James Doubek | Michigan Radio
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James Doubek

James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for NPR.org and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.

In the fall of that year, Doubek was selected for NPR's internal enrichment rotation to work as an audio producer for Weekend Edition. He spent two months pitching, producing, and editing interviews and pieces for broadcast.

As an associate producer for NPR's digital content team, Doubek edits online stories and manages NPR's website and social media presence.

He got his start at NPR as an intern at the Washington Desk, where he made frequent trips to the Supreme Court and reported on political campaigns.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that horse racing at tracks across the state and auto racing at Watkins Glen International will be allowed to resume June 1, but without spectators.

The governor said his office was "looking for economic activities that you can start without crowds and without gatherings."

"We can do that in this state with horse racing tracks," Cuomo said. "That is also true with Watkins Glen. That can operate. And there's a big viewership for Watkins Glen."

Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's reopening of many businesses on April 24 came earlier than many public health experts had recommended and were against White House guidelines.

States around the country are gradually reopening their economies, even as most of them fail to meet voluntary guidelines set by the White House for doing it safely.

At least 31 states are partially reopening as of Monday.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican of Louisiana and also a medical doctor, is thinking a lot about what it will take for schools to reopen.

Cassidy sits on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will hear from public health officials this week about how to safely reopen U.S. businesses and schools.

Primary schools in France are reopening next week.

There will, of course, be social distancing measures in place. Class sizes will be limited to 15 and no games at recess. It's a gradual three-week process beginning with preschoolers.

The government says the reopening is voluntary and students won't be forced to return.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night — nor coronavirus — stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The mail is still coming. And one 11-year-old girl in Sioux Falls, S.D., wanted to show her appreciation.

How else, but by writing a letter.

Several states and local governments are allowing businesses to reopen with certain restrictions and conditions regarding social distancing and cleaning measures.

But what happens when an employee gets COVID-19 on the job and says the employer should have done more to stop it?

Alabamians are now being encouraged — but no longer ordered — to stay at home, according to new guidelines Gov. Kay Ivey issued last week.

Ivey's new "safer at home" order opens retail stores to 50% occupancy and beaches to groups under 10 people with social distancing. Elective surgeries and dental procedures are allowed under certain conditions. But restaurants are still limited to take-out and movie theaters are still closed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a rare joint statement on Saturday, declined an offer from the White House to make rapid COVID-19 tests available for Congress.

Floridians have been under orders to stay at home since early April, but Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis says now is the time to start a gradual reopening.

Retail stores and restaurants in most of the state will be allowed to open on Monday at 25% capacity and with social distancing measures. Schools, bars, gyms, movie theaters, beauty salons and barber shops will remain closed.

Suzanne Clark, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says the business group welcomes the Senate vote Tuesday to approve a new coronavirus aid package and she hopes for more help for businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

The Senate approved the new $484 billion measure, which includes $322 billion in funds for a small business loan program that ran out of money last week.

Members of the Trump administration say there is sufficient coronavirus testing for states to move to the first phase of the White House's reopening plan.

But many state and local officials and health care providers say testing is still far short of where it needs to be to consider lifting some social distancing restrictions.

After weeks of working from home, your video calls are probably starting to feel a little monotonous. But what if there was fresh, nonhuman face in your virtual meeting? Maybe a cow, a llama, a ... goat?

That's the idea behind Goat 2 Meeting, a new service run by the Sweet Farm animal sanctuary in Half Moon Bay, Calif., south of San Francisco. The farm works to save farm animals from slaughter and to educate visitors about the impacts of factory farming.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

At a briefing of his task force Sunday, President Trump said his administration would have a call with governors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday to discuss how to increase coronavirus testing capacity in states.

Trump's remarks come as the administration defends its testing response and guidelines for states to start resuming normal operations, even as several governors said they are far short of the testing capacity they'd need to lift restrictions.

A pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., has became a hot spot of coronavirus transmission and now workers and their advocates say the company failed to communicate the risks of possible exposure and waited too long to implement safety measures.

President Trump has claimed to have the authority to "open up the states" once the threat of the coronavirus subsides.

State governors — and constitutional experts — disagree.

Lobbyists are virtually descending on official Washington to try to gather as much as they can of the government's ongoing coronavirus relief packages.

Companies and interest groups — many of them new to the lobbying world — are competing for loans and other forms of financial help.

With Americans across the country stuck at home, demand for jigsaw puzzles is surging. Puzzlemakers can't keep up.

"Around the second week of March, we notice sales at one of our largest retail customers ... were up 300% over the same week the previous year," says Carol Glazer, president of Ceaco. The Massachusetts company is one of the largest producers of jigsaw puzzles and family games in the U.S.

"And we said, 'Oh my God. How can you prepare for something like this?' "

Louisiana has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, with deaths in the state topping 500.

A majority of them are African American. According to Gov. John Bel Edwards, more than 70% of the people who have died are black, while African Americans only make up 32% of the state's population.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has implemented some restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including limiting gatherings to 10 people, shutting bars and restaurants and closing on-site instruction at schools for the rest of the school year.

But he is one of only a handful of governors who have so far resisted calls to issue statewide stay-at-home orders.

Hutchinson talked with All Things Considered Monday. Here is an excerpt of that interview:

Updated at 5 a.m. ET Monday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus last month, has been admitted to the hospital for testing on the advice of his doctor, his office said Sunday.

"This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus," a spokesperson said in a statement.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that the state had significantly reduced a testing backlog even as he announced new collaborations to improve coronavirus testing capacity and infrastructure.

"The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that," he said. "And I have a responsibility as your governor to do better and to do more testing in the state of California."

New York is the U.S. city hardest-hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, but public health officials worry that other major metropolises could soon be facing dire numbers of COVID-19 infections as well.

In Chicago, confirmed cases topped 2,600 Tuesday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot predicted a peak in the coming weeks with more than 40,000 hospitalizations.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, talked with All Things Considered about the city's preparation and how racial disparities play into the crisis. Here is an excerpt:

A World Health Organization official says the evidence so far shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through "respiratory droplets and contact routes" — from coughs and sneezes — and doesn't seem to linger in the air.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is seen in February in Cleveland.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is at the center of attention as the state and New York City have become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

And longtime observers say Cuomo's natural strengths: decisiveness, taking charge, listening to the experts and sticking to the facts — are playing well in a public health crisis.

"He's known as a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners kind of guy," says USA Today network reporter Jon Campbell, who has covered politics in Albany for nearly a decade.

In his Sunday news briefing on the coronavirus response, President Trump was asked about the Defense Production Act, which the government can use to spur businesses to create needed supplies.

"The fact that I signed it, it's in effect," he said. "But you know, we're a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well."

The Cold War-era law doesn't nationalize businesses.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, Calif., the city's mayor has confirmed. Bryant was 41.

A big car company is going small. Ford is buying electric scooter company Spin.

Ford and Spin won't confirm the price tag, but reports put the purchase price at $100 million and an overall investment from Ford of $200 million.

Updated at 12:10 a.m. ET Friday with additional comment from Weber Shandwick

Michigan State University spent more than $500,000 to keep tabs on the online activities of former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's victims and journalists covering the case, according to the Lansing State Journal.

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