Ari Shapiro

The surge in COVID-19 infections throughout Alabama is forcing Gov. Kay Ivey to rethink plans to reopen the state.

For the last seven days, Alabama has logged an average of nearly 1,000 new daily coronavirus cases, with hospitalizations at their highest level since the pandemic began.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday told NPR she agreed with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's assessment that mask usage should be mandated on the federal level amid a surge of coronavirus cases across the United States. She blamed the Trump administration for failing to accept the seriousness of the pandemic.

"I totally agree with Joe Biden. As long as we're faced with this crisis, masks should be mandatory," Pelosi told NPR's Ari Shapiro and Susan Davis on All Things Considered.

In the last installment of Play It Forward, the series in which musicians give thanks for the artists who have inspired them, Ari Shapiro spoke with saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.

In the two-and-a-half weeks since police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, the question of how to change policing has eclipsed almost every other topic of debate.

Some of the loudest voices opposing dramatic change are from police unions.

Last time on Play It Forward, our musical chain of gratitude, R&B singer and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow raved about the saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin. They share a few things in common: Both studied together at The New School's School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, both tap a similar spiritual vein in their music and as Muldrow sees it, both are "sangin' " even if it's through different mediums.

For white people who have just recently recognized their own complicity in America's racist systems and are looking to "fix" that — it's not going to happen overnight.

"It's a little bit like saying 'I want to be in shape tomorrow' ..." says author Robin DiAngelo. "This is going to be a process."

The coronavirus pandemic set a new record this weekend: More than 136,000 new cases around the world were reported on Sunday, the highest number in a single day.

The statistic comes from the United Nations, the global body the world often turns to in a crisis.

Louisville, Ky., has been a center of protests after police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in March. A lot has happened in the city since then.

David McAtee, owner of Yaya's BBQ, was a beloved fixture in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville, Ky., remembered as a pillar of the community and known to give out his food free of charge, even to local police officers.

His death at the hands of law enforcement has come as a shock to those who knew him.

McAtee, a chef, was killed early Monday morning at his barbecue business when Louisville Metro Police Department officers and National Guard troops responded to reports of a crowd gathered after the city's 9 p.m. curfew near the corner of 26th Street and Broadway.

As one of the country's worst economic and health crises in history deepens, rent is due again for millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet.

Over the last few months, states and the federal government have taken steps to help tenants who've lost their jobs. Now, while the unemployment rate is still climbing, some of the protections for renters are running out.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In the last episode of Play It Forward, Robin Dann, the lead singer of Toronto jazz-pop outfit Bernice, sang the praises of R&B experimentalist Georgia Anne Muldrow. Sometime between 2005 and 2006, Dann saw her perform at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto for a crowd of around 30. That number didn't matter; buoyed by her commanding voice and free spirit, Muldrow delivered an unforgettable set that left Dann mesmerized.

Earlier this month, All Things Considered spoke to Glenn Copeland for Play It Forward, our ongoing musical chain of gratitude. Copeland spoke about experiencing widespread recognition for the first time in his 70s and his appreciation for Canadian jazz-pop band Bernice and its lead singer, Robin Dann.

"I am one of your down on my knees fans, out of a sense of awe," he said. "I just want to say, no matter what, don't stop. Don't stop writing. Your vision is extraordinary, and it's musically so exciting."

Scientist David Starr Jordan had spent his career identifying new species of fish.

He carefully stored and tagged thousands of them in glass jars. Then the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 hit — leaving his life's work in pieces on the floor.

In her part-history and part-memoir Why Fish Don't Exist, Lulu Miller, former host of the NPR podcast Invisibilia, writes of how Jordan — and his reaction to that moment — inspired her. In the book she writes:

Last week All Things Considered kicked off our new musical chain of gratitude series Play It Forward with Dan Snaith, who records as Caribou. He told us why he's grateful for a musician named Glenn Copeland, who is today's link in the chain.

Chelsea Bieker's mother left when she was 9 years old. "Growing up, I was hungry for narratives that were tackling some of the things that I was experiencing and feeling," she recalls. Whenever she found those stories, she says it felt healing, cathartic — a release.

"It didn't feel like I was so isolated — it made my experience feel more universal," she says.

"Home," the first single from Caribou's latest album Suddenly, has taken on an unexpected meaning. As millions of Americans sit under self-quarantine at home and may be reaching for music as a form of solace, you could hear the refrain — "I'm home" — as either a cry or a reassurance.

This week, All Thing Considered is launching a new recurring segment called "Play It Forward." It's a musical chain of gratitude, and it's something we've actually done on the program every Thanksgiving Day for the last five years: I start the chain with an artist that I'm thankful for, and then that musician chooses someone they're thankful for, and then we continue onward with each artist choosing the next link in the chain.

With a societal shift away from buying albums, touring has been one of the main ways for musicians to support themselves. But now, as the coronavirus precautions shut down public spaces, clubs and concert halls are empty, the tour buses are parked and artists are trying to figure out how they'll get by in an era of social distancing.

Mandy Moore grew up in the musical spotlight: her 1999 hit "Candy" was released when she was just 15. But for the last 11 years, Moore hasn't released any new music; these days she's more known for playing Rebecca Pearson on the NBC drama This Is Us. Now Mandy Moore the singer is back with a reflective new album called Silver Landings.

Twitter is deploying new features on Thursday that it says will keep pace with disinformation and influence operations targeting the 2020 election.

A new policy on "synthetic and manipulated media," attempts to flag and provide greater context for content that the platform believes to have been "significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated."

Inspiration can strike anywhere. For Sunny Jain, the inspiration for his new album Wild Wild East came while he was on stage at a concert at the Global Village in Dubai, which he describes as "kind of like the Epcot center of the Mideast."

Unlike postcard mountain resort towns, or the booming, high-tech corridor centered around Denver, Pueblo is Colorado's faded industrial relic. A city struggling to redefine its economy, and its politics following decades as a solidly blue-collar Democratic stronghold.

Pueblo is a two-hour drive south from Denver, through prosperous Colorado Springs with its military bases, defense contractors and megachurches. Wide open plains stretch for miles, mountains off in the distance.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The darkness is always there. It can be very beautiful. I don't necessarily want to shine a light that dispels it. I want to live with it. - Jeff Sharlet

This Brilliant Darkness is a book born of insomnia. It's a collection of snapshots and written profiles by author Jeff Sharlet that take us deep into other people's lives.

Pages