coronavirus pandemic

Monkey Business

As the coronavirus pandemic seized the world over the past 14 months, sleep became elusive for many.

According to a meta-analysis by the Journal of Clinical Sleep and Medicine, roughly 40% of the global population had trouble sleeping in 2020.

Dr. Lucy McBride recently argued in the Atlantic that parents should not mask their kids outside, calling it a greater harm to their mental health than COVID presents as an ongoing risk factor for their physical health. Dr. McBride has become a respected voice in the community of pandemic analysts.

She writes, "I’ve begun telling my patients that their kids, vaccinated or not, do not need to wear masks outside—despite the fact that the CDC recently issued summer-camp guidelines that recommend kids wear masks whenever physical distancing is difficult, including outside. I know that parents in some communities get dirty looks at the playground if they let their kids run around without masks, but doing so is not a sign of recalcitrance; it’s a sign that they’re following the science."

Dr. McBride joins us to discuss re-entry -- for adults as well as children.

  • Dr. Lucy McBride, practicing internal medicine physician in Washington, D.C., and contributor to the Atlantic

Are you making major life changes as a result of the pandemic? In a piece for the Atlantic Monthly, columnist Arthur Brooks writes that the pandemic presents a "once-in-a-lifetime chance to start over."

This hour, our guests share how the pandemic has set them on a track for a new and perhaps better normal than their pre-pandemic life. Our guests:

  • Antwan Williams, director of youth system services at RochesterWorks!
  • Leah Stacy, writer
  • Tracey Taylor, occupational therapist, academic fieldwork coordinator, and faculty member in the Bryant and Stratton Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
  • Jacob Kwiatkowski, graduate student at the Nazareth College School of Business and Leadership

New York state has enacted a new law that is designed to protect workers against airborne diseases in the workplace. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it's about learning from the current pandemic and making sure workers are safe going forward. In a statement, the governor said, "When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it quickly became clear that New York's employers weren't taking adequate steps to protect their workers from airborne infectious disease."

The new law requires employers to create a plan -- and potentially some major changes -- by early June. Will it work to prevent, for example, workers from infecting each other with a common cold? What about the flu? We discuss it and we examine what we've learned about how COVID spread. Our guests:

  • Dr. Emil Lesho, Rochester Regional Health healthcare epidemiologist, infectious diseases specialist, and professor of medicine
  • Elizabeth Cordello, chair of the labor and employment practice group at Pullano & Farrow

What do you wear to the reopening of society? It’s a question explored by writer Amanda Mull in a new piece for the Atlantic Monthly entitled “Burn All the Leggings”. She argues for a return to “shopping for cute new dresses” rather than elastic waistbands. She also writes about how previous pandemics have paved the way for fashion trends: how the bubonic plague in the 1300s gave rise to the Italian fashion industry or how the Spanish Flu pandemic led to the fashion choices of the roaring ‘20s.

So what can we expect post-COVID-19? How might professional attire be redefined, and who decides what it looks like? Our guests share their perspectives on fashion, dress codes, and more:

New York State announced new capacity guidelines for event venues last week. According to the state, "Congregate commercial and social events...such as those that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions can exceed the social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated." The new policy begins May 19. 

What does this mean for local businesses? Our guests explain: 

How can Rochester achieve an inclusive recovery following the pandemic? ACT Rochester will explore that question at an upcoming event.

We preview that program and talk with national representatives from the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institute about their recommendations for Rochester. Our guests:

  • Ann Johnson, executive director of ACT Rochester
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Community Foundation
  • Tina Stacy, principal research associate for the Urban Institute

Local festival organizers say state and federal guidance regarding events has been confusing or lacking, which has made it difficult for them to made decisions about their programming. Governor Cuomo announced Monday that the New York State Fair will return this summer, but at 50 percent capacity. In Rochester, the Park Avenue Merchants Association cancelled the Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival for the second year in a row. Other festivals are still on the books, but with adaptations and restrictions.

Our guests are festival organizers who discuss their plans and their concerns. Our guests:

  • Erica Fee, producer of the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Orlando Ortiz, president of the Puerto Rican Festival
  • Scott Winner, director of public relations for Fairport Canal Days

We discuss mental health in the workplace — both now and in the post-pandemic world. How should companies identify, understand, and respond to mental health concerns?

Our guests share their expertise:

  • Megan Clifford, psychotherapist and mental health first aid instructor
  • Michelle Pedzich, chief human resources officer at Canandaigua National Bank and Trust
  • Carl Binger, licensed mental health counselor, and author of "Progressive Darkness"

Restaurants can't find enough people to fill shifts: servers, front of house, back of house. Owners say that former employees are reluctant to give up unemployment benefits that run through August. Meanwhile, restaurants and bars can stay open until midnight, and more vaccinated clientele are ready to go out to eat and drink. So what happens next?

Our guests: