Sean McMinn

Sean McMinn is the data editor on NPR's News Apps team.

Based in Washington, DC, McMinn writes and reports news stories for NPR.org, designs infographics, and develops software that helps journalists do their jobs.

McMinn came to NPR from CQ Roll Call, where he covered Congress and politics for three years as a data reporter. While there, he built interactives to help Americans better understand their government, and his reporting on flaws in FEMA's recovery programs led to the agency making changes to better serve communities struck by disaster. He also took part in an exchange with young professionals in North Africa and spent time in Egypt teaching data visualization and storytelling.

Before that, McMinn taught multimedia journalism to interns through a fellowship with the Scripps Howard Foundation.

He is also an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

McMinn is an alumnus of the National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Fellowship and has served as vice-chair at the National Press Club's Young Members Committee. He has also directed the Press Club's Press Vs. Politicians Spelling Bee fundraiser, which pits members of Congress against journalists to raise funds for the club's non-profit journalism institute.

McMinn is from Thousand Oaks, CA. He holds a journalism degree with a statistics minor from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where he was a reporter and editor on the student newspaper, Mustang News.

Far more people in the U.S. are hospitalized for COVID-19 now than at any other moment of the coronavirus pandemic — more than twice as many as just a month ago.

Hospitals in some of the hardest-hit states are exhausting every health care worker, hospital room and piece of equipment to evade the worst-case scenario, when crisis plans have to be set in motion and care may have to be rationed.

More than 1,000 hospitals across the United States are "critically" short on staff, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those hospitals, which span all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, represent about 18% of all hospitals that report their staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to grow: 21% of all hospitals reporting say they anticipate having critical staffing shortages in the next week.

Support for President Trump increased in 2020 in many of the U.S. counties that lost lives at the highest rate to COVID-19, according to an NPR analysis.

Of the 100 counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates per capita, 68 had a higher proportion of votes cast for Trump this cycle than they did in 2016. This includes both Republican-leaning counties and counties that supported Joe Biden.

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Of the colleges and universities that have chosen to hold classes in person this fall, most are not conducting widespread testing of their students for the coronavirus, an NPR analysis has found. With only weeks remaining before many of those schools plan to send students home for the end of the semester, the findings raise concerns that communities around the U.S. could be exposed to new outbreaks.

Wildfires near cities have become commonplace in the Western United States, but this year the reach and intensity of the dangerous air pollution they produce has been the worst on record.

Many Americans in populous, urban areas endured smoke for longer than previous years. Some places experienced very unhealthy or hazardous air from wildfires for the first time ever recorded.

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When COVID-19 claimed its first 100,000 lives in the U.S., Hidalgo County, Texas, seemed to have avoided the worst of it. The county, which sits on the border with Mexico, had just 10 deaths when the U.S. crossed that tragic milestone on May 27.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Democrats go into the final weeks of the presidential campaign with a cash advantage.

As of the beginning of this month, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign, combined with the Democratic Party, had about $30 million more in the bank than President Trump's reelection effort and the Republican Party, according to campaign finance filings made public Sunday evening.

Larry Pichon called an ambulance to take his wife, Judy, to a hospital in Lake Charles, in southwest Louisiana, on the morning of July 13. He'd had to do this before.

She had a rare autoimmune disease — granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which causes inflammation of blood vessels and can be particularly damaging for the lungs and kidneys. It wasn't uncommon for Judy to make a trip to the emergency room.

"When she got in the ambulance to go was the last time I saw her, and that was around nine o'clock," Larry remembered.

Millions have lost their jobs during the coronavirus shutdowns, placing an unprecedented burden on public welfare programs designed to help people in these situations. For those people and others who are hurting financially as a result of the virus, it's often the case that where you live determines what kind of help is available.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, state and local health officials rush to try to detect and contain outbreaks before they get out of control. A key to that is testing, and despite a slow start, testing has increased around the country.

But it's still not always easy to get a test. While many things can affect access to testing, location is an important starting point.

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Updated on October. 22 at 11:55 p.m. ET

Which presidential candidate has the fundraising advantage?

More than 82,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday. How many more lives will be lost? Scientists have built dozens of computational models to answer that question. But the profusion of forecasts poses a challenge: The models use such a wide range of methodologies, formats and time frames that it's hard to get even a ballpark sense of what the future has in store.

At a time when jigsaw puzzles may be harder to come by than toilet paper, the hot new item in the Trump campaign online store is a 200-piece puzzle, featuring a faintly smiling President Trump standing in front of an American flag, giving two thumbs up.

The $35 puzzle is just the latest example of the campaign capitalizing on in-the-moment merchandise.

State leaders are considering reopening economies and allowing people to leave their homes, but more and more Americans appear to be doing so on their own.

Emerging data suggest that though people dramatically altered their habits to stay at home during the first month of America's response to the pandemic, that cooperation has since leveled off and — eventually — decreased. This could point to long-term challenges for state governments asking citizens to cooperate with extended stay-at-home policies.

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