Coronavirus | WCAI


As WCAI covers impacts of the pandemic across our region, you'll find all our stories gathered here on this page. For helpful links and resources during the pandemic, check this page.

And be sure to visit our community voices page, where we've gathered stories and essays about the pandemic from people in their own words.

Updated case numbers: 

Liz Lerner

Newly available data show that Black people on Cape Cod have contracted COVID-19 at a rate three times that of the white population.

Vaira Harik of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services said the disproportional effect on Black residents is concerning — and reflects broader disparities in five social determinants of health: economic stability, education, access to health care, a person’s residential environment, and the community context.

Alecia Orsini

The fourth of July brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region.  But this year, officials on the Cape Cod Re-Opening Task Force are urging people to have their fun and be careful.

Liz Lerner

School districts have their work cut out for them with state guidelines released Thursday on the reopening of schools.

The state guidance asks superintendents to plan for three scenarios: everyone back in school, everyone learning remotely, and a hybrid of the two.

Barnstable school Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown said that at Barnstable High School, bringing 1,800 students back in the building could be too much.

Alecia Orsini

The Trump administration is restricting work visas for temporary foreign workers until at least January.


Officials say the ban on J-1 and H-2B visas is part of an effort to create more job opportunities for Americans reeling from the coronavirus and the related economic upheaval. 

Cather Zhang is a senior at Falmouth Academy and valedictorian of the Class of 2020. She's from Shanghai, China, and moved to the United States three years ago for school.

I sat down with Cather in her backyard in East Falmouth to learn about her experience coming to the United States and what it's like to study abroad. 

The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force

In an effort to boost COVID-19 safety on Cape Cod for the summer, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force plans to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in partnership with medical facilities and Barnstable County.

State Senator Julian Cyr said that about 7 percent of year-round residents have been tested, a number that lags behind other regions of the state.

“In order to get to this ambitious goal of 20 percent, we're going to need a minimum of five thousand test kits,” he said.

S Junker

Juneteenth brings local rallies and observances. The state reaches a settlement over Plymouth's Pilgrim Nuclear plant. And more coronavirus testing is coming to Cape Cod. 


While some high schools have closed this year with virtual graduations, some have chosen to postpone the event. Today we hear from Grace Cerrato, 18 years old, Wareham High School Class of 2020 Valedictorian.

Eve Zuckoff

Members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force say that increasing traffic and hotel reservations show the Cape is slowly getting back to its traditional summer activities.

Traffic coming over the Bourne and Sagamore bridges still lags behind a normal year, but it has edged closer to that mark in the last several weeks.

Liz Lerner

Print newspapers have been hollowed out over the past two decades, chiefly by the rise of the Internet. Now, the economic fallout from COVID-19 is increasing the pressure on local news.

“Very quickly, we realized that we had lost about 75 percent of our advertising revenue,” said George Brennan, editor of the Martha’s Vineyard Times.

Liz Lerner

A state memo appears to say classrooms could be limited to 10 children in the fall, but officials say that’s not the final word.


High school seniors have had their school careers upended by the pandemic, but not their hopes. I had a chance to speak with one local graduating senior, Patrick Sweeney, 18, Bourne High School class of 2020 valedictorian.

Liz Lerner

Cape Cod Healthcare has acquired a machine to run COVID-19 tests in-house, and 50 of the more than 600 furloughed workers have returned.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

On Saturday morning in Sandwich, mask-wearing shoppers perused the racks on the sidewalk outside Sundance Clothing in Merchants’ Square.

Liz Lerner

A lot of locals have a little more free time on their hands because of the coronavirus, and with the nice weather, many are turning to the outdoors.

With the end of this highly unusual school year right around the corner, summer camps have been forced to make difficult choices about whether — and how — to open.


For a student graduating from nursing school, this is a powerful moment to be heading into the world of medicine. Here's my conversation with Lauren Smith.

Barnstable County

The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force wants to get the word out about reopening Cape Cod after a quiet Memorial Day weekend. That includes new beach signs and a new website.

Lourdes Abreu Torres

For Alex Davies, a 23-year-old from New Jersey, working for AmeriCorps Cape Cod has given her a sense of purpose. 

“We’re here helping out the community,” she said. “We're the people that go out and help with trail maintenance. We clean up stuff. We cut down the trees. … We help when there’s an emergency on the Cape with taking calls and whatnot.”

Marcy Smith

Some houses of worship held their first in-person services this week after the state lifted the COVID-19 closure order.

Kate Feiffer

We’re all in this together. Yeah yeah yeah. I know all about it.


In the middle of our zoom writers’ group meeting the other night, my friend, Suzanne, told us she and her fourteen year old daughter were walking on the beach when two people passed, easily socially distanced, and said, “Where are your masks?” Suzanne said, “We don’t need them. We’re outside.” The woman said, “No, you’re supposed to be wearing masks at all times, government orders.”  And Suzanne, said, “You know what you're doing? You’re shaming me. And I don’t appreciate it.” The woman said shaming was not her intention. Saving lives was. 

Victoria Baessa, first time parent, talks about how it is like to raise a new born during the pandemic.

S Junker

Local businesses react as Governor Baker announces Phase 1 of his plan to reopen the state’s economy. And voters head to the polls, wearing face masks and carrying their own pens, to elect a new state senator.

We have those stories and more on the local news roundup, as WCAI News Director Steve Junker speaks with some of the region’s leading journalists.

My Island Is a COVID-19 Social Media Petri Dish

May 22, 2020
Liz Lerner

The specter of Covid-19 hovers over the island of Martha’s Vineyard like a swarm of gulls at a Menemsha clambake. My island home, remote but not enough to ward off fear and infection has all the ingredients needed for a sociological study on social media civility in times of stress.

CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia (

The unofficial start of summer—Memorial Day weekend—is right around the corner, and beaches across Massachusetts will open Monday of the holiday weekend.  Governor Charlie Baker issued guidelines for cities and towns this week that include having beachgoers wear masks when not social distancing, and placing groups 12 feet apart on the sand.