COVID-19

Coronavirus FAQ: How Do I Protect Myself From The U.K. Variant?

Jan 8, 2021

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

I'm hearing about virus variants that might be more easily transmitted. I'm worried one might be coming soon to my neck of the woods! What precautions should I be taking?

The U.S. has for the first time recorded more than 4,000 deaths in one day from complications of COVID-19.

Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center reported 4,085 coronavirus-related deaths on Jan. 7, bringing the total U.S. death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 365,882. Both figures continue to far outpace the virus' toll in other nations.

As coronavirus cases soar in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" and says hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed.

"The threat this virus poses to our city is at crisis point," Khan said in a statement on Friday.

stnorbert / Flickr

For the first time, most New York employees now have access to paid sick leave. 

Oneida County Government Facebook

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Picente announced the test results Tuesday, noting he has not experienced any symptoms yet.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the New York State health department testing labs have discovered a case of the more contagious form of the coronavirus first discovered in the United Kingdom.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County wants to help residents in assisted living facilities get vaccinated for COVID-19. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said most of the nursing home residents in the county have already received their first COVID vaccinations. What worries him are the assisted living facilities that haven’t received the vaccine yet.

Paramedics in Southern California are being told to conserve oxygen and not to bring patients to the hospital who have little chance of survival as Los Angeles County grapples with a new wave of COVID-19 patients that is expected to get worse in the coming days.

The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued a directive Monday that ambulance crews should administer supplemental oxygen only to patients whose oxygen saturation levels fall below 90%.

England will go under a new strict national lockdown through mid-February in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Monday address.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

As the new year begins, New York state leaders face two major challenges. One is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as infection rates spike again and a vaccine rollout begins. The second is the state’s related multibillion-dollar budget deficit, which needs to be closed by spring.

Growing up in the 1930s in a small, marshy town in the Calabrian region of Italy, Rose Frusciante was constantly bombarded by mosquitoes. But one bite in particular proved dangerous.

Frusciante, who is now 85, still remembers the sweating, fever and chills that followed as well as being heaped under blankets and all the clothing she had as her mother desperately tried to keep her warm. The tiny bite had given her malaria, which also claimed the lives of three of her siblings.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Sunday

The U.S. has hit another devastating milestone: COVID-19 has killed more than 350,000 people in the country, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The grim number comes as a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across dozens of countries.

Authorities in France say police struggled to shut down a days-long rave that attracted some 2,500 people and was held in defiance of a curfew and ban on large gatherings.

The massive party, which was planned to run from New Year's Eve and into Tuesday, was held in an abandoned warehouse in Lieuron, not far from the northwestern city of Rennes. Some attendees reportedly came from the United Kingdom and Spain.

As stores are about to open on Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan, a man sits on a stool at the front of a line of people waiting for COVID-19 tests. The time "5:38 a.m." is scrawled on the pavement in front of him in eye-catching yellow.

"I let my chalk do the talking," says Robert Samuel, explaining that he wants people to see how early he showed up for his client, and that he could do the same for them.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

A Milwaukee pharmacist was arrested Thursday and accused of "tampering with and causing the destruction" of more than 550 doses of the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus last week, Grafton, Wis., police confirmed.

In a statement, Grafton Police Department officials said the pharmacist — now fired from the Advocate Aurora Health hospital system — was arrested on recommended charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.

Exactly one year ago today, the World Health Organization first learned of a cluster of a few dozen pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China of "unknown" origin. The cause, of course, would turn out to be the coronavirus behind the current pandemic. Here's a by-the-numbers summary of the toll the virus has taken on countries across the globe since that fateful day.

When Dana Tamim made the difficult decision to cancel her wedding in August, she was crushed.

"Honestly, I don't think that I'm ever going to get over it," she says.

The 24-year-old lives in Montreal and is Muslim. In her religion, she says, "you can't really live with someone unless you're married."

But Tamim and her fiancé had already signed the lease for a new apartment. They ended up having a quick ceremony to make things legal, so they could move in together.

China's medical products agency has given market approval to the country's first COVID-19 vaccine, made by state-owned Sinopharm. The conglomerate says its vaccine has a 79% efficacy rate — surpassing the widely accepted standard of 50% efficacy.

When the coronavirus hit the U.S., hospitals issued strict limitations on visitors. Nurses and doctors started acting as liaisons to the sick and dying for family members not allowed at bedsides. As deaths reach new daily highs, that work is not getting any easier. The emotional toil of adapting to new dynamics with patients and families at one rural hospital in Livingston, Mont., is a case study of what health care workers are grappling with all over the country.

Snowstorms, holidays and general inexperience in handling a pandemic response is to blame for a "lag" in the number of Americans so far vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials.

The federal government previously estimated that 20 million Americans would receive the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine by the end of the year. But as 2020, a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, comes to a close on Thursday, the government appears set to fall well short of that goal.

A now-former employee at a Wisconsin medical center "intentionally removed" 57 vials of a coronavirus vaccine from refrigeration, forcing officials to throw out nearly 500 doses, according to an internal investigation.

Several people who were at a local New York City Republican club's Christmas party have tested positive for the coronavirus after a video surfaced showing attendees celebrating indoors without masks, Queens Daily Eagle reports.

Three cases have been identified by the Eagle. These include James Trent, who has since been hospitalized.

With the arrival of winter and the U.S. coronavirus outbreak in full swing, the restaurant industry expected to lose more than $230 billion in 2020 is clinging to techniques for sustaining outdoor dining even through the cold and vagaries of a U.S. winter.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

While many New Yorkers will be happy to put 2020 behind them, there’s no denying it was a year like no other. At the Capitol, the Legislature took a back seat as Gov. Andrew Cuomo gained power and popularity among residents who eagerly tuned in for his coronavirus briefings.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Officials are suggesting central New Yorkers limit their New Year’s Eve activities this year. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said the safest way to celebrate is to stick with the people you live with.

The new highly contagious coronavirus strain from the U.K. has spread to Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday.

He made the statement during an online conversation about the pandemic with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, but Newsom offered little additional information about the circumstances of the diagnosis.

The first case of the coronavirus variant in the U.S. was detected in Colorado on Tuesday. Experts have said it spreads faster than the common strain.

Coronavirus Is Canceling New Year's Celebrations

Dec 30, 2020

Times Square will welcome the new year void of the thousands of spectators who traditionally crowd midtown Manhattan. As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the country, event organizers will host a virtual ball-dropping celebration.

California's telemetry nurses, who specialize in the electronic monitoring of critically ill patients, normally take care of four patients at once. But ever since the state relaxed California's mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios in mid-December, Nerissa Black has had to keep track of six.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The list of people eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in New York state continues to expand and now includes urgent care center workers, those administering the vaccine and residents of addiction facilities. The central New York region is expected to have more than 36,000 doses of the vaccine delivered by the end of the week. Some people could be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their employment.

Updated at 6:30 a.m. ET

Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who won a runoff earlier this month to represent Louisiana's northeastern 5th District, died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19.

Letlow was set to be sworn in as U.S. representative on Jan. 3.

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