Deep Dive Coronavirus

Elise Amendola / AP Images

Included in the federal government's array of pandemic relief aid programs is an automatic pause – or forbearance – on federal student loans.

Jennifer Mitchell

Bare spots on store shelves serve as a reminder that this has not been an ordinary year. While there is plenty of meat being produced by farmers, they have had trouble getting their meat processed due to outbreaks of COVID-19 at processing plants.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

About 60 percent of the potatoes produced in Maine and around the country are grown to supply the food service industries. But with everything from school cafeterias to sports concessions to in-flight meals canceled, potato farmers are facing uncertain times in what is already an uncertain business. And many say that they are discouraged by what they are being offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a federal aid package.

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 Srakocic / AP File

Routine appointments for health care came to a halt in March, when Mainers hunkered down at home as the state braced for a possible surge of the coronavirus. The sudden drop in patients hit independent physicians especially hard, who saw steep declines in revenue. Now as the state reopens, some of these doctors say they are starting to emerge, but their future is still tenuous.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Along Maine's border with Canada, communities on either side are closely connected, historically, culturally, economically. But the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily severed that connection, as the governments of the two countries have suspended nonessential travel along the border.

mainepublic.org

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, joins us to discuss the latest in the state's efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

We'll discuss new federal funding, increased testing, outbreaks, use of protective equipment and masks, antibody tests, medications and research, and we'll take your questions.


Camp Ketcha File Photo

As Maine heads toward Stage 2 of the state's plan to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, the Mills administration has issued guidance for summer camps. For some camps, it's provided the make-or-break decision about whether to open this summer. Those that have decided to move forward are preparing for a very different experience.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public File

Maine Gov. Janet Mills says that she has taken steps to curtail state expenditures through June in order to get through the remainder of the budget year. But the economic effects of the pandemic will also require plans to deal with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost state revenues in the year to come.

The state of Maine has seen one of the country's lowest rates of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19, but its economy relies heavily on summer visitors — many from states where the virus is still rampant.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Much of the aid that Congress has provided to Americans in financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic has come in the form of vastly expanded unemployment insurance program.

Good Shepherd Food Bank

As Maine’s food pantries struggle to keep up with increased demand, hunger relief organizations around the country are calling for long-term changes to minimize the kinds of supply-chain issues that hit supermarkets hard early on in the pandemic.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

April has always been a key month for state revenues. It’s been the month when people who owe income taxes have to pay or face penalties and interest, so most write that check and pay the taxes they owe. But like so many things this year the coronavirus pandemic has changed that.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

Before the pandemic turned the world upside down, more than 13% of Maine households struggled with food insecurity — the highest rate of hunger in New England and the 12th highest in the country. But with so many people out of work, that number is projected to grow to 18 percent.

Todd Eaton

Ninety-seven percent of businesses in Maine have fewer than 20 employees, according to the Small Business Administration. Many operate on tight margins, even during good economic times. But now, as the pandemic and its effects linger, some of those small businesses are now being forced to shut their doors for good.

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