Health

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.

As coronavirus cases increase across the U.S., children have been increasingly testing positive as well.

Elizabeth Hawse, a pediatrician in Lexington, Ky., says she has seen a jump from earlier this year, when she was getting "sporadic calls."

"But over the past few weeks, we are seeing more and more kids calling the office that they've been exposed or family members exposed and more and more positive cases," Hawse tells Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition.

The Strategic National Stockpile, which the U.S. has traditionally depended on for emergencies, still lacks critical supplies nine months into one of the worst public health care crises this country has ever seen, an NPR investigation has learned.

A combination of long-standing budget shortfalls, lack of domestic manufacturing, snags in the global supply chain and overwhelming demand has meant that the stockpile is short of the gloves, masks and other supplies needed to weather this winter's surge in COVID-19 cases.

Three men carry a piece of plywood.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Vermont reported a record 148 cases Thursday, and state officials predict there will be a 50% increase in cases over the next six weeks.

As the nation gears up for a massive vaccination effort, the Trump administration is doubling down on a novel, unproven injection device by providing more than half a billion dollars in government financing for something still awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval.

Signs posted at the entrance to the grocery store in northwest Montana told customers to wear a mask. Public health officials in Flathead County urged the same. Coronavirus infection rates here are among the highest in the state. Infection rates in the state are among the highest in the United States.

And still, Craig Mann walked out of the grocery store, past the signs and toward his truck, maskless and resolute.

The pandemic that everyone's talking about?

Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Gov. Phil Scott.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Thanksgiving is one week away, and Vermonters are being urged to adjust their plans, after a recent surge in coronavirus cases led to new public health restrictions being imposed to tamp down on the troubling trend.

University of Vermont Medical Center sign against orange maple leaves.
Matthew Smith / VPR

Last month, it was announced that the University of Vermont Medical Center and Vaccine Testing Center at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine had been selected to participate in a Phase 3 trial for an Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Logo for The Frequency podcast, from VPR.
Lara Dickson / For VPR

Governor Phil Scott urges Vermonters to adhere to his administration’s new guidelines, Central Vermont Medical Center deals with an uptick in cases, and people are moving here to work remotely.

A brick building and green and white sign for the University of vermont Health Network's Central Vermont Medical Center
Anna Van Dine / VPR

COVID-19 case numbers continue to surge to record levels in Vermont, and the spread is particularly high in Washington County, where 265 cases have been reported in the last two weeks.

Updated 11:55 a.m. ET

Two drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, have announced promising interim results for their vaccine candidates, raising hopes in the U.S. and abroad that the end of the pandemic may be in sight. But, if and when the vaccines are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, distributing them presents a daunting challenge.

Coronavirus FAQ: How Do I Clean My Mask — Washing Machine? Oven? Broccoli Steamer?

Nov 14, 2020

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."

Sandy Kretschmer imagines her son Henry returning home from college, dropping his bags and then giving her a big hug. But she knows the reality of this homecoming may be a lot different.

"I'll probably have a mask on, and he'll have a mask on when I hug him," she says.

Henry plans to take a COVID-19 test a few days before he leaves Iowa State University where he's a junior, and he'll self-quarantine until he heads home to Chicago.

The front door of a building with a person going through the door.
Elodie Reed / VPR

Two weeks ago a cyberattack hit Vermont’s largest hospital, taking down many systems and radiating outward to impact several affiliated health care facilities.

Like many married and working couples first confronting the pandemic, Bianca Flokstra and Victor Udoewa tried to go on with their lives as normal.

Flokstra continued to work full time while taking care of their kids, ages 4 and 2. She also handled most of the housework, with her husband helping from time to time. It didn't work.

"Those first couple of months were really hard," Flokstra says. "There was ... a lot of fighting. A lot of tears."

New research has found that nearly 1 person in 5 diagnosed with COVID-19 is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder like anxiety, depression or insomnia within three months.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, using electronic health records for 69.8 million patients in the U.S. — including more than 62,000 diagnosed with COVID-19.

The exterior of the Vermont Department of Health office in Burlington at 108 Cherry Street.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the coronavirus, Act 46, the general election and more for Friday, Nov. 6.

On Feb. 6, a scientist in a small infectious disease lab on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campus in Atlanta was putting a coronavirus test kit through its final paces. The lab designed and built the diagnostic test in record time, and the little vials that contained necessary reagents to identify the virus were boxed up and ready to go. But NPR has learned the results of that final quality control test suggested something troubling — it said the kit could fail 33% of the time.

America is waiting on the results of a close and contentious election. And we're not sure when we'll know who won.

But one thing both parties can agree on? They're stressed.

An American Psychological Association poll showed that more than two-thirds of adults are finding the 2020 election to be a significant source of stress. This includes 76% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans.

In states across the country, voters sent a clear message they wanted restrictions on recreational drug use eased. On Tuesday, residents of Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota voted to join the ranks of 11 other states that have done so.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington made the leap to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Colorado has collected $1.23 billion in marijuana taxes and fees since 2014, including more than $302 million last year alone. Washington eclipsed Colorado that same year, collecting $395.5 million.

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