Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 needed more than three months to infect 100,000 people worldwide, most of them in China. But the number of cases has surged since hitting that milestone earlier this month, with health agencies reporting another 100,000 people becoming infected in just 12 days, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Updated at 8:53 p.m. ET

West Virginia is no longer coronavirus-free.

It was the final state without any reports of infection by the highly contagious coronavirus, but on Tuesday evening Gov. Jim Justice announced officials have confirmed the state's first case.

"We knew it was coming," Justice said at a news conference.

"We've prepared for this and we shouldn't panic. We should be cautious. We should be concerned, but we shouldn't panic. We ought to be West Virginia mountaineer strong always," he added.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The United States has now begun its first week of widespread school closures and restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses, with the COVID-19 pandemic remaking daily life for millions of Americans. And the White House added new recommendations Monday, calling for millions of people to work from home and to home-school their children if that's possible.

"The EU disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation," the heads of the European Union said Thursday, expressing their displeasure with President Trump's plan to block visitors from 26 European countries from entering the United States.

"The Coronavirus is a global crisis and requires cooperation," the EU leaders said.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday.

"This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

It's the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 "swine flu" in 2009.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

The coronavirus outbreak has now infected more than 1,000 people in nearly 40 U.S. states — and the country's top authority on infectious diseases says things will only get worse.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warns that the number of cases of the COVID-19 viral disease will continue to grow because containment measures and contact tracing have failed to prevent community spread of the virus.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

New York is creating a "containment area" around a community in New Rochelle, in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus in an area that quickly became the state's largest source of COVID-19 infections, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

"It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster in the country," Cuomo said. "And this is literally a matter of life and death."

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

California's Sacramento County is calling off automatic 14-day quarantines that have been implemented for the coronavirus, saying it will focus instead on mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

The change is an acknowledgement that the county cannot effectively manage the quarantines while its health system copes with coronavirus cases. It also reflects problems with the U.S. government's coronavirus testing program — issues that slowed efforts to identify people with the deadly virus and to contain COVID-19.

Israel is taking the extraordinary step of requiring a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday. Israel has reported nearly 40 cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In a brief video announcing the new policy, Netanyahu said the decision was a difficult one to make. He added that the policy will force people flying into Israel to enter a two-week home quarantine period and that it will be in effect for two weeks.

Updated at 8:10 p.m. ET

After several days of circling off the coast of California, the Grand Princess cruise ship has docked at a port in Oakland.

The ship has 3,533 people on board — including at least 21 who have tested positive for the new coronavirus, out of 46 people who were in the first round of testing.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Twenty-one people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California have tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19, Vice President Pence announced Friday.

The Grand Princess had been returning to San Francisco after a cruise to Hawaii and has been kept away from port while a small portion of the roughly 3,500 people on board are tested for the coronavirus.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

The Grand Princess cruise ship is in limbo off the California coast after a former passenger became the state's first known person to die from COVID-19. Health workers say they will now test some current passengers to determine whether they have the respiratory virus.

"We are going to be flying testing kits to the cruise ship, and we are going to be sending those quickly back to the state," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference late Wednesday. "We'll be able to test very quickly within just a few hours."

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 11 people, after officials reported fatalities in California and Washington state on Wednesday. The most recent death is connected to a cruise ship that traveled from the U.S. to Mexico.

Officials in Placer County, Calif., announced that an elderly resident has become the first person to die from the illness in California. The patient, who was not identified, had underlying health conditions, according to the county.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is now in at least 75 countries, the World Health Organization said in a Wednesday update on the respiratory disease that has killed more than 3,200 people globally. Italy is being hit particularly hard, with more than 2,000 cases.

Despite the increase in cases, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, "We can push this virus back."

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

The coronavirus death toll in Washington state now stands at nine, with a total of 27 confirmed cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The newly revised tally includes two people who died in the Seattle area last week and have since been found to have been infected with the novel coronavirus, the health department in King County, Wash., announced Tuesday.

The city of San Antonio says more than 120 people repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship will be released from quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base on Tuesday, one day after the mayor declared a public health emergency to block the evacuees from leaving the base.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 poses a unique challenge to health authorities, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday as he gave an update on the viral epidemic that has now touched at least 62 countries. But he added that the virus is also showing signs that it can be contained.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Four more people in the Seattle area have died after contracting COVID-19, health officials say, bringing the total in both Washington state and the U.S. to six. The state now has a total of 18 cases.

Three of the people who died were residents of King County, Wash., which now has 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The fourth person had been living in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. That county has a total of four cases.

Updated at 1:11 a.m. ET, Feb. 29

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Friday that it is "aware of four new presumptive cases of COVID-19."

The new cases were reported in:

  • California (another possible instance of community spread),
  • Oregon (that state's first possible case of community spread),

NATO is condemning "indiscriminate air strikes by the Syrian regime and Russia," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, after 33 Turkish soldiers died in an attack near Idlib on Thursday. The bombing caused Turkey to request an urgent NATO security meeting that was held Friday.

The NATO meeting was held in solidarity with Turkey, which says the troops were killed in an area where Russian-backed Syrian forces are fighting anti-regime militants. Russia denies playing a role in the strike, which came after weeks of heightened violence in Idlib province.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Italy's number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases spiked by more than 50% in just 24 hours and now stands at 650, the Italian Ministry of Health says, adding that 17 people have died from the respiratory virus. More than 400 of the cases are in the hard-hit Lombardy region, where some towns are under a lockdown.

The first suspected U.S. case of a patient getting the new coronavirus through "community spread" — with no history of travel to affected areas or exposure to someone known to have the COVID-19 illness — was left undiagnosed for days because a request for testing wasn't initially granted, according to officials at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

"Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time," the head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday in an update on the coronavirus disease COVID-19.

"Outside China, there are now 2,790 cases in 37 countries, and 44 deaths," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Italy reported a total of 229 novel coronavirus cases on Monday, leaping ahead of Japan (156 cases) on the list of worst-hit countries. Six people have died from the respiratory disease COVID-19 in Italy, and 27 more are in intensive care.

Where there was a white ice cap, there are now brown blotches of land; melted snow and ice have created ponds of water. Those are the effects of the recent record high temperatures in Antarctica, according to NASA, which on Friday released stunning before-and-after satellite images of the northern Antarctic Peninsula.

Iran is holding national elections Friday, as voters choose members of parliament from a list of candidates winnowed down to feature hardliners and conservatives. Midterm elections are also being held for the Assembly of Experts, the clerics who have the power to select the country's supreme leader.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Korea has doubled in just 24 hours, to 104 from 51, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Many of the new cases of coronavirus are linked to a Christian sect in Daegu, a city in southern South Korea.

Korea's CDC says a woman who became the country's 31st confirmed patient on Feb. 18 had attended services held by a religious group called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Roughly 600 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday, as a controversial shipwide coronavirus quarantine finally began to wind down.

All of those passengers had been tested for the COVID-19 disease by the Japanese health ministry, according to cruise operator Princess Cruises. As they left, they were met in the terminal by the cruise line's president, Jan Swartz.

Of all the chicken joints in all the towns in all the world, he walked into theirs. Two married police officers were eating at their favorite fried chicken spot in Louisville, Ky., over the weekend when a masked man walked up to the counter, showed a gun and demanded money.

In a confrontation caught on video, the couple quickly decided to end their date night and take on the robber. They then chased him out of the restaurant.

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

Some 346 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak emerged from their quarantine at two military bases in California on Tuesday, U.S. officials say.

The group includes 180 Americans who have been living under a mandatory quarantine order at Travis Air Force Base, roughly 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, and 166 U.S. citizens who have been living at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.

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