The Latest On COVID-19

On March 11 the World Health Organization declared the spread of the novel coronavirus a pandemic. COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is the official name for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

For the latest guidance and information, we strongly recommend relying on the following for accurate information:

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. Most individuals develop mild reactions to the virus. Some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia. 

President Trump wants an arena full of tens of thousands of excited Republicans in Charlotte this summer for the party's national convention. But the coronavirus is causing a lot of uncertainty, and North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hasn't been able to make assurances that such a gathering will be possible in August.

The entrance to Lakeside Casino near Osceola, Iowa.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Large gatherings will be allowed to resume and more businesses allowed to reopen in Iowa next week under the latest changes to the state’s coronavirus emergency proclamation.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that starting June 1, there will no longer be a 10 person limit on gatherings in Iowa. The state is asking large gatherings to limit participants to half of the venue’s capacity and take “reasonable measures” to ensure social distancing and hygiene practices.

As the number of COVID-19 deaths continues its upward march, many of the rituals designed to help people navigate the loss of a loved one aren't possible.

The Justice Department has closed investigations into stock sales made by three senators shortly before financial markets tanked because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; and James Inhofe, R-Okla., were notified of the decision on Tuesday. The Justice Department's insider-trading investigation into another senator, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, remains open, the individual said.

Performing on a Facebook livestream, Salma Hindy began her stand-up routine by giving a shout-out to everyone in the audience who was following the guidelines to keep the coronavirus at bay, such as washing hands regularly, covering one's face and keeping a respectful distance from others. Though, as a Muslim, she found these habits a tad familiar.

"You call it coronavirus, I call it sharia law!" said Hindy, referring to the set of principles Muslims abide by.

A licensed pharmacist in New York bought up thousands of rare N95 masks and sold them at much higher prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities said Tuesday, announcing the arrest of Richard Schirripa, aka "the Mask Man," on charges that include violating the Defense Production Act. Schirripa is accused of charging up to $25 per mask – often selling them out of his car.

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

The number of new coronavirus cases has been going up in Alabama even as the state's governor relaxes restrictions.

Last week's number of new cases was up from the week before. Of the more than 15,000 confirmed cases across the state, about one-third have been confirmed within the last 14 days.

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.

From late March into April, Timothy Regan had severe coughing fits several times a day that often left him out of breath. He had a periodic low-grade fever too.

Wondering if he had COVID-19, Regan called a nurse hotline run by Denver Health, a large public health system in his city. A nurse listened to him describe his symptoms and told him to immediately go to the hospital system's urgent care facility.

California's first-of-its-kind effort to get cash aid into the hands of undocumented workers affected by the coronavirus got off to a bumpy start over the past week.

Across the state, tens of thousands of immigrants calling to apply encountered busy signals, crashed phone lines and frustration.

When President Trump took office in 2017, his team stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19. That decision is documented in federal records reviewed by NPR.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

Congregating in person for concerts is out of the question this spring and for the foreseeable future, so music fans have gotten used to watching performers livestream from home. What's less obvious is that segments of the Nashville music community that work out of view have been equally resourceful in finding virtual stopgaps during lockdown.

Virtual vigils, streamed live on Facebook.

Websites that collate the names and photos of the dead.

Video projections of those we have lost, shining onto building facades.

In the absence of collective public gatherings, people are coming up with new ways to memorialize those who have died from COVID-19.

Preschool teacher Lainy Morse has been out of work for more than two months. But the Portland, Ore., child care center where she worked is considering a reopening. Morse says she is dreading the idea, as much as she loves the infants and toddlers for which she cared.

"They always have snotty faces. It's just one cold after another," she says. "It feels just like an epicenter for spreading disease. And it feels really scary to go back to that."

Stock traders wore masks at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday as the trading floor reopened for the first time since March. The exchange has been restricted to electronic trading for two months out of concern over the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

courtesy of Hy-Vee

This pandemic spring has changed some pathways of getting food to hungry people, but there’s still plenty being donated and distributed to meet the increased need.

West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, with stores in eight states, often makes donations to food banks, says Christina Gayman, director of public relations. But right now, many of its suppliers have approached the chain for help distributing their surplus. 

On a Tuesday morning in Albany, Ga., Cathy Cody is walking through the empty hallways of a home left vacant by COVID-19.

"Right now, I'm standing in a home we started on, packing up their loved one's belongings because that's all they have left," Cody says during a Facebook Live video.

Michael Zamora and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

Scientists have learned a great deal about how the novel coronavirus spreads.

No door-to-door canvassing. Public gatherings are canceled. Motor vehicle offices are closed. Naturalization ceremonies are on hiatus.

Almost every place where Americans usually register to vote has been out of reach since March and it's led to a big drop in new registrations right before a presidential election that was expected to see record turnout.

Scottie Edwards died of COVID-19 just weeks before he would have gotten out of the Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana.

Edwards, 73, began showing symptoms of the disease in early April, according to the accounts of three inmates who lived with him in a dormitory. He was short of breath, had chest pain, and could barely talk. He was also dizzy, sweaty and throwing up.

Austin Beutner looked haggard, his face a curtain of worry lines. The superintendent of the second-largest school district in the nation sat at a desk last week delivering a video address to Los Angeles families. But he began with a stark message clearly meant for another audience:

Lawmakers in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

California churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship can reopen, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday. Additionally, in-store retailers are allowed to resume business throughout the state.

The changes are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest round of modifications to the state's stay-at-home order that is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Sweden's controversial approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic has so far failed to produce the expected results, and there are calls within the country for the government to change its strategy.

"We have a very vivid political debate," Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the United States, told NPR. "I don't think people are protesting on the streets but ... there's a very big debate, if this [strategy] is the right thing to do or not, on Facebook and everywhere."

The World Health Organization says it is temporarily halting its clinical trials that use hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients over published concerns that the drug may do more harm than good.

The move comes after the medical journal The Lancet reported on Friday that patients getting hydroxychloroquine were dying at higher rates than other coronavirus patients.

Even in a typical year, Memorial Day in the U.S. can be a confusing mixture of joy and sadness — at once a hearty welcome to summertime, brimming with picnics and parties, and a somber remembrance of the service members who died in wars.

But this has been no typical year.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made an unannounced visit to Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Del., on Monday.

It's the first time Biden has left the area around his home in Wilmington since mid-March, when he began self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wearing black masks, placed a wreath before a memorial wall commemorating war veterans from Delaware and New Jersey.

As Americans observe a subdued Memorial Day, President Trump visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore to remember those soldiers who have fallen in service of the country.

"I stand before you at this noble fortress of American liberty to pay tribute to the immortal souls who fought and died to keep us free," Trump told the crowd, which included several members of his Cabinet. "We pledge in their cherished memories that this majestic flag will proudly fly forever."

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