COVID

As record numbers of COVID-19 patients — most of them unvaccinated — show up for treatment in Idaho hospitals, it’s often nurses and doctors who bear the brunt of the emotional toll.

Ashley Brown is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center. After a couple of her shifts last week, she recorded her thoughts for us.

Editor's Note: We highly recommend listening to the audio version of this story. Press the play button above to listen.

Thursday, Sept. 2, 8 p.m.

The day that Kate Sherrod got vaccinated against COVID-19 was an emotional one.

"It was my first time around strangers in like a year," she said.

Sherrod is immunocompromised, which limits her ability to fight off infections. So she had been stuck at home during the first year of the pandemic. It also meant she was in one of the early priority groups for the vaccine. And after the first shot in March, Sherrod let herself imagine some of the things she'd do once she hit full immunity.

Courtesy UNM


  University Showcase, 7/16, 8a: The last year of the coronavirus pandemic has challenged communities all over the state. Last November, five students at the University of New Mexico began interviewing people about how they and their communities were coping in the pandemic and how they were forced to find their own resilience.

Megan Kamerick

After more than a year, people are buying tickets and popcorn at The Guild Cinema in Albuquerque. Owner Keif Henley scrambled to re-open when the state revamped its color-coded risk system recently. Bernalillo County was suddenly in the least restrictive turquoise phase.

No More Normal: A Year In Pandemic Part 2

Apr 4, 2021
Vanessa Bowen

2020 was a long year. We don't have to tell you. It was a constant barrage of reality-shaping events, and it hasn’t stopped. What is different for us now that we are on the verge of—maybe, knock on wood—coming out of the pandemic? How are the leaders we elected approaching their duties now? How are activists applying what they’ve learned to push their causes forward? How are the people who experienced hardship pre-pandemic adapting to a possible post-pandemic life? No More Normal reflects on last year while keeping our focus on the future.

New Mexicans Head To Texas For COVID Vaccines

Feb 19, 2021
Zelie Pollon / KUNM

  This week so far more than 628,000 New Mexicans were registered to get the COVID vaccine. Just over 306,000 of those had received their first dose. State health officials say the delay in getting more people vaccinated is in their efforts to be more equitable and coordinated. But a growing number of New Mexicans are deciding not to wait, and to go to Amarillo, Texas instead. Note: Texas is currently recovering from a massive storm and power outage, and access to vaccines -- much less heat, water and electricity -- may be greatly disrupted.

College Graduates Hopeful for Debt Forgiveness

Feb 17, 2021
QuinceCreative / Pixabay

 

Early last month, President Biden extended a repayment pause for student loans until October 2021. In the meantime, college seniors graduating in the midst of this pandemic are also dealing with the stresses of a weak economy and fewer job opportunities. Patrick Watson from Mauldin Economics sat down with reporter Taylor Velazquez to talk about the likelihood of student loan forgiveness and the future of the job market.

 

Arianna Sena / KUNM


Coronavirus has infiltrated the Roundhouse, where New Mexico’s legislators are in the early weeks of a 60-day session. Since mid-January when the session began, at least three people in the capital have tested positive for the virus, including one GOP lawmaker. On Friday, Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf announced new rules, restricting participation in committee meetings to Zoom, and closing the House floor to most lawmakers. KUNM spoke with Matt Grubs from New Mexico PBS.

Ted Eytan / Wikimedia Commons

  A lockdown was imposed at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, in response to a mob of hundreds of pro-Trump extremists who stormed the building. Freshman U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, who represents New Mexico’s northern third congressional district, was inside with her colleagues conducting the people’s business of certifying the electoral college results. Hours later, KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona checked in with the representative.

 

pixy.org


  The coronavirus pandemic has taken a terrible toll on mental well-being as people cope with isolation, fear and uncertainty. KUNM’s Megan Kamerick talked with Ryan Williamson about his decision to seek therapy for the first time, and clinical psychologist Dr. Gerald Chavez for a segment that originally aired on our media partner New Mexico PBS.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

Poll workers are key to any election: they help voters cast their ballots, answer questions, and ensure things run smoothly at voting centers. Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover oversees the county’s approximately 1,000 poll workers. She spoke with KUNM’s Yasmin Khan about what voters can expect at the polls Tuesday, including the presence of partisan poll watchers and challengers, and COVID-19 precautions. 

Mrs. Gemstone via Wikimedia / Creative Commons


Let's Talk New Mexico 9/8, 8a: Voting rights are the bedrock of American democracy, yet for many people, that right is not a reality. Voter suppression has a long history in the United States and has largely affected people of color and women. On this week’s call-in show, we will focus on the white supremacist roots of voter suppression and how they affect the COVID-impacted 2020 election. We will explore felon voter laws and the fragile history of voting rights for Black people and Native Americans.

No More Normal: The Streets Are Hot

Aug 2, 2020
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In the last weeks of July, we saw high temperatures across the country. The streets heated up, and we’re not talking about the weather. We’re talking about federal forces sent to Portland, Chicago, Albuquerque and other cities. The arrival of these agents was met with public outcry and increased skepticism by lawmakers and residents alike. Others support the move. In episode 3, we take a look at what exactly is going on and what it means for our civil liberties and our democracy.

