Monday, June 1, 2020
Upbeat with Alasdair Goes Online, Antibody Tests Start
Oboe player Erik Behr will play music from his living room on the Upbeat with Alasdair program.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020


The Sun Valley Music Festival is offering a special, online-only Upbeat with Alasdair at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12

The conversation will include violinist Juliana Athayde and her husband oboe player Erik Behr who will share stories and even a little music.

To attend, go to and click “Watch online broadcast.” You may join as early as 6:15 to test your connection. If you’re having technical issues, visit or call 208-622-5607.


Neale said the special event will allow the Festival to take the audience behind the scenes in a new and exciting way. It will conclude with a question-and-answer session with audience participation.

Athayde and Behr have been Festival orchestra members since 2008 and 2009. Both perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra when not in Sun Valley.

Athayde, the associate concertmaster with the Sun Valley Music Festival, made her solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 16 and was named Concertmaster in Rochester at 24—the youngest to hold the title since the orchestra’s inception. She performed in her early teens with Alasdair Neale at the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Behr, principal oboe in his home orchestra, has held that title at many major orchestras.


The Blaine County coronavirus antibody research study has begun testing up to 1,000 volunteers today. The volunteers were selected randomly out of 3,000 applicants.

The study is a collaboration between Blaine County, the Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

The research will help determine how much coronavirus is being spread in Blaine County, among other things.

Blaine County Nears 500 Cases

Blaine County added one new confirmed case of coronavirus on Tuesday, giving it 499. Idaho gained 21 new cases for a total of 2,127.


Idaho families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can now purchase groceries online at Amazon. They can place online orders at all Walmart stores beginning Thursday, May 7.

Idaho has been approved to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture online purchasing pilot project. SNAP recipients can choose in-store pickup or delivery. Those who choose delivery will have to pay any delivery fee out of pocket. For information, visit


The co-chair of the governor’s task force on COVID-19 says that the virus does a good job of hiding in the population because there are so many people with minimal or no symptoms that are shedding the virus. And, since it’s invisible, testing is the way to see it.

“But the virus is not that tough. It’s actually kind of wimpy,” Jim Souza, chief medical officer for St. Luke’s Health System told a reporter for the Associated Press. “Simple soap and water will dissolve it. Alcohol wipes will dissolve it. It doesn’t have a brain. We can totally outsmart it.”

Do that, Souza said, by taking precautions, limiting social interactions, washing hands and wearing face coverings.


Idaho is one of the state’s least likely to be crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

Even after adjusting for its relatively low population, the state has one of the lower number of diagnosed cases per capita with 10.8 per 10,000 people. Its COVID deaths as of April 27 were 0.3 per 10,000 people.

It also has a smaller-than-typical share of employment in industries at high risk from the crisis. Only 16.1 percent of workforce is in high-risk industries.  Unemployment claims since mid-March number tallied 108,413—12.5 percent of the work force. And its projected unemployment rate by July of 14 percent, while high, would be lower than all but two states.

Unfortunately, Blaine County stands to be among the hardest hit areas in the state, as especially vulnerable industries include leisure and hospitality and travel services. Other vulnerable industries are transportation, warehousing and oil and gas extraction, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

Projected to do even better than Idaho are South Dakota, where only 6.2 percent of the labor force has claimed unemployment; Utah, where only 8 percent of the labor force has claimed unemployment, and Virginia, Maryland and Nebraska.


The Irish have donated more than $1 million dollars through a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation communities hit by the coronavirus. Members of the Choctaw Nation donated $170 to Irish famine relief in the 1840s, and they said it was their turn to repay the favor.


It's not at a lot of Wendy's.Wendy's is taking burgers off the menu in California, South Carolina and Kentucky because of the short supply in beef due to pandemic outbreaks at meat processing plants.


University of Utah students did what other graduating seniors have not been able to do this year. They hugged their friends and shook hands with their professors.

The students in the Entertainment Arts & Engineering program graduated via a video game they had designed. Avatars for each student walked across stage in pixelated caps and gowns. Professors sat in the front row of the virtual auditorium, giving speeches as students jumped around in excitement.

Family and friends watched via live stream on Twitch, making such comments as “So proud.”

Meanwhile, the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University is using mobile robots using tablets with live audio and video to allow students to walk in to the graduation ceremony.


Researchers in China identified only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment, suggesting COVID-19 is much more contagious indoors than outdoors. A Japanese study also found that the odds of transmitting COVID-19 in a closed environment were 18.7 times greater compared to an open-air environment.


Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have identified a new strain of coronavirus that appears to be more contagious than the early versions. The new strain appeared in February in Europe (notably Italy), migrated to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominate strain across the world since mid-March.


A Paris doctor has determined that at least one patient who had pneumonia on Dec. 27 did, in fact, have the coronavirus. The doctor was able to determine that by re-examining the patient’s negative flu test. The patient also infected his two children.

Sweden’s chief epidemiologist now believes his country had cases of the coronavirus back in November.


Zion and Capitol Reef National Parks are beginning to open for day use.


~  Today's Topics ~

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