Matt Largey | KUT

Projects Editor

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. He previously worked at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on many national radio shows. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including a national Edward R. Murrow award in 2013. He’s originally from Maine, but has lived in Austin since 2006. While it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

Ways to Connect

Demonstrators face off with law enforcement in downtown Austin in solidarity with nationwide demonstrations and protests in honor of George Floyd of Minneapolis and, locally, Mike Ramos.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin Public Health officials say people who participated in recent large gatherings — like protests against police violence — should sign up to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The city is expanding eligibility for people without symptoms to get tested for free at drive-thru sites.

People venture out on South Congress as the state relaxes rules on bars and restaurants.
Michael Minasi / KUT

What can data tell us about where the pandemic is headed next?

Join us for the next episode of our weekly livestreamed interview series, Now What?, at noon on June 3 when we’ll talk with Lauren Ancel Meyers, a mathematical epidemiologist at UT Austin.

Residential mailboxes
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Read this story in English.

Existe una pelea en las cortes estatales y federales sobre quién es elegible para votar por correo en Texas. Los demócratas y los defensores del derecho al voto dicen que la pandemia - y el peligro de contraer el coronavirus al votar en persona - significa que todo votante de Texas puede hacerlo.

Residential mailboxes
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that "lack of immunity" to the coronavirus is not a disability under state law that would qualify someone for a mail-in ballot. In the same ruling, the court acknowledged that county election clerks have no duty to question or investigate the disability of voters who claim it.

That could leave a voter who requests a ballot on the basis of the pandemic being a disability open to charges of voting fraud, however. 

A separate lawsuit is playing out in federal court over whether vote-by-mail should be expanded to all voters. 

A sign says "testing entrance."
Michael Minasi / KUT

Texas is changing the way it publishes its accounting of coronavirus tests after the practice of conflating two types of tests was disclosed last week.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

June 15 is the last day to register to vote before the July 14 primary runoff elections in Texas. Here’s what you need to know to register.

A traffic signs tells drivers to call 211 with coronavirus questions.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

What do you want to know about the search for a COVID-19 vaccine?

Join KUT’s Jennifer Stayton for a discussion with Jason McLellan, an associate professor of molecular bioscience at UT Austin, about how vaccines are developed and learn more about the search for one for the new coronavirus.

An empty bar in the Domain.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Read this story in English.

Hace tiempo que nadie entra en un bar en Texas, así que las cosas se sentirán raras cuando se les permita reabrir este viernes. El gobernador Greg Abbott anunció este lunes que se les permitirá abrir siempre y cuando sigan una serie de pautas mínimas de seguridad para prevenir una mayor propagación del coronavirus.

Así que si vas a ir, y no te estamos animando a ello, deberías ser consciente de cómo funcionarán las cosas.

An empty bar in the Domain.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s been a while since anyone’s been into a bar in Texas, so things are bound to feel weird when they’re allowed to reopen this Friday. Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday they'd be allowed to open as long as they follow a set of minimum safety guidelines aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus.

So, if you’re going to go – and we're not encouraging you to – you should be aware of how things will work.

A man in protective gear takes down information from a driver at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas has seen a noticeable increase in the number of coronavirus tests being reported by the Department of State Health Services over the past week. The state saw its largest one-day total for reported tests to date Wednesday – at more than 49,000 tests, about four times as many tests reported the day before.

National Weather Service

Severe weather is expected overnight in Central Texas. Storms moving in from the west could bring up to 3 inches of rain to the Austin area over a short period of time, which could cause flash flooding in some spots. The National Weather Service says pockets of up to 5 inches of rain are possible.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been posted for most of the Austin area until 4 a.m. The NWS warned of dangerous lightning, heavy rain and strong winds. 

Murals adorn boarded-up businesses along Sixth Street. Businesses across the city were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Join KUT on Monday at 11 a.m. for a live conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler.

Garrison Pool in South Austin
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Click here to read this story in English. 

Las albercas están entre las instalaciones permitidas para reabrir el viernes bajo la orden del gobernador de Texas, Greg Abbott, de flexibilizar las restricciones impuestas para detener la propagación del coronavirus.

Por su parte, la ciudad de Austin sigue considerando cuándo reabrirá las albercas de la ciudad.

Garrison Pool in South Austin
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Pools are among the facilities allowed to reopen Friday under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order loosening restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

For its part, the City of Austin is still considering when it will reopen city pools.

