Health & Science

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's been "confusion" about the handling of a coronavirus patient in California who is thought to represent the first case of the virus being transmitted in the general population, rather than through a known contact with someone who has been in China.

Audrey Nowakowski

Float therapy - or floating - has become more popular in the health and wellness fields within the last few years. However, the practice actually goes back decades. 

The first upright freshwater float tank was developed in the early 1950s to explore the idea of consciousness. The more common lie-down commercial salt water tanks that we know today were invented in the early 1970s. While its popularity may have waxed and waned, floating is gaining traction as a way to help treat things like athletic recovery, chronic pain, anxiety, stress and insomnia. 

A Google employee in Switzerland has tested positive for the new coronavirus, as the tech giant and other American companies crack down on employee travel amid the widening outbreak.

The Google employee was in its Zurich office "for a limited time" before exhibiting symptoms, the company said in a statement.

"We have taken - and will continue to take - all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone's health and safety," Google said.

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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Wisconsin winters are long and gray, which is why many of us choose to brighten up our homes with plants. But caring for indoor plants can be difficult - particularly in the winter when homes become drier and less hospitable to plant-life.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers knows how to navigate these challenges, and also notes that caring for plants can help us cope with the day to day stressors in our lives. 

The World Health Organization says the risk that COVID-19 will spread and have a global impact is now "very high," raising its assessment for the coronavirus disease that's now been found in more than 50 countries.

As of Monday, cases of COVID-19 had been found in just 29 countries. But thousands more diagnoses were confirmed this week, including two spikes that were tied to Italy and Iran.

Acclaimed physicist Freeman Dyson, who pondered the origins of life, interstellar travel and many other topics, died Friday at the age of 96.

His daughter Mia Dyson told NPR that her father died after a short illness.

Freeman Dyson was known for groundbreaking work in physics and mathematics but his curiosity ranged far beyond those fields.

Diversity imparts strength and resilience. That's an underlying principle of evolution — and it's equally true of the group of people who study science. A wealth of research demonstrates that having diverse people involved in STEM fields produces better results.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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A basic lesson of watching the stock market is that it fluctuates, so it's best not to read too much into a single bad day or even several.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Even so, it is hard to miss the message of this past week.

Kids, this comic is for you.

It's based on a radio story that NPR education reporter Cory Turner did. He asked some experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus discovered in China.

As the coronavirus spreads more widely around the globe, scientists are starting to use a powerful new tool: a blood test that identifies people who have previously been exposed to the virus. This kind of test is still under development in the United States, but it has been rolled out for use in Singapore and China.

The organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics pushed back on "speculation" that the novel coronavirus epidemic could lead to the cancellation of the Summer Games, after an IOC official appeared to suggest otherwise.

"Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organisations," the local organizing committee said in a statement on Thursday.

"The rest is speculation," it said.

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