Coronavirus: The latest news from WRVO and NPR

Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that officials are working on a winter plan for the coronavirus that will add metrics for how the state designates virus hot zones.

Cuomo said the state will continue homing in on small geographic areas where virus cases are a particular problem to avoid imposing broad statewide restrictions, considering factors such as the hospitalization rate and the availability of ICU beds.

Yuko Watanabe had to learn a lot of plant names. She lists them with as much confidence as she does her extensive soup menu. Calathea, pothos, Swedish ivy, song of India.

For over a decade, her Yuko Kitchen has fed Los Angeles Japanese comfort food — something like your friend's mom might cook for you after the school, Watanabe says. But this pandemic spring, when streets emptied and her phones grew quiet, a mini-jungle took over the chairs and tables, her cafes pivoting to sell nourishment both for the body and the soul.

On the rare occasion she leaves her room, Diane Evans uses a walker to gingerly navigate San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. Most days, the 74-year-old wears a multicolored head wrap, known as a gele, an extra-large T-shirt and plaid pajama pants.

Deprived of classes and shared meals at the senior center she calls home, she is alone most of the time, beset by numerous health problems and severe clinical depression.

Germany is extending its current coronavirus lockdown measures through mid-December, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week.

The country will remain under measures introduced in early November that include limits on private gatherings and it will keep bars, restaurants, and museums closed.

Residents will be given some leeway around the Christmas holiday. Members of one household can meet up with 10 people between Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. Children under 14 are exempt.

Sudan's last democratically elected prime minister has died of COVID-19-related complications, his party announced early Thursday.

Sadiq al-Mahdi was 84.

He died in hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where he was receiving treatment after becoming infected with the coronavirus, the National Umma Party, which he led until his death, announced Thursday.

Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily barred New York from enforcing strict attendance limits on places of worship in areas designated coronavirus hot spots, in a decision released just before midnight on Wednesday.

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus are surging. In the last week, more than 1 million people in the U.S. have tested positive. Hospitals around the country are filling up and sounding the alarm that they are short of staff and personal protective equipment.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The governor warned of a post-Thanksgiving uptick Wednesday that could stress hospitals across the state, which has recorded the highest seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases since late April.

New York recorded 6,265 new positive cases Tuesday, the highest for a single day since April 24. About 3% of tests over the past week have come back positive, more than double the rate a month ago.

With new coronavirus infections raging across the nation, El Paso, Texas, which has hit particularly hard by the virus, implemented a new curfew that started just after midnight Wednesday local time.

According to the order, the curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily is slated to run through Nov. 30.

New claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week for the second week in a row, signaling ongoing weakness in the job market as coronavirus infections continue to soar.

The Labor Department reported 778,000 people applied for state benefits in the week ending Saturday, an increase of 30,000 from the previous week.

Officials in Illinois have ordered an independent investigation into a coronavirus outbreak that killed 27 people at a state-operated veterans' home. The state's Department of Veterans' Affairs announced the decision in a statement Tuesday, pledging to "immediately address any findings from that investigation."

Michael Whitney / Flickr

The day before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest travel day of the year. But it won’t look nearly as busy this year. AAA reports the pandemic is taking a big bite out of Thanksgiving travel plans. The travel organization expects the biggest one year-decrease in Thanksgiving travel ever.

Federal health officials are likely to shorten their recommendation for how long people should quarantine to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus from the current 14 days to as few as seven.

When the Department of Health and Human Services released Pfizer's $1.95 billion coronavirus vaccine contract with Operation Warp Speed last Wednesday, the agreement revealed that the Trump administration didn't include government rights to intellectual property typically found in federal contracts.

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