Coronavirus: What You Need To Know


A patient places a swab in a COVID-19 testing tube at a mobile test site in Pittsburgh's South Hills on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


This page will be frequently updated with the latest facts and news about the coronavirus, from both our community and around the world.

Coronavirus is a novel virus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Coronavirus causes the COVID-19 disease in humans; the disease has spread to the U.S. and other countries around the world.  


The disease causes respiratory illness and is spread through the air by coughs and sneezes, and by personal contact. Its symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is no approved vaccine for this virus.


To prevent contraction of coronavirus, officials recommend people frequently wash their hands.


For the latest coverage of the Pittsburgh area's preparation for coronavirus, please follow WESA's live blog.


Here’s what we know:

Susan Walsh / AP

On Saturday, President Trump had a message for the millions of out-of-work Americans for whom boosted federal unemployment benefits ran out last month: don’t worry.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Students are arriving on campus at the University of Pittsburgh this week. But instead of crowded crosswalks and lines for parking, students pushed freshly sanitized moving carts to their dorm rooms with little downtime.  

The university’s arrival staff worked with its health and safety advisory board to draw up a move-in plan that took months to revise and finalize, according to Olivia Phillips, Pitt’s arrival coordinator. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny County Health Department is pleading with bars and restaurants to continue following state and local regulations aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Tim Tai / Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania State University, the behemoth public research university with enrollment nearing 100,000, is forcing students to sign a liability agreement and assume all risk of COVID-19 prior to returning to campus for the fall semester.

Courtesy Bureau of Prisons

An outbreak at the federal prison in Lewisburg is driving a surge in coronavirus cases in Union County.

PIAA Wants Meeting About 'Possible Options' For Sports

20 hours ago
Ralph Wilson / AP

Pennsylvania school sports’ governing body has told Gov. Tom Wolf it wants to talk with his aides about “possible options for fall sports” among its member schools.

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March, museums and other cultural centers around the country were forced to close. Now many have reopened, albeit with restrictions designed to stem the spread of the virus. But they are struggling to attract visitors, and many are deeply concerned about the future.

Jared Murphy / 90.5 WESA


On today's program: Newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette vote to walk out after three and a half years of negotiations failed to produce a new contract; groups in Pittsburgh and across the country work to preserve historic sites significant to communities of color; and amid the pandemic, some museums worry about their futures. 

Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this summer the Allegheny County Health Department recommended that people who were returning from out-of-state travel should quarantine for two weeks, unless they could get two consecutive coronavirus tests that were both negative. 

Pennsylvania Mayors Appeal To Congress For Federal Aid

Aug 11, 2020
Ariel Worthy / 90.5 WESA

Mayors in Pennsylvania are challenging the state's members of Congress to help them get direct budget aid from the federal government, warning that cities of all sizes face steep deficits and deep service cuts as a result of the coronavirus' impact on the economy.

Emily Reddy / WPSU

Pointing to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding them, the Big Ten announced Tuesday afternoon that it is postponing fall 2020 sports, including football.

These COVID-19 Patients Survived. But They Never Recovered

Aug 11, 2020
Courtesy of Melissa Mazur

Certain units of measurement have become familiar standards in the new language of this pandemic: 6 feet of distance, 20 seconds of hand washing, 2 weeks of quarantine.

Pennsylvania Mayors Appeal To Congress For Federal Aid

Aug 11, 2020
Matt Rourke / AP

Mayors in Pennsylvania are challenging the state's members of Congress to help them get direct budget aid from the federal government, warning that cities of all sizes face steep deficits and deep service cuts as a result of the coronavirus' impact on the economy.

Carolyn Kaster / AP


On today's program: A new rule from the Trump administration could put homeless transgender people at greater risk; the Historic Review Commission considers six sites in Pittsburgh for historic designation; and some COVID-19 patients’s symptoms last beyond the expected two week range.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA


Pittsburgh Pride has been canceled. The Delta Foundation, the non-profit that organizes the event, said the coronavirus pandemic led to the “hiatus” and that the annual parade and festival will be postponed until 2021.

Kate Landis / PA Post

Pennsylvania lawmakers acknowledge they need to change the state’s election code before November to accommodate the expected large number of mail-in ballots.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Pennsylvania has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor about a loan to prop up its unemployment compensation trust fund as President Donald Trump pushes states to help pay for an extension of federal unemployment benefits.

Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, or WPIAL, said Monday that fall sports can be played safely and criticized what it called "inconsistent messaging” from state officials.

In a press conference, WPIAL Executive Director Amy Scheuneman said the league agrees with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s move last week to postpone mandatory sports events for two weeks rather than cancel play through the fall. As of now, WPIAL plans to start its football season Sept. 10th.  

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pennsylvania's new cases of COVID-19 reached 601 on Monday, the state Health Department reported, and there three additional deaths were reported.

Gene J. Puskar / AP


On today's program: Local colleges and universities plan to welcome students back to campus amid the pandemic; a Pittsburgh-based research firm says one third of parents surveyed are uncomfortable sending their children back into classrooms; and experiences with racism take a toll on the mental health of people of color.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Under pressure to give schools more health guidance about how to safely reopen, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Monday that it will provide recommendations to school districts based on the local rate of transmission of the coronavirus.