health

U.S. Surpasses 1 Million Coronavirus Cases

Apr 28, 2020

More than 1 million cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in the U.S., marking a grim milestone in the country with the most reported coronavirus infections in the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Debony Hughes remembers driving last week to a national park in the nation's capital where not everyone was practicing social distancing.

"It was a beautiful day; it was really crowded. We noticed that there were so many people without masks," Hughes says, recalling that it made the friend she was with particularly angry. "She started screaming out of the car, 'Put on your mask! Where's your mask!' "

Note: This story was originally published on April 28. We've updated it throughout to reflect updates and new data from several states.

In late April, NPR surveyed all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia to ask them about their contact tracing workforce. That survey showed that states had, or planned to have, around 36,000 workers in total focused on contact tracing, a key strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus and prevent outbreaks.

Testing is the key that will unlock normalization for millions of Americans.

It's the doorway between the disaster response mode of the pandemic and confidence about returning to work, school and life. And it's also still apparently weeks or more away from scaling to a level that will make a big difference for most people in most places.

Precisely how far away isn't clear, although President Trump and a pageant of guests attempted on Monday to sell the idea that victory is just around the corner.

The White House released guidance on coronavirus testing on Monday, which reiterates the administration's work on testing and includes recommendations for states to further develop and implement their own testing plans.

Neal Herbert / NPS


You might have seen it on social media - Italians on lockdown stepping out onto their balconies to sing together, or New Yorkers applauding health care workers at the same time each night.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added several new symptoms to its existing list of symptoms for COVID-19.

The CDC has long said that fever, cough and shortness of breath are indications that someone might have the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It has now added six more conditions that may come with the disease: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.

Two leading former federal health officials who served in recent Republican and Democratic administrations are spearheading a call for a $46 billion public health investment in a future coronavirus aid package in order to safely reopen the economy.

Coronavirus antibody tests have garnered attention from officials as a potential tool to evaluate people's immunity to the illness. But the majority of companies creating the tests have had little to no regulatory oversight, according to the chair of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

The World Health Organization has pushed back against the theory that individuals can only catch the coronavirus once, as well as proposals for reopening society that are based on this supposed immunity.

In a scientific brief dated Friday, the United Nations agency said the idea that one-time infection can lead to immunity remains unproven and is thus unreliable as a foundation for the next phase of the world's response to the pandemic.

As health officials across the country try to slow the coronavirus pandemic, a growing body of evidence and research suggests the virus may have been silently spreading in different parts of the country far earlier than initially believed and officially reported.

Updated April 28, 5:00 p.m. ET

Across the U.S., state leaders are grappling with the challenging decision of when to relax the social distancing restrictions that have helped keep COVID-19 in check.

Testing is considered a major requirement on the path back to normal, and as the president has made clear, it's largely up to the states to find the way. Are states in the Mountain West up to the task? By multiple measures, Utah and New Mexico are leading the way, while other states are still lagging behind. 

Your Questions About COVID-19, Answered 

Our reporters are working hard to answer your questions about COVID-19. These responses are curated by the Mountain West News Bureau and our public media partners at America Amplified. (Updated 4/23/20)

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

President Trump has spiritedly backed hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, both in his regular news briefings and on his Twitter account. He has said the two drugs, when taken together to treat the coronavirus, could become "one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine."

That may well be, eventually — but not right now.

In early February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was looking for ways to stop the novel coronavirus before it got out of control in the United States.

Cubicle culture has gone dark. Open floor plans stand empty.

Offices around the world are shut during the pandemic, making work from home the new normal for millions of white-collar employees.

In the United States, remote work is still being encouraged under guidelines outlined by the federal government.

But in webinars and conference calls, business leaders and management strategists are discussing what steps must be taken to bring workers back to America's offices.

State of Wyoming

Existing statewide public health orders will remain in effect until April 30, but Gov. Mark Gordon said the state will soon start to ease restrictions brought on due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package called the CARES Act sets aside $8 billion in a tribal stabilization fund. But with the April 26 disbursement deadline looming, tribal leaders fear that nearly half of that aid could be diverted away from tribal governments and toward Alaska Native Corporations.

 


A majority of Americans — 8 in 10 — say strict shelter-in-place guidelines are worth it, to keep people safe from COVID-19 and control the spread of the virus, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll. The same percentage, of around 80% of Americans, also say they can follow the restrictions for at least one more month.

Since the coronavirus hit the U.S., coal mines across the country have begun shutting down, laying off workers and slowing production.

Tim Dennell via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

States in the Mountain West have seen protests against stay-at-home orders in recent days. Those protesters generally argue that the so-called cure to COVID-19 is worse than the disease itself. A recent analysis by University of Wyoming economists says otherwise.

The Mountain West News Bureau is taking questions from listeners across the region about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question, email us at mountainwestnewsbureau@gmail.com or give us a call at 208-352-2079 and leave us a message. This service is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Hoan Nguyen lives in Salt Lake City and he's concerned his wife may be immunocompromised, making her more vulnerable to COVID-19. So Nguyen and his family have taken self-isolation very seriously.

Virus researchers say there is virtually no chance that the new coronavirus was released as result of a laboratory accident in China or anywhere else.

The assessment, made by more than half-a-dozen scientists familiar with lab accidents and how research on coronaviruses is conducted, casts doubt on recent claims that a mistake may have unleashed the coronavirus on the world.

A month ago, President Trump went on Fox and downplayed the potential lethality of the novel coronavirus and compared it to the seasonal flu.

Updated on April 23 at 8:20 a.m. ET

A high-ranking federal scientist focused on vaccine development says he was removed from his post because of his "insistence" that the government spend funds on "safe and scientifically vetted solutions" to address the coronavirus crisis and not on "drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit."

The first U.S. death known to be from COVID-19 occurred on Feb. 6 — nearly three weeks before deaths in Washington state that had been believed to be the country's first from the coronavirus, according to officials in Santa Clara County, Calif. The person died at home and at a time when testing in the U.S. was tightly limited not only by capacity but by federal criteria.

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The tension in America between the national government and states' rights is as old as the republic itself. That tension is about to play out in a starkly political way and on a grand scale over the next several weeks, as states consider how to reopen in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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