It has been almost six months since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S. Since that day at the end of February, more than five million people have tested positive for the virus with 162,000 dying from it. In Pennsylvania, more than 121,000 have contracted the virus and 7,400 have died.
We have learned much COVID-19 over the past six months about symptoms, how the virus is spread, who is at risk and the role of face masks. However, many people still have questions about the virus, how to avoid exposure, what to do if you experience symptoms and the return of children to school.
Dr. Goldman has been on Smart Talk previously to answer questions about the virus. His appearance Thursday will be a good indicator of how much has changed and that has been learned about the coronavirus.
Streams and creeks are an important part of Pennsylvania’s natural landscape. They provide habitat for native species, mitigate flooding, and offer boundless recreation opportunities.
There are more than 85-thousand miles of rivers and streams in the state, and protecting these waters is vital to their health. Only five percent of fresh-water creeks and streams in the U.S. are named; an important distinction for water conservation and pollution control. Water quality experts say that named streams are more likely to be protected from litter and unwanted runoff.
So, what goes into naming creeks and waterways? Joining Smart Talk on Wednesday is Jennifer Runyan, a researcher with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to talk about the process of naming geographic features.
The Great American Outdoors Act will provide three billion dollars a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands.
The bill signed into law by President Trump last week, with widespread bi-partisan support, is being called by at least one supporter as the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. However, there are those who say the money isn’t enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands.
Also on Tuesday’s show, the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed focus on inequality and discrimination led to statues and monuments of Confederate Civil War leaders and those who may have been racist in their lifetimes being torn down or replaced.
Questioning or criticizing history wasn’t just confined to African-Americans. Criticism from Native-Americans – many of whom have been saying that sports mascots are offensive – grew louder.
Tuesday’s Smart Talk includes conversation with several people who want the Susquehanna Township High School “Indians” to change their name and mascot.
This November’s election will be unlike any other in American history. Voter turnout and subsequently, the candidates that win or lose, could be determined by whether voters feel safe from the COVID-19 virus.
A coalition of non-profits and community leaders has formed VoteSafe PA – a group that says it is dedicated to “an efficient, accessible, secure mail-in ballot process and safe, in-person voting sites that ensure Pennsylvanians won’t have to risk their health for simply standing in line to vote.”
Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey appears on Wednesday’s Smart Talk.
Among the issues we’ll discuss with Sen. Toomey are the on-going efforts in Congress to pass another coronavirus relief bill. So far in negotiations, Democrats have pushed a wide-ranging package that includes the continuation of $600 weekly in unemployment benefits and billions of dollars for hard hit states and cities. Republicans reportedly favor a more scaled back bill that ties unemployment benefits to workers’ incomes before the pandemic to encourage them to return to their jobs and not rely on the additional jobless payments.
Pennsylvanians are “generally” optimistic that the state is “heading in the right direction.” Although, that percentage dropped from the October 2019 poll.
Respondents also consider COVID-19 the most important problem facing the state and may, as a result, feel less optimistic about their finances. The 2020 general election and voter intentions were also key poll questions.
It has become apparent that there are many questions about reopening schools this fall. While the number of COVID-19 cases increase in some parts of the country and even some places in Pennsylvania, how students will be educated in a safe environment is of major concern for parents, teachers and administrators.
Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts are devising plans that include in-person classroom instruction, classes on-line, or a hybrid of the two. Schools are planning social distancing for students and students wearing masks. They’re also considering holding in-person classes only two days a week. Buses, cafeterias, gym classes and recess are all challenges for schools.