Isabella Gomez Sarmiento

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento is a production assistant with Weekend Edition.

She was a 2019 Kroc Fellow. During her fellowship, she reported for Goats and Soda, the National Desk and Weekend Edition. She also wrote for NPR Music and contributed to the Alt.Latino podcast.

Gomez Sarmiento joined NPR after graduating from Georgia State University with a B.A. in journalism, where her studies focused on the intersections of media and gender. Throughout her time at school, she wrote for outlets including Teen Vogue, CNN, Remezcla, She Shreds Magazine and more.

Masuma Ahuja can vividly recall what she wore on her first day of school in the United States: black jeans and a gray and orange T-shirt.

It was the early 2000s and her family had just moved from India to Pittsburgh. She remembers a boy at her middle school asking her, on that very first day, about what she was wearing.

"He was like, 'Oh, I didn't realize that you wore [Western] clothes in India," she says. "He thought India was very much a place where there were snake charmers and elephants on the street."

When lockdown went into effect earlier this year, many people turned to TikTok to pass the time.

Like, a lot of people: the short-video platform has now hit over 2.6 billion downloads globally and was the most downloaded app of 2020, according to mobile app analytics firm App Annie.

The pandemic is part of the reason for surging TikTok popularity.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

If you're wondering when it will be safe to date again — or how to do it — you're not alone.

Via social media and email, NPR readers have sent in questions about dating and relationships in the age of COVID-19. Some of the queries:

Last fall, we spoke to Cameroonian filmmaker Rosine Mbakam about the U.S. premiere of her documentaries The Two Faces of A Bamileke Woman and Chez Jolie Coiffure. Now, we catch up to hear how the pandemic has upended — and reinvented — her new projects.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. And we ask readers to send in their queries. Some of the questions we get are a little ... unusual. They may not be the most critical health questions. Yet they are definitely interesting. So this week, here is a sampling of both frequently and infrequently asked questions.

On June 8, a small group of Democratic lawmakers donned Ghanaian kente cloth before kneeling on the floor of the U.S. Capitol for nearly nine minutes. The gesture was meant to show solidarity for George Floyd as they unveiled their proposed police reform legislation. But photographs of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrapped in the colorful woven strips, gifted to them by members of the Black Congressional Caucus, quickly sparked controversy online.

In April, Johanna Cruz terminated her pregnancy with drugs obtained through a telemedicine consultation.

Abortion is legal in Colombia. And Cruz, a street performer from Chile who was backpacking through the Colombian state of Antioquia, did not feel she was in a position to raise a child. She didn't have a steady income or stable housing. And with stay-at-home orders in place to control the spread of coronavirus, she found herself facing homelessness in the town of San Rafael and unable to travel to Medellin, the nearest city with an abortion clinic.

Around the world, people have held vigils, organized protests and painted murals this week to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across America.

These events are also taking place in countries struggling with their own crises — conflict, poverty, the pandemic. America's loud call for justice after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more black Americans has resonated.

This is part of a series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

What risks are there in attending a protest rally?

Modelers say it's difficult to assess how the protests will influence COVID-19 infections. But it's clear that a key ingredient for transmission is present at many of these rallies: close contact.

I need to take a trip that would be either a few hours flying or multiple days driving. Which is safer?

As lockdown orders are relaxed to some capacity in countries around the world, travel is starting to see an uptick for the first time since mid-March. But when it comes to taking a longer trip, is it better to travel by car or by plane?

What advice is there for the army of new contact tracers out to find anyone who has been near a newly diagnosed coronavirus patient?

For nearly three years, Mark Green led the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in delivering foreign aid to countries in need during times of crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic.

When Cardi B went live on Instagram last month to tell her fans they should be taking COVID-19 seriously, a Brooklyn DJ laid her speech over a beat and turned it into an iTunes success.

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