Camila Domonoske

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.

She got her start at NPR with the Arts Desk, where she edited poetry reviews, wrote and produced stories about books and culture, edited four different series of book recommendation essays, and helped conceive and create NPR's first-ever Book Concierge.

With NPR's Digital News team, she edited, produced, and wrote news and feature coverage on everything from the war in Gaza to the world's coldest city. She also curated the NPR home page, ran NPR's social media accounts, and coordinated coverage between the web and the radio. For NPR's Code Switch team, she has written on language, poetry and race. For NPR's Two-Way Blog/News Desk, she covered breaking news on all topics.

As a breaking news reporter, Camila appeared live on-air for Member stations, NPR's national shows, and other radio and TV outlets. She's written for the web about police violence, deportations and immigration court, history and archaeology, global family planning funding, walrus haul-outs, the theology of hell, international approaches to climate change, the shifting symbolism of Pepe the Frog, the mechanics of pooping in space, and cats ... as well as a wide range of other topics.

She was a regular host of NPR's daily update on Facebook Live, "Newstime" and co-created NPR's live headline contest, "Head to Head," with Colin Dwyer.

Every now and again, she still slips some poetry into the news.

Camila graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina.

Geologist Keri Belcher had a moment of relief earlier this year. Her employer, a medium-sized oil and gas company, had a round of layoffs — and she made it through. She still had a job.

Then came the coronavirus and the complete collapse in oil prices. This time around, she was laid off.

"It was kind of unfortunate, too, because I just re-signed my apartment lease," the Houston resident said.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Some city streets have undergone a remarkable transformation during this pandemic. They've become walkways or bike paths. As NPR's Camila Domonoske reports, some of these changes could stick.

NPR is reporting on how the pandemic has upended every inch of our financial lives, from our ability to make money to how we spend it.

Millions of people have had to seek help from the government, whether it's unemployment benefits or business loans. Some have put off major life decisions because of the economic turmoil.

Now, some states are easing stay-at-home restrictions. And we want to know: Are you ready and able to go back to your normal work and social life?

Please fill out the form below. An NPR reporter may reach out to you for a story.

Unemployment is mounting. The economy keeps falling deeper into a recession — or worse. The coronavirus continues to spread. But car sales surprisingly are climbing.

If you're still waiting for your pandemic payment from the federal government, and you would like to receive it directly into your bank account, head over to the IRS website by noon on Wednesday.

If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information by that deadline, you'll still get your payment — but you'll receive it in the form of a paper check, which might not arrive until June.

Michelle Lee, a cashier at a Safeway in Alexandria, Va., has kept working through the pandemic. In fact, she has been working harder than ever.

"My back is hurting a little bit, but I'm doing all right," she told NPR in March. "It's been really, really busy. The lines are really long. Customers are buying $200, $300, $400 worth of groceries. And it's constant. It's nonstop."

America is starting its engines again.

Freeways and city streets have been remarkably empty for weeks. The coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented drop in U.S. traffic — total miles driven dropped by more than 40% in the last two weeks of March, according to data collected by Arity.

In some states, mileage eventually dropped more than 60% below what would be expected without a pandemic.

But for several weeks now, the same data shows that miles driven are starting to climb again. Driving remains well below normal levels, but is rising consistently.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday

Cars didn't change much between March and May. But the factories where they're assembled are shifting dramatically.

Courtney Meadows, a cashier at a Kroger in Beckley, W.Va., knows her job carries new risks these days, but she also sees the positive side of life as an essential worker.

"It might sound silly for some, but for me, I'm grateful that I can still get up and go to work," Meadows says. "I'm one of these people ... I probably will go stir-crazy if I had to stay home."

ExxonMobil has reconfigured a facility in Louisiana to manufacture medical-grade hand sanitizer, with a production target of 160,000 gallons, to be donated to health care providers and first responders.

ExxonMobil's shift to sanitizer comes as oil companies are squeezed by plummeting demand, a global oil glut and rock-bottom crude prices.

With the global economy in a pandemic-induced coma, the world just doesn't need a lot of oil.

But oil is still flowing out of wells, and with nowhere else to go, it's filling up the world's storage tanks. The oversupply is so intense that this week U.S. oil prices briefly went negative.

But why is that oil still flowing, anyway? Why don't producers turn off the spigot when demand falls?

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

The dramatic collapse in worldwide demand for oil led to an extraordinary development on Monday: U.S. oil prices fell below zero for the first time ever, and kept falling.

The key U.S. oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, settled at negative $37.63.

