evidence of fraud. And a quick content warning: This story contains antagonism based in transphobia.  

Wow, we just had a tense bunch of days, each one filled with anticipation and impatience and consternation. From people worrying about how the election was going to play out, to some keeping an eye on potential violence, it would be an understatement to say that anxieties were high. It makes sense, 2020 has been mad anxious as my East Coast compatriots would say. But the electoral college digits that just wouldn’t move are not the only numbers the United States has to grapple with. Most of the country spent so much of their attention on the election, news of record- breaking new covid cases barely cut through the din. No matter who’s in charge, we’ve got a lot in front of us.

The entire four-person staff of a county health department in northwest Montana resigned this week.

Eric J. Garcia / El Machete Illustrated

The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good. But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

About a week before Election Day, as the Wind River Reservation was bracing for snow, Wyoming state Rep. Andi Clifford squeezed in some roadside campaigning outside of a community hall in Arapahoe.

"Normally we would've been inside," she said. "But we can't, so we're out here."

Lonnie Anderson

For months, demonstrators fighting police violence and racism have been calling for the state to release Albuquerque protest organizer Clifton White from prison. His wife, Selinda Guerrero, said she was surprised by a call from Santa Rosa prison staff on Thursday saying she should come pick him up. 

Contributed by artist Larry Schulte

The NoMoNo team was talking about ideas for our election coverage in early August: The potential for violence, attempts to subvert the vote and the importance of media literacy. It is not hyperbole to state that for most of us, this is the most important election we have ever taken a part in. That said, it is imperative that we are not only informed about our voting rights, but we ensure they are protected. That means becoming savvy about misinformation and disinformation and the ways that you and some people you may know are possibly being manipulated. 

 

The decisions made by leaders and policy makers during the COVID-19 pandemic will have repercussions on small businesses across the state, and the economic effects of the public health crisis have hit Black and Brown communities hard. Antavius Greathouse, a financial advisor, has been paying attention. He spoke with KUNM for our Voices Behind The Vote series ahead of the election.

Lonnie Anderson

Attack ads and contemporary political rhetoric about crime have a disturbing campaign ancestor: The Willie Horton ad that may have cost Michael Dukakis the presidential election in 1988. It relied on racism for its efficacy, and it ushered in an era of so-called "tough-on-crime" laws and posturing that nearly broke criminal legal systems, like the one in Albuquerque. Executive Producer and longtime criminal justice reporter Marisa Demarco navigates in Episode 13 how racist, fear-based electioneering warped the country's approach to crime. That continues to this day, favoring quick vengeance over long-term solutions that might have a real impact on crime rates. It's an addictive cycle: These methods, in fact, might be a big part of creating the problem candidates are promising to solve with them when they're counting on fear to salvage their flagging campaigns. 

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson / Creative Commons

 

As New Mexico saw multiple days of record high coronavirus case numbers this week, the New Mexico Department of Health on Thursday announced this season’s first recorded case of influenza in the state. Health officials are urging New Mexicans to get a flu shot as soon as possible.  

Steve Garfield via Flickr

Court Rejects Bid To Extend Ballot Counting On Navajo Nation - Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press

An appeals court has refused to give an extra 10 days after Election Day to count ballots mailed by Navajo Nation members living on the Arizona portion of the tribe’s reservation.

Courtesy of Georgia Petropoulos

Politicians and judges on your ballot this year have made decisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic that immediately impacted the health of the community—and the economy. These decisions affected the small business of Georgia Petropoulos, who owns Casa San Pablo, a senior living home in Albuquerque, and now inform her vote.

Courtesy of Claire Porter

The federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is on the ballot this year as President Trump runs for reelection in a country that’s seen over 7 million people test positive for COVID-19 and over 210,000 die from the virus. Middle school teacher Claire Porter, who’s currently on medical leave, spoke with KUNM about how her family’s experience of the pandemic underpins her vote for a different federal approach.

Felipe Esquivel Reed via Wikimedia / Creative Commons

New Mexico Sets New Daily Record For COVID-19 Cases - KUNM, Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases Friday with 488 new infections reported by state health officials.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the previous daily record was 455 and was set in July.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

During the presidential debate a week ago, moderator Chris Wallace asked President Trump to denounce white supremacy. Trump sidestepped the question and instead told a white supremacist group to “stand back and stand by.” The next day, I caught up with Art Simoni, who once would have called himself conservative, and who was my editor when I was a student reporter nearly 20 years ago.

Transcript:

EraserGirl / Wikimedia Commons via CC


  Ballots started making their way to mailboxes all around the state today. Request yours at NMvote.org

 

The U.S. Postal Service has been in the spotlight this year as millions of Americans prepare to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But actions by the Trump administration to cut into funding to the Postal Service has drawn scrutiny and raised questions about whether voters can be sure their ballot will get where it needs to be on time. KUNM caught up with Ken Fajardo, president of the American Postal Workers Union, Local 380, Albuquerque.

FELICIA MONTOYA, MARKUS WALL, KEMA

Tuesday, Oct. 6, is the last day in New Mexico that you can register to vote by mail or online for this election, though you can register in-person at your county clerk's office up through Halloween.

More people are facing homelessness around the country, advocates say, though it’s hard to pin down numbers so far. And economists project the crisis could get worse. In New Mexico, people without a home address can still register and vote on the politicians who are making the decisions about jobs, rent and economic relief during the pandemic. KUNM with Rachel Biggs, policy director for Albuquerque’s Health Care For The Homeless. She’s working on voter registration and mobilization for the unhoused population here—and around the country.

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

Conflicting reports emerged Saturday about President Trump's health and the timeline of when he was first tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump is "doing very well," his physician told reporters on Saturday morning, but a source familiar with the president's health later told White House pool reporters, that "the president's vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning." The Associated Press identified that information as coming from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

WyoFile via Flickr / Creative Commons

The news that President Trump contracted coronavirus raised a lot of questions about what could happen this election cycle, which is already under the unusual pressure of a pandemic. KUNM spoke with Lonna Atkeson from the University of New Mexico’s Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy this afternoon to find out some of the answers. She described what her morning had been like since speculation and word of Trump’s possible illness started sweeping the globe.

Retailer CVS announced plans last week to double its COVID-19 drive-through test sites at locations across the U.S., including in two Mountain West states.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The crew at NoMoNo headquarters takes a look at where we’ve been since the pandemic started, reflecting a little—hard to find time to do it when we’re all stuck in an unending news cycle. But hopefully, this is a pleasant look back if you’ve been hanging in there with us. We want to thank all of you who listened to the show when it was Your New Mexico Government back in March—you know, 1,000 years ago.


This time of year usually means the start of college football. Not this year. Without game days and big crowds of tailgaters, college towns across the Mountain West and beyond look different - and sound a lot different, too.

Thomas Shahan / Wikimedia Commons

Panel Says New Mexico's Outdoor Future Tied To Access, Education - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

New Mexico officials say the key to boosting the economics of outdoor recreation will require educational initiatives for school children as well as improved access and a new workforce.

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