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Kerry Sheridan

Reporter/Host

Kerry Sheridan is a reporter and co-host of All Things Considered at WUSF Public Media.

Prior to joining WUSF, she covered international news, health, science, space and environmental issues for Agence France-Presse from 2005 to 2019, reporting from the Middle East bureau in Cyprus, followed by stints in Washington and Miami.

Kerry earned her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2002, and was a recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship for Cultural Reporting.

She got her start in radio news as a freelancer with WFUV in the Bronx in 2002. Since then, her stories have spanned a range of topics, including politics, baseball, rocket launches, art exhibits, coral reef restoration, life-saving medical research, and more.

She is a native of upstate New York, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Sarasota.

You can reach Kerry via email at sheridank@wusf.org, on Twitter @kerrsheridan or by phone at 813-974-8663.

 A picture of blood being drawn
iStock

Plasma from the survivors of COVID-19 can be a life-saving therapy for those who are hospitalized due to coronavirus, but Sarasota doctors say supplies are critically low and donations are urgently needed.

“We are in desperate need of plasma," said Kirk Voelker, a critical care pulmonologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

children sit at desks spaces six feet apart and wear blue medical masks
Hernando County School District

In June, Governor Ron DeSantis called for K-12 schools to reopen in full this fall, but left it up to individual school boards to figure out how to do that.

In the space of a month, the landscape has changed dramatically. Coronavirus cases in Florida are surging to new heights. But that hasn’t yet stopped local school districts from rolling out draft guidance for reopening, offering a blend of in-person instruction and virtual learning options.

Youtube screenshot of man
Sarasota Memorial Hospital Youtube

The chief executive of Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it’s “scary” how fast COVID-19 cases are rising and that younger patients are increasingly among those hospitalized.

After seeing the number of COVID patients at the hospital dip to eight in May, and even a brief period when the intensive care unit had no COVID patients for a few days, CEO David Verinder said the outlook has worsened.

a screenshot of the DOH dashboard showing 132,545 cases and a map of Florida
Florida Department of Health

Florida on Saturday reported yet another alarming surge in coronavirus cases, with a total of 9,585 new infections, marking a new daily record high for the state.

Twenty-four more people statewide died from COVID-19, bring the total death toll in Florida to 3,390 since the pandemic began, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Children in a classroom
iStock

Florida school districts have begun to release their plans to bring students back to school in August amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, Florida, as well as the Tampa Bay area, posted record high daily increases in new cases of COVID-19.  

WUSF asked about your thoughts on this issue: How Should Florida Schools Proceed With Reopening In The Fall? Here are some of your responses.

Bar graph shows daily case count rising in Florida
Florida Department of Health

New coronavirus cases in Florida surged to 2,581 on Saturday, marking the highest number of positive tests reported in a single day statewide since the pandemic began, and the third consecutive day of a record-breaking climb in case numbers, according to the state Department of Health. 

a screenshot of Chris Bowen talking on a Zoom call
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

A gas station, a Vietnamese restaurant, and a sporting goods store were set ablaze, and were among 40 Tampa businesses damaged during weekend unrest at the end of May, in an area that developers and planners have been working to revitalize for years.

Despite the destruction, plans are moving ahead to transform Uptown Tampa, described as "two parallel universes" because of its high poverty rate in close proximity to universities, medical centers, shopping and tourist attractions, leaders of the Tampa Innovation Partnership said Friday.

A young man poses with a kitten in a selfie, a young woman in her senior photo
Bryson Jackson, Emily Kemp

 From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. WUSF is giving you a voice to share those experiences. Today, three graduating seniors share their hopes for what the world will look like in the future.

A screen shot of the page in the student newspaper
Seminole High School

Coronavirus brought schools to a halt in March, two months before the end of the year and dashing plans for prom and graduation.

Students at Seminole High School are documenting the effect of coronavirus on their lives and the absences they've endured, through poetry, pictures, and a special supplement to the yearbook.

Two senior pictures of student Rachel Williams
Rachel Williams

High school seniors have missed out on a lot since the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools. Today, we meet Rachel Williams, a senior at Winter Haven High School, who talked about the new perspective she gained.

A picture of African-American man in graduate cap and gown
Elijah Seay

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close about two months before the end of the school year, stripping away many of the common high school rituals such as proms and graduation ceremonies. 

Some high school students even lost family members, like Elijah Seay, 18, who is graduating from Lennard High School in Ruskin.

Man in uniform stands near school gate as children file in
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Every morning at Dover Elementary, near the strawberry fields of Plant City, upbeat music used to blare from speakers outside the front gate. I first met school resource officer Pedro Arroyo there one day in January. He greeted the children as they came in. Many stopped to give him a handshake, a fist bump, or a hug. 

