health

First things first: It's not yet time to end social distancing and go back to work and church and concerts and handshakes.

Public health experts say social distancing appears to be working, and letting up these measures too soon could be disastrous. Until there is a sustained reduction in new cases — and the coronavirus' spread is clearly slowing — we need to stay the course.

"We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization," WHO Direct0r-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday in response to President Trump's plan to stop U.S. money from going to the agency.

The U.S. is the top contributor to the WHO, which is leading the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic.

There was the hiker who broke his leg, then refused to put on a mask before the alpine rescue team helped him down the mountain. There were the snowboarders and skiers packing together into cars to drive up to a closed ski area. Or the people howling at the full moon, over open flames.

Bruce Snelling, undersheriff with Clear Creek County in Colorado, said all of these incidents have happened in recent weeks. And until Saturday, there wasn’t too much he could do about it. But now, the county’s public health order lays out some harsh penalties for non-residents using county roads to get to the backcountry: a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 18 months in the county jail.  

For the billions of people now living under some form of stay-at-home or lockdown orders, experts from the World Health Organization have new guidance: We should be ready to "change our behaviors for the foreseeable future," they say, as the agency updates its advice on when to lift COVID-19 lockdown orders.

The question of when to ease shutdowns is a hot topic, as economic output is stalled in many countries — including the U.S., now the epicenter of the global pandemic.

Dozens of blood tests are rapidly coming on the market to identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus by checking for antibodies against it.

The Food and Drug Administration doesn't set standards for these kinds of tests, but even those that meet the government's informal standard may produce many false answers and provide false assurances. The imperfect results could be a big disappointment to people who are looking toward these tests to help them return to something resembling a normal life.

Leading the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the coronavirus pandemic may be one of the most thankless jobs in government right now. Governors are clamoring for more supplies, like ventilators and face masks. The president engages in public feuds with those governors.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Americans have faced world wars, economic recessions, and even other pandemics. Some people have lived through all three. I sought out senior citizens to see how the COVID-19 pandemic compares to other crises – and what we might be able to learn from them.

When the call came from the local health department in northeast Nebraska, Katie Berger was waiting. She had already gotten a text from the salon where she'd gotten her hair done recently, telling her that one of the stylists had COVID-19. She knew she was at risk.

It’s hard to keep some items stocked in stores these days. We’ve all heard about the toilet paper shortage. But what about eggs?


Sheridan College

A local education foundation, Whitney Benefits, has donated a 3D printer along with supplies to Sheridan College.

Its donation will help the college to make personal protective equipment, or (PPE) in response to an increase in demand after one of the college's printers broke. The gift totals approximately $28,000.

CDC

Wyoming has reported its first death related to COVID-19. Wyoming Department of Health Spokeswoman Kim Deti said the elderly Johnson County man died last week. Deti added that the man's health and age put him at risk for the illness.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 may or may not be immune to getting sick again – and it's too soon to know how long any immunity might last, World Health Organization experts say. The appraisal comes as WHO leader Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says COVID-19 is "10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic."

Around the world, COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to grow each day. Yet, there are also more than 440,000 people globally who have recovered to date.

For those who have had the illness, recovery can be a slow journey. And even after you're feeling better, there can be a period of uncertainty. After days or weeks of isolation, you may be eager to see family again and even step foot into the outer world. But how soon is too soon? And how do you know when you're no longer infectious?

Perhaps the last thing we needed in this hyperpartisan election year was another reminder of what divides us as a nation. Then the COVID-19 crisis arrived and gave us one.

The virus is affecting everyone, in one way or another, but in terms of actual sickness and death, it is disproportionately afflicting people of color. So far, at least, it is afflicting primarily those people of color who live in the most densely populated cores of our metropolitan centers.

The vast majority of the country is under lockdown right now. But stay-at-home orders come with a few exceptions — like grocery shopping.

Many of us are still venturing out to stock up on food and toiletries. But what's the safest way to shop during this pandemic? And what should you do once you've brought your haul home?

We asked infectious disease, virology and food safety experts to share their tips about safe grocery shopping — and what you can stop worrying about.

Know the dangers — focus on the people, not the food

U.S. Has Most Coronavirus Deaths In The World

Apr 12, 2020

The death toll in the United States from the coronavirus has surpassed Italy's, putting America at No. 1 worldwide for the number of people killed by the virus.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center show that the U.S. had lost more than 20,600 patients to the virus as of early Sunday morning. Italy has nearly 19,500 deaths.

It's a situation nobody wants to imagine: a major earthquake, flood, fire or other natural disaster strikes while the U.S. is grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Severe weather season, flooding — those things don't stop because we're responding to COVID-19," says Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

As the nation continues to lag behind on testing for the new coronavirus, Utah and New Mexico rank among the states that have administered the most tests per capita. 

Data sets related to COVID-19 are everywhere. Cases, deaths, tests, hospital admissions, just to name a few. Now, researchers in the Mountain West are collecting personal stories to get a fuller understanding of the virus.

NPS Photo/J. Bonney

Despite putting in place restrictions before anyone else, Teton County's numbers continue to jump. It's consistently ranked as one of the top two or three places in the state with confirmed positive tests. Although health care providers also say it's a place where lots of testing has taken place. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with Teton County Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell who joined us from his home in Jackson. He said he knew the area would get hit hard by the coronavirus.

facebook.com/wyomingworkforce

Back in mid-March, Governor Mark Gordon shut down all public spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus. At the time, Destiny Irwin was plugging away on a political science degree at the University of Wyoming and working at two Laramie restaurants to pay her bills. Both went to curbside delivery, and Irwin got laid off.

Ivy Engel

On March 19, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued an order requiring all food establishments to halt sit-down services and move exclusively to delivery or to-go orders. Just a couple of weeks later, the order was extended through April 30.

Arapahoe School District

This story is part of a two-part series on how schools across the state are handling the switch to adapted learning.

This week, all 48 Wyoming school districts launched their adapted learning plans. For some, that means leaning more heavily on online tools that had already been incorporated into the curriculum. But other districts, including many on the Wind River Reservation, are starting from scratch.

San Miguel County, Colorado, is one of few places in the world where testing has been offered to an entire community. As the Mountain West News Bureau has reported, a biomedical company is offering blood tests for free to all residents there over 8 years old. 

This is part of a series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Around the world, people are taking steps to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Here we ask experts questions from readers and listeners about COVID-19 and how to stay safe.

New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

Opponents of the plan argue it will hurt vulnerable workers and depress domestic wages.

On Feb. 29, the U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams tweeted that masks do not offer any benefit to the average citizen.

Two states in the Mountain West have banned real estate agents from holding open houses to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak made the announcement on Wednesday, joining Colorado in the region.

Updated at 6:25 a.m. ET, April 11

Just over a week ago, the worldwide death toll linked to the coronavirus stood at around 50,000 — a staggering sum for a virus that was still largely unknown to the world at the start of the year. Now, that death toll has doubled.

In recent days, the Trump administration has organized dozens of flights to deliver surgical masks and other critical medical supplies around the country, working with a half dozen major medical distributors to get those supplies "to the right place at the right time."

But if your state isn't considered the right place, that system can be frustrating.

"When you look at those five or six national distributors, Montana is sure as heck not getting much luck out of them," Gov. Steve Bullock said in an interview.

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