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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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.

How has tiny Israel beat out bigger countries on COVID-19 vaccinations, securing a steady stream of vials and inoculating a larger share of its citizenry than any other nation?

Israel paid a premium, locked in an early supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and struck a unique deal: vaccines for data.

Recent promising vaccine news has many people hoping to finally see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and maybe even daring to think about getting on a plane bound for snowy mountains, a tropical beach, or just anywhere.

The Pizzarello family in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., is among them. They love to travel. So much so that, Ed, the patriarch, has been hesitant to even bring up the subject during the pandemic so that his 14-year old daughter and 10-year-old son wouldn't get their hopes up.

Starting early next week, travelers and commuters will be required to wear face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation as part of a sweeping new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

In a commercial building in Weld County, Colo., a band is jamming and singing about Jesus. The stage is backlit by purple, fluorescent diamond-shaped lights. Worshippers, who are socially distanced and wearing masks, stand and sway to the music. Some sing along.

This is Mosaic Church.

Every Sunday there are three services, two in English and one in Spanish. Angel Flores is Mosaic's lead pastor and on this day, his message is about the spirit of giving.

It started out as a group of college friends who wanted to help during the pandemic. They had tech skills, so they used 3D printers to make face shields. Then they organized as a nonprofit, Philly Fighting Covid, and opened a testing site in a Philadelphia neighborhood that didn't have one yet.

Dr. Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, told NPR on Friday that the topline results from the company's coronavirus vaccine study fail to tell the full story about just how effective it actually is.

Johnson & Johnson said that 28 days after vaccination, its vaccine is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. But Stoffels says that Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is very effective where it matters most: preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

The Navajo Nation has lifted a strict weekend curfew that has been in place for months to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers lashed out Friday at rival Republicans who tried to repeal his statewide mask mandate, saying killing the order would be a ridiculous move comparable to abolishing speed limits.

Republican leaders say they want to kill the mandate not because they don't believe masks work in the fight against the coronavirus but because Evers is trampling their constituents' personal liberties.

Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

In Wisconsin and elsewhere, some people who are not at high-risk for COVID-19 infection have been able to “jump the line” and get vaccinated when providers have had extra doses.

Thirty-three-year-old Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry announced on Twitter that he was able to get the vaccine, even though he is not eligible under Wisconsin’s prioritization plan. Right now, it includes healthcare workers, first responders and people age 65 and older.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Sometime Friday afternoon, communities across Wisconsin should get the word on how much COVID-19 vaccine they can expect to receive for use next week. The issue is key, as health officials try to coordinate vaccination of not only the remainder of frontline health care workers and others in the so-called phase 1a group, but also more people age 65 and older who first started to receive their shot this week. 

On a chilly January morning, the Rev. Mary Davisson climbs up the stern ramp of the Tonsberg, an enormous ship bobbing in the murky waters at the Port of Baltimore. Davisson, the executive director and port chaplain of the Baltimore International Seafarers' Center, has spent much of her nearly two-decade career helping foreign crew members arriving in port, whether it is giving them a lift into town to buy personal items or just enjoying a coffee with them.

A global study of nearly 44,000 found that the COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe disease.

The study was conducted in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. The vaccine did better at preventing disease in the U.S. – 72% — and less well in South Africa – 57% efficacy. The efficacy seen in Latin America was 66%.

On a recent Saturday at lunchtime Michael Aredes leans his bike against a park bench. He's in a white helmet, sweating from his ride and holding an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts in a plastic cup. About 10 women are lined up on the sidewalk, socially distanced, wearing masks and leggings, but also ski hats and vests.

"Good morning everyone. Happy Saturday," Aredes says.

Slightly more than 6% of American adults have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — but a disproportionately small number of them are Black and Hispanic people.

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