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. 

A typical Fourth of July usually has lots of flags, fireworks and parades. But this year is anything but typical as the pandemic has benched marching bands, banned floats, and sidelined spectators.

In Montgomery, Ohio — a small suburban Cincinnati community of about 10,000 where lawns are lush green and American flags abound — the annual Fourth of July parade is a long tradition. So when the pandemic threatened to cancel the annual parade, they decided to retool it.

Carmen Quintero works an early shift at a distribution warehouse that ships N95 masks and other products to a nation under siege from the coronavirus. On March 23, she had developed a severe cough, and her voice, usually quick and enthusiastic, was barely a whisper.

A human resources staff member told Quintero she needed to go home.

"They told me I couldn't come back until I was tested," said Quintero, who was also told that she would need to document that she didn't have the virus.

The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus?

Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that's gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, but most are still falling short.

In an about-face, Arizona's Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the state's bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down for at least 30 days amid thousands of new coronavirus cases in the state.

Ducey issued the order Monday to go into effect from 8 p.m. local time, citing concern over a recent spike in new cases — including a one-day record of more than 3,800 in the state on Sunday. It was the seventh time in the past 10 days that new cases in Arizona exceeded 3,000. He also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until Aug. 17.

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up, and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."

"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.

The drugmaker behind the experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir has announced how much it will charge for the drug, after months of speculation as the company tried to figure out how to balance profit and public health needs in the middle of a pandemic.

Indoor restaurant dining in New Jersey, initially set to open Thursday, is postponed indefinitely.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that restrictions will remain in place, citing surges in COVID-19 cases in other states "driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining."

"We've always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health," Murphy tweeted. "This is one of those times."

For the first time, the familiar marble faces outside the New York Public Library will be obscured by masks.

Patience and Fortitude, the iconic lion sculptures guarding the 42nd Street library, are wearing face coverings to remind New Yorkers to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday that the state has seen its lowest number of hospitalizations and average death toll from the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

"You look at where we are compared to where we have been, you remember at one time we had 800 deaths per day," Cuomo said. "Today we have eight."

A growing number of leading Republicans are publicly embracing expert-recommended face masks as a means to slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus, in the wake of more than 125,000 Americans killed by the virus.

In recent months, the topic of wearing masks has become politically divisive, despite official health guidance that they are one of the best defenses to restricting the spread of the deadly respiratory disease, COVID-19, from one person to another.

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

As COVID-19 cases have increased across the country, some local public health officials are urging Iowans to take extra precautions.


Have A Corn Dog: Fair Food Without The Fair

Jun 29, 2020

It's a grim year for fans of summer fairs. The 165th annual Big Butler Fair in Pennsylvania's Butler County has been called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The week of fair games, fried food and barns full of prize-winning animals has been a tradition for Butler County since the American Civil War.

Canceled fairs are an obvious blow to local 4-H and Future Farmers of America clubs who have been training animals for months to compete in livestock shows. But it's a big hit to food vendors, too.

If you're worried about how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting your college applications, a statement endorsed by more than 300 college admissions deans might provide some relief.

"I will kill you."

That's what a family member of a COVID-19 patient told a general practitioner at a private hospital in Aden, Yemen, amid the country's coronavirus outbreak in April.

Pointing a gun at the doctor, the family member pushed him to put the patient on oxygen and mechanical ventilation, two types of treatments for severe cases of COVID-19.

The doctor explained that he wouldn't be able to provide those options for the patient.

Broadway shows will remain closed until at least Jan. 3, 2021 according to an announcement from the Broadway League, an organization representing theater producers and owners, which said that ticket holders will be able to get refunds or exchanges for a future date.

A choir of about 100 performers sang at a megachurch campaign event featuring Vice President Pence on Sunday. They did not wear masks while they sang.

Many epidemiologists and singing experts currently fear that singers may be superspreaders of COVID-19, due to aerosolization of the virus. Singing involves much more forceful and deep breathing than simple talking.

The nation's pediatricians have come out with a strong statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics' guidance "strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school."

When asked if he could imagine a college party where everyone is wearing masks, Jacques du Passage, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, laughs.

"No. I don't think they would do that," he says. "I think [students] would just have the party and then face the repercussions."

That's exactly what Apramay Mishra, student body president at the University of Kansas, is worried about when it comes to reopening campus amid the pandemic. "Right now it's kind of slipped from most people's minds," he says. Students "don't really think it's a big deal."

Dr. Elias Zerhouni knows the dangers of infectious disease outbreaks. He was director of the National Institutes of Health in 2005 when bird flu appeared poised to become more infectious to humans. Fortunately, that pandemic never materialized, but he says it served as a warning of what was to come.

Zerhouni has been a member of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and head of global research and development for the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic reached a new milestone on Sunday, with confirmed deaths surpassing half a million around the world and the number of confirmed cases topping 10 million.

As the number of new coronavirus cases spikes in several states across the U.S., governors, county officials and business owners have been crafting laws and guidelines that mandate the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But even a simple cloth face covering has become political.

Our blog covers the globe. And as we in the U.S. mourn the citizens who died of novel coronavirus, we also wanted to pay tribute to lives lost around the world. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 people worldwide.

After imposing one of the tightest coronavirus lockdowns in Latin America, Colombia is now searching for ways to jump-start its economy. One experiment is a series of tax-free shopping days, but critics fear they could turn out to be super-spreader events.

At a time when the country is facing a spike in COVID-19 cases, urging Colombians to flock to stores and malls "sends an erroneous message," said Bogotá Mayor Claudia López.

This year was supposed to be a good year for selling bamboo rats to eat. Prices had been rising steadily as had their popularity as a delicacy when grilled.

Then the coronavirus hit.

"People nowadays are always talking about poverty alleviation. But now, I'm close to being in extreme poverty," said Liu Ping, a breeder of bamboo rats — plump rodents known for their sharp, bamboo-gnawing incisors and ample flesh.

Updated at 8:49 a.m.

The world is about to hit a devastating milestone: half a million people dead, killed by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the planet.

A day after defending his right to hold campaign events in the midst of spikes in coronavirus cases, Vice President Pence and the Trump campaign are postponing two events he was to headline next week in Florida and Arizona.

The states are two of the hardest hit in recent days, and health officials have encouraged people to avoid large in-person gatherings. The events have been postponed "out of an abundance of caution," two campaign officials told NPR.

It's a remarkable reversal for Pence, who on Friday forcefully defended his plan to move forward with the campaign events.

Dr. William Strudwick was finishing a shift at Washington, D.C.'s Howard University Hospital when his wife, Maria, texted. Their 19-year old son, Cole, wanted to join a protest five days after the killing of George Floyd.

It was 9 p.m. After dark, Strudwick weighed, he couldn't predict how protesters would act — or how police would treat his son. He wrote back one word to his wife: "No."

"When I came home, he was not there, and so I called him," Strudwick said. "And we had the conversation about him returning immediately."

Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that one of the best ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to wear a mask. Still, the seemingly straightforward recommendation to secure a covering over one's nose and mouth has proven one of the pandemic's more partisan issues.

The Department of Justice is now warning that a card circulating online is falsely claiming its holder is lawfully exempt from wearing a mask.

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