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VPM Daily Newscast: April 8, 2020

Dog looking at chick
Crixell Matthews, a digital video producer and photojournalist for VPM News, is working from home like most of us during the coronavirus pandemic. She took this photo of her pit bull mix welcoming a baby chick to the home. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

During the coronavirus outbreak, VPM is running a daily newscast of our reporting, hosted by Benjamin Dolle. Episodes are recorded at 6 p.m. and released for 7 a.m. the next day, Tuesday through Friday.

In this episode:

Coronavirus Deaths Could Peak as Early as April 20
A university of Washington projection, updated with state-specific information and new insights from Spain and Italy, predicts that deaths from the coronavirus will peak in April, earlier than previous projections. In response to questions about the model, Gov. Ralph Northam said, “They change literally every day depending on the data that’s put into them, so we haven’t made any adjustments.”

Big Tent for Virginia Legislators
When Virginia senators reconvene to discuss Northam's budget and legislative changes, they'll be in a big tent - literally. To follow social distancing guidelines, they'll meet in an outdoor tent behind the Science Museum of Virginia.

Lack of Housing Keeps Some in State Psychiatric Hospitals
There are now several confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients and staff at psychiatric hospitals around the state. Health officials say they are working to identify anyone who’s come in close contact with known infected persons, and that the facilities are following CDC guidelines by restricting visitors and isolating infected patients. Complicating matters: A long backlog of patients who can’t be released because they lack stable homes to return to.

Limits Lifted on Federal Money for Schools
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the federal government is giving extra flexibility in school system spending. That means schools won't have to return millions in funds they haven't been able to use yet due to closures. They've also been approved to use more money on technology, which could assist with distance learning.

From São Paulo to Richmond
Italian conductor Valentina Peleggi will replace outgoing music director Steven Smith at the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Peleggi currently conducts OSESP São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, and has been named “Young Talent of 2017” by Brazilian music magazine “Revista Concerto.” She’ll be the first woman in her new role at the symphony.

Renowned Geneticist Working on COVID-19 Vaccine
As scientists around the world rush to stop the spread of COVID-19, they will be aided by genetic breakthroughs discovered a few short years ago under the leadership of Dr. Francis Collins, a Virginia native. And now, as director of the National Institutes of Health, he is playing a key role in developing a COVID-19 vaccine.  Before the coronavirus outbreak spread in the US, he spoke with VPM’s Charles Fishburne.

*VPM intern Jakob Cordes contributed to this report

VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.
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  5. Virginia Senate Will Meet in Pavilion Behind Science Museum
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