Van Buren Middle School Eliminates Garden Program

Jul 10, 2020
Vicki Moore via Flickr CC

As things stand, students across New Mexico will return to school in the Fall and follow a hybrid model. Teachers, parents, and students alike are concerned about safety, and funding is tight. One pioneering outdoor gardening elective is being cut. 

John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Tribal communities in New Mexico have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, due to deep social and economic disparities resulting from colonization. Now, the pandemic threatens to make those disparities worse by hindering the 2020 Census count that will affect how much federal funding goes to tribes over the next decade. Shaun Griswold, urban Indigenous reporter with New Mexico In Depth, reports tribes are playing catch-up after public health shutdowns along with geography and other factors have led to low Census response rates so far. He told KUNM’s Hannah Colton that an undercount could mean a difference of millions of federal dollars going to basics like housing and education.   

Yasmin Khan / KUNM

 

Hundreds of masked protesters in white coats, green scrubs, and street clothes gathered six feet apart for a "die-in" yesterday outside the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library to highlight anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism embedded in the health care system. Protesters honored the memory of George Floyd, denounced police brutality and white supremacy in medicine, and demanded change in their institution.

YNMG & COVID: The Heavy Lift

Jun 4, 2020
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

We are nearly halfway through the year of 2020, it is June and reality is forever changed. While learning to adjust to life during a global pandemic, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has given rise to protests globally. In Episode 71, we talk about what it takes to safely navigate a pandemic and the beginnings of a revolution. It’s a heavy lift. Today we talk with a military veteran, a few activists and educators, and host Khalil Ekulona’s dad to get a deeper perspective. 

YNMG & COVID: Faith in the System

May 29, 2020
Arianna Sena / KUNM

Do you have faith in the systems? How has government response to the pandemic eroded or reinforced that for you? It seemed important back in what we collectively refer to as “normal times.” But what have public officials done to instill our faith? In Episode 69, we talk about the long list of pre-pandemic ills that plague us during this plague. We talk with the secretary of state about what it takes for politicians to keep voters invested and journalists about why there is a lack of faith—and whether it can be restored. 

YNMG & COVID: Elections Have Consequences

May 28, 2020
BUSCHAP VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE

While many of us are focused on the demands of the pandemic, the primary election came up quick in New Mexico, and the general election is right around the corner. What is the consequence of doing nothing at all this election cycle? In episode 68, we take a look at the primary coming up on Tuesday, June 2, with a narrow focus on the state and local elections.

YNMG & COVID: Race, Privilege And Reopening

May 22, 2020
Trevier Gonzalez

The past few weeks have seen a rise to anti-shutdown protests in many parts of the country. Some have observed the number of weapons at some of these protests, others have observed that most of the participants are white. That made us think, how does race factor into the conversations around re-opening? In episode 66, we talk with some of the louder voices in the state speaking out against New Mexico’s shutdown, and national anti-racism activist Tim Wise. And we hear from a guy who’s worked for years to grapple with his own privilege. These conversations might give us a window into what the future holds.

YNMG & COVID: What's New?

May 20, 2020
Nash Jones / KUNM

Now that we are at the beginning of a small reopening, some people are taking it into their own hands to provide a little something special to their communities. In episode 64, we learn about a new online radio station designed to give live performers a platform to connect to their audience in a fresh way. We hear about how popular the Sunday cruise on the mother road has been since it's naturally socially distant but still all about community. Mobile drive-in movies are back. Plus, we dive into the symbolism of the many moths newly emerging in our city, sometimes feeling like a manifestation of our collective anxiety.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Hospital custodians and houskeeping staff say that even though they clean the COVID wards and are in the room with patients, they aren't given adequate personal protective equipment. Three people we spoke with said because it is commonly known among other hospital staff that the sanitation workers are more exposed to the virus, they are treated unfairly and subject to discrimination. 

Megan Kamerick / KUNM

New Mexico is among the ten states with the highest increase in unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning many people have lost health insurance coverage as well. The state says no one should have to pay for testing and treatment related to the coronavirus, but some people are still being charged for that care. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona spoke with New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal about how the state is trying to help.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Inmates across the country fear for their lives as the coronavirus sweeps through overpopulated jails and prisons. People incarcerated in New Mexico say they’re not getting enough hygiene products, space to distance from one another or good information about potential spread behind the walls. Facilities have done very little testing, and the Corrections Department has been slow to follow through on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s April 6 order to release non-violent offenders who have less than a month left on their sentences. As of April 29, just 29 people had been discharged from state prisons, despite a 2019 study that identified ten times that number of people who could be immediately released into community corrections programs.

YNMG & COVID: Sports Sports Sports

Apr 24, 2020
Courtesy of Chad Cooper

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? 


This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's a sunny, spring afternoon and Holly Spriggs and her teenage son, Sawyer Michaud, are digging around in her giant garden outside of Lander, Wyo.

"We're working on planting some potatoes and onions before we get some moisture here," she says. 

Spriggs is having a great time, but Sawyer would rather be snowmobiling.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

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.

YNMG & COVID: To Be Heard And Counted

Apr 23, 2020
Kodak Views via Flickr CC

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. 

YNMG: Walking The COVID Beat

Apr 22, 2020
Hannah Colton / KUNM

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. 

YNMG & COVID: Keeping The Faith

Apr 14, 2020
Terry Presley via Flickr CC

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. 

Pages