coronavirus

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday said he has asked the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to become his chief medical adviser and said he plans to call on Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration.

Millions of Americans who are expected to receive the new COVID-19 vaccinations in coming months will need to take two doses of the drug – and the U.S. government says it will issue a vaccine card and use other tools to help people follow through with their immunizations.

Get ready for one of the most unpredictable monthly jobs reports in a while.

The pandemic has come roaring back, filling hospitals with coronavirus patients, while restaurants and retail shops empty out.

That is expected to put a squeeze on job gains: Forecasters expect a report Friday from the Labor Department will show that U.S. employers added fewer workers in November than the 638,000 created a month earlier.

How much less is uncertain as the pandemic makes it hard to forecast economic indicators.

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, as governments scrambled to find rapid and reliable coronavirus tests, three states ended up turning to a small public company that just months earlier had no major customers and was losing millions of dollars.

People buying their own health insurance have even more to think about this year, particularly those post-COVID-19 patients with lingering health concerns — the "long-haulers," who join the club of Americans with preexisting conditions.

What type of plan is best for someone with an unpredictable, ongoing medical concern? That question is popping up on online chat sites dedicated to long-haulers and among people reaching out for assistance in selecting insurance coverage.

While Democrats remain more likely than Republicans to support new measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a majority of U.S. adults from both political parties now agree more steps are needed to fight the pandemic, according to the latest results from a large ongoing survey.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revised its guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Now, instead of the standard 14-day quarantine it has been recommending, the CDC says that potential exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 or seven days, depending on one's test results and symptoms.

If individuals do not develop symptoms, they need only quarantine for 10 days; if they test negative, that period can be reduced to just one week.

The pandemic rages on. More than 180,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. States and cities are closing businesses. Nearly 800,000 people are applying for unemployment every week.

Despite all this, Congress has not passed an economic relief package since late April — and a set of vital relief measures helping millions of Americans avoid financial ruin and eviction are all set to expire this month.

A sweeping new review of national test data suggests the pandemic-driven jump to online learning has had little impact on children's reading growth and has only somewhat slowed gains in math. That positive news comes from the testing nonprofit NWEA and covers nearly 4.4 million U.S. students in grades three through eight. But the report also includes a worrying caveat: Many of the nation's most vulnerable students are missing from the data.

Health care workers are expected to be first in line to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available.

It makes sense: Getting a safe, effective vaccine would help keep them and their patients healthy. Seeing doctors, nurses and medical aides getting COVID-19 vaccines would also set an example for the community.

The coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified, according to a new government study published Monday.

The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, were first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn't until about Jan. 20 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S.

The number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus set yet another record on Saturday, as cases continue to surge and public health officials warn of a worsening outlook with the holiday season just weeks away.

More than 91,500 people were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday, with 18,000 in intensive care units. That's according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project, which collects and analyzes data from across the United States. Over 6,000 patients were on ventilators.

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.

Just a few months into the coronavirus pandemic, Holly Smith had already made up her mind. She was not going to reopen her restaurant to diners until there was a vaccine. She just didn't think it was safe. When she shared the decision with her staff, they asked: Would the vaccine be mandatory?

Yes, she said. It would be.

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.

U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has developed a vaccine that initial results show to be "highly effective in preventing" COVID-19, the company announced Monday.

Pfizer is formally asking federal authorities to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The pharmaceutical giant and its partner BioNTech announced that they are submitting their request to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

Updated at 8:48 a.m. ET

The day after Christmas, millions of Americans will lose their jobless benefits, according to a new study. And that could spell financial ruin for many people, like 44-year-old Todd Anderson in the small town of Mackinaw City, Mich.

Anderson's a single dad with four kids — two of them 5-year-old twins. He lost his income after the pandemic hit in the spring. He did landscape design at resorts that host big weddings, and he says all that's been shut down.

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting minor immigrants on the grounds that they are a coronavirus threat. The government has already expelled nearly 9,000 children who crossed the border alone, seeking protection, citing a public health order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pfizer is ready to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize emergency use of the company's COVID-19 vaccine, after an updated analysis of the clinical trial data found the vaccine to be 95% effective.

After warning of "uncontrolled spread" of the coronavirus last week, the Navajo Nation entered a lockdown Monday in an effort to stop infections.

A second COVID-19 vaccine now also appears highly effective in preventing illness following exposure to the virus that causes the disease.

The biotech company Moderna Inc. said Monday that its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing disease, according to an analysis of its clinical trial.

The news comes a week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says the COVID-19 pandemic has brought "previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty," warning of an important shift in the views of essential rights on several fronts, from religious freedom to free speech.

Alito's remarks came Thursday in a keynote speech at the Federalist Society's annual National Lawyers Convention, which is being held virtually this week. The event's theme is to examine how the coronavirus is affecting the rule of law.

It's hard to overstate how much the U.S. coronavirus outbreak has deteriorated this past week, with each day ushering in new, disturbing records.

On Thursday, there were more than 150,000 new infections. It was only last week that the U.S. reached a record of more than 100,000 infections in a single day for the first time ever.

Mahua Barve lives in Frankfurt, Germany, with her husband, a son in first grade and twin daughters in kindergarten. All three children are currently attending school full time and in person. That's despite a coronavirus surge that has led Germany to shut down restaurants, bars, theaters, gyms, tattoo parlors and brothels (which are legal in the country) for November. Schools were allowed to remain open.

What Brandon Fritze misses most this year is belting out Coldplay's "Yellow" at karaoke sessions with his friends.

"I was a big karaoke guy," said Fritze. "I'd be going to the karaoke bar pretty much every night. But since the pandemic started, the bar's been shut down and that wasn't an option. I don't think I've sung in eight months now."

One early November morning, a Peking duck cook, several construction workers and a software engineer patiently lined up outside a Beijing vaccine facility, awaiting their turn to be injected with a coronavirus vaccine still awaiting regulatory approval.

Wearing a mask protects the wearer, and not just other people, from the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized in an updated scientific brief issued Tuesday. And the protective benefits of masks are stronger the more people wear masks consistently and correctly, the agency says.

Updated Wednesday 1:20 p.m. ET

Seriously ill COVID-19 patients are starting to fill up hospital beds in record numbers, and health care workers are bracing for even more patients to come in the wake of skyrocketing coronavirus infections. But the burden on hospitals is not evenly spread. Some communities, particularly in the West and Midwest are particularly hard-hit.

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden named 13 health experts to his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday, advancing his plans despite uncertainty over how much the Trump administration will cooperate amid its ongoing legal challenge to the election results. The coronavirus has spread at alarming rates in the U.S. in recent weeks.

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