Coronavirus

This illustration reveals the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Find the latest WUWM and NPR coverage on COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, here.

See the most recent Wisconsin and Milwaukee County numbers.

People who've tested positive for COVID-19 have a range of symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people develop mild symptoms. But some people, usually with pre-existing medical conditions, may develop more serious illness. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19, believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has shared some tips to prepare your home for community transmission of the disease. To protect yourself, health officials recommend you:

  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when in public settings or around people who don't live in your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Outside your home: Put six feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Have a question you'd like WUWM to answer? Submit your query below.

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As the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads across the United States, there are continuing concerns among hospitals, public health experts and government leaders that hospital intensive care units would be hard-pressed to handle a surge in seriously ill patients.

A key limiting factor to being able to provide good care, they say, is the number of ventilation machines — ventilators — a hospital has on hand to help the most seriously ill patients breathe.

How long can the new coronavirus live on a surface, like say, a door handle, after someone infected touches it with dirty fingers? A study out this week finds that the virus can survive on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

In what's looking more like a public health debacle, the U.S. has a serious testing problem with the coronavirus. Only around 15,000 people have been tested so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And public health experts say that's not nearly enough to know how widespread the outbreak is and how to respond.

But the Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new test from the giant pharmaceutical company Roche that could represent a major breakthrough.

This is part of a new 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."

Updated on March 17 at 5:06 p.m. ET

Mild.

Moderate.

Serious.

Severe or extreme.

These are some of the adjectives being used to describe the symptoms displayed by patients with COVID-19. Vice President Pence used them in his remarks to the nation last week:

"Some — some large percentage have mild flu symptoms; some have serious flu symptoms."

Louisiana will delay its presidential primary election by more than two months over coronavirus fears, becoming the first state to do so.

The state had more than 35 presumptive positive test results for people with coronavirus as of Friday morning.

The primary had been scheduled for April 4 but will now be on June 20.

EMILY FILES / WUWM

Updated Saturday at 8:30 p.m. CT

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is ordering all public and private K-12 schools across the state to close by March 18 as a precaution to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. State health officials have confirmed 27 cases of the virus in Wisconsin.  

Steve Pope / Getty Images

On Wednesday night, President Trump delivered a rare Oval Office address, announcing a European travel ban with an exception for the United Kingdom. The administration later clarified that the ban does not apply to U.S. citizens and their families, permanent U.S. residents, Ireland, or Eastern Europe.  

Updated at 5:39 p.m. ET

President Trump, widely criticized for his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, tried to shift blame Friday to his predecessor's handling of a health crisis 11 years ago.

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of making unspecified changes that "complicated" the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's testing system.

Pete Souza / Wikimedia

The Affordable Care Act is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The landmark legislation has had a huge impact on the way health care operates in the United States. More than 20 million people have health insurance as a result of the ACA, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Still, since it passed in 2010, the ACA has challenges that threaten its efficacy.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday declared that the coronavirus pandemic is a national emergency, a designation that frees up as much as $50 billion in federal assistance to state and local governments overwhelmed by the spread of the virus, and makes it easier to surge medical resources to areas that need them most.

Updated at 12:54 a.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House agreed Friday on relief legislation in response to the national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

The House passed the measure by an overwhelming vote Friday night.

The breakthrough followed hours of negotiations between the speaker and the administration, including more than a dozen phone calls on Friday between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the priorities for the package.

As COVID-19 spreads, public health officials are telling people to stay home if they feel sick. But in jails and prisons, that's not an option.

Robert Greifinger is a physician who spent 25 years working on health care issues inside the nation's prisons and jails, and he says the "social distancing" advice we're all hearing right now isn't so simple behind bars.

"There are crowding issues, ventilation issues, security issues where people have to be checked and monitored fairly frequently," Greifinger says. "So it's really hard to do."

The Trump administration has announced a series of measures intended to speed testing for the coronavirus disease COVID-19: a new federal coordinator to oversee testing, funding for two companies developing rapid tests and a hotline for labs to call to get help finding needed supplies.

The U.S. government has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the virus, particularly when it comes to testing. Only this week has testing become more widely available in the U.S., and kits remain in limited supply.

Ann-Elise Henzl / WUWM

For the most up-to-date information, read WUWM's March 15 coronavirus post.

Updated Saturday at 8:42 p.m. CT

As of Saturday afternoon, state health officials say Wisconsin now has 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. This is up from 19 reported cases on Friday. Twenty-six of these cases were confirmed this week and are active, while one case was reported in February in Dane County and that person has since recovered.

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

It was a lucky Friday the 13th for Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 1,985 points, more than 9%, on the same day President Trump declared a national emergency to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It closed at 23,185. The S&P 500 index also jumped more than 9%, closing at 2,711.

Updated on March 16 at 1 p.m. ET to reflect new guidance on play dates during school closures. This is an evolving story and guidance from health authorities is evolving quickly.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the latest in a string of high-profile individuals to become infected with the potentially deadly pathogen.

In a statement on Thursday, the office of the prime minister said Grégoire Trudeau had begun experiencing a low-grade fever and other mild flu-like symptoms the previous day and was subsequently tested.

Remote rural towns are a good place to be early in a pandemic, as they tend to be more spread out, which potentially means fewer chances to catch a bug. Remote rural areas are also, by definition, way removed from major seaports, airports and often even big highways. So it generally takes longer for new viruses to show up in tiny towns, like Fredonia, Kan.

"I always say it's a hundred miles from anywhere," says Cassie Edson, with the Wilson County Health Department. "It's a hundred miles from Wichita, a hundred miles to Joplin, a hundred miles to Tulsa."

Every day for the past week, colleges and universities around the country have made the announcement: in-person classes are cancelled due to fears over the spreading coronavirus.

Ohio State. Harvard. University of Virginia. University of Michigan. Duke. These are just some of the more than 100 universities across the country that are moving classes online.

Lecture halls will be empty. Labs closed. Concerts cancelled. Sports practices called off. Some universities are asking students to go home early for spring break, and if on break now, not to return to campus at all.

When the coronavirus first struck the U.S. in March, every state implemented restrictions aimed at limiting its spread. Businesses closed, schools and offices went remote and much of the country was under strict orders to stay home — at least temporarily.

President Trump Thursday defended his new policy that, for 30 days, will bar most travelers arriving to the U.S. from much of Europe. Trump says coronavirus cases from the continent have been seeding outbreaks in the United States. The travel ban, he says, will save American lives.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET Friday

Officials in Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon and the District of Columbia have announced that schools in their states will be closed for several weeks amid concerns about the coronavirus. The statewide closures come after many school districts and dozens of colleges and universities have temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 disease.

Golden Sikorka / stock.adobe.com

Governments and health care agencies across the globe are working to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. This has not just impacted people’s health, but also their jobs and the health of our global market.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Friday at 6:20 p.m. CT

From postponing the Brewers' opening day to suspending the Bucks stellar season, the spread of coronavirus is having a major impact on sports in Wisconsin.

>>The Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

The NCAA has announced that it is canceling its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments. This year, there will be no March Madness.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement Thursday.

Concerns over coronavirus are having a deep impact on performing arts and cultural institutions across the United States.

The handshake, a staple of business meetings, is under siege. The coronavirus is reshaping social and workplace norms, so keeping one's distance is now the polite thing to do.

Mike Sandifer, a Realtor based in Bethesda, Md., is practicing this new, emerging etiquette. He typically offers an "elbow bump," nudging people gently with his arm. But Sandifer has to fight the deeply ingrained instinct to extend his hand.

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