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. 

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The White House's coronavirus response team is scheduled to brief on Wednesday as another debate intensifies over more economic relief for the disaster.

Millions of Americans didn't pay their rent last week, according to new statistics, and forecasts suggest those shortfalls could deepen as the economy seizes up amid drastic countermeasures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Within hours of China lifting an 11-week lockdown on the central city of Wuhan early Wednesday, tens of thousands people had left the city by train and plane alone, according to local media reports.
Ng Han Guan / AP Photo

For authoritarian leaders around the world, the pandemic offers a convenient way to silence critics and consolidate power.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Wayne Moyer of Grinnell College and Evan Renfro of the University of Northern Iowa. Moyer and Renfro offer their analysis of Sen. Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race, President Donald Trump threatening to cut U.S. funding for the World Health Organization and the authentic virus count in China, and why it matters.

Guests:

About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 were African American, according to hospital data from the first month of the U.S. epidemic released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even though 33% of those hospitalized patients were black, African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population. By contrast, the report found that 45% of hospitalizations were among white people, who make up 76% percent of the population. And 8% of hospitalizations were among Hispanics, who make up 18% of the population.

After all-night talks, European finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the euro failed to agree on a program to support the European Union's coronavirus-stricken economies.

Originally from Cameroon, Pisso Nseke's work as a business consultant took him to Wuhan, China — where he was trapped when the city where the coronavirus first emerged sealed itself off from the world in January.

That changed on Wednesday. After 76 days, Nseke and the other residents of Wuhan are finally able to leave the city.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

In New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., no ethnic group has been harder hit by the deadly disease it causes than the Latinx community. Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out the preliminary data during a briefing Wednesday, offering one of the first detailed glimpses yet into the breakdown of patients' race and ethnicity.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET

About a third of renters did not pay on time this month as business closures put millions of people out of work.

The National Multifamily Housing Council says 31% of renters didn't make their payment in the first week of April. Normally, about 20% of people don't pay their rent on time. The group tracks more than 13 million units through its survey.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Some local officials are disappointed the federal government will end funding for coronavirus testing sites this Friday. In a few places those sites will close as a result. This as criticism continues that not enough testing is available.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Montgomery County has a drive-through site that has tested 250 people a day since March 21.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, young people have been heavily criticized for not taking social distancing seriously.

How Safe Is It To Eat Takeout?

4 hours ago

Don Schaffner had Thai takeout for dinner a few nights ago, just as he did occasionally in the weeks and months before the current COVID-19 pandemic.

That's worth knowing. Schaffner is a distinguished professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey whose expertise includes quantitative microbial risk assessment, predictive food microbiology, hand-washing and cross-contamination.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

Using the COVID-19 pandemic to score political points is dangerous and will only result in "many more body bags," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday, less than a day after President Trump criticized the WHO and its relationship with China. Tedros also revealed he has received death threats in recent months.

Tens of thousands of people streamed out of Wuhan by car, train and plane after a 76-day lockdown was lifted Wednesday from the Chinese city where the global coronavirus pandemic began.

In his 1978 novel The Stand, author Stephen King wrote about a viral pandemic that decimated the world's population. And he gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories.

"I keep having people say, 'Gee, it's like we're living in a Stephen King story,' " he says. "And my only response to that is, 'I'm sorry.' "

Courtesy of Northeast Iowa Food Bank

Some Iowa food banks and pantries are changing the way they operate to keep up with demand and help people access food while they’re home from work and school because of COVID-19.

Online child sexual abuse is rising as countries close schools and impose various levels of lockdown to contain the new coronavirus pandemic, children's rights advocates in Southeast Asia warn.

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.

A day after the top Senate Republican announced he would press to approve another $250 billion in small business assistance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer outlined their demands for what should be in an "interim emergency" coronavirus relief bill — doubling the potential price tag to $500 billion.

Updated at 3:44 p.m. ET

The CEO and founder of the newly popular video conferencing service Zoom says he'll make his product harder to use, if it improves safety and security.

Zoom has taken off during the coronavirus pandemic thanks to how easy it is to join a virtual meeting on the platform by clicking on a single link.

But now Eric Yuan says, "When it comes to a conflict between usability and privacy and security, privacy and security [are] more important – even at the cost of multiple clicks."

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

The poll of 849 teenagers, by Common Sense Media, conducted with SurveyMonkey, found that as schools across the country transition to some form of online learning, 41% of teenagers overall, including 47% of public school students, say they haven't attended a single online or virtual class.

Misty Donaldson-Urriola and Edgar Urriola of Raytown, Mo., are recently divorced. But they have remained close friends as they raise their three sons together.

They generally see each other every day.

That constant contact and proximity – an aspect of family life – is being put to the test by a disease that thrives when people are close together.

The Roma are Europe's largest ethnic minority — and among the most marginalized European citizens, excluded from society for decades. With the coronavirus pandemic, now they're facing a potential humanitarian disaster.

Many of the estimated 12 million Roma in Europe live in shantytowns without access to water, electricity or sanitation — not to mention with sometimes limited access to doctors.

The French navy's flagship, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, is returning to home port after dozens of crew members showed signs of COVID-19, the armed services ministry announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry said "around forty sailors are today under close medical observation. They are showing symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19 infection."

"The first cases showed symptoms recently," the ministry said. "There are no signs of aggravated cases among the patients."

A springtime stroll, baking bread or binging shows can be a tonic for a life lived in lockdown. But some workers doing their jobs remotely are carrying on by partying on, virtually.

Normally at this time of year, DJ Haddad and his co-workers run raucous rounds of college basketball competitions. "We're really missing March Madness — it's kind of a big thing on our team," says Haddad, CEO of Haddad & Partners, an advertising company in Fairfield, Conn., with nearly 70 employees around the world.

Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET

If you've checked your mail lately, you may have noticed there's just not much of it.

The U.S. Postal Service could be another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

"A lot of businesses have ceased to do advertising through the mail," says Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., "and as a result, mail volume has collapsed."

He says the decline could be as much as 60% by the end of the year, which he says would be "catastrophic" for the agency.

The coronavirus has dealt a body blow to U.S. workers. So far, it's women who are paying much of the price.

The Labor Department says more than 700,000 jobs were eliminated in the first wave of pandemic layoffs last month. Nearly 60% of those jobs were held by women.

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.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care at a hospital in London, where he is being treated for COVID-19 after testing positive for the novel coronavirus last month.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the United Kingdom recorded its highest single-day death toll to date from the disease — 786.

U.K. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove also said Tuesday that he would begin self-isolating after a family member experienced COVID-19 symptoms.

New York City officials will begin to count suspected COVID-19 deaths in addition to cases confirmed by a laboratory, following a WNYC/Gothamist report revealing a staggering increase in the number of people dying at home but not included in the official tally because they hadn't been tested for the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the New York City's Health Department, confirmed the change in protocol.

John Prine, a wry and perceptive writer whose country and folk songs often resembled vivid short stories, has died at age 73. His death, from complications caused by COVID-19, was confirmed by his family.

John Prine, a wry and perceptive writer whose songs often resembled vivid short stories, died Tuesday in Nashville from complications related to COVID-19. His death was confirmed by his publicist, on behalf of his family. He was 73 years old.

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