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Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.

Before taking on this role in December 2016, Martin was the host of Weekend Edition Sunday for four years. Martin also served as National Security Correspondent for NPR, where she covered both defense and intelligence issues. She traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Secretary of Defense, reporting on the U.S. wars and the effectiveness of the Pentagon's counterinsurgency strategy. Martin also reported extensively on the changing demographic of the U.S. military – from the debate over whether to allow women to fight in combat units – to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Her reporting on how the military is changing also took her to a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico for a rare look at how the military trains drone pilots.

Martin was part of the team that launched NPR's experimental morning news show, The Bryant Park Project, based in New York — a two-hour daily multimedia program that she co-hosted with Alison Stewart and Mike Pesca.

In 2006-2007, Martin served as NPR's religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded "Best Radio Feature" by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007. As one of NPR's reporters assigned to cover the Virginia Tech massacre that same year, she was on the school's campus within hours of the shooting and on the ground in Blacksburg, Va., covering the investigation and emotional aftermath in the following days.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Martin worked as a NPR foreign correspondent from 2005-2006. During her time in Europe, she covered the London terrorist attacks, the federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup and issues surrounding immigration and shifting cultural identities in Europe.

Her foreign reporting experience extends beyond Europe. Martin has also worked extensively in Afghanistan. She began reporting from there as a freelancer during the summer of 2003, covering the reconstruction effort in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In fall 2004, Martin returned for several months to cover Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election. She has reported widely on women's issues in Afghanistan, the fledgling political and governance system and the U.S.-NATO fight against the insurgency. She has also reported from Iraq, where she covered U.S. military operations and the strategic alliance between Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military in Anbar province.

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a producer and reporter.

She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

More than 250,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19, a devastating milestone that was "absolutely" preventable, according to Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"We saw this all over the world. We have so many lessons we could have learned from other countries, right from the start," Karan tells NPR's Morning Edition. "These deaths were preventable."

Iowa is one of several states, mostly in the Midwest, where coronavirus cases in nursing homes are rising faster than in nursing homes nationally.

While national cases in nursing home residents and staff rose by 8% between September and October, the numbers in Iowa more than doubled in that time, according to the AARP.

The Food and Drug Administration's sprint toward approving a COVID-19 vaccine does not mean the government is "cutting corners" or shorting safety, said Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner under George W. Bush.

McClellan observed Thursday's FDA advisory panel on COVID-19 vaccine research, where independent experts offered advice on the way forward. Later that day, President Trump fueled fears that a vaccine is being rushed when he promised at a presidential debate to have "a vaccine that's coming, it's ready, it's going to be announced within weeks."

Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia is one of a growing number of K-12 school districts around the country deeming it too dangerous to teach students in person when classes restart this fall.

The school district — the state's largest — announced earlier this week that it would transition to all-virtual learning, reversing its previous plan to hold a mix of in-person and virtual classes.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said the change came down to prioritizing safety – and that will guide any decision to revert to in-person learning.

Mark Shaver hadn't seen his 96-year-old mother, Betty, in months when he hit a breaking point and decided he had to see her.

Shaver lived in South Carolina and Betty was in a nursing home in Morgantown, W.Va., when COVID-19 outbreaks began sweeping across the nation. By early March, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice requested that nursing homes in the state restrict visitors, blocking any real chance Shaver would have to see his mom in person.

The world's top health officials are warning that there could be a "second peak" of coronavirus infections during the current outbreak, separate from a second wave expected in the fall. As cases decline, officials worry that some countries are lifting restrictions too quickly — the U.S. among them.

What's key to understanding the different patterns emerging around the globe is recognizing that "this coronavirus is not the flu," said Dr. Margaret Harris, a member of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team.

When Dr. Vivek Murthy was surgeon general of the United States during the Obama administration, he went on a listening tour of America: He wanted to hear firsthand about people's health concerns.

That meant addressing opioid addiction, diabetes and heart disease. And one more thing — something he wasn't really prepared for — the number of Americans suffering from a lack of human connection. Loneliness, he learned, was impacting them not only mentally but also physically.

Vinton County, Ohio, has been on the front lines of the opioid crisis in the U.S. for several years. The drugs may have changed over the years — from opioids to meth — but the devastating effects on families have not. And even though the county hasn't had high infection rates of the coronavirus, the necessary social restrictions have made it harder to keep people addicted to drugs and their children safe.

For nearly three years, Mark Green led the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in delivering foreign aid to countries in need during times of crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Sons of Kemet were one of the standout acts of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tenn. This year, the festival is one of countless gatherings that has been cancelled due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. For the music industry — and especially for bands like Sons of Kemet, which rely on the energy of live performance — the disruptions caused by social distancing have been devastating. To explain those problems, NPR's Rachel Martin spoke to Nate Chinen from member station WBGO and Jazz Night in America.