disease

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

The United States crossed a grim milestone Wednesday, with more than 150,000 lives now lost as a result of the coronavirus.

The tragic number includes around 33,000 people who have died in New York, nearly 16,000 in New Jersey and more than 8,700 in California.

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus — then unnamed — to be a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern." The virus, first reported in China in late 2019, had started to spread beyond its borders, causing 98 cases in 18 countries in addition to some

New federal data reinforces the stark racial disparities that have appeared with COVID-19: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with the disease at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.

prescription medicine pills spilling out of a bottle
Adam / Wikipedia

The FDA has revoked permission for hydroxychloroquine to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, after the drug was publicly touted by President Donald Trump. That leaves the state of Ohio with a stockpile of millions of pills.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says the state as a whole has seen a steady trend in decreasing cases of COVID-19, but he’s warning of possible trouble in southwest Ohio which is not following that trend.

An NPR survey of state health departments shows that the national coronavirus contact tracing workforce has tripled in the past six weeks, from 11,142 workers to 37,110. Yet given their current case counts, only seven states and the District of Columbia are staffed to the level that public health researchers say is needed to contain outbreaks.

Crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd in downtown Columbus on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Columbus Public Health says there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a person who showed symptoms last Thursday, May 27, but still attended protests in downtown Columbus.

Taking hydroxychloroquine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 does not protect someone from getting the disease.

That's the conclusion of a study published Wednesday involving 821 participants. All had direct exposure to a COVID-19 patient, either because they lived with one, or were a health care provider or first responder.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has reached a somber milestone: As of Wednesday afternoon, the highly infectious viral disease has taken more than 100,000 lives nationwide.

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 President Trump took office in 2017, his team stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19. That decision is documented in federal records reviewed by NPR.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to masked reporters after session on May 13, 2020.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Gov. Mike DeWine changed his initial mask mandate as a condition of businesses reopening, instead requiring masks for employees but not for customers. While mask wearing has become something of a partisan symbol, DeWine said it shouldn’t be.

Godown dog park, which is managed by the City of Worthington, is the only Columbus City dog park that is closed during the pandemic.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

As part of WOSU's ongoing COVID-19 coverage, we asked for listeners to submit their questions about this disease and the government's response. Here are few more of those questions and answers.

Registered Nurse Janice Tatonetti, right, takes the temperature of Harry Pearson before he votes in Ohio's primary election at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Across Ohio, public health departments are investigating the spread of COVID-19 with the help of contact tracers. These “disease detectives” are tasked with locating people who may have also contracted the coronavirus, but don't know it yet.

Emerging data from COVID-19 cases show skin symptoms are potentially associated with coronavirus infection.

Cleveland Clinic dermatologists Drs. Sarah Young and Anthony Fernandez recently published a study detailing several common skin symptoms in COVID-19 patients, such as hives and rashes. They looked at research from Europe.

Fernandez said he's seen some of these symptoms in patients at the Cleveland Clinic as well.

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