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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The U.S. is now a few weeks into its massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and it's been going a little more slowly than federal officials had promised. Joining us now to talk about solutions for speeding it up is NPR's Pien Huang. Hey, Pien.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Yesterday, before extremist, pro-Trump rioters, many without masks, stormed the Capitol building, I recorded an interview about the mistakes, missed opportunities and behind-the-scenes struggles that allowed the coronavirus to spread out of control across the U.S. The virus doesn't care about politics or the future of our democracy. The COVID numbers are spiking. And a new, more deadly strain has shown up in the U.S. Yesterday, we broke another single-day record for COVID deaths in the U.S., 3,963.

Health experts warned that the coronavirus pandemic would get worse before it got better. And that is happening. December was the deadliest month of the pandemic in the United States. The vaccines have made people optimistic, but the process has been slow.

Dr. Anthony Fauci — head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, who will be President-elect Joe Biden's chief medical adviser — said Thursday that the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been slow because it came during the holiday period.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for the greater Tokyo region, as alarm at rapidly increasing coronavirus case numbers overtook concerns about economic losses. The emergency will take effect Friday, and last until Feb. 7.

As with an earlier state of emergency last April, which was expanded nationwide, the latest restrictions entail no punishments for violators. Residents will simply be asked to avoid nonessential outings, especially at night.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

From France to Germany to The Netherlands, Europeans are venting frustration over the pace of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The European Union began administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 27 — two weeks after the United States and almost a month after the United Kingdom, which recently left the EU.

The Netherlands only just started Wednesday. A former senior health official there, Roel Coutinho, called the Dutch strategy "shameful" and warned it was "going to cost lives," according to the BBC.

Updated at 7:54 pm ET

One of the Trump administration's biggest environmental rollbacks suffered a stunning setback Wednesday, as a decades-long push to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ended with a lease sale that attracted just three bidders — one of which was the state of Alaska itself.

Alaska's state-owned economic development corporation was the only bidder on nine of the parcels offered for lease in the northernmost swath of the refuge, known as the coastal plain. Two small companies also each picked up a single parcel.

Many doses of the monoclonal antibody drugs that treat mild to moderate COVID-19 are sitting unused around the country. There are logistical problems with providing these drugs and skepticism over whether they work. But two major health systems have had good success in deploying these medications, and they're reporting hopeful results.

An Afghan woman stands over her granddaughter in a Kabul hospital ward for malnourished children. Parvana, just 18 months old, keeps vomiting, but she's too weak to move on her cot. So the vomit dribbles down her neck and pools into the hem of her worn velvet tracksuit.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

The European Union is preparing to distribute the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all its member countries, after the European Commission granted conditional authorization of the vaccine.

The EU acted hours after the European Medicines Agency endorsed the vaccine, in a move that will add another 160 million doses to its large-scale vaccination effort. Europeans have been receiving shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since it was approved last month. And officials note that more vaccines are in the pipeline.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Reverend Raphael Warnock has won his Senate runoff race in Georgia.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 GBH. To see more, visit GBH.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

In Los Angeles County now, someone dies of COVID-19 every 15 minutes. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

A question that is on a lot of people's minds, why is this country's vaccine campaign moving so slowly and can we do anything about it? NPR health correspondent, Rob Stein has been looking into that. Hi, Rob.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Countries like the United States, the U.K. and Israel have a head start on providing COVID-19 vaccinations, and that has led Europeans to criticize what they say is a slow rollout of vaccines. NPR's Rob Schmitz reports.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Early in the pandemic, people with COVID-19 began reporting an odd symptom: the loss of smell and taste.

The reason wasn't congestion. Somehow, the SARS-CoV-2 virus appeared to be affecting nerves that carry information from the nose to the brain.

That worried neurologists.

Here in the U.S., communities see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. With the vaccinations now occurring across the country, health officials are optimistic that the outbreak could be under control by the end of this year.

But the pandemic won't be over. Across the globe, the virus will still be circulating widely, even surging, in many countries.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Scientists are learning that COVID-19 can cause long-term damage to the brain. Problems with memory and thinking may linger for months after an infection. NPR's Jon Hamilton reports that COVID-19 may even increase the risk of Alzheimer's.

In Los Angeles, ambulances are waiting for hours — up to eight, in some cases — to admit new patients at overwhelmed hospitals. The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units has more than quadrupled since the beginning of November.

Privacy concerns have been raised after ministers in Singapore's government acknowledged that data collected by its widely used COVID-19 contact-tracing program may be turned over to police for criminal investigations.

Desmond Tan, minister of state for home affairs, told Parliament on Monday, "The Singapore Police Force is empowered ... to obtain any data, including TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations," Reuters reported.

That was in contrast with previous assurances by the government.

Even as the first doses of vaccine arrive in nursing homes and assisted living communities, the COVID-19 death toll among residents and staff of these facilities continues climbing to staggering heights, with the final month of 2020 proving to be the deadliest of the pandemic for long-term care.

There were more than 5,600 deaths linked to long-term care in the last week of December.

In early December, Christine Ghati Alfons taught a menstrual hygiene class to a group of girls, 10 to 15 years old, in the ethnic Kuria community in Migori County, an impoverished, rural area in southwest Kenya. Normally, she says, the class has 25 students. On this day, only 17 girls showed up.

Pages