Coronavirus & COVID-19 | KERA News

Coronavirus & COVID-19

Scientist at the California Department of Public Health demonstrating how to test for the novel coronavirus. No actual sample is being tested in the photo.
Credit California Department of Public Health / Via Associated Press

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The World Health Organization has officially designated the disease a pandemic. 

Below you'll find the latest stories from NPR, KERA News and the Texas Newsroom on how the disease is affecting North Texas, the state and the nation.

Here's more information on the virus from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention:

How Does The Virus Spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How You Can Protect Yourself

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. 

What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever 
  • cough 
  • shortness of breath

What You Should Do If You're Sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, the CDC recommends following the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick or are in the same room with someone you're caring for who is sick and can not wear a facemask.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

These maps are updated daily:

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• NPR is updating a national map of confirmed cases and deaths

• NPR is also updating a global map of confirmed cases and deaths.

A student from Denton Guyer High School gets his temperature checked before the graduation ceremony.
Lauren Rangel for KERA

More than 30 North Texas high schools are holding graduations this month. Not in an auditorium, but at a racetrack.

Gardening Restores Control To Lockdown Life

14 hours ago

From Texas Standard:

The pandemic didn’t make Jennymarie Jemison take up gardening. But it did give her a new sense of purpose while tending to her plants.

El Paso Strong mural
Cedar Attanasio / Associated Press

Inked on skin and hashtagged on social media, the words “El Paso Strong” united city residents after a mass shooting at a Walmart last year.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the executive order regarding in-person visits on Friday.

The restriction does not apply to visits by an attorneys meeting with clients or visits by religious leaders.

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

Two new polls out this week indicate a majority of Americans fear a "second wave" of COVID-19 cases in the near future, which may be washing away the chances for traditional presidential nominating conventions this year.

Texas is changing the way it publishes its accounting of coronavirus tests after the practice of conflating two types of tests was disclosed last week.

Toilet paper has been an issue since the start of the pandemic, but now toilets themselves are the concern. As stay-at-home restrictions are lifting, many are feeling a long pent-up urge to go out, but what's stopping some is concern about their urge to go while they're out.

As in, use the bathroom.

Loath to risk the germs in a public restroom, if they can even find one that's open, many are limiting their outings while others are getting creative.

Associated Press

Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting North Texas. 

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Bars in Texas can reopen at 25% capacity Friday as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s phased plan to end COVID-19 shutdowns.

Art on Sixth Street in downtown Austin has coronavirus-related themes.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

As Texas inches away from its economic shutdown and people resume sharing public and sometimes confined spaces, the question of whether to wear a face mask has become a way to pick sides in what’s quickly becoming a coronavirus culture war.

In this screen grab from May 18, 2020, Collin County District Court video livestreamed on YouTube, Collin County District Judge Emily Miskel, upper left, facilitates proceedings during jury selection via Zoom.
Collin County District Court/YouTube via AP

The potential jurors popped onto the screen one by one. They confirmed their names and told the judge how they were connecting to the court: on laptops, tablets and iPhones.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that state governors should allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to reopen immediately.

In brief comments at the White House, Trump said houses of worship are "essential places that provide essential services." Churches have faced restrictions for gatherings and ceremonies as public health officials worked to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some have chafed at the restrictions.

Texas Unemployment Rate Hits Worst On Record At 12.8%

May 22, 2020
The state's April jobless rate was 12.8% — Texas' worst monthly tally on record.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

The state’s April jobless rate was 12.8% — Texas’ worst monthly tally on record.

That number, included in the Labor Department’s monthly report released Friday, is the government’s clearest and most comprehensive look at the economic devastation in Texas since the coronavirus pandemic first swept the state in March.

U.S. government buildings, military posts and embassies will fly the flag at half-staff through Memorial Day weekend in memory of the nearly 100,000 people who have died of COVID-19, President Trump announced Thursday night. The decision comes after Democratic leaders in Congress sent a letter to the president requesting the gesture.

