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Your COVID-19 Questions Including Labor Rights And Unemployment

A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.
Jeff Chiu
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AP Photo
A man takes a photo of a sign advising that the Employment Development Department is closed due to coronavirus concerns, in San Francisco on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported more than 9 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance over the past two weeks.

While millions of people are laid off, there’s another set of individuals who work in industries the nation collectively asked not to slow down. These are the essential workers. They ensure the hundreds of thousands of people social distancing, or sheltering in place, can continue to live their lives. 

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by Jennifer Sherer, director of the University of Iowa Labor Center, to discuss how the pandemic has impacted workers’ rights and labor issues in this new work environment.

And what happens to COVID-19 patients who reach the ICU? Nicholas Mohr, associate professor of emergency medicine, anesthesia - critical care and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, joins the program to answer some listener questions.

Have a question that wasn’t answered in the program? Submit it to our news team. This input helps inform Iowa Public Radio’s ongoing coverage of COVID-19.

Guests:

  • Jennifer Sherer, director of the University Of Iowa Labor Center
  • Nicholas Mohr, associate professor of emergency medicine, anesthesia - critical care and epidemiology at the University Of Iowa Carver College Of Medicine
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Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River