The Check-In | KBIA

The Check-In


When it comes to issues arising from the coronavirus crisis that need to be aired out in this forum, our pets might not be the first priority. But yet it seems like a lot of conversations right now involve our animals.

How are they doing? Do our dogs and cats seem stressed out? What’s happening with adoptions and fostering of animals these days? And what about all the wildlife - the fox cubs, coyotes, even snakes - that people seem to be spotting outside their windows. Is the wild encroaching on our space for some reason, or is it just that we’re simply at home more so we’re noticing nature?


As the coronavirus continues to spread, and as states and local governments are looking at re-opening plans - the race is on. Researchers all over the country are working together to find treatments and vaccines.

The FDA and American Red Cross have partnered with the Mayo Clinic for a clinical trial involving “convalescent plasma.” It’s exploring the idea that people who have recovered from an illness now have antibodies for it in their blood that might help in the fight against COVID-19.

And MU Health Care is a partner in this innvovative effort.


Last month, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed into law a $6.2 billion supplemental funding package to address the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus. Now, the state will begin doling out some of those funds to local governments so they can be used to prop up healthcare, education, social programs and more during this challenging time.


You may have seen the call-outs on social media or the messages from local charities in your email inbox. Today, May 5th, has been designated as a worldwide day of philanthropy and generosity - it’s Giving Tuesday. And this year, a lot of people are in need of our generosity. 

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

As April turns to May, the school year is winding to a close. But the way this particular school year is ending is far beyond what any of us could have imagined just a few months ago.

Back in September, high school seniors probably thought they would be getting ready for prom with their friends right now, or preparing to accept the diploma they’ve worked hard for at graduation. But this year, all of those big moments -- and even many of the small ones -- look a little different. 

In this episode, we talk about Columbia Public Schools, how our schools are making it work right now and how they’re planning for whatever comes next.


It’s Ramadan and many in our community are fasting throughout the day and breaking fast at midnight as they do every year. But this year, Ramadan is happening virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. We check in to see how the community is adjusting.

In this episode, we also talk about how the about the landscape of art and culture in Columbia is changing during this crisis -- particularly how visual artists are responding to and creating during this crisis.


Being in the midst of a global pandemic has a way of changing things. Our cultural landmarks and touchstones disappear, our way of life and things we hold sacred are disrupted, and sometimes fear can take over. 

We aim to maintain productivity, celebration and connections during a crisis - but sometimes as a culture our responses are not so helpful. What happens when your experience during a pandemic is not one of connectedness and cohesion but one of disruption and disintegration?

In this episode, we talk about cultural response to pandemics, historically and now, and how that response can sometimes involve discrimination, stigma, isolation and what we can do as a community to avoid those responses in favor of something more postive.

Nathan Lawrence / KBIA

Remember when we were all fascinated by the unfolding election year and presidential primaries? 

Today, that seems a lifetime ago. The coronavirus broke out in the United States just in time for the Democratic presidential primary. Around 40 people tested positive after Wisconsin’s primary election, and states are now scrambling to find a better, safer way to vote.

Amid everything else - this is still an election year. Voters in Boone County and throughout Missouri will make decisions on June 2nd - and there’s that other little election coming up in November.


As a community, we've watched businesses close, streets and campuses empty, and more people wear masks and gloves when they leave the house. We’ve watched our world physically change around us.

But for people who are incarcerated, this crisis has looked different. People who are detained in Missouri and elsewhere are largely at the mercy of the environment and whatever it is that’s happening inside prisons. 


In this episode, we talk about seniors — how to stay safe, keep in touch with family and friends, and stay healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.  We explore what's going on in Missouri's nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the challenges workers and residents face there and what it's like being a senior during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

One thing during this coronavirus crisis that’s changed for all of us in some form is food - how we’re accessing it, how we’re cooking it and maybe even how we’re growing it.

In this episode, we talk about how we’re getting food and what we’re doing with it during this crisis. Our guests are deeply entrenched in the food world and use their talents to help organize community food and gardening networks.


You’ve seen the headlines with places like New York, Chicago and Detroit that have become hotspots for coronavirus cases. Those stories report on overcrowded hospitals and ventilator shortages.

Meanwhile rural areas have been slower to get COVID-19 cases. But now, some rural counties in Missouri are seeing spikes in cases in places that already have fewer resources and uncertain funding streams.

