coronavirus

In recent days, the Trump administration has organized dozens of flights to deliver surgical masks and other critical medical supplies around the country, working with a half dozen major medical distributors to get those supplies "to the right place at the right time."

But if your state isn't considered the right place, that system can be frustrating.

"When you look at those five or six national distributors, Montana is sure as heck not getting much luck out of them," Gov. Steve Bullock said in an interview.

Who does and doesn't get to vote in November could rest on how states, political parties and the federal government respond to the coronavirus threat to U.S. elections.

It's the question on everyone's minds: What will it take for us to come out of this period of extreme social distancing and return to some semblance of normal life?

It turns out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working on a plan to allow the U.S. to safely begin to scale back those policies. CDC Director Robert Redfield spoke with NPR on Thursday, saying that the plan relies on not only ramped-up testing but "very aggressive" contact tracing of those who do test positive for the coronavirus, and a major scale-up of personnel to do the necessary work.

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The WRVO newsroom will use this space to provide updates about the coronavirus and COVID-19 in New York. Scroll down to see the most recent news and information.

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211 CNY is the call center for five central and northern New York counties that connects people with basic needs. Their call volume has increased drastically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Access to food and paying bills are among the top concerns. 

The Department of Health and Human Services is stepping back from a plan to end support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country.

Instead the agency says local authorities can choose whether they want to transition to running the programs themselves or continue with federal oversight and help.

The number of patients being treated at overflow hospitals in New York City has more than doubled in the last two days, the Department of Defense says.

On Thursday, military doctors and nurses were treating 189 patients at the overflow hospital at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, including 15 patients who are being treated in an intensive care unit inside the facility. The Navy hospital ship, the U.S.N.S. Comfort, currently has 53 patients, including 10 who are critically ill with COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the two facilities had fewer than 100 patients combined.

Amid growing concerns about military readiness, a sailor from the coronavirus-sidelined aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt became the first crew member to be hospitalized in intensive care in Guam Thursday. He is one of more than 400 of the ship's sailors who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Thomas E. Lo is an anesthesiologist who works at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York. Since the coronavirus outbreak, his job has gotten dangerous.

"The exposure risk as an anesthesiologist is extremely high because when we intubate a patient, we are literally less than a foot away from the patient, who is in distress, and we're right by their airway, which is where the virus is," Lo tells All Things Considered.

And that exposure risk is made worse by widespread shortages of crucial personal protective equipment, or PPE, like masks, gowns and gloves.

Updated at 7:30 p.m.

President Trump said more oil producers are "getting close to a deal" to try to put a floor under prices as demand for energy plummets amid the global pandemic.

Trump said at his daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday that he'd just finished a conference call with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia and that he hoped they'd agree on a cut or another solution that would stabilize the cost per barrel.

The worst outbreaks of COVID-19 so far have been in colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere during winter or early spring. Will warmer weather slow the transmission?

Could the Southern Hemisphere see outbreaks intensify as that part of the globe moves into winter?

And is it possible that transmission might be naturally interrupted as it is each year for the seasonal flu?

These are some of the key questions about COVID-19 that scientists are trying to answer.

California is releasing thousands of inmates early due to the pandemic without adequate transportation, support services or housing once they get out, statewide prison advocates and reentry service providers say.

"Absolutely do not stop folks from coming home, but we need realistic resources," says London Croudy, with Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, a nonprofit that advocates for inmates' rights and the formerly incarcerated. "We want to be there for these folks, but we need help!"

In a remarkably prophetic report last summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency accurately predicted that a nationwide pandemic would result in a shortage of medical supplies, hospitals would be overwhelmed and the economy would shut down.

The warnings were contained in the 2019 National Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, published last July. Its existence was first reported by E&E News.

Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET

Boris Johnson is out of intensive care.

The British prime minister's office announced Thursday that medical workers have moved him back to the regular ward at St. Thomas' Hospital in central London, where he continues to receive treatment for persistent symptoms linked with COVID-19.

"An ICU. What is it?" asks Dr. Robert Foronjy. It's late afternoon. He's in his office at University Hospital Brooklyn.

"It's people," he says. "You think of an ICU, maybe you think four walls, some beds. But really it's people."

Some runners are are still jogging outside, while others are posting joke videos about sprinting in place on soapy floors. Weightlifters are filling bags with canned goods and shoulder-pressing milk jugs. But what's a swimmer to do?

