David Greene | WGLT

David Greene

The pandemic, a bad economy, police killings and a fight for racial equality: It's a lot of take in. For some, music has been a way to cope and try to make sense of it all and that is the premise behind the Morning Edition Song Project, in which we asked musicians to write and perform an original song about this moment.

First, a pandemic, then economic collapse and now there are mass demonstrations over police brutality and racism.

In times of upheaval like this, music can be an escape. Maybe a way to reflect or try to make sense of things. This is what led to a new series we're launching today. For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've been asking musicians to write and perform an original song for us.

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George Floyd was buried in his hometown of Houston, Texas, this week. Floyd left his mark on the city through his friends and family, but also through the music he made under the name Big Floyd.

George Floyd grew up in Houston's Third Ward — the home of the city's hip-hop and rap scene. Floyd used to spend hours in producer DjD's home studio, making the kind of slow-the-music-down form of rap made famous by the late DJ Screw, who also knew and worked with Floyd.

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More than 100,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

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Demonstrators brought traffic to a halt in south Minneapolis after a black man was killed in police custody on Monday night.

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Much of the country is reopening slowly. But it's not like businesses are just jumping back in at full force.

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U.S. officials are publicly debating whether and how to open schools this fall. The testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci is to be careful. Conditions around September will be far from ideal.

(SOUNDBITE OF SENATE HEARING)

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Is it time for states to reopen their economies? President Trump really wants it to happen. But the question is whether or not it's safe.

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People around the world are reporting that birds are much louder these days.

But Sue Anne Zollinger, an ornithologist from Manchester Metropolitan University, cautions: Don't believe everything you hear.

With the decrease in traffic, there's less noise pollution. That means birds have less noise to compete with, she says. (Scroll down to the end of this story to listen for yourself.)

Many Americans are spending a lot more time with their partners these days.

And some of those relationships are being tested by the inevitable "pressure-cooker" moments that come with weeks of being confined to the home in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

"What we're seeing is that there's a clash between the terrible anxiety about catching the virus and having to stay sequestered 24/7," says relationship therapist Julie Gottman.

So if a relationship is already on the rocks that anxiety, Gottman says, "has nowhere to go but towards the partner."

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The White House and congressional leaders say they are getting close to agreeing on a new round of coronavirus relief funding.

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During the coronavirus pandemic, many hospitals have restricted family visits because the risk of infection is just too high.

For many families, the only connection they have to a loved one in their final moments in the ICU is through a hospital chaplain.

As New York City experiences a staggering loss of life this week, Rocky Walker, a chaplain at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, has been working outside the shut doors of patient rooms. There, while on the phone or video chat with a patient's family member, he'll describe what he's seeing in the room.

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At this point, there are almost half a million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.

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So if you have been exposed to the coronavirus, when can you safely go back to work?

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Some early data suggests that black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at higher rates than other groups.

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Across the United States, more than 20 states have postponed presidential primaries and other elections because of COVID-19.

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One trillion dollars.

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After days of floating at sea, the Grand Princess cruise ship is set to dock today in California.

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U.S. and Taliban officials announced a major peace deal on Saturday, but today that agreement already seems to be in jeopardy. A Taliban spokesman said today that the group could resume attacks on targets in Afghanistan immediately.

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Markets are opening this morning after the Dow fell over a thousand points yesterday over concerns about the coronavirus.

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China's National Health Commission says there are currently 58,106 active cases of the coronavirus in China.

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OK. So some of the passengers who have been trapped on a cruise ship because of coronavirus are finally off.

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The book we're talking about right now almost didn't exist.

Little Legends celebrates exceptional men in black history; it's by the author-illustrator Vashti Harrison. She says she thought long and hard about taking on this subject matter, because she relates more to women's stories.

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Rachel and I are sitting with the morning crowd at Smokey Row - really cool coffee shop in Des Moines, Iowa. Good morning, everyone.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

GREENE: We are here because in the state of Iowa, it is caucus day.

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