By Kayleigh Toney and Sean Torney
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our normal life including sports. It’s unclear when sports might make their comeback or if sports and sporting events will ever go back to normal. It could be a long time before we see fans allowed back in the stands. Until a vaccine is available there isn’t much confidence in a large gathering like a sporting event happening. There are many options and possibilities as to how sports can come back with all leagues attempting to find a solution. In this podcast, we discuss what we think might happen in the world of sports.
It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has left no aspect of daily life untouched and the United States Postal System is no exception.
As states began to lock down weeks ago, orders for citizens to stay at home caused society to stop in its tracks. With businesses shutting down left and right, mail volume has been driven down significantly. This loss of revenue poses a significant threat to the USPS.
Losing funding doesn’t stop the country’s need for the agency– in fact, the 2020 census along with the upcoming delivery of stimulus checks only increases the nation’s need for the postal system.
Due to the postal workers’ status as essential workers, they are on the front line every day with a high likelihood of interaction with COVID-19. Nearly 500 USPS employees have tested positive for the virus, with several hundred more presumptive cases within the agency. As of April 11th, 19 workers have died from contracting the virus.
The rapid loss of funding along with the infection of employees hasn’t taken the agency down quite yet. Many have come forward to suggest privatizing the USPS, some even going so far as to push the nationalization of Amazon.
In efforts to support the postal system and its workers, many citizens have begun advocating the purchase of stamps from the USPS, as well as sending more mail through it.
As of April 20, 2020 the corona virus has reached over 2 million people and killed about 160,000 world-wide. The United States has more than triple the amount of reported cases than the next leading country. This graphic displays where the virus is most affecting right now.
The News Feed for February 12, 2020, produced by journalism students at Virginia Tech.
The historical Merriment Oak tree on the Smithfield Plantation, which sits next to the Virginia Tech campus, is dying. Efforts to preserve its significance and history are underway. Descendent of a former slave that worked on the plantation, Kerri Mosley-Hobbs, has spearheaded the efforts to save the dying tree. This tree not only has historical value to the local community, but it also has ancestral value to Mosley-Hobbs and her family.
When the Smithfield Plantation was first established by the Preston family in 1774, they owned several slaves. On the plantation sat a large tree that would turn out to be a pillar of strength for the slaves on the plantation and their families to come.
“The tree represents history, but because of what it does to us, it means something that we can’t even describe or explain,” Kerri explained. Since her discovery of the Merriment tree on Smithfield Plantation, she has worked tirelessly to get her family from all over the country to Blacksburg to see their family history.
It was not until Kerri began bringing other family members to the site of the tree that it began to die. As strange as this is Mosley-Hobbs suggests that “it’s almost like it was holding on for one last reunion.”
As Kerri continues to find other descendants, she is looking for ways to preserve the tree and its history. Because the tree is dying there are not many options for what can be done with it. While no official decision has been made on what exactly is going to be done, one decision is set in stone. According to Kerri, a large branch that fell off this past summer will be used in some fashion, possibly to make a bench. A fence will also be built around the tree to “protect it from agricultural planting to allow the tree to complete its retrenchment in a slow and natural state,” Kerri informed.
The Blacksburg community is filled with history dating all the way back to 1774, with the development of the Smithfield Plantation. As the tree continues to lose its life, the preservation of this piece of history will continue to be worked on by Kerri and others.