WNC COVID-19 Updates: Buncombe County Will Extend Stay Home Order Past Thursday

Find COVID-19 resources and the latest case count in North Carolina here and testing information here. (4/6 3:00 p.m.) Buncombe County's 'stay home stay safe' order expires this Thursday morning at 6, though a new order is expected to be in place by that time.

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The State of Things

You won't hear a lot of sympathy these days for professional athletes who can't play their games because of the coronavirus outbreak. Technically, they're out of work. But most are also getting paid handsomely, although not as handsomely as they usually are.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to declare modern Japan's first-ever state of emergency in response to a sudden increase in novel coronavirus cases in the capital, Tokyo, and several of the country's other major cities.

Two employees of one Walmart store in the Chicago area have died after contracting the coronavirus. The company did not specify the timing of their illnesses, but said the store remains open after passing "necessary inspections" last week.

Editor's note at 6:30 p.m. ET.: Wisconsin's state Supreme Court has overruled the governor's order to postpone Tuesday's election and ordered the election to proceed apace. You can follow this developing story here.


Original story:

As the United States tumbles into a coronavirus recession, the Federal Reserve is using its nearly unlimited power to generate cash to cushion the fall.

"The Fed is doing everything they can to keep financial markets functioning and credit available to households and firms," former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a forum organized by the Brookings Institution.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, citing a sharp rise in domestic violence amid global coronavirus lockdowns, called on governments around the world to make addressing the issue a key part of their response to the pandemic.

Speaking late Sunday, Guterres said "violence is not confined to the battlefield."

"For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes," he said, appealing "for peace at home — and in homes — around the world."

Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET

President Trump doubled down Sunday on the suggestion that people facing the coronavirus should consider taking an anti-malaria drug that has not been proven to be an effective treatment.

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.

The Pentagon was aware of the likelihood of a pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus years ago, predicting with startling accuracy shortages of masks, hospital beds and ventilators that could occur in an outbreak, according to a 2017 internal document reported by The Nation.

The United States remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases now at more than 300,000 and deaths climbing toward 9,000.

In Europe, another global hot spot, Spain has surpassed Italy for the leading number of cases, with Germany and France not too far behind. Worldwide, there are over 1.2 million cases and nearly 66,000 deaths.

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Arts & Performance

courtesy of the artist


Cynthia McDermott is tall, tattooed and muscular, and that visual is all the more more striking when you see her on stage with a tiny mandolin, singing her custom mashup of early jazz, hip-hop and contemporary R&B.

“I wanted to find a way to make older jazz and swing more relevant to a wider audience and also to myself,” she said.

McDermott’s band is the Pimps of Pompe and, before the Coronavirus wiped out every public function, they had a March 31 show planned to celebrate their self-titled debut album. The songs jump from Beyonce and Salt ‘n’ Pepa to Django Reinhardt and a couple originals.

Cheyenne Dancy

Two weekends ago, when music and theatrical performances everywhere began to topple like dominoes, Katie Jones, the artistic director of Asheville’s Magnetic Theatre, spoke with the cast and crew about to premiere the play “Traitor.”

“It was late Thursday night, and this particular group had been through their dress rehearsal,” Jones said. “They’ve done a whole production’s worth of work and I thought ‘OK, if we don’t do this production now, we’re never gonna get to do it.’”

Opening night was nearly a sellout. The next night, only half the people who purchased tickets in advance showed up. On Sunday morning, Jones canceled the two remaining weekends of “Traitor.”

Now, while artists everywhere are considering their options for presenting work and earning money online, those who produce staged theater face unique, daunting challenges.

 

Evoke Emotion Photography


Melissa Hyman is a cellist and Ryan Furstenberg a guitarist, who write and record music as The Moon and You from their home in West Asheville. For the married couple and countless musicians here and everywhere, March 13 was their Black Friday.

“I was realizing we were gonna need to cancel everything,” Hyman said.

courtesy of the artist


Blake Ellege is a musician and vocalist in Brevard who counts nine bands he performs in. He remembers getting a call last Thursday warning the Coronavirus could threaten some upcoming shows.

“I kid you not, literally, five minutes later, the same colleague notified me that two of my gigs that week had been canceled,” Ellege said.

Five hours later, another call—more canceled shows. An hour after that, one of Ellege’s side hustles—spending two months every spring as an Easter Bunny mascot at the Asheville Mall—was also gone.

“It was a matter of four days that I lost all of my income for March and April,” he said. “It’s amazing just to see so many musicians that I look up to who are losing work just like me, and I thought something needs to be done, something has to be done.”

Ellege dreamed up what he’s calling the Quarantine Concert Series. He has partnered with the video outlet I Am AVL and the Orange Peel to produce nightly concerts from local artists. These performances, hosted in the Orange Peel’s Pulp Lounge, are livestreamed through I AM AVL’s website and Facebook page, where audiences are encouraged to tip artists.