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Pandemic takes a slice out of pepperoni supply — and other symptoms of outbreak

10589162 - a hot, cheesy, pepperoni pizza sliced and ready to eat
10589162 - a hot, cheesy, pepperoni pizza sliced and ready to eat(WSAW)
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 5:51 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - There’s a new shortage to blame on the pandemic.

This one is the nation's most popular pizza topping: pepperoni.

Its price is reportedly up 50 percent this summer.

While prices are up in grocery stores, it shouldn't hurt your Friday night take-out.

Big pizza chains like Papa John’s and Domino’s say the shortage isn’t affecting them because they buy ingredients with long-term contracts.

Here’s a look at some other ways the coronavirus pandemic is changing our lives:

Virus pandemic reshaping air travel as carriers struggle

Airlines are trying to convince a frightened public that measures like mandatory face masks and hospital-grade air filters make sitting in a plane safer than many other indoor settings during the coronavirus pandemic, but it isn’t working.

Surveys indicate that instead of growing comfortable with air travel, more people are becoming skeptical about it. Over the past week, U.S. passenger traffic has been 72% lower than a year ago.

Several leading carriers around the world already have filed for bankruptcy protection, and if the hoped-for recovery is delayed much longer, the list will grow unless governments kick in billions more in subsidies.

Interest in homeschooling has exploded

As parents nationwide prepare to help their children with more distance learning, a small but quickly growing number are deciding to take matters entirely into their own hands and begin homeschooling.

Some are worried their districts are unable to offer a strong virtual learning program.

For others who may have been considering homeschooling, concerns for their family’s health amid the coronavirus and the on-again, off-again planning for in-person instruction are leading them to part ways with school systems.

Homeschooling applications are surging in states including Nebraska, where they are up 21%, and Vermont, where they are up 75%.

Summer jobs for young people are vanishing

The iconic summer job for high school and college students has been on the wane for nearly 20 years.

But the pandemic is squeezing even more young people out of the workforce.

Some are borrowing more money. Others have turned to pick-up jobs like Instacart, only to compete with older people who are similarly sidelined.

A Drexel University education professor says summer work remains crucial for young people’s development, often leading to higher earnings and higher levels of education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 24 was 18.5% in July compared with 9.1% the same month last year.

Telemedicine shines during pandemic

Telemedicine grew explosively after COVID-19 shut down much of the economy earlier this year and forced doctors and patients to connect virtually.

Care providers like the Cleveland Clinic went from 5,000 telemedicine visits a month before the pandemic to 200,000 visits just in April.

Doctors say they hope the increased use continues.

Telemedicine gives them a way to connect more frequently with patients, especially those with chronic health problems. That can help people stay healthy and out of hospitals.

But in order for telemedicine to retain some growth, thorny issues like insurance coverage and doctor reimbursement need to be resolved.

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