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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POOL / Getty Images

Updated 3:17 p.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the first bill passed by the Legislature to address the coronavirus pandemic in 10 months on Friday, a Republican-backed measure that Democrats said would do nothing to combat the virus or help reopen the state.

Evers vetoed the bill that put $100 million toward combating the virus two hours after the Senate voted along party lines to send it to him. The move came as Wisconsin topped 6,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

The Biden administration is finalizing contracts with six companies to increase the supply of at-home coronavirus tests – a plan that would bring more than 60 million tests to the U.S. market by the end of this summer, officials from the White House COVID-19 Response Team said on Friday.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

Hiring resumed just tepidly last month after a slump in December, as the labor market faces a long climb to recover the millions of jobs lost during the pandemic.

U.S. employers added 49,000 jobs in January, after a revised drop of 227,000 the month before. Unemployment fell to 6.3%, from 6.7% in December, as hundreds of thousands of people left the workforce.

Industries that saw notable job gains in January include business and professional services and finance, but bars and restaurants continued to lose jobs.

Georgia Washington, 79, can't drive. Whenever she needs to go somewhere, she asks her daughter or her friends to pick her up.

She has lived in the northern part of Baton Rouge, a predominantly Black area of Louisiana's capital, since 1973. There aren't many resources there, including medical facilities. So when Washington fell ill with COVID-19 last March, she had to get a ride 20 minutes south to get medical attention.

Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET

The House quickly approved a budget resolution intended to speed the drafting of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The Senate approved the same budget resolution early Friday morning. With the Senate evenly divided, Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote.

Steve Larimore was hoping to triple the size of his garden this year.

Once the seed catalog arrived at his home near Bend, Ore., Larimore excitedly got his order together. He then went online and began adding the different seed varieties to his cart, only to discover about a third of the items he wanted were unavailable.

Tomatoes? Sold out. Kale? Gone. Sweet corn? Nope.

"I was pretty discouraged," he says. "There were some things that I've grown before that I really like and I wanted to grow again and they didn't have those."

It had been months since Tremellia Hobbs had an excuse to bring out the pompoms. Before the pandemic, they were a crowd favorite during movie nights and bingo tournaments that Hobbs organized as activities director at the nursing home.

A third coronavirus vaccine candidate has requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Johnson & Johnson submitted its application Thursday for the company's single-dose inoculation.

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin approved a joint resolution Thursday overriding Gov. Tony Evers' most recent COVID-19 state of emergency, abolishing a state-wide mask mandate. In response, Evers declared a new state of emergency. Effective immediately, Wisconsinites must again wear masks in public places.

Jack Hurbanis

Updated 4:36 p.m. CST

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new statewide mask order on Thursday, an hour after the Republican-controlled Legislature voted to repeal his previous mandate saying he didn't have authority to make such a decree.

Evers and the Legislature have been at odds throughout the pandemic but the latest moves created an unprecedented level of whiplash. Republican lawmakers last year persuaded the state Supreme Court to scrap Evers' stay-at-home order and a state appeals court halted the limits he placed on indoor gatherings.

Less than three weeks into the new Biden administration, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has headed up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, is encouraged by the new president's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was very clear what President Biden wanted ... and that is that science was going to rule," Fauci says. "That we were going to base whatever we do, our recommendations or guidelines ... on sound scientific evidence and sound scientific data."

A confirmed COVID-19 case at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, Australia, is forcing organizers of a major tennis tournament to mandate that more than 500 players and their staffs "be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result" just days before play is set to begin.

Athletes prepping for the Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament and scheduled for Feb. 8 – 21, will not be permitted to leave their rooms until they test negative for the coronavirus.

Chuck Quirmbach

A federal report released on Feb. 1 says nationally, only 38% of nursing home workers accepted a COVID-19 vaccination shot when it was first offered in December or January.  The document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the percentage of those workers being immunized may have gone up in the last few weeks. 

With millions of older Americans eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty.

The efforts to vaccinate people who are 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems.

Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET

Like residents around the country, millions of Floridians are anxious to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but the process of signing up for the shots has been confusing. Until recently, the process was different in each of the state's 67 counties.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

The state of Wisconsin says it's trying to ship more of the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities, including parts of the Milwaukee area. Meanwhile, local officials say they're trying to reach out to a broader group of potential vaccine recipients. 

It's time to up your mask game.

With new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., and transmission levels still very high in many places, some public health experts recommend that Americans upgrade from the basic cloth masks that many have been wearing during the pandemic.

"A cloth mask might be 50% effective at blocking viruses and aerosols," says Linsey Marr, a researcher at Virginia Tech who studies airborne virus transmission. "We're at the point now ... that we need better than 50%."

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The City of Milwaukee is relaxing some parts of its coronavirus health order, as infection rates decline. The new health order goes into effect Friday.

Counting the dead is one of the first, somber steps in reckoning with an event of enormous tragic scope, be that war, natural disaster or a pandemic.

This dark but necessary arithmetic has become all too routine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

January was the deadliest month so far in the U.S.; the virus killed more than 95,458 Americans.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Efforts to immunize people 65 and older against COVID-19 are stepping up this week in Wisconsin. Tuesday, the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee will hold a second day of vaccinating hundreds of seniors who have appointments.

But a city health official says they've had to take steps to prevent other people from unfairly coming in, and he says, questions about vaccine supply continue to inject uncertainty into the process. 

Unable to tame a third wave of coronavirus infections after a month-long state of emergency, Japan announced Tuesday it is extending the emergency for another month. The move comes despite a mounting toll on the economy and the threat of bumping up against the country's Summer Olympics preparations.

OK. So what in the heck is going on with all these variants? Why is everyone so worried? And how do they work?

To answer these questions, let's go back in time to January 2020, when we were all blissfully going about our lives, eating in restaurants, cramming into elevators at work and dancing at house parties on the weekends.

Back then, the coronavirus looked a bit like this (well, not really, but if it was made of Legos, it would look like this).

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective in protecting people from developing COVID-19 symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet on Tuesday.

The study follows a Phase 3 trial in Moscow hospitals and clinics that included nearly 22,000 participants age 18 and older.

The vaccine, known as Gam-COVID-Vac, "was well tolerated in a large cohort," the researchers said. It was administered in two doses, 21 days apart.

As the virus that causes COVID-19 continues its global attack, it has done what scientists predicted it would do — it has given rise to new, slightly different strains. How significant some of those strains will be to the pandemic is now under intense study. Meanwhile, demand for the currently available vaccines is outstripping the early supply, and some scientists have sparked controversy by suggesting holding off on booster shots until more people have had their initial shots.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

There’s been a lot of confusion over exactly who can currently get the COVID-19 vaccine and when. Nearly a year into the pandemic, a lot of people are ready to get the vaccine as a means of returning to a normal life — whatever that means.  

But due to limited availability, the government is prioritizing the roll-out.

What’s clear is that being part of the eligible group doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll move up in line, at least not right away.

“There’s a big difference between vaccine eligibility and availability," Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley says.

AstraZeneca will deliver nine million additional doses to the European Union in the first quarter of this year, bringing the total number of doses to 40 million, but falling well short of earlier supply promises.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her announcement Sunday that the company would also deliver the vaccines one week earlier than originally scheduled, and that the company planned to expands its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

For nearly an hour Saturday, about 50 vaccination opponents and right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump delayed COVID-19 vaccinations when they protested at the entrance to Dodger Stadium, the site of a mass vaccination campaign.

Holding signs that said things such as "COVID=Scam," "Don't be a lab rat" and "Tell Bill Gates to go vaccinate himself," the protesters caused the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the stadium entrance as a precaution. People in hundreds of cars, waiting in line for hours, had to wait even longer.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET on Monday

A group of Republican senators met with President Biden on Monday evening to detail a smaller counterproposal to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, an alternative they believe could be approved "quickly by Congress with bipartisan support."

In November, I reported for NPR on a scientific paper that estimated millions of years of life could be lost due to prolonged school closures in the U.S. — far more, in fact, than might be lost by keeping schools open. The paper has since been corrected and critiqued. The central question it tried to answer remains.

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