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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Susan Bence

For months, public health officials have been repeating coronavirus messaging: wear masks, social distance and get tested for possible exposure when possible. With Christmas and New Year's just days away, officials are more concerned than ever.

On Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and city health department officials held a news conference in the Miller Park parking lot. It's one of the places where COVID-19 testing is being offered. They hoped the visual reinforcement would drive their message home.

Antarctica is no longer the only continent free of the pandemic.

Thirty-six people stationed at the General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base had tested positive for the virus, Chilean officials said this week. The permanent research station is located on tip of the continent south of Chile.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Milwaukee County on Tuesday. Distribution among county behavioral health department personnel has begun.

That’s according to County Executive David Crowley. "We’ll be among some of the first to access this vaccine, and though we know that this batch won't provide enough for all eligible (behavioral health) department employees, we do expect to receive more shipments of the vaccine in the coming months until all staff who at least want to be vaccinated are able to," he said.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's district sweeps from the beaches of Santa Monica to the San Fernando Valley. Among the two million people she represents are Latino communities hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Many essential workers, many market and pharmacy and food service and restaurant and hotel workers and a lot of health care workers," she said. "So a lot of people just had to go to work."

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

The Trump administration says it has reached a deal with Pfizer to buy an additional 100 million doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccine, effectively doubling the federal government's supply from Pfizer.

The pharmaceutical giant is to deliver 70 million doses by June 30, 2021, and complete the rest of the order by the end of the following month, according to a statement released Wednesday morning by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The wheels on the nation's buses aren't going round and round very much these days.

Demand for bus travel has fallen by more than 80% during the pandemic as public health authorities urge people to avoid travel where possible.

That is raising concerns about the potential long-term damage to an essential transport method for millions of lower-income Americans even as air travel has shown signs of picking up since the Thanksgiving holiday period.

And those who have to take the bus, for whatever reason, are finding fewer options, and often higher prices as a result.

France has reopened its borders to travelers and truck drivers from the United Kingdom who show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours.

The two countries reached the deal Tuesday after France closed the route on Sunday following news of an outbreak in southeast England of a new strain of the coronavirus. The shutdown caused chaos for the crucial freight route between France and the U.K., with thousands of truck drivers stranded in the port of Dover and drivers unable to return to the continent.

COVID-19 is hitting a handful states harder than anywhere else — California, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee. And in Tennessee, hospitals are having to improvise, as nearly 3,000 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 and treatment is underway for far more COVID patients than ever thought possible.

Clinicians say they are trying to bend but not break as they wait for vaccines.

Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the nation's highest-ranking infectious disease experts, suggested on Tuesday she'll likely retire ... soonish.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing "mild symptoms," according to a statement from his office.

The Republican governor, 73, was tested after he was exposed to the virus, and learned late Monday that he was positive. His office said he is "experiencing mild symptoms with a cough and slight fatigue."

Peggy McMaster, the governor's wife, earlier contracted the virus but is asymptomatic, his office said.

Southworks / stock.adobe.com

Updated Dec. 23 10:05 a.m. CST

Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that his administration has partnered with a medical testing company to provide at-home COVID-19 tests for free if a requestor lacks health insurance coverage as the state set a new record high in deaths tied to the disease.

Chuck Quirmbach

State health officials said that as of midday Monday, more than 10,000 health care workers in Wisconsin had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Department of Health Services (DHS) expects that number to quickly rise. But vaccine supply questions are hampering estimates on when most U.S. residents will be immunized.  

Meanwhile, a state site in West Allis is about to start giving out a drug to treat some people with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.   

The head of the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech expressed confidence that his company's vaccine would be effective against a coronavirus variant rapidly infecting people across London and southern England.

U.K. officials have warned the new variant is likely to be more contagious than the various strains already circulating, though there is no evidence suggesting it is more deadly.

Andrey Popov / stock.adobe.com

Many people are eager for their chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are those who don’t share that feeling — especially in communities of color.

Mike Hutchinson said he will be getting the vaccine when it’s widely available. He's already had COVID-19 and wants to prevent it from coming back.

