There's been a string of good news as we settle in for the last few weeks of 2020. Millions of people around the world are finally receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
But there's also been some calls of alarm across the pond recently, in the United Kingdom specifically, where scientists have noticed that the coronavirus seems to have mutated into a more contagious version of the disease.
This variant, known as B-177, has caused 40 countries to enact entry bans to people traveling from the UK. And the British government has imposed new lockdowns to try to stop the spread.
Experts believe that about 80% of newly diagnosed cases in London were likely caused by this new mutation.
There are still more questions than answers about this variant of the virus, but to help guide us on what we know so far, we'll start this hour by welcoming Dr. Tara Smith, an epidemiologist at Kent State University.
Later in the program we'll feature some reporting from Ideastream's multiple media producer Gabriel Kramer on Cleveland's city flag. Yes, Cleveland has a flag, and we'll dig into it's history and meaning.
Finally on the show: With the pandemic shuttering theaters across the country this holiday season, troupes have had to reconfigure their programming. The Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" has been produced by Great Lakes Theater Company since 1989, and while it won't be performed in person this year, the company is still bringing the play to Northeast Ohio audiences.
We talk to producing artistic director of Great Lakes Theater Company Charles Fee about the radio play adaption of "A Christmas Carol" ahead of it's airing on 90.3 WCPN.
Tara Smith, Ph.D., professor of public health, Kent State University
Gabriel Kramer, multiple media producer, Ideastream
Carolyn Frankel, artist and author
Charles Fee, producing artistic director, Great Lakes Theater Company