Drivers line up to be tested for COVID-19 at the CommUnityCare clinic at the Hancock Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Retail businesses can reopen in Texas today – as long as they’re only doing curbside or delivery. On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to announce the next phase in the state’s loosening of restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus.

But are we ready?

Maria Hernandez, 91, died last week after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Courtesy of the Hernandez family

Maria Hernandez isn’t a household name. She’s not famous. She was never a mayor or a congresswoman. But, her family says, the 91-year-old was tough.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A man killed a San Marcos police officer and injured two others after police responded to a domestic disturbance call at the Twin Lake Villas Apartments earlier this evening. 

Police say the man "ambushed" the officers with a rifle. 

A line of customers, spaced apart from one another in accordance with social distancing guidelines, wait to enter an HEB grocery store in South Austin during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Click here to read this story in English

Lo primero que debe saber sobre el rastreo de contactos es que se ha probado a través del tiempo. Y que se ha usado por mucho tiempo. Es una de las armas originales del arsenal de salud pública para combatir las enfermedades infecciosas. Se usaba antes de las vacunas. Antes que los antibióticos. Antes de que supiéramos la mayoría de las cosas que sabemos ahora sobre las enfermedades infecciosas.

A line of customers, spaced apart from one another in accordance with social distancing guidelines, wait to enter an HEB grocery store in South Austin during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The first thing you should know about contact tracing is that it’s time-tested. It’s been around for a long time — one of the original weapons in the public health arsenal for fighting infectious diseases. It was used before vaccines. Before antibiotics. Before we knew most of what we know now about infectious disease.

Businesses across Texas have closed and laid off or furloughed their employees as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Phone lines and the website to apply for unemployment benefits in Texas have been jammed for more than two weeks now. The Texas Workforce Commission says it has already processed more jobless claims since March 14 than it did in all of 2019. 

Construction workers work on a building in Austin last week.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued a stay-at-home order last week, he laid out the “essential” businesses and activities that could still be done — as long as people maintained proper physical distance from each other. But there was confusion about whether construction projects could continue.

Many businesses have been shut down during the pandemic, forcing layoffs and furloughs of thousands of workers.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Brian Biehl found out Wednesday that he’d been furloughed from his job at a company that makes software for restaurants in Austin, the first thing he did was take his dog for a walk.

“You know, [to] kind of assess the situation,” he said.

A construction worker at a building site at Trinity and Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin on March 23, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Click here to read this story in English. 

Cuando la ciudad de Austin emitió la orden de quedarse en casa la semana pasada, no estaba claro cuáles eran las implicaciones para el sector de la construcción. Algunas personas estaban confundidas, y muchos trabajadores continuaron iendo a sus trabajos. Pero, ¿pueden los constructores seguir construyendo? 

No - con algunas excepciones. 

A construction worker at a building site at Trinity and Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin on March 23, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

When Austin issued its stay-at-home order last week, it was kind of vague about construction. Some people were confused, and plenty of builders stayed on the job. So, can builders keep building?

No – with some exceptions.

A delivery person carries Amazon packages to an apartment complex in South Austin. Mail and shipping services are considered essential under Austin's stay-at-home order.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has issued an order that requires everyone (with some exceptions) to stay at home and requires many businesses to close in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

A yard sign referencing toilet paper shortages in the Northwest Hills neighborhood of Austin during the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, 2020.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

There's no other way to put it: Things have changed.

We’re collecting stories of how your life has changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Tell us about your new normal.

The City of Austin banned dining in at restaurants on Tuesday,
Julia Reihs / KUT

With much of Austin's service and entertainment sectors shut down and the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic being felt across the local, state and national economy, people are being laid off.

Numbers from the Texas Workforce Commission show new unemployment claims between March 15 and March 18 were 11 times higher than the same period a year ago — 5,623 in 2019 vs. 61,541 in 2020.

Austin's first drive-up testing center for COVID-19 at Baylor Scott & White clinic in North Austin on March 15, 2020.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin public health officials say they've received about 1,000 COVID-19 test kits, acknowledging that there is still a huge gulf between the number of tests available and the number of people who want to be tested. 

Franklin Gardens near E.M. Franklin Avenue and East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is a city-owned property that has been made into affordable housing.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

****This event has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic****

Join KUT, the Texas Observer and the Austin Monitor for a live discussion about housing in Austin — why it’s so expensive and ways we can make it more affordable.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

KUT is planning a live, one-hour program aimed at answering your questions about the virus, its potential effects on Austin and Central Texas and what we can all do to help stop the spread of the disease.

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