That's left some rural clinics struggling to keep their doors open.

In this episode, we’re talking about the coronavirus crisis in rural Missouri and how providers are handling preparation and coping with funding shortfalls.


Food is at the forefront of many Missourians' minds right now. For some, there’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than empty shelves at the grocery store.

But what many of us don’t think about is what’s going on behind the scenes — how all the intricate food processes that typically align so perfectly are being affected by the pandemic as much as individuals are. It’s difficult to overstate how important farmers are to the lives of every single Missourian. And just like the rest of us right now, they’re suffering.


This strange, new way we’re living can be a shock to even the most responsible and well-adjusted adult. But for kids of all ages who are suddenly torn from the stability and routine of a school day, it can be a huge strain on their mental health.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, students who are accustomed to structure are now left without any. And while the school year continues on in a new way, keeping focused on academics can be incredibly difficult.


Many lives have been deeply affected by the current pandemic, but this virus has hit some groups harder than others. In Missouri and across the country, African Americans have been both diagnosed with and have died from coronavirus at disproportionately high rates.

Even though about 12 percent of the state’s population is black, more than 37 percent of COVID-19 deaths have been black Missourians, according to data reported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. This outsized impact of COVID-19 on black communities and other communities of color is part of the larger reality of racial health inequalities in our country, our state and right here in mid-Missouri.

In this episode, we will be speaking with guests who have studied, reported on and worked out in the community addressing racial health disparities.


On our Friday episodes, we try to have fun. In this episode, we look for fun and recreation in our business community during the pandemic and isolation. What favorite businesses are you supporting by remote? How are these businesses getting by?

We also look at what local businesses can offer right now, what creative work-arounds they’re finding, and what we can do to support them.


Over the course of a couple of months, the entire world went from business as usual to this strange, new reality — one full of layoffs, isolation and uncertainty. One where children don’t go to school and lovers are separated. It’s a world where people are dying at the hands of an invisible enemy.

As we focus on just getting through each day right now, it’s easy to miss the context - that we’re living through an extraordinary and historic time. One that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will one day ask us about — maybe they’ll ask us how we persisted through something so devastating. And one day historians will ask the same questions - and to find out the historians will go to our documents: our letters, our emails, our texts and our tweets - all of which are documenting crisis.

Sarah Dresser / KBIA

In this episode, we check in with the folks who are working tirelessly at the frontlines, caring for the sick and preventing the spread of this coronavirus in our communities: Nurses are playing a larger-than-ever role in this crisis.

Whether it’s in an emergency room or intensive care units, or out in the community at drive-thru testing centers and public health departments, nurses are critcal to our COVID-19 response and care of Missouri patients. 


With any crisis -- but especially with this coronavirus pandemic -- comes a lot of questions as events unfold quickly. With the questions come confusion from the public and experts alike.

Medical experts communicate best practices based on what they understand at the time, and as they learn more, sometimes those messages change. And these days, politicians will often contort messages to fit their agendas. That creates a space that leaves us all vulnerable to misinformation and mixed messages.

All this serves as a reminder: This is what journalists are for. They help us interpret quickly-evolving messages with reliability, accuracy and speed.


When it comes to healthcare right now, there’s one conversation going on it seems: Coronavirus. How does it work? How do you stay safe?

But for many of us there are other health issues we need to address in the meantime, and in some cases, they are urgent. During this time of the coronavirus, how do you take care of everything else? How do you plan for a childbirth? How do you get your infant’s immunizations during their first year? How do you get the health checks, the dermatology procedures, the chiropractic adjustments, the medications, the addiction counseling, even the chemo and other urgent treatments you need to stay healthy right now?

Rona Navales / KBIA

Heading in to the weekend, we talk about some extra-curricular activities in the time of coronavirus. 

Many of our favorite arts organizations have taken their inspirations online - one of those is Ragtag Cinema that is now hosting virtual screenings for patrons.

And for music enthusiasts this has been a tough time with the heartbreaking news of the loss of iconic musician John Prine and song-writer and Fountains of Wayne musician Adam Schlessinger. We talk about their work and their impact.

Sarah Dresser / KBIA

At these check-ins, we’re talking with guests who speak on a wide variety of topics related to the coronavirus-crisis. We’ve had MDs, business experts public officials and many of you - talking with us talking about the impact of the crisis. 

