This is a season when many people turn to family, friends and food. As we enter the end-of-the-year holidays, group celebrations are discouraged to reduce COVID-19 infections. We are in uncertain times, dealing with many things that are out of our control. A contentious election and a global pandemic leave us divided and apart, while searching for comfort and familiarity. While food traditions have changed this year, they can still bring joy. Our cuisine shares our legacy even when we aren’t physically together. On this episode of Us & Them a look at how people across the country seek to connect with others by adopting new food traditions.
The coronavirus has divided the world’s workforce into some new categories. White collar workers are remote employees who can do their jobs from home. Blue collar workers are often essential, front-line workers who must show up on the job to keep the supply chain and service industries moving. Essential medical workers keep our hospitals and clinics open. And there’s another group of workers on which the success of all the above — and some argue our very economy — rely: child-care workers. Early on in the pandemic, many states declared day-care facilities to be critical care sites and ordered them open to care for the children of our essential workers. Months later, those businesses face continually evolving regulations designed to keep children and workers safe. The success of our services and our economy is banking on them.
The 2020 presidential election has offered a host of unexpected twists and turns. The candidate’s varied approaches to campaigning during a pandemic. The president’s own COVID diagnosis. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a fast confirmation process for her successor just before election day. A record number of citizens participated in this election. However, the process highlights and confirms our divisions. As votes are counted and winners declared, it’s possible that some Americans will dispute the outcome — clear evidence of the “Us & Them” all around us. So how do we move forward?
Keep politics away from the dinner table! This year’s contentious campaign season offers fresh reasons for that advice. But Us & Them host Trey Kay decided to host a virtual dinner party with guests whose politics reach across the divides. They came to the video chat potluck showing off some family favorite foods. The guests were ready to disagree and see how the conversation would go. Along the way there were some good meals… honest conversation… and even a few surprises. Join us for the dinner party and you’ll also get recipes from Trey and his guests!
The 2020 political campaigns are in high gear and the elections are just weeks away. This year, one West Virginia man watches from the sidelines, knowing what it’s like to put on a statewide campaign. Four years ago, Bo Copley was an unemployed miner who got the chance to ask then-candidate Hillary Clinton a question that resonated with many people. In 2018, Copley waged his first political campaign for the U.S. Senate. A new documentary, “The Campaign of Miner Bo'' airs this fall on many PBS stations and shadows Copley’s unsuccessful run for office and the things he learned from the experience. Documentary filmmaker Todd Drezner, a New Yorker who voted for Clinton, tells the story of the unlikely candidate as a way to learn about a West Virginian who voted for Donald Trump. For this episode, Us & Them host Trey Kay has a talk with Copley and Drezner.
The coronavirus has created an economic nightmare. About a million jobs have disappeared in six months and more layoffs are likely this fall. In West Virginia, the pandemic doubled the state’s unemployment rate. That means 75,000 West Virginians are looking for work. Many of those searching for work are young people who’ve just graduated. How are employers and educators dealing with this disruption? Are students redefining their hopes for the future? We’ll look at the training that can match workers with jobs.
Black and Brown people in America continue to die at the hands of police officers and that's created a season of hate. George Floyd’s killing ignited a sense of racial outrage that has spread around the world. U.S. cities continue to see protests against police brutality and riots over racial injustices. We’ll hear about a new podcast “Sounds Like Hate” that looks at racial extremism, white power groups, the DNA of hate in America and specifically, the story of a woman who walked away from her life as a white supremacist.
The coronavirus confronts every aspect of our society - with our health care systems front and center in the crosshairs. When hospitals canceled nonessential medical procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, it created an economic free fall. U.S. hospitals have lost $200 billion dollars and laid off nearly a million workers. Urban hospitals and clinics have faced a run on equipment and supplies. While rural facilities have seen fewer COVID-19 cases, they took the same hit to their income and revenue. Now the question may be - just how healthy is our health care system and which institutions will survive to help redefine the future of medicine?
The race is on to develop a vaccination that can bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Researchers around the world are working on an immunization to slow or stop the outbreak. As that effort ramps up, there’s clear evidence that childhood vaccination rates for existing infectious diseases have plummeted. Parents and families have postponed or cancelled routine healthcare appointments fearing COVID-19 contagion. Standard immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps, diphtheria and pertussis are down between 40 and 50%. Whether we’re talking about a coronavirus vaccine or standard childhood disease prevention, some - people are eager to get vaccinated while others refuse. How are people likely to respond to a COVID vaccination when it’s finally developed?
At the peak of the opioid crisis, drug companies sent 12 million hydrocodone pills to Kermit, West Virginia - a town of about 350 people. Cars would line up at the one pharmacy with people waiting to pick up pain pills. The so-called pain clinics of a decade ago are gone. In their place, a continued need for addiction treatment and recovery resources. Lawsuits against big pharmaceutical companies continue to bring in settlements, but so far, Kermit hasn’t seen any money from the litigation. We head to Mingo County to see how the community is healing and what the future might look like.