The State We're In

With the coronavirus pandemic ripping through our our state, WUSF Public Media in Tampa and 90.7 WMFE in Orlando are producing a weekly Facebook Live show to connect with people in Central Florida and Tampa Bay region, and help them get answers they need.

Ways to Connect

Three people talking on a zoom meeting
The State We're In/Facebook

The economic strain created by the coronavirus pandemic is being felt acutely in Florida's housing market.

Sudden unemployment has translated into many people being unable to pay their rent or mortgage, said Camilo Parra, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association.

Host Bradley George (top center) speaks with Divya Kumar (left bottom), a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, and Erika Greenberg-Schneider (right bottom), a graphic design professor at USF.
The State We're In/Facebook

Colleges and universities across Florida are just weeks away from the latest version of pandemic-era instruction.

Erika Greenberg-Schneider is a professor of graphic design at the University of South Florida. She's spent the spring and summer semesters learning to videotape lectures.

“We're getting it, but maybe it just takes a little bit longer and it's a little bit more awkward,” Greenberg-Schneider said. 

Two French teachers and their American students sit in a classroom.
Kerry Sheridan / WUSF Public Media

School districts across the state continue to work on their plans for re-opening. But is it safe with coronavirus cases spiking in record numbers?

Cars lined up at drive-thru testing site at Tropicana Field.
St. Petersburg Police Department

More people are being tested for coronavirus in Florida as cases spike across the state. This is causing a logjam, not only in getting tested, but also in receiving results.

screengrab of  Facebook Live video
WUSF Public Media / WMFE / Facebook

Florida’s rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases is derailing plans for some businesses to reopen.

Coronavirus Test Kit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Florida now, public health experts are saying a second spike in infections is underway.

Donna Petersen is dean of the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. She says it's impossible to completely eliminate the illness, but wearing face coverings and keeping six feet apart from others really does help slow the spread.

Preschool children at a table.
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF / WUSF Public Media

With the start of school just two months away, Governor Ron DeSantis is suggesting public schools return to campus for the fall semester.

Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Angela Herrera and Akristionna King are young activists who have organized the protests in Orlando over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Through their efforts, they are trying to send a message to those gathering to protest Floyd’s death.

Let your voices be heard, but do so peacefully.

Host Matthew Peddie (on right half of the screenshot) speaks with Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel (on left half of the screenshot).
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

Legoland officially reopened Monday and it offered some clues about what theme park fans might expect in the post-pandemic world.

Reporter Gabrielle Russon of the Orlando Sentinel visited the Winter Haven park and says it's a lot like other businesses that are trying to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

Host Matthew Peddie (on left half of the screen) speaks with Robert Niles of (on right half of the screen).
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

When the first of Florida’s theme parks reopen next week, Robert Niles predicts they will be taking a cautious approach towards welcoming visitors back.

“On the attractions themselves, that’s a managed environment. Once they enter the queue for an attraction, it’s relatively simple as a concept to keep people spaced apart,” Niles said. “It’s out there on the streets of the theme park where the challenge [arises].”

FPREN meteorologist Ray Hawthorne (on the left half of the screen) speaks with host Bradley George (on the right half of the screen) about the possible shape of this year's hurricane season.
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

Changes Floridians have made as a result of coronavirus could turn out helping them during hurricane season.

Ray Hawthorne is a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. Hawthorne was a guest earlier today on The State We're In - a Facebook Live show from WUSF and WMFE in Orlando. 

Host Bradley George (on the right hand of the screen) speaks with Bob Devin Jones of Studio@620 (on the left half of the screen).
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

In-person art performances have been off-limits for most people since coronavirus changed our daily routines.

But that's not stopping actors and artists from their craft, says Bob Devin Jones, co-founder and artistic director of Studio@620, a small performing arts venue in St. Petersburg.

Host Matthew Peddie (on right) talks with Kimberly Renk, a UCF professor who specializes in child psychology (on left).
The State We're In/Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

Children of all ages are having a hard time processing how coronavirus has changed their lives.

Psychologist Kimberly Renk said parents can help kids organize those feelings. But the University of Central Florida professor said parents first need to assess how they're being affected by the pandemic.

Sandra and Chris Miller (left half of screenshot) spoke with host Bradley George (right half of screenshot).
The State We're In/ Facebook / WMFE and WUSF Public Media

It's been almost a month since Florida's schools went entirely online.

Sandra Miller and her husband Chris teach high school in Pinellas County. She keeps adapting English assignments and grading to reflect online learning.

Matthew Peddie, left, and Gaby Ortigoni
The State We're In / Facebook / WMFE & WUSF Public Media

Coronavirus has had a sudden and painful impact on Florida businesses.

Gaby Ortigoni is president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. She said a lot of small businesses are trying to stay afloat by applying for emergency loans.

On a split screen, a man on the left, talks to a woman on the right
The State We're In/Facebook / WUSF Public Media

Political leaders making decisions about coronavirus are often straddling the issues of health and money.

Local public health expert Donna Petersen said that's because the loss of jobs and a lack of money can affect human health too.

Petersen is dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health. Petersen spoke with WUSF’s Bradley George about coronavirus and its impact on communities on The State We’re In, a weekly Facebook Live show from WUSF and its partner WMFE in Orlando.

Join public media stations WUSF in Tampa and WMFE in Orlando Tuesday for an exclusive Facebook Live conversation. You’ll get to ask Donna Petersen, Dean of the USF College of Public Health, your Covid-19 questions.