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.

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The first wave of coronavirus vaccines from the COVAX initiative are now reaching their destinations. Ghana became the first country to receive the vaccine on Wednesday, marking an important step for the international effort to help low- and middle-income countries cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the first round of allocations continues to roll out, more countries will receive their own doses in coming days, according to the World Health Organization, a leader of the initiative. In all, the COVAX alliance hopes to deliver nearly 2 billion doses of the vaccines this year.

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Now that close to half of Wisconsinites age 65 and older have received at least one shot, the Department of Health Services is opening eligibility to more people in Phase 1b. It's starting with school and daycare employees – an estimated 225,000 people – who will be eligible March 1.

The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning that supports its authorization for emergency use.

On Friday, a panel of advisers to the agency will meet to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation about whether it should be given the OK. If the agency goes on to authorize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it would be the third, after those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, to become available in the U.S.

A national health care provider has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to people deemed ineligible for the scarce vaccine by local health departments, including people with connections to company leaders and customers of its concierge medical service, according to internal communications leaked to NPR.

In early December, Dr. Katy Stephenson was watching TV with her family and scrolling through Twitter when she saw a tweet that made her shout.

"I said 'Oh my God!' " she recalls. "Super loud. My kids jumped up. My husband looked over. He said, 'What's wrong, what's wrong, is everything OK?' I was like, 'No, no, it's the opposite. It's amazing. This is amazing!' "

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The Wisconsin Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill designed to jump-start updates to the state's antiquated unemployment claims processing system that led to many people waiting weeks or months to get paid during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tony Evers has promised to sign the bill which the Senate passed last week on a 27-3 vote. The Assembly passed it 89-0.

SOFIA, Bulgaria - In an effort to boost vaccination rates among a skeptical public, Bulgaria has opened up COVID-19 inoculations to all who want them.

On Friday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told the nation he was creating "green corridors" where any Bulgarian resident could line up for the vaccine.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned on Tuesday the United States has a "long way" to go to return to full employment, even as he expressed cautious optimism that the economy will recover from the pandemic this year.

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A Wisconsin researcher has taken on the grim task of looking at how many years, cumulatively, COVID-19 has cut from people's lives. The answer just for last year, and for the U.S. and 80 other countries with good health statistics, is more than 20 million years. 

The co-authors of the study came up with their lost life metric by subtracting the age of everyone who died of COVID-19 from the life expectancy in the dead person's country, taking gender into account.

Maayan Silver / WUWM

A few months ago, Wisconsin had one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 in the country. Health officials were pleading with people to wear masks, socially distance and practice good hand hygiene. On Monday, the state reported zero COVID deaths and the lowest number of new cases since June.

Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services Director Dr. Ben Weston says the first thing this means is that the community is doing a good job.

Early in the pandemic, San Diego County recognized its COVID-19 relief efforts needed to reach its large Latino population, and set up a task force in June to lay out plans — well ahead of when vaccines became available.

The pandemic is causing The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to consider selling its artwork to cover operational costs as it falls short of $150 million in revenue.

The country's flagship art museum has still not made a final decision on selling its work.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Biden and Vice President Harris acknowledged a grim milestone Monday: the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans from COVID-19.

Biden and Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play "Amazing Grace" as they held a moment of silence.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is apologizing for turning away two people eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturday because they could not prove they live in the United States.

On Feb. 21, it posted a statement on Twitter. UT Health Rio Valley, the clinical practice of the university, stated it "apologizes to those patients who were affected" and "did not follow the most current State of Texas guidelines."

Two COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in the U.S. right now, and this week an FDA advisory committee will vote on whether a third should join them.

If granted emergency use authorization, Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine would become available in the U.S., along with those from Pfizer and Moderna.

More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

This week President Biden is asking Americans to mark the 500,000 deaths with a moment of silence at sunset Monday. He's also ordered flags on all federal buildings lowered to half-staff for five days.

