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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Chuck Quirmbach

A local health official is questioning whether the state should delay plans to start giving the COVID-19 vaccine to teachers, childcare workers, and other groups on about March 1.   

Darren Rausch directs the city of Greenfield Health Department. He said many local health directors continue to worry about insufficient supplies of the vaccine, and have communicated that to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Rausch said seniors are the main group targeted to get the vaccine this month, yet barely a third have been able to do so in Milwaukee County.

Two Florida women disguised themselves as elderly grandmothers in an unsuccessful attempt to get their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Thursday.

Tens of thousands of people who volunteered to be in studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are still participating in follow-up research. But some key questions won't be easily answered, because many people who had been in the placebo group have now opted to take the vaccine.

Even so, there's valuable information to be had in the planned two-year follow-up studies. And that motivated Karen Mott, a 56-year-old job counselor who stuck with the continuing study.

Lila Kills In Sight lost her 81-year-old mother to COVID-19 on Nov. 23.

"I really don't know who to be mad at," she said. "Who do I take my frustration to, how do I deal with it?"

Kills In Sight, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is the first to say she's not dealing with it well. She had been keeping her mom sheltered mostly in her home in the remote community of Spring Creek as the pandemic raged in South Dakota. But in September she broke her hip. Then in November she fell.

WindyNight / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Nearly one year into the coronavirus pandemic, adults continue to suffer from mental health struggles brought on by the stresses of COVID-19.

Job loss and isolation are among those stressors. Some folks are having trouble sleeping and eating, or they’re drinking more, or using other substances to deal with their worries and stress.

That’s what health experts had to say on Wednesday during the state’s Black Legislative Caucus panel discussion about rising mental health struggles in communities of color during COVID-19.

MARIUSZ BLACH / stock.adobe.com

Casinos, like restaurants and other entertainment industries, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of Wisconsin has 11 tribal governments that have signed compacts to allow for regulation of gaming and the operation of casinos. These agreements dictate the amount of money the state, local and tribal governments take home from the casinos.

Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES

President Joe Biden took the stage at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee Tuesday night in his first official trip as president. He spent much of the CNN town hall meeting discussing the coronavirus, including a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Biden took questions from people in a nearly empty theater, as attendance was limited for the sake of social distancing.

He spoke on wide range of topics including a $15 minimum wage, immigration reform, student loan forgiveness and defunding the police.

The COVID-19 vaccines are here, but if it's your turn to get vaccinated, how are you supposed to sign up?

The answers vary by place, so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources. And we're sharing guiding principles and advice for navigating the process below.

Search for your state below. (There are a few large cities with their own immunization plans that you'll find on our list as well.)

The average U.S. life expectancy dropped by a year in the first half of 2020, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population was 77.8 years – a decline of 1 year from 78.8 in 2019. For males, the life expectancy at birth was 75.1 – a decline of 1.2 years from 2019. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, a 0.9 year decrease from 2019.

In Florida, Democrats are criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who they claim is allowing politics to play a role in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. DeSantis became testy when questioned by reporters at a vaccination event near Lakewood Ranch, an upscale community on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The vaccination event was the latest in a series of state-sponsored clinics at retirement communities. Under DeSantis' "Seniors First" initiative, the COVID-19 vaccine is being made available to everyone age 65 and over in Florida — an estimated 4.5 million people.

The White House plans to increase testing capacity in the U.S. through multiple channels, officials said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administration says it will spend $650 million to expand testing for K-8 schools and settings where people congregate such as homeless shelters, via new "hubs" created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Regional coordinating centers will work to increase testing capacity, partnering with labs and universities to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.

Peter Sulewski spent nearly four years roving through Baltimore's homeless shelters and saw the toll it takes on health — even without the added threat of COVID-19.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon on Tuesday, claiming the massive e-commerce company's "flagrant disregard for health and safety requirements" during the coronavirus pandemic put the lives of workers and the general public at risk.

Biden Optimistic On Reopening Of Elementary Schools

Feb 16, 2021
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Updated Feb. 17 at 10:18 a.m. CST

President Joe Biden is promising a majority of elementary schools will be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, restating his original goal after his administration came under fire when aides said schools would be considered open if they held in-person learning just one day a week.