"Yeah, it's difficult. They call them dryland exercises," says Lauren Anneberg, a volunteer coach at the Capital YTri triathlon team in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning that New York City could require an additional 45,000 medical workers by the end of April to help reinforce a hospital system that has been stretched dangerously thin by the COVID-19 crisis.

WRVO News (file photo)

A seventh person has died of COVID-19 in Onondaga County, officials said Thursday. According to a news release, health officials say the person was a white male in his late-50s with underlying health conditions who was hospitalized. 

As of Thursday, there were 442 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county. 43 people are hospitalized, 23 of them in critical condition. This is the sixth death in the county in the last eight days. All of the deaths involved people with underlying conditions. 

Forget living paycheck to paycheck. Many families have lost work during the pandemic and are running out of cash as they wait for unemployment checks and government rescue money to arrive.

These are highly unusual times, and family budgeting recommendations are also unconventional.

Kathy Hauer, a financial planner based in Aiken, S.C., says she's telling people to do things she has never recommended before: "Defer as many payments as possible and and worry about it later."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has made it a habit these days to get on television every evening, guiding his country through the coronavirus pandemic.

Last night, the 75-year-old held a marathon session. He chastised his security forces for using excessive force to enforce the lockdown. People should be encouraged to go back to their homes and if they refuse, arrest them, he counseled, as one of his security chiefs looked on.

In separate press conferences, both the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City said social distancing as well as the restrictions on nonessential businesses are working to flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking in Albany, pointed to lowering rates in the state of hospitalizations, intubations and people admitted to ICUs, telling reporters, "Our efforts are working. They're working better than anyone projected they would work. That's because people are complying with them."

Under threat of "retaliation" from President Trump, India earlier this week reversed its export restrictions and some companies are ramping up production of a malaria drug Trump has touted as a potential game-changer for fighting COVID-19.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the highest daily death toll yet, saying  799 New Yorkers died of the coronavirus.

“You’re talking about 799 lives,” said Cuomo, who said he has to bring in additional funeral directors to deal with all of the dead.

"If you ever told me as governor I’d have to take these actions, I couldn’t even contemplate," Cuomo said.

The trend of fewer people being admitted to hospitals with the virus continues downward, with 200 people being admitted Wednesday. Cuomo said that’s the lowest number since the "nightmare" began.

During the coronavirus pandemic, people have jettisoned all manner of routines, and grooming is no exception.

On social media, many men are leaning into self-isolation with the #QuarantineBeard. Comedian Jim Carrey, for one, is putting down the razor until "we all go back to work," encouraging his Twitter followers to join him in his "meaningless transformation," using the hashtag #letsgrowtogether.

Last week, the Army scrambled to set up a 250-bed field hospital in an events center next to Seattle's baseball stadium. This week, the state has decided it doesn't need it.

Pope Francis says the COVID-19 pandemic represents a chance for creativity and positive change, urging people to reconnect with the real world and reject "throwaway culture."

The pontiff's comments came by way of an interview with Commonweal magazine published Wednesday. Francis also said the coronavirus crisis has revealed that many decisions are made solely on economic terms; he also says the ongoing outbreak is exposing what he calls "functional hypocrisy" at the highest levels of government.

Andrea Hanks / Official White House/Flickr

The White House is expected to hold a Coronavirus Task Force press conference with the latest updates on the coronavirus response. The briefing will begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST. 

For continuing local coverage of the coronavirus visit our live blog.  

Live video will be available below as soon as the press conference begins.

[Note: If it is after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 and the video below does not display, please refresh the page.]

Senate Democrats blocked a GOP effort to add $250 billion in coronavirus-related small-business loans.

"We need more funding — and we need it fast," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. "To my Democratic colleagues, do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more. We do not have to do everything right now."

Congressional Republicans and the White House want to increase the total amount of loans available through the Paycheck Protection Program from $350 billion to $600 billion.

Almost everyone knows each other in Camp Hill, Pa., a cozy little community of about 7,500 people near Harrisburg.

But like many places across the country, Camp Hill is on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. So last week, Leigh Twiford, president of the local borough council, held an online town hall using a Zoom video conference.

"We just wanted to get the word out to our residents that ... we're here, we're open, you know, the doors are locked, but we're still working," Twiford said.

The U.S. is enduring a "very bad week" during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. But he also says that the American public's embrace of physical separation and other restrictions is sharply reducing projections of the death toll from the respiratory virus.

The final toll currently "looks more like 60,000 than the 100,000 to 200,000" that U.S. officials previously estimated, Fauci said.

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