National & International News

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The sun shines as Felix Quintana cruises through South Central Los Angeles. He's always been inspired by what he sees out of his car window, from the strip malls to the street vendors. "I love the hustle," he says. "The hand-painted signs, the swap meets, the people making money washing windshields."

But those moments can fly by. And his ongoing series of cyanotypes make us pause on the often overlooked Angelenos who work and live in the less glitzy, more gritty neighborhoods of LA County.

Updated at 9:59 p.m. ET

While tens of millions of U.S. households continue to fill out 2020 census forms on their own, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing the Census Bureau to suspend field operations for the once-a-decade head count for two more weeks until April 15.

With coronavirus cases continuing to climb and hospitals facing the prospect of having to decide how to allocate limited staff and resources, the Department of Health and Human Services is reminding states and health care providers that civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic.

States are preparing for a situation when there's not enough care to go around by issuing "crisis of care" standards.

But disability groups are worried that those standards will allow rationing decisions that exclude the elderly or people with disabilities.

The World Health Organization says the virus that causes COVID-19 doesn't seem to linger in the air or be capable of spreading through the air over distances of more than about 3 feet.

But at least one expert in virus transmission said it's way too soon to know that.

Hippos can get hungry. Very hungry. So when zoos shut their doors to the public because of the coronavirus, zookeepers keep showing up to work to make sure everyone is fed.

Jenna Wingate feeds Fiona, the Cincinnati Zoo's 3-year-old, 1,300-pound hippo. Fiona was born premature, and Wingate has been looking after her since two hours after she was born.

Apple's new COVID-19 website and app allow users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms and receive recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do next.

The tool was developed in partnership with the CDC, the White House's coronavirus task force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Both the website and the app were made publicly available on Friday.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort got underway from its pier in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday after a pomp-filled benediction by President Trump complete with a coterie of American flags and a military band.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in New York City on Monday to offer its roughly 1,000 hospital beds as surge capacity for the region hardest hit by the coronavirus disaster.

Patients without the disease can get treatment aboard the ship, the president said, freeing up treatment centers ashore for sufferers in the pandemic.

Updated at 10:32 p.m. ET

After broaching the possibility of quarantining New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, President Trump backtracked late Saturday, saying a "quarantine will not be necessary."

Earlier in the day, the president said he was "looking at" quarantining New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut because they had developed as "hot spots" of the coronavirus outbreak.

Why It Takes So Long To Get Most COVID-19 Test Results

Mar 28, 2020

After a slow start, testing for COVID-19 has begun to ramp up in recent weeks. Giant commercial labs have jumped into the effort, drive-up testing sites have been established in some places, and new types of tests have been approved under emergency rules set by the Food and Drug Administration.

Former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, whose inflexible support of conservative policies placed him at the heart of many major congressional battles, has died at the age of 72. His former communications director, John Hart, confirmed that Coburn died Saturday morning "after a long battle with prostate cancer."

Coburn's former colleague, fellow Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, remembered the senator as a "friend and a leader."

Updated at 9:14 p.m. ET

The United States marked another grim milestone in its fight against the coronavirus on Saturday, when the number of deaths from the virus topped 2,000.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 2,010 Americans have now died from the coronavirus. The majority of deaths have been in New York City.

As COVID-19 cases in the remote Pacific climb, it turns out that even natural isolation is no match against this pandemic.

Let us all have a moment of sympathy – and perhaps even understanding — for Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky.

Massie was the guy who caught hell from all sides Friday when he tried to force a roll call vote on the coronavirus relief bill in the House of Representatives. He said he wanted every individual member to record his or her vote on the gargantuan $2 trillion package, which he called the biggest relief bill in the history of mankind.

In recent weeks doctors and nurses have reported dire shortages of protective gear; on the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, hospital workers say they're being forced to reuse N-95 masks. In New York, the current epicenter of the U.S.

The losses of the coronavirus pandemic became personal for many Americans this week. More people lost jobs. More people had to worry about their health. And more people died. These names are just a few among so many who gave something to our lives.

Pan-fried buns with beef filling, shrimp stir-fried with seasonal bamboo shoots, roasted chicken and seared scallops — such dishes are on the menu for the Shanghai medical staff who recently returned from Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicenter of China's COVID-19 outbreak. To show its gratitude for the 1,649 now-quarantined workers, the city has cooked up a free 14-day meal plan for them.