Driven by a trading contract deadline, traders desperately looked for buyers for the barrels of oil they normally hold in their books. But buyers were hard to find — even when the oil was being given away for free.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The global oil industry is about to test just how much crude oil it can transport and store, according to an intergovernmental agency, as disappearing oil demand creates an unprecedented glut of crude oil.

The imbalance is keeping prices extraordinarily low. The price of West Texas Intermediate, a benchmark for American crude, has plunged to below $20 from around $60 per barrel at the start of the year.

Thai food and toilet paper. Fish and chips and flour. A bistro box ... of local produce.

With their sit-down dining rooms shut down, a growing number of restaurants are expanding into groceries as a source of much-needed cash in this crisis.

For customers, it's an opportunity to grab a few necessities without needing to brave a crowded store (or fight for a coveted grocery delivery slot). And while your local supermarket may be all out of flour, local restaurants probably have plenty.

Saudi Arabia and Russia reached an agreement with other oil-producing nations on Sunday to cut output by 9.7 million barrels per day for the next two months, in an effort to stem a plunge in oil prices brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and feuding between Moscow and Riyadh.

OPEC+, a group that includes OPEC members as well as allied non-members like Russia and Mexico, finalized the deal on Sunday after days of marathon negotiations.

Updated at 12:50 p.m.

Auto giant General Motors will build 30,000 medical ventilators for the national stockpile, at a cost of $489.4 million, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global scramble for essential medical supplies like masks, gloves, gowns and ventilators. In the panic, governments have imposed or considered new barriers to trade, trying to protect their own access to scarce supplies.

Japanese car giants Nissan and Honda are furloughing thousands of workers as North American auto plants continue to be shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Honda has extended closures through the start of May, covering auto plants in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Canada and Mexico, as well as other plants assembling engines and ATVs.

Yeast, baking powder and spiral hams were big hits in America's shopping carts last week.

As the country settles in — possibly for the long haul — under stay-at-home orders, baking projects appear to be a common distraction, while panic purchasing of some products seems to be subsiding.

Sales are still up significantly compared to a normal week. And shelf-stable foods, meats, produce and snacks are all flying off shelves at unusual rates.

But for many products, the remarkable sales spikes from early March have started to subside.

Not all Americans can stay home during the pandemic.

Millions of essential workers are showing up for their jobs at warehouses, food processing plants, delivery trucks and grocery checkout lines. Work that is often low-paid, and comes with few protections, is now suddenly much more dangerous.

America has a new appreciation for these workers. Bill Osborn, a dairy clerk at a Giant in La Plata, Md., says he never used to be thanked for his job. Ever.

But now that has changed.

By the middle of March, the problem was undeniable: America didn't have enough ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the next two weeks, U.S. manufacturers worked frantically to boost output in an effort that has been compared to the mobilization of industry during World War II. Medical companies paired up with automakers to increase their production to previously unthinkable levels.

Gas prices are dropping — to less than $1 per gallon in a few locations — but most Americans aren't supposed to go anywhere. That's the irony of the coronavirus lockdown.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is now $1.997, according to AAA, and it's expected to drop further in the next few weeks — to $1.75 or even lower.

Ford Motor Co. plans to build simple medical ventilators at a components plant in Michigan and says it hopes to produce 50,000 of the devices over the next three months. Ventilators have been in short supply as the coronavirus pandemic grows in New York City and other hot spots around the country.

America is stocking up on food, thermometers — and hair dye.

The latest sales data from Nielsen shows how our lives have been affected by widespread social distancing and, in some areas, mandatory lockdowns, as the world tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Medical device manufacturers are asking the Trump administration to step in and centralize the distribution of ventilators, life-saving devices that are in desperately short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

General Motors says it's "exploring the feasibility" of building ventilators for the medical supply company Ventec Life Systems at a GM facility in Kokomo, Ind.

Health officials have warned of a dire ventilator shortage as the coronavirus spreads and the number of COVID-19 cases soars.

Hospitals and medical workers across the country are issuing desperate pleas for donations of respirators, to protect the doctors and nurses who are exposed to the coronavirus as they fight to save lives. The country faces an alarming shortage of the protective equipment.

The medical community is sounding increasingly urgent alarms about shortages of masks, gloves and ventilators — essential supplies in the fight against the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, President Trump has issued contradictory statements about whether his administration is ordering private companies to ramp up production of those items.

As shutdowns and cancellations became more widespread last week, buyers continued stocking up on disinfectants and canned goods (and so much oat milk!). As anyone who went shopping can attest, there was also a run on toilet paper.

But according to Nielsen, Americans also increasingly bought snacks for stress-eating — like potato chips and chocolate. And they were filling the fridge with fresh produce and perishables like meat and eggs.

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