Post Premium: Our best stories for the week of April 6 – 12

Welcome to the Post Premium newsletter, a collection of our very best stories from the past week. You are receiving this email because you are a Denver Post subscriber and this curated newsletter is a token of our appreciation.

Each week an editor will write a short introduction giving you extra context or a peek behind the scenes on one of our biggest stories from the week. Below that is a collection of other important pieces from around the state, featuring some of our award-winning photojournalism.

Could you imagine wearing a face mask to the grocery store or the park six weeks ago? And now, at least half the shoppers at my neighborhood store are wearing some kind of covering over the bottom half of their faces.

On leap day, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged Americans not to buy masks, saying they were not effective at preventing illness and a shortage would put health care workers at risk — which, if you think about it, seem like contradictory messages. Since then, the thinking among an increasing number of politicians and public health officials has evolved to “it can’t hurt.”

This week, John Aguilar reports on the incredibly fast shift to wearing masks in public — a cultural phenomenon that has existed for years in many Asian countries — including exploring some of the downsides.

— Cindi Andrews, senior editor, politics

Masks are having a moment in Colorado, although safety accessory also brings risks

The mental health costs of coronavirus

Social distancing and staying at home may be the best way to fight a global pandemic, but they also take a mental and emotional toll as the days wear on, Saja Hindi reports.

Calls, texts and chats to the Colorado Crisis Services hotline, including Colorado calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, saw a 47% increase with 19,985 contacts last month vs. March 2019.

“When I think how long it’s going to be before it’s safe to do things like that again, I feel a little afraid that it’s going to be really hard where you feel comfortable and safe touching somebody again,” said Rae Moore, a 31-year-old Denver resident who runs her own sewing business from home. Plus, people will be financially strained, she said. Read more here…

RELATED: Colorado teachers eager for more mental health resources to help students

Nearly 40% of coronavirus deaths in Colorado linked to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Nearly 40% of the people who’ve died of complications from the novel coronavirus in Colorado were living in nursing homes or residential health care facilities, according to the most recently available state data. A single Greeley elder-care center is reporting at least 14 COVID-19 deaths at its location, Meg Wingerter and Sam Tabachnik report.

Officials at the health department believe at least 55 people living in residential and non-hospital health care facilities had died from COVID-19 as of April 5. On that date, Colorado officials said there had been 140 coronavirus-related fatalities in the state — making those 55 deaths 39% of the total COVID-19 fatalities at the time, the Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed. Read more here…

RELATED: These 59 Colorado nursing homes and health care facilities have coronavirus outbreaks

Colorado scientists pivot to join worldwide pursuit of coronavirus vaccine


Research underway at Colorado State University when the coronavirus began its brutal march across the globe may provide a head start in finding a vaccine for the virus, Judith Kohler reports.

Researchers led by Ray Goodrich, executive director of CSU’s Infectious Disease Research Center on the Fort Collins campus, shifted their focus to COVID-19 in February. The team had been looking at developing vaccines with a process that is used to prevent the transmission of disease through plasma and other blood components during transfusions. Read more here…

RELATED: With labs shuttered, Colorado’s universities help hospitals fight outbreak

Coronavirus a potential financial disaster for Colorado’s underfunded universities

On a good day, higher education in Colorado is in dire financial straits. But during a pandemic, the financial toll to the institutions fortifying bright minds and bolstering the state’s workforce could mean a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars — forcing reductions in staffing and student support services, Elizabeth Hernandez reports.

Colorado’s colleges and universities, 48th in the nation for state funding, have a thin buffer to withstand a big financial challenge, said Todd Saliman, the University of Colorado’s chief financial officer. Read more here…

RELATED: Colorado college seniors reflect on missing their final months of school

In Colorado, untold numbers of gig workers, self-employed wait for federal aid

Three weeks of record-shattering unemployment claims in Colorado have produced staggering job-loss numbers, but those figures tell an incomplete story about the scale of the economic catastrophe brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rubino reports.

An entire segment of Colorado’s workforce — exact size unknown but likely more than 10% of the working population — hasn’t been able to tap into unemployment insurance support yet. Thanks to emergency legislation that is about to change. For some, it’s overdue. Read more here…

MORE: An additional 6.6. million U.S. workers applied for unemployment last week, including 46,000 in Colorado

+ 2020 Easter services switch from sunrise gatherings to private moments at home

+ Denver family stays true to Passover traditions, celebrates through computer screen

+ Tribute: John Prine was every ounce the man you’d hope him to be

+ In Colorado’s mountain towns, high altitude presents a unique challenge in treating coronavirus

+ Average wildfire season likely ahead for Colorado, but pandemic will mean fewer firefighting resources

+ At least three reports of police impersonators are false, authorities say

+ Coronavirus threatens to keep proposed taxes, laws off Colorado’s 2020 ballot

+ Colorado Republicans act as watchdogs on Polis’ coronavirus policies

+ Coronavirus timeline: An in-depth look at COVID-19 in Colorado

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