The US military is increasingly assisting the US government's domestic response to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the military is setting up field hospitals in Seattle, New York, and Boston and has put additional units on prepare-to-deploy orders. US Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, has issued a stop-movement order to the US military, halting travel and movement abroad in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Former Secretary of Defence and CIA Director Leon Panetta tells Boston Calling that balancing the challenge of limiting the movement of US troops while also maintaining global security will be difficult.
Also, the history of the World Health Organization and how it’s coordinating global efforts to combat Covid-19; the US and Mexico have shutdown all non-essential travel across the border, local businesses are feeling the hit; how a hospital in California's rural heartland is producing informational videos to reach immigrant farmworkers in the area; and families around the world struggle to find ways to explain coronavirus to their children.
Photo: Members of the Ohio National Guard help pack food and supplies at the Mid Ohio Foodbank in Columbus, Ohio. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and rising unemployment, the demand placed on food banks has grown rapidly. (Credit: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)
This pandemic life
The US has been planning for catastrophe on a national scale since the beginning of the Cold War and the advent of the nuclear age. Now, with the new coronavirus, the US and the world face a very different challenge, but the approach is similar. Author Garrett Graff examined this intersection between national security and national emergency in his book Raven Rock, named after one of the major bunkers used by the US government in times of emergency.
Also, more than 300 million students in China are stuck at home and getting their schooling through online classes - how are they coping? As more people across the globe work from home, the team-messaging application Slack is having a big moment. International students in the US, displaced by COVID-19, face new challenges with online classes. In the US, farmworkers are considered essential so they still go out and work, but there are increasing concerns about their safety on the job. And Mr. Motivator wants you to have fun while exercising under quarantine.
Photo: An American flag is seen at sunrise at the Pentagon. Credit: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Nine years have passed since Syrians took to the streets to demand the ouster of the government of Bashar al-Assad. During those nine years, thousands of lives have been lost, many have been displaced and much of the country is in ruins. For many Syrians, displacement has led them to look for a new life in Europe, which has meant spending time on the Greek island of Lesbos. Tens of thousands of Syrians and migrants from other countries have passed through Lesbos. We’ll hear from Syrians reflecting on the crisis in Syria and from migrants who are now seeking asylum, while waiting in limbo in makeshift camps on Lesbos.
Photo: A drone image shows a displaced camp in the town of Kafr Uruq southwest of the town of Sarmada in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Credit: Omar Haj Kadour/Getty Images
The World Health Organization says every effort is now needed to contain the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Some nations have well-developed plans for dealing with the outbreak of a new virus, others are just starting to catch up. Jane Halton, the former health secretary of Australia, and a past chair of WHO’s executive board says there’s a lot to be learned from models that simulate similar outbreaks.
Also: health officials have warned people not to touch their face, but that’s easier said than done; understanding personal versus collective responsibility around coronavirus; millions of kids are home from school and they have some thoughts to share; after being on lockdown, a California family stranded in China ventures outside; and three Mexican nurses have become heroes in the global fight against coronavirus, thanks to a video they made on the correct way to wash hands.
(From L) World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove attend a daily press briefing on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)
Exchange and influence
Late last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology signed a five-year extension of a multimillion-dollar partnership with Skolkova, a Russian technology research institute. This partnership has long raised espionage fears among foreign policy experts and the FBI. The contract renewal was a reversal in an MIT-Russia partnership that appeared to be dormant. The extension came just three months after the US federal government announced it is investigating MIT’s compliance with reporting requirements for the Russian money it has received in connection with the project.
Also, the Trump administration is taking a closer look at funding from Chinese donors because it suspects widespread economic espionage; and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines says he's following through on a promise to kick US troops out of his country.
(Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Viktor Vekselberg (L-R centre front), Renova Group Board Chairman and Skolkovo Foundation President, visit the Skolkovo Technopark in Moscow. Credit: Alexander Astafyev/Getty Images)