WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Joe Biden took his virtual presidential campaign to the next level Monday when he launched a podcast as the coronavirus forces him to get creative in reaching voters otherwise distracted by a global pandemic.
The podcast "Here's the Deal" is intended to provide listeners "a voice of clarity during uncertain times" by delving into pressing subjects affecting Americans' day-to-day lives in conversations between Biden and "national top experts," according to a description of the podcast shown to NBC News.
"Hey, Team Biden. It's Joe, and I'm sitting in Wilmington, Delaware," Biden says at the top of the debut podcast. "It's a scary time, people are confused, things are changing every day, every hour so I wanted to have this conversation with you now if we could."
The title plays on one of Biden's favorite phrases he uses before launching into an explanation about a subject he wants people to understand.
In the 20-minute episode recorded last Tuesday, Biden interviews his former chief of staff, Ron Klain, who also served as the Obama administration's Ebola czar, on how President Donald Trump should be handling the pandemic that has killed more than 2,000 people in the U.S.
Both take turns talking about the Obama administration's response to the Ebola crisis before Biden brings up his coronavirus and economic plans.
"It's critical for the president not to resort to fear-mongering and also baseless downplaying or lying about the situation," Biden said during the phone interview. "The president needs to be honest, needs to follow the science, needs to be transparent with the American people."
Listeners asked Biden and Klain questions about the initial plans they put into action during the Ebola crisis and asked Biden what he is doing to practice social distancing.
"First, I'm recording this podcast to connect with all of you instead of traveling across the country as I have been doing most of the last year," he said. "It's just not worth it to go out there and take a chance of getting sick and further spreading the virus."
The podcast is another way for the campaign to try to connect with voters confined to their homes a challenge recent political candidates have not had to face. The launch comes one week after Biden debuted his home TV studio in his basement, where he was able to reinsert himself into the national conversation on cable news following several technical difficulties encountered in his first week of "working from home."
The campaign said it plans to upload episodes regularly and to expand the conversations beyond the pandemic, although staffers acknowledge the topic will be revisited often as the nation continues to grapple with its life-altering effects.
In the past week, the campaign has held a number of virtual events, including question-and-answer sessions with workers helping patients recover from COVID-19, and a "happy hour" with young adults. It also launched a newsletter that will be emailed to supporters, featuring Biden's recommendations on how to prevent coronavirus spread and movies to watch as they stay at home.
The podcast also allows the campaign to remind listeners what Biden is doing to stay on top of the crisis as he battles for national news coverage that has turned away from the presidential campaign to focus on the coronavirus.
"I think it's important for people to know that you're talking to almost, every day, top economists about what to do about this," Klain told Biden on the podcast. "You're talking to Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill and making the point that it's important that as we fight this economic crisis, we focus on people and families, not corporations."
"Bingo," Biden responds.
Besides trying to provide "clarity" on important issues, the podcast promises to bring "the heart, compassion and wisdom" of Biden to Americans as the campaign contrasts President Donald Trump's crisis-management leadership to that of the former vice president.
"Why am I doing this?," Biden asks listeners. "So we can keep talking to each other. We can't hold rallies anymore, but we're not gathering in big public spaces. We're living in the new normal, but I want you to know that I'm with you and I'm on your side and we're going to get through this together as a country."
However, Forest Co. residents connected to employees at Nu Roc say the virus was present a few weeks prior to the county's first case.
Resident Jennifer Connor discovered after speaking to community members that two weeks prior to the county announcing their first confirmed case another employee at NuRoc tested positive in April
Witnesses at NuRoc, who wish to remain anonymous, did confirm that the administration brushed off that employee's COVID like symptoms as another illness and allowed her to continue working in the building until April 24.
That following week the employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
CDC guidelines state "if a healthcare worker develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), advise them to stay home from work."
Nurses and other staff stated that the employee's significant other tested posted for the virus prior and after speaking with administration they were asked to not share that information with their colleagues.
One stated "Corporate told us that the employer has the coronavirus, but not to say anything to anyone as we need to keep this real quiet. We were told by corporate not to worry."
Following CDC guidelines includes healthcare workers to report when they come in contact to a high or medium-risk exposure. Additionally they ask to exclude them from working for 14 days after the last exposure.
Knowing that information, Connor began to call multiple state agencies to warn of the potential outbreak at Nu Roc.
All nursing homes are required to report data weekly to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDC through NHSN according to the CMS and CDC reporting requirements.
After speaking with almost ten state agencies, Connor added in an email to Newswatch 12 that they had no knowledge of the spread and even admitted they had inaccurate data.
RHINELANDER - 114 colorful flower baskets will soon flood the streets of downtown Rhinelander.
For eight years the master gardeners at Forth Floral have put their effort into making downtown appealing to visitors.
Every April, petunias--one of the easiest flowers to grow and maintain--are picked out by color and grown in the greenhouse.
After that, each basket is displayed in June and watered every day for the rest of the season.
Forth Floral co-owner Ruth Hempel knows the impact the flowers have on people.
"Oh, people just love the hanging baskets. It's just been a real boost, it's good for our community as well as all the visitors that come to town. It just makes downtown a really beautiful place," she said.
A committee works with downtown to fund a campaign to fund the planting and maintenance of the flowers.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the group is struggling to find people to help nurture the plants.
MADISON, WI - Gov. Tony Evers today announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's We're All In initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help Wisconsin's small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe.
Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June.
News of the arrest came moments after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the "abject failure" of the response to the protests and called for swift justice for officers involved. Walz said the state would take over the response to the violence and that it's time to show respect and dignity to those who are suffering.
The former Minneapolis police officer shown on video putting his knee on the neck of George Floyd has been arrested, according to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington.
Derek Chauvin, who was fired on Monday along with three other officers involved in the detainment of Floyd, was taken into custody Friday.
Video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for at least eight minutes on Monday night. The police department initially said Floyd "physically resisted" the officers and that he died after "suffering medical distress."
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