Matthew S. Schwartz | Michigan Radio
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Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

When Mike Phelps moved from Detroit to western Kentucky in 2019, he brought his small business, GenDrop, with him.

GenDrop rents out generator power for concerts and music festivals. Phelps had already powered nearly 100 special events throughout Michigan, and he hoped to do the same in his new state. But when the pandemic hit, and shows were canceled all over the world, Phelps began bleeding money.

Facing allegations that the state under-reported the number of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that everything reported was accurate — albeit delayed.

"All the deaths in the nursing homes and in the hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported," Cuomo said. "The numbers were the numbers. Always."

After three members of a family in New Zealand's largest city tested positive for the coronavirus, the city of Auckland has gone into lockdown — and the entire country is on high alert.

In a televised address Sunday evening, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country is taking a "precautionary approach that has served us so well as a country."

For nearly an hour Saturday, about 50 vaccination opponents and right-wing supporters of former President Donald Trump delayed COVID-19 vaccinations when they protested at the entrance to Dodger Stadium, the site of a mass vaccination campaign.

Holding signs that said things such as "COVID=Scam," "Don't be a lab rat" and "Tell Bill Gates to go vaccinate himself," the protesters caused the Los Angeles Fire Department to close the stadium entrance as a precaution. People in hundreds of cars, waiting in line for hours, had to wait even longer.

Almost exactly one year after the first case of the coronavirus was detected in the United States, the country has now reached 25 million confirmed infections. As it has for months, the U.S. remains by far the most coronavirus-riddled country in the world.

Last summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that if the U.S. didn't get the coronavirus outbreak under control, the country could see 100,000 new cases per day.

Six months later, the U.S. is adding, on average, more than 271,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 24 hours, 3,700 new deaths were recorded.

That brings the total number of reported cases in the U.S. to more than 22 million since the start of the outbreak — with a death toll of 373,000.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Sunday

The U.S. has hit another devastating milestone: COVID-19 has killed more than 350,000 people in the country, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The grim number comes as a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across dozens of countries.

In his Christmas Day address, Pope Francis appealed to the nations of the world to share the new coronavirus vaccines with the most needy.

"Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty regarding the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines," Francis said. "But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to all, they need to be available to all."

More than 2 million people have passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the last two days, according to statistics provided by the Transportation Security Administration. This is despite official guidance to stay home for the holidays as the coronavirus pandemic rages and the nation's death toll continues to rise.

The United Kingdom has entered a period of intense restrictions after a mutation of the coronavirus was discovered spreading rapidly through the population of London and the southeast and east of England. Most of the country faces a strict lockdown as Christmas approaches, and several countries throughout Europe have banned travel from the United Kingdom.

The British government put several parts of England into what's known as "Tier 4" restrictions after the spike in infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions on Saturday.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the president. Trump made the announcement on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

As U.S. health authorities continue examining the proposed COVID-19 vaccines, residents in the United Kingdom — the first Western country to issue approval for emergency use — are set to receive their first shots as early as this week.

But quickly vaccinating as many people as possible in the U.K. will pose enormous logistical challenges — from keeping the doses frozen to figuring out how to methodically and fairly distribute the vaccine across the nation of 68 million.

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.

One of the experimental drugs that President Trump received while he was battling the coronavirus has been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug, made by the biotech company Regeneron, is the second antibody treatment to win emergency use approval from the FDA.

The treatment combines two antibodies — casirivimab and imdevimab — and administers them together by IV. In a clinical trial of about 800 people, the combination was shown to significantly reduce virus levels within days of treatment.

Donald Trump Jr. has become the latest member of the president's orbit to test positive for the coronavirus.

"Apparently I got the 'rona," the president's son told his Instagram followers late Friday.

"You wouldn't know it based on anything that I felt or have seen," he said. "I've been totally asymptomatic."

The Trump administration has not cooperated with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, and top Biden officials say the incoming president is limited in what he can do before his team takes the reins. Still, Biden's coronavirus advisory board co-chair Vivek Murthy says they're doing everything they can to ensure plans are ready to go on Inauguration Day — including stronger mask requirements.

The U.S. added more than 184,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday, the fourth day in a row that the country has set a record for daily infections, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

President-elect Joe Biden will have his work cut out for him.

The United States added 126,480 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to data released Saturday by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. It's the third day in a row that the U.S. has set a daily record, bringing the total number of infections in the country to more than 9.7 million. More than 236,000 have died.

The U.S. is edging ever closer to 100,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus. According to data released Saturday by Johns Hopkins University, the country added 99,321 cases and 1,030 deaths to its tally on Friday.

Poland's president, Andrzej Duda, is in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus, his spokesman announced Saturday.

"The president is fine," his spokesman, Blazej Spychalski, said on Twitter. "We are in constant contact with the relevant medical services."

Facing an increase in coronavirus infections in certain neighborhoods, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that he would close all nonessential businesses, public and private schools, and daycares in nine ZIP codes throughout Brooklyn and Queens, to ensure that the virus doesn't spread further.

While most children who catch the coronavirus have either no symptoms or mild ones, they are still at risk of developing "severe" symptoms requiring admission to an intensive care unit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report released Friday.

Hispanic and Black children in particular were much more likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19, with Hispanic children about eight times as likely as white children to be hospitalized, while Black children were five times as likely.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution by the end of the year, and distributed to Americans in 2021, the nation's top infectious disease specialist told lawmakers Friday.

While it typically takes years to develop vaccines, new technologies, the lack of bureaucratic red tape and the human body's robust immune response to COVID-19 have hastened the process, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

The Midwest could be the next area to see a big surge in coronavirus cases, the top U.S. infectious disease specialist warned Tuesday. But there's still time to stop the upswing, he said, if states follow the national guidelines on reopening safely.

While the Southern United States has been seeing the fastest rise in cases, that now appears to be on the downswing, Fauci told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America.

Vietnamese officials thought they had the coronavirus under control. And for months, they were right. Through strict measures swiftly imposed, Vietnam had virtually eliminated the coronavirus within its borders by late April.

Now the virus seems to be spreading. As of Monday night in Vietnam, 11 new cases had been reported, bringing the country's total to 431 and sparking a litany of new virus control measures.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET Sunday

Over a 24-hour period, the world saw nearly 260,000 new coronavirus cases — a new record. Deaths were also on the rise, with 7,360 new fatalities reported Saturday in the highest one-day increase since May.

One week ago, the Trump administration announced it would ban international students from attending U.S. colleges in the fall if they only take online classes. Now hundreds of colleges and universities, dozens of cities, and some of the country's biggest tech companies are pushing back.

As the coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. surpasses 50,000 new cases a day, colleges and universities around the country are trying to figure out how to educate their students this fall while still keeping their campus communities safe.

Updated at 8:49 a.m.

The world is about to hit a devastating milestone: half a million people dead, killed by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the planet.

The WNBA is the latest sports league to announce a plan for games to return after a months-long shutdown to help combat spread of the coronavirus.

Each of the league's 12 teams will train and play starting next month at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., a neutral site as there are no current WNBA teams playing in the state. This will be the first time in league history that all players will train and play in the same location. Exact dates and matchups have not yet been announced, but the 2020 season is expected to begin in late July.

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