Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 18

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The weather on Wednesday looks to be wet for most of the day, with showers giving way to a regular old steady rain. According to the National Weather Service, the high in the Cedar Rapids area should be around 50 degrees, with a southeast wind of 5 to 10 mph. The rain will continue in varying degrees into Thursday.

And here is your daily coronavirus roundup:

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced late Tuesday that 6 more Iowans have tested positive for the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, bringing the grand total to 23.

Earlier in the day, Governor Kim Reynolds declared a statewide public health disaster emergency that includes limiting gatherings to 10 people and closing bars, restaurants, casinos and other businesses until at least the end of the month in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Many government buildings, such as libraries, joined the schools and businesses in announcing that they will be closed.

Linn County Public Health announced Tuesday that anyone who on March 6 or March 13 was at the Longbranch Restaurant and Bar in Cedar Rapids should self-isolate for 14 days from that date. A statement from the health agency said it received notification a disc jockey who performed at the restaurant on those dates has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Grocery stores, such as Hy-Vee and Fareway, announced changes to their hours to opening at 8 a.m. and staying open a half day.  They said these changes were to allow more time to clean the stores and restock certain items that have been depleted by high demand.

Nationally, the White House and Congress worked on financial support packages to buttress the economy while normal life grinds to a halt. This could include direct payments of as much as $1,000 to individuals, although this amount could vary as negotiations continue. The House has already approved a multi billion dollar relief package that is still up for debate in the Senate. Stocks continued their dramatic up and downs, ending in the up column on Tuesday, recovering a portion of the dramatic drop from Monday.

And now your much more fun Luka Garza awards update. The star center for the Iowa Hawkeyes was named the national college player of the year by ESPN. He is the first Iowa men’s basketball player to earn a national player of the year distinction. He was also declared player of the year by the Sporting News, and was named to multiple First-Team All American squads on Monday.

To close, I would just like to take a moment to say hello to you, wherever you are, and to thank you for listening. It has been a long week, and it’s just Wednesday. I hope you are hanging in there as well as can be expected.