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Picture an angry little ball, covered in spikes, perhaps equipped with arms and legs, and definitely an evil grin. That's how cartoonists and animators are anthropomorphizing Covid-19. Which seems to make the coronavirus unique in our long history of anthropomorphizing diseases.

The fast-growing number of cases of COVID-19 around the country is also bringing a surge in the number of deaths. In New York City alone, the death toll is in the thousands and rising steeply every day.

There, and in places like Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans, funeral directors are struggling to meet the increased demand. Joseph Lucchese, who owns and directs a funeral home in the Bronx, says it's unlike anything he's ever seen and it's dispelled any doubts he once had about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

The children's voices on the phone line were hesitant, but they were looking for answers.

"Why did we switch to remote learning?"

"When are we going to go back to school?"

"They're opening up an emergency hospital here, will that bring more coronavirus cases to my area?"

Spring semester was off to a pretty normal start at Rolling Meadows High School. The school, in a northwest suburb of Chicago, was gearing up for the goodbye rituals of every spring semester: senior prom, end-of-year exams and graduation.

Caitlyn Walsh, the school's music teacher, was looking forward to the big choir concert and the spring musical. "From the fine arts scene we have a lot of end-of-year activities that are very cherished," she says.

April is National Poetry Month, and this April, we might need poetry more than ever. Poems helps us process both the world out there and the world inside ourselves, putting words to feelings that we might have suspected were ours alone to carry.

One universal entry point to poetry: Haiku. From children to scholars, the five-seven-five rhythm is familiar and comforting.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday that the state had significantly reduced a testing backlog even as he announced new collaborations to improve coronavirus testing capacity and infrastructure.

"The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that," he said. "And I have a responsibility as your governor to do better and to do more testing in the state of California."

Just over two months after Kobe Bryant's death shocked the world, his career has received his sport's highest honor: The Los Angeles Laker legend headlined the list of players selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat, is one of the music industry's most eclectic and prolific collaborators. Over the past five years, the virtuosic bass player has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar to Michael McDonald. His latest album, It Is What It Is, was released on Friday and it features the same expansive range of genres and styles.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced On Saturday that the state has now lost nearly 100 more lives to the coronavirus pandemic than it did to the September 11 attacks.

In a briefing on the state's response to the crisis, the governor announced that 846 residents have died from the coronavirus, up 200 from Friday. Murphy also said there were 4,331 new cases in the state, bringing the total above 34,000.

"This pandemic is writing one of the greatest tragedies in our state's history," Murphy said.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, with all that's going on in the world, we know this is time for some new music, this time from singer and bass player Stephen Bruner, better known as Thundercat.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLACK QUALLS")

THUNDERCAT: (Singing) I'm not living in fear, just being honest. 'Cause (ph) there's no more living in fear, no more living in fear if we don't talk about it.

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