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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Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has tested positive for the coronavirus. He announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he was going into quarantine.

Brady received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 18 and tested negative for COVID-19 as recently as New Year's Day. Brady, who was on the House floor this week and interacted with fellow members, said he would "begin treatment" Wednesday.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 began reporting an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste.

The reason wasn't congestion. Somehow, the SARS-CoV-2 virus appeared to be affecting nerves that carry information from the nose to the brain.

That worried neurologists.

The 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony has been postponed, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The Recording Academy announced on Tuesday that the ceremony will not take place on Jan. 31, as previously scheduled, but is instead being pushed off until March 14.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany's 16 states have agreed to extend the country's current lockdown through the end of January. Starting next Monday, people who live in coronavirus hot spots will be allowed no further than 15 kilometers (less than 10 miles) from their homes for nonessential purposes, and individuals may only meet with one other person outside their households.

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says President Trump wouldn't be allowed to visit Scotland to golf during its pandemic lockdown, responding to speculation that Trump might travel to a Scottish golf resort rather than attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

"We are not allowing people to come in to Scotland without an essential purpose right now and that would apply to him, just as it applies to anybody else," Sturgeon said after being asked about Trump on Tuesday. "Coming to play golf is not what I would consider to be an essential purpose."

Wiseye

Wisconsin Republicans moved ahead Tuesday with a fast-tracked coronavirus response bill that is opposed by Democrats and appears likely to be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers.

Even as the first doses of vaccine arrive in nursing homes and assisted living communities, the COVID-19 death toll among residents and staff of these facilities continues climbing to staggering heights, with the final month of 2020 proving to be the deadliest of the pandemic for long-term care.

There were more than 5,600 deaths linked to long-term care in the last week of December.

Naypong Studio / stock.adobe.com

Local economies across America struggled through 2020. The coronavirus pandemic brought many businesses to a grinding halt and has kept many people out of a job.

UW-Milwaukee professor and chair of the economics department Scott Adams says Milwaukee is struggling along with everyone else and is not doing much better or worse than comparable cities. 

cherryandbees / stock.adobe.com

  

Wisconsin has already begun distributing vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccines currently being administered, made by Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses spread a few weeks apart from each other.

The process to choose who becomes eligible for available doses of the vaccine has in many parts been left up to state and local health officials with guidance from the CDC and federal government. That means in each state it can look slightly different.  

In Wisconsin, frontline health care workers and long-term care facilities have been first in line.

Carlos Reyes wears a mask at home and eats alone in his bedroom. During the night, he has nightmares of accidently infecting his family with COVID-19. During the day, he works as a certified nursing assistant at nursing homes in central Massachusetts, often caring for COVID-19 patients.

Reyes assumed that as a front-line health care worker, he would be among the first to receive the vaccine. But when he asked his nursing homes about getting a shot, the answer was "no."

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%.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning health care workers that any changes to the authorized dosing schedules of COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered will significantly place public health at risk and undermine "the historic vaccination effort to protect the population" from the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

The Cherokee Nation is using its first doses of coronavirus vaccine to preserve culture in addition to saving lives.

Cherokees, based in eastern Oklahoma, have directed some of their early doses of vaccine to frontline medical workers and the elderly — and have reserved some doses for Cherokee language speakers. The Cherokee Nation has had more than 11,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths, including at least 20 Cherokee speakers.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally sabotaging more than 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Christmastime told police he did it because he believed the drug is somehow hazardous.

"He'd formed this belief they were unsafe," Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said of Steven Brandenburg on Monday during a virtual hearing, The Associated Press reported.

A hospital worker donned an inflatable, air-powered costume to spread cheer in a California emergency department on Christmas Day.

But now, dozens of hospital staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, and the hospital said the costume may be to blame.

Hospital officials said 44 staff members tested positive between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 in the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. One emergency department worker who had a shift on Christmas died from COVID-19 complications.

The national campaign to vaccinate people against COVID-19 is off to a rocky start. Expectations just a month ago were for 20 million people to be vaccinated by the end of December. But as of Monday morning, just 4.5 million people have received their first dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Matthew Horwood / Getty Images

Updated Jan. 5 at 10:41 a.m.

A Wisconsin pharmacist told police he tried to ruin hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine because he felt the medicine wasn't safe, a prosecutor said Monday.

Police in Grafton, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, arrested the Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist Steven Brandenburg last week following an investigation into the 57 spoiled vials of the Moderna vaccine, which officials say contained enough doses to inoculate more than 500 people.

All 67 of the upcoming men's March Madness games will be played in Indiana, the NCAA announced Monday, in a bid to stage the college basketball tournament that had to be canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization said it's still determining whether fans will be able to attend games.

"The 2021 version of March Madness will be one to remember, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of the event," said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball.

Interested in learning a new skill in the new year? CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that will also improve your brain health.

"The act of experiencing something new — or even doing something that's typical for you, but in a different way — can all generate these new brain cells," says Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. "We want to constantly be using new paths and trails and roads within our brain."

WisEye

Updated Tuesday 7:31 a.m. CST

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature introduced a sweeping COVID-19 bill on Monday, the first day of the session, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said lawmakers will fast track it and pass it later in the week.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday afternoon that the state had identified its first case of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus. Cuomo said the individual was a jewelry store worker in his 60s in Saratoga Springs who had no known travel history suggesting community spread of the variant is happening. The man is now recovering, Cuomo said.

Just one week after Massachusetts closed schools and day cares in March, Boston Children's Hospital saw a drastic change in asthma-related visits to the emergency room: They were down 80% from the prior two months.

Beijing says it inoculated more than 73,000 people in the first two days after China's first domestic COVID-19 vaccine was approved for commercial use.

China's capital has set up 220 vaccination centers around the city to dole out the two-step vaccine. The elderly and front-line medical workers will receive the first doses.

The grim milestones are piling up as the United States experiences another surge in coronavirus cases. Nearly 300,000 new cases were reported on Saturday. The cumulative death toll crossed more than 350,000 the same day, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.

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.

India's drug regulators gave the country a gift on New Year's Day: a vaccine against the coronavirus.

An Indian minister confirmed reports that an expert panel had authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use in India on Friday, making it the first coronavirus vaccine to be authorized in India.

"Last year began with corona, but this year is beginning with a vaccine," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters Saturday.

Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET

The United States has reached a sobering milestone while marking the new year.

On Friday, the first day of 2021, the U.S. recorded its 20 millionth confirmed coronavirus case since the beginning of the pandemic.

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