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Coronavirus Response Programming

PBS International presents programming on the coronavirus pandemic from FRONTLINE, NOVA and PBS:

In Coronavirus Pandemic, Miles O’Brien is on the ground in Seattle, Washington, a U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Miles, a veteran science journalist, is probing how the coronavirus response by officials in Washington State compares with that of the federal government in Washington, D.C. It’s truly a tale of two Washingtons — and it will examine the consequences of the Trump administration’s diminishment of science.  Available early May – 1×60.

In Inside Italy’s COVID War, Emmy and BAFTA-winning Italian producer Sasha Achilli arrived in Northern Italy just as the government put the country under lockdown and has been documenting the unfolding catastrophe ever since. With intimate and exclusive access to the Maggiore di Cremona Hospital, the FRONTLINE film tells the stories of doctors battling an outbreak they describe as a “tsunami that has swept us all away.” They tell Sasha the agonizing choices they face are like those of war-time triage medics—deciding who lives, who dies, and who gets access to a limited number of intensive unit beds.  The film follows a charismatic ER doctor, Francesca Mangiatordi, through the darkest days and weeks of the pandemic, as she struggles to balance her work saving lives and her family at home who fear for her safety. Sasha will continue to film with the doctors and nurses as the hospital starts to turn the corner and cases start to drop. Their stories will chart the progress of the epidemic from beginning to end in a single hospital. From this dramatic vantage, FRONTLINE examines how and why it got so bad in Italy, why the death rate is so high and what is says for the rest of the world. Available late May – 1×60.

NOVA uncovers the science behind the virus in Decoding COVID-19. The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has upended life as we know it in a matter of mere months. But at the same time, an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus—and find a treatment for the disease it causes—is underway. Join the doctors on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as they strategize to stop the spread, and meet the researchers racing to find a treatment. Along the way, discover how this devastating disease emerged, what it does to the human body, and why it exploded into a pandemic. Available in late May – 1×60.

In The Virus: What Went Wrong (working title) FRONTLINE Correspondent Martin Smith (The Storm; The Quake) travels via Skype to interview top officials, scientists and first responders in China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and the United States. The film examines why officials from the President of the United States to local officials in New York were slow to respond despite repeated early warnings of the inevitability of a potent contagion capable of killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions. What went wrong? Available in June – 1×60.

Coronavirus Fieldworkers (working title) from FRONTLINE goes into the California fields to reveal the plight of undocumented farmworkers through the coronavirus pandemic—and what’s at stake for the country that relies on them. Critical to the nation’s food supply, hundreds of thousands of these workers have continued to pick the fruits and vegetables we depend on, without the ability to shelter in place or the luxury of the safety net that protects many American workers, like health insurance, paid sick leave, and unemployment benefits. Drawing on years of reporting in the immigrant community, FRONTLINE producers Daffodil Altan and Andres Cediel (Rape in the Fields, Rape on the Night Shift, Trafficked in America) expose the challenges these workers are facing from the virus, immigration policies, and their essential jobs in the fields. Available in July – 1×30.

In Detained and Exposed (working title), FRONTLINE and The Marshall Project team up to investigate the spread of COVID-19 through ICE detention facilities in New Jersey. With exclusive access to guards and detainees currently inside, the film looks at these federal holding facilities as the numbers of infected grow and ICE continues to detain and deport this vulnerable population. On the outside, we follow families of the detained who have been made homeless or destitute, as they fight to get their sick loved ones out. FRONTLINE filmmaker-in-residence Ben C. Solomon and Marshall Project director and reporter Emily Kassie investigate allegations of neglect in responding to the virus’s spread, and the toll it is taking. Available in July – 1×30.

PBS is planning a May 9 half-hour special that will capture our changed reality. Throughout In This Together: A PBS American Portrait Story, people from all across the United States will use self-shot video, photos and text to share how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting their lives. Participants will tell these stories in their own words, in their own creative ways and from their own points of view. All types of people around the country, across age, race, gender identity, income, ability and geography, will take us into their homes and communities to reveal what’s changed– and what hasn’t as we navigate how these extraordinary times have affected all of us. Available in  May – 1×30.