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Pandemic-Related Events Leads to Grocery Price Increases; Fascinating Roles of Technology During Corona Virus Era; Trip Through Central American Country with Tiny Population

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CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Ding Dong. Friday's at the door and even though it's keeping its social distance it's still delivering awesome. I'm Carl

Azuz delivering your Friday edition of CNN 10. We're starting at the grocery store and we're going to need some extra cash. In the month of

April, the price of groceries grew 2.6 percent according to the U.S. Labor Department. So if a family spent $1,000 on groceries in March, they would have needed an extra $26 for those same groceries in April. The 2.6 percent increase was the biggest jump from one month to the next since

1974. You can guess why this happened. It's another side effect, really a series of them, to the ongoing corona virus pandemic.

When restaurants shutdown and businesses closed, more Americans started cooking at home. So demand for groceries went up but then many food producers and farmers had trouble quickly shifting their deliveries from those restaurants to grocery stores. It's a very complex process and there've been outbreaks of COVID-19 in some food processing plants forcing some of them to shutdown. So there's this perfect storm of increase demand, jarring changes in delivery and reduced supply but on top of all that some shoppers started panic buying. Picking up lots of food that they didn't plan to eat right away.

So to keep certain groceries in stock, stores put limits on the amounts people could buy. They've also raised prices to discourage people from buying so much and to recover some of the extra money they've had to pay to suppliers. Meat, eggs, bread, cereal, soup, soda, fruit and coffee all went up in April. Some prices went down though. Ham, breakfast sausage, butter, prepared salads and cupcakes got cheaper. As stores and shoppers made adjustments to the ways they responded to all this, technology has found some fascinating new roles in this changed way of life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From space where satellites are recording the impact of the virus on human movement, to phone apps meant to trace the contacts of infected people, to the quest for a cure. Scientists and engineers are fighting COVID-19 at every turn and for celebrity scientist Bill Nye,

that's a good sign.

BILL NYE: We absolutely have the science and technology to address this virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there are big challenges. First, figuring out what really works. Remote temperature sensors, for example, have become all the rage to try and spot virus carriers. A leading manufacturer FLIR reports $100 million worth of new orders even though the company explicitly says its product is not really intended to detect people with the virus. Second, focus. Public health experts fear all the scattered efforts to bring science and technology to bare will be significantly diminished if they are not coordinated with overarching plans for testing, tracing and treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't address a virus that can cross the borders at the speed of the wind without having a national or indeed international program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And third, time. For all the promises, science offers no large scale solutions are expected quickly especially when it comes to a vaccine. At best it might be months just as likely --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's two years everybody. Two years before a vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even with all the technology we have now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think two years to get something that people trust.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until then the research, the waiting and the robot war on COVID-19 will go on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What country has the smallest population in Central America? El Salvador, Belize, Panama or Costa Rica. Though El

Salvador is smaller in land area, Belize has the smallest population in the region.

It's fewer than 400,000 people according to the CIA World Fact Book while El Salvador population is 6.5 million and though Belize has struggles including poverty and unemployment. It's small economy benefits tremendously from tourism. Because it's the next stop in our ongoing series of virtual vacations, you're about to see why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLLY FIRFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Central American nation of Belize is only about the size of Massachusetts but it packs a powerful punch for travelers seeking adventure or relaxation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belize is easy to visit for a bunch of reasons. First is the language. It's - - it's a former British Colony so English is the official language and everybody speaks it. Also, the money is really easy. Everybody accepts U.S. dollars down there. Belize is rich in really a lot of natural attractions and it's very easy to get between them either by driving, plane or boat.

FIRFER: A drive along the Hummingbird Highway stretching from the coastal town of Dangriga to the capital Belmopan gives visitors a glimpse of the country's varied landscapes. You could make the drive in just over an hour but there's so much to see along the way. Why rush?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Hummingbird Highway is one of the most picturesque routes in Belize. It runs over jungle mountains, down into valleys that are covered with citrus orchards. It has some spectacular scenery.

FIRFER: As the sun rises in Dangriga near the southern end of the highway, fishermen cast their nets collecting bait for the day. Traveling northwest on the Hummingbird, a stop at Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce Factory will wake up your taste buds. Marie Sharp started making hot sauce in her kitchen when she found she had grown more peppers than she knew what to do with. Now she has a factory that will process 1 million pounds of peppers from local farms this year.

Just up the road you can check out Billy Barquedier National Park. The park is managed in part by a grassroots community organization and the protected area supplies local communities with potable water. For the tourist, it offers hiking trails and a beautiful spot for a refreshing dip.

Now that you've worked up an appetite, grab a quick and tasty lunch at Ms Bertha's. Ms. Bertha Lisbey has been making and selling tamales for decades and she's certainly perfected the art. After lunch you can dive into St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the great attractions at Blue Hole includes over 298 species of birds. There is the green jungle that - - that is abound -- it's everywhere and then the accessibility. It's right along one of the main highways of Belize and it's only a 15 minute drive from the capital of Belize Belmopan.

FIRFER: For explorers, the park includes an opportunity to check out St. Herman's Cave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) cave there's a lot of remains of animals. There's some bones (inaudible) sharks in there dating back a couple thousand years ago.

FIRFER: Take a dip in the Blue Hole, a 25 foot deep senote (ph) or sinkhole formed when a limestone cave collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Water is always refreshing. Temperature is always (inaudible). Why not (inaudible).

FIRFER: Another option, cave tubing. A popular activity in Belize and a great combo of adventure and relaxation until your next stop on Hummingbird

Highway. For CNN, I'm Holly Firfer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: It looks like a remote controlled dune buggy but this little vehicle has a unique way of getting out of a jam. It's legs, so to speak, can spin, lift and wiggle and that could prevent it from getting stuck in sand. So what? Well NASA had a $400 million Mar's rover named Spirit but its mission ended in 2009 after its wheels got stuck in soft soil. So lessons learned from this mini-rover could help prevent that in the future.

So when it comes to trouble shooting, that's one way to "planet". Even if it gets "soiled" and starts seeing "red", it should still be able to get

"rover it" and that's a really cool way to "ditch the dirt" and stay at work without going "marsing" in action. All right. Deep Run High School is watching today. Gotta say hello to our viewers in Glen Allen, Virginia. I'm Carl Azuz. Have a great weekend from all of us here at CNN.

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