Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

March 30-April 3 Explained: The Environment, Challenges For Domestic Violence Victims & Mask Debates

Gene J. Puskar
A man reads on a park bench in West Park on the Northside of Pittsburgh on a sunny Sunday, March 22, 2020.

It will be at least another month before life can be expected to go back to normal due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus. Gov. Tom Wolf has extended his stay-at-home order and expanded it to include the entire state of Pennsylvania. 

One of the newest debates to emerge regarding public health is whether or not people should wear masks. The official guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that people should only wear masks if they're sick or caring for someone who is sick. But that guidance is under review now and a growing international movement is urging everyone to wear masks.

The stay-at-home directives are meant to save lives, but for victims of domestic violence, being stuck at home with their abusers can be extremely dangerous. Because victims don’t have the privacy to call and ask for help, western Pennsylvania organizations have been trying to push other lines of communication, including text, email, and Facebook Messenger. But those alternatives canpresent another set of challenges.

The recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that it will not enforce violations if a facility’s non-compliance results from the COVID-19 pandemic created swift condemnation from environmentalists and former EPA staffers. The EPA pushed back on Monday with a news release criticizing coverage of the new policy, accusing the media of giving in to “reckless propaganda.”

Helping explain the headlines this week from the WESA newsroom:

  • Lucy Perkins covers Congress and the federal government
  • Susan Phillips covers energy and the environment for WHYY and StateImpact Pennsylvania
  • Sarah Boden reports on health and science

Follow WESA's live blog for frequent updates.


Pittsburgh Explainer is hosted by Liz Reid and produced by Katie Blackley. New episodes come out every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher and Spotify.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer of Pittsburgh Explainer and our Good Question! series. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.
Liz Reid oversees newsroom operations at WESA. She began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor. You can reach her at