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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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now blocked from Instagram after he repeatedly undercut trust in vaccines. Kennedy has also spread conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, accusing him of profiteering off vaccines and attempting to take control of the world's food supply.

"We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines," a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR on Thursday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government's decision to extend a COVID-19 lockdown into March, as she issued a stark warning that new strains of the coronavirus "may destroy any success" already achieved in keeping the pandemic in check.

With two COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States and more on the way, things are starting to look up. But virus mutations being detected around the world mean the vaccines may one day need updates to ensure they stay effective.

The Food and Drug Administration is already working on a playbook for how it could greenlight vaccine changes.

When Black business owner Jennifer Kelly applied for an emergency loan for small businesses through a major bank last spring, she found herself shut out.

Kelly, who runs a clinical psychology practice outside Atlanta, was not the only one. Businesses owned by Blacks and Latinos were often at the back of the line last year as the government rushed out hundreds of billions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans. The money was intended to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll during the pandemic.

Japan may have several million fewer coronavirus vaccine doses than originally planned because the country does not have the appropriate syringes. It's another setback to one of the slower vaccination rollouts among developed economies.

The Pfizer vaccine normally contains five doses per vial. But a special syringe known as a low dead space syringe, which expels more medicine from the space between a syringe's needle and plunger, can eke out six doses per vial.

The president of the European Commission admitted to mistakes Wednesday in the bloc's approach to inoculating its 447 million people against COVID-19, acknowledging that it was late to approve a vaccine and that officials held unrealistic expectations about how quickly one could be deployed.

As a result, "We are still not where we want to be," Ursula von der Leyen told European Parliament lawmakers in Brussels.

Why has it been so hard to get a COVID-19 vaccination? One reason may be the software that almost all medical records in the U.S. are built on.

It makes up the systems nurses and doctors type patients' vital signs and prescriptions into — whether they're getting a routine physical or going to the emergency room with a broken arm.

Chuck Quirmbach

State of Wisconsin health officials say local vaccination outlets will soon get more advance word on how much COVID-19 vaccine they can expect. Officials also say they are concerned about a second case of a variant of the coronavirus being found in Wisconsin.

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Community health centers across Milwaukee now have the COVID-19 vaccine, currently available to people 65 and older and health care workers. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he hopes that will mean more access for people of color.

Barrett said trust has been a concern when it comes to people of color considering getting the vaccine. He said it makes a difference that they can now go to places that they already have relationships with, like the Sixteenth Street Health Centers.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research on Wednesday that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. Those findings prompted new guidance on how to improve mask fit at a time of concern over fast-spreading variants of the virus.

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The Tavern League of Wisconsin holds the title of largest trade association in the United States exclusively for licensed beverage retailers with their over 5,000 members. They are also known as one of the most influential lobbying organizations in Wisconsin government.

Zach Brooke is a contributor for Milwaukee Magazine and wrote an upcoming article about the Tavern League.

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A new legal challenge to Gov. Tony Evers' latest mask mandate is before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, filed less than a week after the Legislature struck down a previous order and the governor quickly issued a new one.

The Biden administration is promising to finally solve the nation's chronic shortage of COVID-19 tests. But is the new administration doing enough, especially with the more contagious coronavirus variants now looming?

Many public health experts are encouraged by the new administration's commitment to the importance of testing. But some are concerned officials are moving too slowly.

At a recent mass vaccination clinic run by Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle, Steve Baruso, 57, sat in a chair, recovering after getting his shot.

When asked what made him eligible to get the vaccine, he replied that he actually wasn't.

"I hit the 'other' on the form," he said. That was the option for people who were not currently eligible but wanted to join the waitlist anyway.

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Updated 4:16 p.m. CST

A second case of a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus has been detected in Wisconsin, less than a month after it was first seen, health officials said Tuesday.

The variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom in December was found in Wisconsin on Jan. 12 in Eau Claire and again on Sunday in Waukesha County by lab partners of the state Department of Health Services.

The novel coronavirus outbreak almost certainly did not start in a Chinese lab but its path from animals to humans needs further investigation, a World Health Organization team said Tuesday after wrapping up a visit to China.