"I definitely plan to get it if becomes readily available for me because I have two daughters and just because of the close contact I am with people," he said. 

The nation is at a pivotal moment in the fight against the pandemic. Vaccines are finally starting to roll out, but the virus is spreading faster than ever — and killing thousands of Americans daily. And it will be months before enough people get inoculated to stop it.

That means it's critical to continue the measures that can limit the toll: mask-wearing, hunkering down, hand-washing, testing and contact tracing.

Federal officials are disappointed to find that the monoclonal antibody drugs they've shipped across the country aren't being used rapidly.

These drugs are designed to prevent people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 from ending up in the hospital. But hospitals are finding it cumbersome to use these medicines, which must be given by IV infusion. And some patients and doctors are lukewarm about drugs that have an uncertain benefit.

The Vatican says that it's "morally acceptable" to receive a vaccination for COVID-19, even if the vaccine's research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, given the "grave danger" of the pandemic.

By the end of last year, the door to a dream had begun to crack open for Lilli Rayne.

She'd spent about five years building her dog-walking and pet-sitting business into a profitable venture in Asheville, N.C.

"My whole life had been entirely where I wanted it to be at that point," she recalls.

As she built her business, Rayne also left behind her history of less-than-stellar credit.

"For the first time in my life, I had a credit score that I could have finally bought a home with," she says, a dream she'd had her entire adult life.

As Thanksgiving approached, Americans were bombarded with warnings that holiday travel and gatherings would bring a "surge on top of a surge" — setting the country on a precarious path as it entered the next round of holidays in late December.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has approved use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, just hours after the EU's drug agency gave its authorization. Inoculations are expected to begin across Europe next week.

U.S. lawmakers have announced an agreement on a handful of higher education measures that would provide meaningful help to marginalized students, students of color and many of the schools that serve them. The aid is part of a broad new set of legislation, meant to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2021. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the proposed changes this week.

More than 2 million people have passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the last two days, according to statistics provided by the Transportation Security Administration. This is despite official guidance to stay home for the holidays as the coronavirus pandemic rages and the nation's death toll continues to rise.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

People who are ages 75 and older or frontline essential workers should be next in line to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a federal advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined Sunday.

Those groups follow frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, who have already begun receiving the limited supplies of vaccines available.

Tens of thousands of health care workers in cities and states all over the country got their first doses of the new Pfizer coronavirus vaccine this past week — a monumental undertaking both scientifically and logistically — and more than seven million doses of the Pfizer and newly-authorized Moderna vaccine are being shipped out this coming week.

The United Kingdom has entered a period of intense restrictions after a mutation of the coronavirus was discovered spreading rapidly through the population of London and the southeast and east of England. Most of the country faces a strict lockdown as Christmas approaches, and several countries throughout Europe have banned travel from the United Kingdom.

The British government put several parts of England into what's known as "Tier 4" restrictions after the spike in infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions on Saturday.

A tighter lockdown in the UK, strictly limiting the movement of millions during the holidays amid worries of a possible new variant of the coronavirus. Infections are climbing dramatically.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Progress on the COVID-19 relief bill, as a lame duck President Trump continues to spread falsehoods about the election amid the continuing COVID-19 crisis and now an alleged Russian cyberattack.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Staff at Cedars-Sinai in LA got a surprise from a former COVID-19 patient last week: 800 homemade tamales. Margarita Montanez spent five days making them as a "thank you" for her care last spring.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A snafu with Operation Warp Speed leaves at least 14 states short of the vaccine doses they were promised. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks with WPLN's Blake Farmer about what that means in Tennessee.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

There was still an hour to go before Vice President Pence took the stage to stump for Georgia's two incumbent U.S. senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Both Republicans are fighting to hold onto their seats against Democratic challengers, with a runoff election set for Jan. 5.

But Pence was clearly the celebrity draw at this Nov. 20 campaign event in Canton, an Atlanta suburb. People were so eager to see him that parking spots were scarce and a long line of cars snaked through the parking lot of a community college. Some drivers jumped the curb and parked in the grass.

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