In this episode, we talk about what we know about the disease itself — and there’s much that is not known about this novel strain of coronavirus that’s affecting our lives so profoundly, whatever our circumstances right now. 

We explore how this virus is transmitted, what’s changed since we first learned about COVID-19 at the end of 2019, and how each of us can do our part to flatten the curve. 


In a crisis, it’s more important than ever to get good, accurate information. We need information from our local and national government and from health officials. We need accurate, reasoned information from the media.

And we need all of this while many things are unknown, or changing very quickly — whether it’s what we know about the virus itself, who qualifies for testing, government recommendations about social distancing or wearing masks in public. It can be hard to keep up, and it can also be hard to tell what’s true from what’s fake.

Meiying Wu

As coronavirus cases rise in Missouri, our nation is bracing for what officials say will be a tough week ahead. It’s tough for those dealing with illness, but it’s also tough for people losing jobs as the economy nationally and statewide takes a nosedive.

These are tough times, so what does this mean for those who are charged with protecting and serving the community? The police are working on the frontlines of this pandemic to maintain safety and security during a crisis. For police officers, it’s not business as usual - a falling economy can trigger a rise in crime; gun stores across the nation are seeing new customers; and staying at home isn’t safe for everyone, it can make an abusive situation worse.


Gov. Mike Parson has instituted a statewide stay-at-home order — something many of us have been doing for a while now under the guidance of local governments. And while many of us struggle with the changes, the fact is: If you’re sheltering in place - you’re fortunate.

There are people among us who do not have the luxury of staying at home, perhaps because they don’t have a home. Others have suddenly lost jobs.

If you head downtown in Columbia, you’ll find the sidewalks and parking garages are nearly empty, the schools have closed and many of the systems we have in place to care for the most vulnerable in our community are scrambling to meet the needs of those most in need under this new normal.

What is it like for you if you already were struggling before this crisis, or if you’ve now had the rug and your livelihood pulled out from under you?

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

For today's episode as we head into the weekend, we try to think about how great it would be to simply escape right now -- to head to new horizons, a new place or time, and meet new people.

While actual travel is out of the question for most of us while we shelter-in-place because of the coronavirus pandemic, books can still take us places. They lift us up and take us right out of the anxiety, stress and fear we might be experiencing. 

Sarah Dresser

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, life is stressful for many Missourians.

Normal routines have been thrown out the window during stay-at-home orders, people are dealing with sickness or caring for loved ones who may be sick, and some residents are losing jobs. Even things that used to be routine, like sending kids to school or putting away the groceries, have become stress-inducing.

And while many of us are worrying about staying physically healthy during a disease outbreak, many of us are struggling with a different kind of health problem - managing our mental health during this crisis.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

A lot of us are at home right now social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. And many of us are home with kids, teens, family members - all working together on school-work, homework and professional work between the same four walls.


Outside of those walls, there is a crisis unfolding and there’s no way to avoid the stress that comes with that, whether you are impacted personally and dealing with COVID-19 in the house, or whether you’re just being safe and isolating, or some combination of all of that. 


Needless to say, it's a different experience for each household, whether it's teens missing out on high school; kids who can’t go to the playground; or parents who have become teachers and day-care workers on short notice. Or an older person who thinks all that sounds like the sort of chaos you miss, and are isolating alone. 


In this episode, we’ll be talking about how families and individuals are coping with isolation.


As confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to rise in Missouri, the city of Columbia has responded (as many cities are in the absence of a statewide directive): by implementing its own stay at home order.

The goal is to slow the spread of the virus and keep our community safe, but this solution comes with its own complications. The directive has meant deciding which businesses are essential and which need to close their doors and send their employees home. Difficult decisions for a city leader.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

While cases of COVID-19 are on the rise across the country and here in Missouri, a second tragic crisis is also unfolding around us.


Residents have been ordered to stay-at-home to keep everyone safe, which also means that businesses across the nation and here in our Mid-Missouri towns are having to close. With those closures, business-owners are seeing their dreams shuttered, hopefully only temporarily. And people who work in restaurants and bars, among other industries, are seeing their jobs disappear.


Missouri, along with the rest of the nation, has seen a recording-breaking jump in unemployment claims