President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced.

Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week.

Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration.

After traveling to Wuhan, China, a team of researchers from the World Health Organization is readying a preliminary report on the origins of the coronavirus.

Wuhan is where the virus was first reported in December 2019.

The WHO team's main public conclusion so far is that it's "extremely unlikely" that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan. The scientists think the virus most likely started in bats, then jumped to other animals, then to humans.

Chuck Quirmbach

President Joe Biden is expected to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic, when he speaks during a national cable television town hall meeting in Milwaukee Tuesday night.

As more people are receiving the COVID vaccination, there's a growing focus on potential problems from variants, or mutated versions of the virus. Wisconsin researchers are trying to keep track of variants through studying genetic material in some human cells.

The massive storm sweeping across the country isn't only bringing subzero temperatures and widespread power outages to much of the U.S., it's also putting a freeze on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in several states and cities.

In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson announced on Monday that all state-run mass vaccination events scheduled for this week are canceled, citing safety concerns brought on by the extreme weather.

COVID-19 vaccines are akin to liquid gold these days. As more people become eligible, the demand continues to outstrip current supply. And while states aim to manage their weekly allotments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to ensure there are enough shots for second doses, there are scattered reports of snafus and postponed appointments.

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Wisconsin has now seen two confirmed cases of a new variant of COVID-19 that has proven to be more transmissible. This strain of the virus is known for first being discovered in the United Kingdom.

Two other new strains have also made the news, one first discovered in South Africa and another discovered in Brazil.

Maayan Silver

Updated Feb. 17 at 12:28 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services has announced a $3.1 million grant program to promote equity in the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution. 

In a joint statement, Milwaukee Aldermen Cavalier Johnson and Khalif J. Raine and Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic praised the state agency for committing to help make the process more equitable. 

When Crissy Whalin and her 12-year-old son, Zephyr Cooke, settled in the New Orleans neighborhood of Algiers Point in 2020, the last thing they expected was a front-row seat to the city's Mardi Gras comeback.

Their neighborhood has emerged as a house float hotbed in recent weeks. There are more than 140 decorated homes within walking distance and thousands more a short drive away.

"I'm from California, where we would just be complaining," Whalin said. "People in New Orleans know how to take the crap and make something great with it."

A lingering mistrust of the medical system makes some Black Americans more hesitant to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines. It has played out in early data that show a stark disparity in whom is getting shots in this country — more than 60% going to white people, and less than 6% to African Americans. The mistrust is rooted in history, including the infamous U.S. study of syphilis that left Black men in Tuskegee, Ala., to suffer from the disease.

Facing allegations that the state under-reported the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that everything reported was accurate — albeit delayed.

"All the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported," Cuomo said. "The numbers were the numbers. Always."

America's top infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci received a prestigious $1 million Israeli prize Monday, along with six other researchers who shared two additional $1 million prizes for their contributions to health and medicine.

The Dan David Prize, affiliated with Tel Aviv University, said it honored Fauci for his career in public health and "speaking truth to power" during the politicized COVID-19 crisis.

For people who've been without health insurance during the pandemic, relief is in sight.

For the first time since November, average new daily coronavirus infections in the U.S. fell under 100,000 — well below the average infection rate in December and January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The seven- day average of new infections dropped below 100,000 on Friday, continuing at that level through Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Researchers reported 83,321 new infections and 3,361 new deaths Sunday.

After three members of a family in New Zealand's largest city tested positive for the coronavirus, the city of Auckland has gone into lockdown — and the entire country is on high alert.

In a televised address Sunday evening, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country is taking a "precautionary approach that has served us so well as a country."

If you send a bouquet of roses for Valentine's Day, chances are they were grown in Colombia. It remains the No. 1 supplier of flowers to the U.S. even though the coronavirus pandemic at one point threatened to wilt the industry.

"It's been a roller coaster," said José Restrepo, co-owner and general manager of the Ayurá flower farm, located just north of Bogotá in the Andean mountain town of Tocancipá.

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