African-American woman speaks on a Zoom call with other school board members
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

Polk County Schools adopted an anti-fraternization policy this week for the first time, after two sexual harassment scandals in the last several years.

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

Florida has recorded more than 40,000 cases of coronavirus statewide since the outbreak began, according to figures released Saturday by the Florida Department of Health.

A woman in black shirt sits at a computer
Taynisha Berenguer

Last week, Hillsborough County Social Services opened up a special call center, designed to help people who lost their jobs or had their pay cut due to the coronavirus pandemic. The county had $15 million in federal funds to distribute, and eligible callers could get help paying two months of mortgage or rent, plus one month of utilities. The call center ran out of money within four days, and has since closed down.

Calls were answered by public library employees like Taynisha Berenguer, who says even though she’s accustomed to people asking her all kinds of questions in her usual role, answering the Social Services line during the COVID-19 pandemic was quite an education.

an aerial shot of Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Sarasota Memorial Hospital

On Friday, a drug called remdesivir was green-lighted by the FDA for emergency use in hospitalized coronavirus patients after a preliminary trial by the National Institutes of Health showed the antiviral medicine helped them recover about 31 percent faster than patients who received a placebo.

The Hillsborough County orange and blue logo
Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County opened up a new hotline on Monday for people who have lost their job or have reduced wages because of coronavirus, and need help paying for their housing and utilities.

The numbers for the Rapid Response Assistance Call Center is (813) 274-3710 or (813) 274-6710. It is open to callers from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The county opened a second number Monday morning due to high call volume. County officials are also asking people to be patient when calling.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Total positive cases of coronavirus as of 11 a.m. Monday, April 27, according to the Florida Department of Health:

31,290 – Florida Residents | 848 – Non-Florida Residents | 1,088 – Deaths

empty desk in a classroom with some kids visible from the back
iStock

Public and private schools statewide will continue distance-learning through the end of the school year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Saturday.

A shot of the exterior of Countryside High School in Clearwater.
Carl Lisciandrello/WUSF Public Media

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis floated the idea of possibly reopening some public schools in May.

Florida's statewide teachers' union was quick to urge DeSantis to rethink the opening of schools. Florida Education Association President Fedrick Ingram said doing so would "threaten the safety and well-being of all on campus."

WUSF asked parents and teachers what they think should be done in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

A shot of inside a church with people in white robes singing
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

More than 1,000 people tuned in online to see the full choir sing at Palm Sunday services at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota. But the church itself was closed, and no one was inside.

The service that broadcasted online at 8:50 am was actually pre-recorded more than two weeks ago, before Florida’s governor issued a statewide stay-at-home order, but around the time coronavirus cases in New York began to surge.

aerial shot of large white hospital
SMH

Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Friday it will have to temporarily furlough some staff, due to a revenue shortfall from coronavirus.

The hospital lost $16 million in March as elective surgeries were canceled to make room for COVID-19 patients, and officials expect to lose more money in April and May.

Horse on a farm field
iStock

Some counties in Florida have reported no -- or very few -- cases of coronavirus, a reason Gov. Ron DeSantis cited Wednesday for waiting so long to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

But Jerne Shapiro, an epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Florida, says the lack of testing – particularly in rural areas – means low numbers may not reflect the real number of infections.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

A graphic showing 3,763 cases of coronavirus
Florida Department of Health

Three more people in Pinellas County have died from coronavirus, bringing the county’s total death toll so far to four, as the state of Florida reported a new record leap in coronavirus cases – 863 more in a day -- officials said Saturday.

WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Hospital building at night
Wikimedia Commons

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to grow exponentially, some predictive models show things could get bad, fast. Many hospitals are gearing up for a possible surge in sick patients.

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard
Florida Department of Health

At 6 p.m. Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported a 46-year-old man from Pasco County had died.

But just before 10 p.m., the Department retracted that and released a statement saying, "This was reported in error, there were no new fatalities in Florida associated with COVID-19 as of 6 p.m." 

An aerial picture of Clearwater Beach.
Pinellas County Marketing and Communications

The Clearwater City Council voted Wednesday 4-1 to close public beaches for two weeks over fears of coronavirus -- but the order doesn't begin until Monday morning.

picture of the front of a courthouse
Sixth Judicial Circuit

Florida's Chief Justice Charles Canady late Tuesday ordered state circuit court judges to cancel, postpone or reschedule all but "essential" court proceedings. The stricter measures aim to limit the number of people crowding into courtrooms, after lawyers complained of dangerous conditions due to coronavirus. In addition, one courthouse employee in Miami has tested positive for COVID-19.

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