The comments came as scientists from the WHO and Chinese health bodies jointly presented preliminary findings after two weeks of investigating in Wuhan, the Chinese city that first detected the virus in late 2019.

As the impeachment trial begins in the Senate on Tuesday, the Capitol complex remains on high alert — protected by National Guard troops and walled-off from the public by barbed wire and perimeter fencing after last month's violence.

Despite those precautions, though, one security threat remains: COVID-19. Most senators have received at least one shot of the vaccine, including all of the Democratic caucus, but that does not eliminate risk.

When Dirigo High School, in western Maine, moved to remote learning for a few weeks last fall, sophomore Mason Ducharme started falling behind. And without athletics, he lost any motivation to keep his grades up.

"I just didn't do anything, I just sat in my room all day," he said. "And I didn't do any work. I didn't attend any classes."

Many school districts across the country have reported big drop-offs in attendance as they've shifted to remote learning. Some students, like Ducharme, dropped off the map entirely.

The U.S. is currently administering about 1.4 million vaccination shots a day. About 9.5% of people in the U.S. have already gotten one dose.

But demand still outstrips supply in cities across the country, while anecdotes abound about difficulties of trying to get appointments.

Scientists say vaccinations need to be as fast as possible to prevent more contagious coronavirus variants from taking over.

South Africa has temporarily suspended its rollout of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University coronavirus vaccine after a small clinical trial revealed the shot provided only minimal protection from mild and moderate illness caused by the virus variant that is widely circulating in the country.

Facebook is expanding its ban on vaccine misinformation and highlighting official information about how and where to get COVID-19 vaccines as governments race to get more people vaccinated.

"Health officials and health authorities are in the early stages of trying to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, and experts agree that rolling this out successfully is going to be helping build confidence in vaccines," said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health.

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The United States has now administered over 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 10% of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose.

To make sure people know what it’s like to get the vaccine, Lake Effect asked medical professionals who have been vaccinated to share their story about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Updated 1:15 p.m. CST

Wisconsin will open its first community vaccination clinic next week, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday in another sign that the state's delivery efforts are improving after weeks of struggling to get people inoculated against the coronavirus.

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The coronavirus pandemic has caused new amounts of stress for everyone. That stress can lead to unhealthy sleeping habits, low energy and an increase in migraines and headaches. Another consequence of the pandemic, according to Dr. Yasser Khaled, is an increase in trips to the dentist.

Khaled is an assistant professor at the Marquette School of Dentistry and he says their practice has seen an increase in patients since the pandemic began.

Khaled says that stress can cause two major issues in the mouth — grinding and jaw clenching.

Updated at 11:36 a.m. ET

House Democrats are renewing their investigation into the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus crisis, citing new documents and what they call evidence of political interference in the government response to the virus.

It's been more than a year since I've seen my mother. Like many families, we live a fair distance apart and the pandemic has put a stop to our visits. I was supposed to visit last April to celebrate her 90th birthday, but instead we shared a toast over the phone and tightly crossed our fingers that by summer things would be better. They weren't.

For thousands of people, the late Dr. Li Wenliang feels very much alive. They flock to his social media page on Weibo each day to write to him:

"Hey Dr. Li, I just got a second COVID shot. It hurt a little. I miss you."

"Dr. Li, I pet a cute orange cat today! I'm happy!"

"When do you think the pandemic would be over? I long for the days without a mask."

Updated at 4:58 p.m. ET

A deeply divided Supreme Court doubled down on religious rights late Friday, ruling that California can no longer continue with a ban on indoor church services put in place to fight to the coronavirus pandemic. But the court said that the state, for now, can keep in place restrictions on singing and chanting inside.

COVID-19 vaccines are scarce. Many people who want the shots can't get them yet, either because they're not yet eligible, according to priorities set by their state or county, or because there aren't any available appointments.

Ever since the coronavirus reached the U.S., officials and citizens alike have gauged the severity of the spread by tracking one measure in particular: How many new cases are confirmed through testing each day. However, it has been clear all along that this number is an understatement because of testing shortfalls.

Now a research team at Columbia University has built a mathematical model that gives a much more complete — and scary — picture of how much virus is circulating in our communities.

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