Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 20

Sierra Cochran (from left), Phil Cochran and Hannah Cochran, 16, of Marion move Sierra out of Burge Residence Hall durin
The Gazette
Sierra Cochran (from left), Phil Cochran and Hannah Cochran, 16, of Marion move Sierra out of Burge Residence Hall during a scheduled move-out from the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Students have been told to vacate their dorms and are required to sign up for two-hour time slots to remove their belongings. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

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Did you know that scholars at the University of Paris once determined that the Black Plague was created on March 20 in the year 1345 by what they called “a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius.” They may have been good intentioned, but this was not actually what caused the Black Plague. This is your daily reminder to question everything you read and hear, even from me.

For example, remember how I told you how yesterday was the first day of spring? Well, just kidding, it’s winter again. According to the National Weather Service, we should see a bit of snow in the early morning hours Friday in the Cedar Rapids area, and that is because we will have a high temperature that hovers near 35 degrees all day. It shouldn’t snow any more during the day, but it might blow in your face just to rub it in, as the wind speeds will be between 15 and 20 mph. I can tell you, because I have cheated and read ahead in the forecast, that it should return to warmer than 60 degrees by early next week.

It’s another day, and that means another round of coronavirus news. It was thankfully a mostly quiet day on the COVID-19 front in Iowa, as the state’s confirmed cases rose to 44 Thursday, with still no deaths reported. You may already be sequestered in your home most of the time, but Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that she isn’t going to order you stay there, yet. At a mostly revelation free press conference, Gov. Reynolds stressed that people who are showing symptoms of the respiratory disease should definitely stay home to avoid spreading it to others, but she said that a shelter-in-place order has not been on the table for discussion.

This is one final small item, but I wanted to include it because I know people who use reusable grocery bags use them religiously. Hy-Vee grocery stores announced Thursday that they are not only adding temporary windows around their cashier stations for safety, they are also asking that customers not use reusable grocery bags for the time being. 

A few national notes on the coronavirus. After closing the border with Canada to “non-essential travel” the United States is now working on Mexico to do the same. The State Department announced on Thursday that Americans should not travel outside the country, and that citizens abroad should either return home or stay in place as the coronavirus pandemic grows worldwide.

After revealing a $100 billion stimulus to bolster the economy Wednesday, Republicans in Washington revealed an additional aid plan Thursday that would include $1,200 payments to taxpayers, loans to struggling businesses, and tax cuts to corporations. 

In grim news, Italy passed China as the country with the most deaths from the disease, with 3,405 deaths so far.