A red brick house stands with a sign that says "AVAILABLE" out front.
Donna McWilliam / Associated Press

Some people are still looking to buy houses during the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic slump. So, a Fort Worth-based nonprofit is helping out with virtual classes.

Shutterstock

From lockdowns to unemployment to reopening, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is taking a deep dive into how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect mental health.

Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

The number of Texas families applying for federal aid to afford groceries almost doubled in April compared with an already high number the month before as record numbers of Texans continue to also request unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caodan Tran used to work in the funeral industry. Now, she's gathering like-minded people to talk about death.
Courtesy

COVID-19 has killed nearly 100,000 Americans — and each one of them had people who loved them. They had family and friends who’ll mourn their passing. But, unfortunately, safety measures like social distancing and stay-at-home orders have complicated an already difficult situation. 

Eric Gay / Associated Press

The toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is staggering: More than 90,000 Americans have died of the disease and more than 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. While the pain is widespread, it hasn’t been equal.

American Airlines aircrafts are seen at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
Associated Press

Gov. Greg Abbott lifted air travel restrictions into Texas for those coming from states and major cities that have been considered COVID-19 hot spots. The change will take effect immediately, Abbott announced Thursday.

Carpenters John Mackie, of Canton, Mass., left, and Doug Hathaway, of Holliston, Mass., right, apply trim to a newly installed plastic barrier in an office area, at Boston University.
Associated Press

Growing numbers of U.S. colleges are pledging to reopen this fall, with dramatic changes to campus life to keep the coronavirus at bay. Big lectures will be a thing of the past. Dorms will will be nowhere near capacity. Students will face mandatory virus testing. And at some smaller schools, students may be barred from leaving campus.

Donna Heath is a manager at The Barn Door Restaurant in San Antonio.
Christopher Lee for The Texas Tribune

Serving San Antonio for more than 60 years, The Barn Door Restaurant has long prioritized treating patrons with warmth and friendliness. Donna Heath has proudly upheld that standard as a manager, and she often greets guests by name and sometimes with a hug.

Publicity around the drug hydroxychloroquine spiked this week when President Trump revealed that he's taking it to prevent COVID-19.

All the attention on the drug in recent months is increasingly spilling into science and making it harder for some researchers to actually study whether the drug has potential for COVID-19.

Doctors have used hydroxychloroquine for decades to treat autoimmune conditions and to prevent malaria.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

A federal appeals court has temporarilyput on hold a lower court’s sweeping ruling that would have allowed all Texas voters to qualify to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bruce McCall, 5, laughs as he eats his lunch behind plastic barriers during martial arts daycare summer camp at Legendary Blackbelt Academy in Richardson on May 19.
LM Otero / Associated Press

After months of home schooling and lost sports seasons, millions of Texas children may get a taste of a somewhat normal summer after all — if their parents go for it.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week said child care facilities can reopen immediately and set the stage for a return to summer camp, youth sports leagues and even summer school.

Drivers sit in traffic on I-45 northbound at North Main Street.
Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media

During the first four weeks of stay-at-home orders, ozone pollution across Texas dropped by an average of 18%, as people stayed at home and drove less, according to a study from the Houston Advanced Research Center in The Woodlands.

Students and teachers walk through the halls at Cactus Elementary School.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to destabilize public education, Texas school districts are waiting to learn whether a federal stimulus package could help shore up rocky budgets.

Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a hit in the paychecks of close to half of U.S. households, the Census Bureau says.

Since March 13, 47% of adults say they — or another adult in their home — have lost employment income, while 39% say they're expecting their households to earn less from work over the next four weeks.

With the first of the month coming in less than two weeks, more than a fifth of adults report they have just slight or no confidence in their ability to make their next rent or mortgage payment on time.

Sidney Smith, 25, was the first in her family to get her undergraduate degree and just completed law school at Baylor University. Although she'd hoped to get a job in city government, most cities are not hiring right now.
Sergio Flores for The Texas Tribune

For four years, Aman Dontula successfully navigated the grueling world of software engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He maintained high grades in rigorous computer science courses and participated in hackathons, all while ceaselessly competing for prestigious internships.

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