health

Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed "cautious optimism" Friday about the initial results from a coronavirus vaccine trial — which were widely celebrated this week — and said it remains "conceivable" that a vaccine for the deadly pathogen could be available by the end of the year.

Nursing home residents and workers account for about one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S., as The New York Times reported last week. Testing every resident and worker could help slow the spread in nursing homes – but it's expensive.

Surgical Face Mask by NurseTogether is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Gov. Mark Gordon updated the state on the recent legislation lawmakers passed during last week's special session.

Gordon praised the legislature's ability to work effectively in determining how and when to spend federal CARES Act funding. He said he will be signing the three bills that passed.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. could have prevented roughly 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 if broad social distancing measures had been put in place just one week earlier in March, according to an analysis from Columbia University.

Underlining the importance of aggressively responding to the coronavirus, the study found the U.S. could have avoided at least 700,000 fewer infections if actions that began on March 15 had actually started on March 8.

Salvador Perez got really sick in April. He's 53 and spent weeks isolated in his room in his family's Chicago apartment, suffering through burning fevers, shivering chills, intense chest pain and other symptoms of COVID-19.

"This has been one of the worst experiences of his life," says Perez's daughter, Sheila, who translated from Spanish to English for an interview with NPR. "He didn't think he was going to make it."

The U.S. economy, frozen by COVID-19 shutdowns, is in the process of thawing out. All 50 states have at least partially eased tight restrictions on businesses, with a mix of policies letting restaurants or stores welcome customers.

Enviremedial Services

As some rural health clinics fill up and jails try to quarantine sick inmates, a military contracting company in Pinedale has come up with a solution.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Elora J. Martinez

A recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Natrona County has the local Public Health Officer urging people to take proper precautions.

In 2004, ABC News correspondent Dan Harris was broadcasting live on the air on Good Morning America when he started experiencing a panic attack.

"My lungs seized up, my palms started sweating, my mouth dried up. I just couldn't speak," he says. "I had to quit in the middle of my little newscast. And it was really embarrassing."

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Five staff members and four residents of the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week, bringing the county's total to 13 as of Monday afternoon.

A few weeks ago, Lesley Dickson, a psychiatrist in Las Vegas, says she started feeling concerned for the hospital workers treating COVID-19 patients. 

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump is giving the World Health Organization 30 days to commit to substantial changes in how it operates — or he will make his hold on U.S. funding permanent. The threat came in a letter that sharply criticizes the WHO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its relationship with China.

As businesses reopen, many Americans being called back to work say they don't feel safe — especially those who work in restaurants, hair salons or other high-contact jobs.

"With people eating food, not having masks on, with servers having to touch their plates and their silverware, there's just absolutely no way to keep the servers safe," says Lindsey, a waitress in Iowa.

She has been out of work for two months. But this week, the pub-style restaurant she works at is reopening.

Savannah Maher

 

Late Saturday night, the state Department of Health announced that a Fremont County woman was the eighth Wyoming resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19. The Northern Arapaho Business Council has confirmed that the woman was a tribal member.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, will remotely address the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday regarding the disbursement of hundreds of billions of dollars in coronavirus relief aid.

In written testimony released on Monday (below), Powell described the pandemic as having caused "a level of pain that is hard to capture in words."

He added: "As a society, we should do everything we can to provide relief to those who are suffering for the public good."

As stay-at-home orders across the U.S. begin to loosen, companies are planning for their employees' return to the office. For months, millions worked from home, raising the question of whether physical offices are even necessary.

Nabil Sabet thinks so. The group director at M Moser Associates, a firm that specializes in workplace design, says there is more to the office than just cubicles and conference rooms.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the World Health Organization failed in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and that it "cost many lives," delivering a sharp criticism of the WHO at the organization's annual meeting Monday.

"We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed. And that failure cost many lives," Azar said at the World Health Assembly, reiterating President Trump's complaints about the WHO.

Marshall Gilmore finally got what he'd been waiting for this month when the state of Mississippi allowed him to offer table service again at his restaurant, the Harvest Grill in Meridian.

Still, many of his tables sit empty, even at limited capacity, and he makes most of his money offering curbside food pickup.

"People are just a little apprehensive about getting out in public. This was a once-in-a-lifetime scare that we all just went through. So everyone's a little scared," Gilmore says.

A vaccine manufacturer is reporting preliminary data suggesting its COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and appears to be eliciting in test subjects the kind of immune response capable of preventing disease.

Moderna, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., developed the vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The results reported Monday come from an initial analysis of a Phase I study primarily designed to see if the vaccine is safe.

The World Health Organization's annual oversight convention will be held by teleconference beginning Monday, as the worst pandemic in modern history continues around the globe.

The United States is seeing its highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression. And nurses, doctors and other health care workers are not immune to pay cuts and furloughs.

Robert Alescio

Cody has anxiously been waiting for Yellowstone National Park to open up since its economy depends on summer tourism. Mayor Matt Hall said the community is willing to try new ideas.

President Trump on Friday unveiled more details of "Operation Warp Speed" – an effort to accelerate the development of a vaccine and medical treatments for the coronavirus by January.

"We're looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before," Trump said as top medical, military and Cabinet officials, many of them wearing face masks, joined him in the Rose Garden.

Trump compared the effort to the Manhattan Project – the World War II effort to build the first nuclear weapon.

Each week we answer pressing coronavirus questions. For this week's installment, we're focusing on flying.

We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Nearly half of all counties in the Mountain West have largely been spared from COVID-19, according to recent data from the nonprofit organization USAFacts. Many of these communities weren't untouched, but all have had fewer than five confirmed cases of the virus. 

COVID-19 has given ventilators an undeservedly bad reputation, says Dr. Colin Cooke, an associate professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care at the University of Michigan.

"It's always disheartening to know that some people are out there saying if you end up on a ventilator it's a death sentence, which is not what we are experiencing — and I don't think it's what the data are showing," Cooke says.

Just over a century ago, a virulent flu outbreak was wreaking havoc on the world.

We know it now as the 1918 influenza pandemic, and its tremors were felt far and wide. By the end of its spread, tens of millions were dead.

The field of public health has taken a giant leap from the days of 1918, when virology was still in its infancy. Today, information is instantaneous and vaccines are in widespread use.

When you think about Doctors Without Borders you may picture the medical humanitarian NGO working in war-torn countries like Syria or Yemen. But as the COVID-19 crisis lays bare inequalities and vulnerabilities in the U.S., the organization's working here, too, assisting the Navajo Nation in fighting the disease.

Nightmares. Tantrums. Regressions. Grief. Violent outbursts. Exaggerated fear of strangers. Even suicidal thoughts. In response to a call on social media, parents across the country shared with NPR that the mental health of their young children appears to be suffering as the weeks of lockdown drag on.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Rick Bright, a career government scientist-turned-whistleblower, told a congressional panel Thursday that without a stronger federal response, the coronavirus threatens to make 2020 the "darkest winter in modern history."

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