Joe Pinero's after-work routine has changed recently.

"I strip outside of my door, take basically all my clothes off and walk in naked and just get directly into a shower when I do come into the house," Pinero said.

But he doesn't think his neighbors in Hoboken, N.J., mind too much, because they know he works as an emergency room doctor.

"If anyone has seen me naked, I'm sorry. But it's probably gonna happen again," he said with a laugh.

The streets of downtown Laredo, Texas, are deserted. For decades, this dense retail district has catered to Mexican shoppers coming across the bridge from Nuevo Laredo. But these days, stores like Cindy's Electronics, Classic Perfumes, and Casa Raul Mens' Clothes are shuttered.

"Now our business has dropped 80 to 90%," says Natividad Dominguez, leaning on a glass case full of empanadas, turnovers and donuts at Pano's Bakery. "People would come across the bridge and pick up a donut. But no more. It's affecting us a lot."

Nestled in the mountains of eastern Australia are fragments of an ancient world. Damp, dark and lush, they are some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth: temperate rainforests that have persisted since the days of supercontinents and dinosaurs.

The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia — and the hundreds of rare species that call them home — are the ultimate survivors, clinging to wet, wild patches of a continent that's increasingly developed and dry.

But even these forests could not escape the country's unprecedented fire season unscathed.

The Reverend Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died Friday, according to a statement by the Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights. He was 98 years old.

The statement said Lowery died peacefully at home Friday night, surrounded by his daughters.

A federal judge in California is weighing whether to grant an emergency order to release unaccompanied minors in government custody to protect them from contracting COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California said on Friday she wants migrant children who were apprehended crossing into the United States alone to be "released to suitable sponsors in an orderly fashion," the Associated Press reported. But Gee stopped short of mandating their immediate release.

Major League Baseball players are bracing for a 2020 that might not see a single game played.

Another possibility forced by the coronavirus outbreak is that the baseball season will move down the calendar.

On Friday, players and the Major League Baseball owners ratified a deal fairly quickly and with both sides taking concessions on economic issues in the face of the pandemic complicating and possibly axing this year's season.

President Trump claimed during Friday's White House coronavirus briefing that the federal government shipped droves of ventilators to New York. What did New York officials do in response? According to Trump, they ignored the new supply and instead attacked the White House for not doing more to assist the state.

"We sent thousands of ventilators to New York, and they didn't know about it at the time they were complaining," Trump said. "They were going there in large numbers."

Most of the gargantuan sum of money in the coronavirus bill Congress just passed is dealing with the economic crisis, not the public health one.

"Most of the bill is on emergency relief to people and unemployment insurance," says Loren Adler, associate director of USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy. "The health care provisions are, in some sense, secondary."

The United States on Friday surpassed more than 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, doubling the number of known infections counted just three days ago.

Data from Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the global spread of the disease, shows 101,657 people have been diagnosed in the U.S. as of Friday evening. More than 1,560 people have died.

More than 200 million people in about half of the states are under orders to stay indoors to slow the transmission of the coronavirus.

Under those decrees, businesses have closed unless deemed "essential," which has sparked a nationwide debate among state and local leaders: Should gun stores be considered essential?

North Korea appears to be expanding a key rocket launch facility it once pledged to dismantle, according to new satellite imagery shared exclusively with NPR.

The imagery, taken by commercial company Planet and shared via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, shows new roads under construction at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station.

This is part of a series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

There's plenty in the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress to help low-income Americans, including billions of dollars in housing assistance, foreclosure and eviction relief, expanded unemployment benefits, and one-time cash payments.

But advocates for the poor say it's only a first step and that those at the lower end of the economic scale will need much more help in the months ahead.

People in coronavirus hotspots are being told not to travel to other parts of the country, for fear they'll bring the infection with them. Those who do so anyway might find themselves in a forced quarantine.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he had authorized law enforcement officers to begin setting up checkpoints in the state's panhandle to screen people coming from the New Orleans area.

"There's a fear as New Orleans becomes more of a hotspot, that you could have an influx of people into the Florida panhandle from Louisiana," DeSantis said.

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