Coronavirus listener stories

If you or someone you know has something to share about life during the pandemic, write to Maine Public at TellMeMore@mainepublic.org and let us know the best way to reach you.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

When the pandemic first hit Maine, Crystal Cron started a free food delivery service, Brigade de Viveres or the Food Brigade, staffed by volunteers. Cron, whose mother's family came from Peru, is president of a Portland-based group called "Presente Maine," which assesses and responds to the needs of immigrant communities, particularly Latin Americans. It has now started a farming operation to boost the Food Brigade's supply of fresh produce.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

Data from the Small Business Administration show that since the start of the pandemic, more than 25,000 loans have been approved for small businesses in Maine, and almost 90 percent of applicants have received the funds. But some are wary of taking on more debt while their businesses are ordered closed.

Keith Shortall / Maine Public

Many workers in Maine’s hospitality industry continue to face an uncertain future, even as the state begins to gradually reopen for the summer.

Courtesy Beth Weisberger /

Not all businesses have suffered during the pandemic — some in Maine are booming.

Gneiss Spice in Bethel – Gneiss as in the bedrock common in parts of Maine — sells spice jars and spice refills online, and is doing pretty well.

Beth Weisberger, the company’s owner, told Maine Public that feelings of success, at a time when others are hurting, is complicated.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

via Chris Greeley

Holden Police Chief Chris Greeley makes it a habit to give out his cellphone number to residents in his community. But during the recent pandemic and the governor's stay-at-home order, Greeley has been taking additional steps to try to connect with the people he serves by reaching out and calling those who may be especially vulnerable.

Maine Public file

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of nearly every person in America, including college students, who were sent home last month to limit the spread of the virus. But some, including Yihao Yang, have remained on campus.

Wade Kavanaugh

The artist duo of Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen have worked on public art together for the last 15 years. Most recently, they won a million-dollar public art commission for the new Washington Convention Center in Seattle.

via Troy Barnies

For some people, life during the pandemic has meant hunkering down with family members and, if you're fortunate, working from home. But when you happen to be a newlywed separated from your wife by an entire ocean and a professional athlete whose career in Europe is uncertain, priorities have a way of coming into focus.

Kathy Willens / AP

Ten days ago Maine Public spoke with Portland surgeon and critical care Doctor Laura Withers, who was about to go to New York to volunteer in a COVID-19 intensive care unit at Long Island Jewish Hospital. Since then, she says she’s been working nights for 15 hours at a stretch. In her own words, Withers describes what it has been like to treat patients at the epicenter of the pandemic:

Courtesy Erica Richards

Certified Nurse Midwife Erica Richards provides healthcare for women from adolescence through to menopause – and a lot of that care includes helping women with pregnancy and bringing babies into the world. Here she tells us about how Personal Protective Equipment may affect the birth process – from her own, health care provider perspective.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public file

Life in any congregate setting right now poses additional risks for residents and staff from COVID-19. That’s also true of jails and prisons.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Living with all the troubling effects of the pandemic — social distancing, the toll on health care workers, the anguish for the sick and the economic fallout — retired Navy veteran Robert Bott of Lewiston says there's no doubt it can test your faith. But Bott, who is Catholic, says he and his wife have found comfort in online prayer groups, and he's trying to make the most of the time they have to spend together:

For some Mainers, especially those who are elderly and immunocompromised, the coronavirus pandemic is especially frightening. Factor in the rules of social distancing, and trying to “stay safe” in rural Maine can feel like a lonely odyssey.

Courtesy photo

The state of New York has issued an urgent call for experienced medical personnel to help with the surge of COVID-19 cases that have been filling hospitals for several weeks now. One of those who is answering that call is a trauma surgeon and critical care specialist from Portland.

Laura Withers typically spends half the year working in Maine and the other half volunteering around the world. On Tuesday, she’ll begin a three-week stint at Long Island Jewish Hospital.

Withers spoke with Maine Public Radio News about the assignment.