The House Budget Committee has approved legislation advancing President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, setting a path for intense debate in the Senate.

The legislation is set for a vote on the House floor at the end of the week. The Senate is then expected to take up the legislation and attempt to modify it to ensure it can pass procedural hurdles while still satisfying all 50 Senate Democrats.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

As the U.S. passes the grievous marker of 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19, President Joe Biden will order flags on federal property to be lowered at half staff for five days to mark the solemn milestone, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Monday briefing.

Biden will commemorate the people who died at a Monday evening ceremony, joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff. The event will include remarks, a candle lighting ceremony and a moment of silence, according to Psaki.

Health care personnel are not alone on the front lines of the struggle with COVID-19. Another group is the faith leaders who minister to the sick and console those who are grieving. Four faith leaders with different missions and experiences share their thoughts and feelings about their pandemic work and the burdens they bear.


Pastor Patrick Young

1st Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, N.Y.

How do we wrap our minds around the fact that nearly half a million people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone?

The nation is on the cusp of that milestone: 500,000 lives lost, in just one year.

West Virginia isn't known for its good health outcomes. It leads the nation in deaths from diabetes, accidents and drug overdoses. But when it comes to distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, the state has been a shining star.

President Biden's national security adviser said Sunday that the administration has concerns over the data China has provided to the World Health Organization regarding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We need a credible, open, transparent international investigation led by the World Health Organization," Jake Sullivan said in an interview with CBS' Face the Nation.

The British government has announced that every adult in the U.K. will be offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, one month earlier than initially planned. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the accelerated target will allow vulnerable people to be protected "sooner," which should help relax the lifting of lockdown restrictions across the country.

Senior ministers met to discuss the plan Sunday. Johnson will unveil the plan to ease restrictions to the House of Commons on Monday.

At a high school in Washington, D.C., this past week, Bridget Cronin looked on as public school workers shuffled through the two dozen vaccination stations that lined the building's atrium.

Volunteers alternated waving green placards to usher in the next patient. Red placards were on hand to signal the need for more vaccine doses.

The mass vaccination event to immunize teachers and other public school workers in the district, held at Dunbar High School, was the culmination of weeks of long planning.

The incoming head of the World Trade Organization says getting countries to drop export restrictions on vaccines and medical supplies needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic will be one of her top priorities.

Nigerian economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to become the WTO's director-general on March 1. She's the first woman and first African to lead the group that governs trade rules between countries.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, big parts of the U.S. economy just turned off. Voluntary social distancing and lockdowns, like those during the first wave in March, were necessary to help "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread throughout the country, but these lockdowns had ripple effects on the economy.

In the midst of a pandemic that is taxing medical workers like never before, a doctor in a Los Angeles hospital turned a camera toward his colleagues.

Dr. Scott Kobner is the chief emergency room resident at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He's also an amateur photographer. His black-and-white photos show the suffering, anxiety and chaos unfolding in overrun COVID-19 units.

It was a couple months into the pandemic that Kobner started taking pictures of scenes from his own hospital.

Every year, as a set-up for the Tony Awards, we take you backstage to meet people who aren't even eligible. These are Broadway's essential workers – ushers, stage managers, costumers. But this year, the Tonys seem like a faraway dream; even though nominations for the shortened season were announced in October, no date has been set. So, I decided to check in with some of those essential workers I've interviewed before, to find out how they've been coping since theaters closed.

White House officials on Friday confirmed the extent of the weather's chilling effect on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, saying this week's storms created a backlog of some 6 million doses affecting all 50 states.

That number represents three days' worth of delayed shipments, said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. He added that many states have been able to cover some of the delay with their existing inventory, and that the Biden administration expects to make up the backlog shortly.

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A vaccine milestone has been reached in Wisconsin. More than a million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. The progress is to be celebrated, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

“This is really exciting news, and we have a great team to thank for it. We also still need your patience and your perseverance going forward. It will take more time, but everyone in our state will have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” said Willems Van Dijk.

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