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COVID-19

Here’s what to read and stream for free during the COVID-19 pandemic

Janet Nguyen Mar 20, 2020
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With businesses, theaters, libraries and event spaces across the U.S. shuttering in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations have decided to make their content more accessible to those in self-isolation. 

As you’re trying to decide what to watch or read while you’re staying home, we’ve compiled a list of places where you can access free TV shows, books, movies, concerts and more.

What you can read:

JSTOR

JSTOR, a digital library that normally requires a subscription, has announced that 6,000 of its ebooks and more than 150 journals will be freely available to the public.

Scribd

This online library, containing ebooks, audiobooks and magazine articles, is making all of its content accessible for free for 30 days.

Project Muse

Through this online database, a large number of publishers are also making their scholarly content temporarily available. They include the Music Library Association, which has articles on music history; the National Bureau of Asian Research; and the University of California Press.

What you can stream or listen to:

HBO Now and HBO Go

HBO is making 500 hours of programming available to those without subscriptions starting on Friday, April 3. Some of the shows include “Succession,” “The Wire” and “Six Feet Under,” while movies include “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” and  “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

National Theatre Live 

The National Theatre in London will begin broadcasting a play every Thursday on its YouTube channel, starting April 2 at 2 p.m. Eastern. The videos will be available to stream a week after they launch. The first production slated to air is Richard Bean’s “One Man, Two Guvnors,” starring James Corden, followed by adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”

Kanopy

Kanopy lets you stream more than 30,000 documentaries, classic and indie films — including popular movies of recent years like “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird.” This content is available to those with a public library card or a university login.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams

Sea otters, sharks and penguins. Need we say more?

The Metropolitan Opera

New York’s Metropolitan Opera House will broadcast events as part of its “Live in HD” series. They’ll start at 7:30 p.m. ET and be available on the homepage, metopera.org, for 20 hours. Next week: “Wagner Week,” with five days of performance of the 19th-century German composer’s work.

Sling TV 

This online service, owned by Dish Network, is making a some of its content available for free. Selections include ABC News Live and shows like “Shameless” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

Marketplace podcasts

Oh, hi. Whether you want to learn more about the coronavirus and the economy, or *anything but*, we’ve got a list of episodes for you to stream.

How organizations are trying to make your life easier:

Netflix Party: a Google Chrome extension

Movie night doesn’t have to be in person anymore. This extension allows you to watch Netflix with friends and family from afar.

Penguin Random House open license

By creating a temporary online license, Penguin Random House is giving teachers, librarians and booksellers permission to create story time and read-aloud videos and live events, using their books. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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