Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Despite a foothold in medicine that predates Hippocrates himself, the traditional physical exam might be on the verge of extinction. The coronavirus crisis has driven more routine medical appointments online, accelerating a trend toward telemedicine that has already been underway.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Across the country, colleges and universities are struggling to decide how to teach students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some schools have turned to remote learning; some have attempted to reopen campus with various precautions in place. Others are trying a mix of both.

For the municipalities that are host to colleges and universities, these decisions can be costly. Whether it's curtailing the spread of the virus in their communities, or losing the typical influx of student spending that arrives each fall, these cities and towns are bracing for a challenge.

Coffee lovers, here's something to be grateful about. Unlike paper towels, disinfectant or yeast, coffee has never been hard to find during the pandemic.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

Classes online or in person but socially distanced, pods, hybrids - education in the U.S. looks different from town to town, grade to grade, family to family. Throughout this school year, we'll hear about it with a series called Learning Curve.

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

When Andiswa Gebashe was growing up in Soweto in the 1990s, she had two dreams.

"I wanted to be an actor, and I wanted to be the president," she says.

Today, improbably, she is both – thought not exactly in the way she imagined.

Gebashe is a South African Sign Language (SASL) interpreter for South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, interpreting his televised speeches on the coronavirus pandemic on live TV for the country's deaf community.

As a veteran who served back-to-back tours in Iraq, I initially cringed when commentators compared the COVID-19 crisis to wartime — no bullets, no blood and no one volunteered for this.

But after my months of reporting on the pandemic, it has become painfully clear this is like war. People are dying every day as a result of government decisions — and indecision — and the death toll is climbing with no end in sight.

Hurricane Laura Recovery Could Take Years

Aug 29, 2020

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a grant worth $7.5 million over five years to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based nonprofit that hunts emerging viruses. The award comes months after NIH revoked an earlier grant to EcoHealth, a move scientists widely decried as the politically motivated quashing of research vital to preventing the next coronavirus pandemic.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Working from home means something different for Alisha Johnson (ph).

ALISHA JOHNSON: Next one - chest out like you're squeezing your shoulder blades together.

One of the reasons Covid-19 has spread so swiftly around the globe is that for the first days after infection, people feel healthy. Instead of staying home in bed, they may be out and about, unknowingly passing the virus along. But in addition to these pre-symptomatic patients, the relentless silent spread of this pandemic is also facilitated by a more mysterious group of people: the so-called asymptomatics.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Is it safe to take public transit?

It's one of those tricky COVID-19 things to navigate ... no pun intended.

After evacuating to cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, coastal Texas residents are making their way back home in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Now there are worries that both evacuations and storm damage could potentially increase COVID-19 numbers in the state.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A coronavirus outbreak originating from a wedding reception in Maine earlier this month continues to grow. Health officials say cases linked to the event have spread to a rehabilitation center and a jail.

At least 87 coronavirus cases are associated with an outbreak from the Aug. 7 wedding at a church in Millinocket and a reception at the Big Moose Inn, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday.

Updated at 11:45 a.m.

Hurricane Laura tore through a region that is home to dozens of major oil refineries, petrochemical plants and plastics facilities. Now, residents could be breathing dangerously polluted air from those sites, public health experts and local advocates say.

Looking for a snapshot of coronavirus outbreaks in U.S. schools? The National Education Association has just launched a tracker of cases in public K-12 schools.

The tracker is broken down by state and shows schools and counties with known cases and suspected cases and deaths, as well as whether those infected were students or staff. It also includes links to the local news reports so users know where the virus data comes from.

This summer volunteers are fanning out in 13 cities across the U.S. to — quite literally — take the temperature of their neighborhoods. It's part of a project to help protect people as the world warms, and in many places it's highlighting how the poorest areas suffer most from rising urban heat.

Take the Dove Springs neighborhood of Austin.

Like much of the city, Dove Springs was built for the car. Just off the highway, four lane roads with strip malls and apartment blocks lead commuters to winding blocks of 70s era single family homes.

The primary goal of a COVID-19 vaccine is to keep people from getting very sick and dying. But there's another goal — to prevent the spread of the disease — and it's not clear most vaccine candidates currently under development can do that.

Some scientists think they can solve that problem by delivering a vaccine as a nasal spray.

In the small town of Bell City, La., trees were down everywhere on Thursday morning.

And just about wherever there was a felled tree, there was someone with a chainsaw getting it out of the way.

Dylan Guidry, who lives in the small town of Lake Arthur about 20 miles east, and his brother, were among those cutting down trees.

They were moving them "out of the way so people had a path to get through the roads, get to where they needed to go to help family and residents," says Guidry.

Hurricane Laura, which hit the coast of Louisiana early Thursday as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 150 mph, is one of the most powerful storms in decades to hit the area.

How does it compare to other Gulf Coast hurricanes? That depends on how you define the question and how far back you go. Using 1900 as a starting point, here's a look at some of the most intense and destructive hurricanes in the last 120 years.

Most intense

Texas and Louisiana were already struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus when Hurricane Laura hit early Thursday, and now some experts are warning mass evacuations could be responsible for a new wave of infections.

More than half a million people were ordered to leave parts of those states in the largest evacuation since the coronavirus pandemic began. Many who heeded those warnings were directed to stay in government-paid hotel rooms or sleep in their cars since officials didn't want to open mass shelters and risk the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered schools and businesses and altered life across the globe, but journalist Alexis Madrigal says comprehensive, rapid testing might be the key to a safe reopening.

"The key problem in the pandemic is we don't know who's contagious," Madrigal says. "And because of that, it is very hard to really grind transmission down to nothing."

The French government announced Thursday that face masks will become mandatory everywhere in Paris and its suburbs, including all outdoor public spaces. The heightened mask requirement comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in France jumped to more than 5,000 in the previous 24 hours — the highest increase since the country came out of lockdown in mid-May.

Every year in Mumbai, India, as the monsoon abates, the city resounds with chants praising Ganesh, the Hindu god of wisdom and luck, and the remover of obstacles. But this year, city officials have to find creative ways around a huge obstacle: how to allow faithful to celebrate one of India's biggest festivals safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Water on Earth is omnipresent and essential for life as we know it, and yet scientists remain a bit baffled about where all of this water came from: Was it present when the planet formed, or did the planet form dry and only later get its water from impacts with water-rich objects such as comets?

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