Emily Kwong

Michael Zamora and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

Scientists have learned a great deal about how the novel coronavirus spreads.

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.

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.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Three weeks ago, Washington, D.C., resident Rebecca Read Medrano started feeling unwell. She had a dry cough, fatigue, nausea and terrible stomach pains that had her bending over.

There was one more symptom, and it was a bit odd. Medrano had largely lost her sense of taste. "My cousin was cooking, and everything he made tasted weird," she recalls.

Johnpeter Mwolo was 15 when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

His body, unable to produce the hormone critical for regulating blood sugar, would now rely on manufactured insulin. He learned to give himself the treatment — four injections a day.

But as he was growing up in Tanzania, insulin was expensive and not always available. Mwolo resorted to rationing his insulin, sharing a vial with his cousin, who also had Type 1 diabetes. "It was one vial to two people," he says. "Many of the necessities that we are supposed to have are not there."

The Los Angeles Lakers and grieving fans packing the Staples Center paid an emotional, pregame tribute to basketball icon Kobe Bryant on Friday night.

The outbreak of wildfires in Australia has reached a tipping point. Thousands of residents were evacuated this week, as bush fires reached the suburban fringes of Sydney, the skies turning blood-red. Coastline towns in the states of New South Wales and Victoria were consumed by the blaze, leaving thousands homeless. Many are stuck behind fire lines, trapped without power or cell service.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

When scientist Giulia Poerio was a little girl, she says she would experience this very peculiar — and distinct — feeling: "a warm, tingling sensation that starts at the crown of the head, almost like bubbles on the scalp."