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.

Scientists are monitoring the virus that causes COVID-19 for genetic changes that could make a vaccine ineffective. But so far, they're not seeing any.

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

With numbers spiking across Southern states, the United States set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, 39,972 new cases were recorded June 25, surpassing the previous record set April 24, which saw 36,291 new cases.

Updated at 11:09 p.m. ET

Illinois moves into the next phase of its reopening plan on Friday.

The guidelines allow movie theaters, zoos, museums and health and fitness centers to reopen with limited capacity. Restaurants will be able to offer in-door dining and gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted.

Schools and child care programs with social distancing policies in place can also reopen. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans can return to work.

The state of Georgia is juggling three crises: a rising number of COVID-19 cases, problems with voting access as the general election approaches, and the killings of two Black men,

A massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert is arriving along the U.S. Gulf Coast this week after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The phenomenon happens every year – but the 2020 version is especially large and imposing, experts said.

The dust cloud is "quite large" this year, said Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia, in an interview on NPR's All Things Considered. "I think that's why it's garnering so much attention."

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Thanks to their efforts to steer clear of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Navy says two American warships that set sail in mid-January broke the modern record on Thursday for consecutive days at sea for U.S. naval surface vessels.

Less than a month after President Trump vowed to stop funding the World Health Organization, Germany and France say they will contribute financial backing to the agency in its fight against the coronavirus.

Germany promised to give 500 million euros (over $560 million) in funding and equipment to the WHO this year, as the country assumes the presidency of the European Union.

Minks on two fur farms in the Netherlands began getting sick in late April. Some were coughing, with runny noses; others had signs of severe respiratory disease. Soon, they started dying.

Researchers took swabs from the animals and dissected the ones that had died.

The culprit: SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus causing a global pandemic.

Millions of Americans have probably had the coronavirus without knowing it.

That's the conclusion of officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many other experts.

"Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections," Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said during a call with reporters Thursday.

The IRS sent nearly $1.4 billion in coronavirus relief payments to dead Americans, a new report by an independent government agency shows.

The Government Accountability Office said the error involved almost 1.1 million checks and direct deposits sent to ineligible Americans. The payments were part of the coronavirus aid package passed in March known as the CARES Act.

So far, the IRS has dispersed over 160 million payments — worth nearly $270 billion — to people for coronavirus relief.

The Kentucky Derby will take place in the fall with spectators, racing venue Churchill Downs announced on Thursday.

The most famous horse racing event in the world, usually held in May, will now take place from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5. The Kentucky Derby will be on Sep. 5, and the Kentucky Oaks — a race for 3-year-old fillies — will run a day earlier.

Two decades of life experience made a mental-health activist of Kai Koerber. When he was 16 and a student at a Parkland, Fla., high school, a gunman killed 17 people, including one his friends.

"I really did suffer a domestic terrorist attack, and that's not something that happens to you every day," Koerber says.

The number of people infected by the coronavirus in some of Brazil's poorest and most vulnerable neighborhoods could be 30 times higher than the officially registered count, according to Brazilian researchers.

Since the pandemic began, there has been intense concern about the virus's impact on these communities, including favelas where the population is predominantly poor and black.

The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday morning after having been shut down for more than three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the Paris landmark's longest closure since World War II.

The reopening is a dramatic sign of people reclaiming public spaces in France following more than 100 days of restrictions. But the tower's highest point is still not open – and for now, visitors will need to take the stairs.

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Melody Lewis lives like a nomad in the heart of downtown Denver.

Poking her head out of her green tent on a recent June day, the 57-year-old points to the place a few blocks away where city crews picked up her tent from a sidewalk median earlier this spring and replaced it with landscaping rocks, fencing and signs warning trespassers to keep out.

Lewis then moved just a quarter-mile away, to a new cracked sidewalk, with new neighbors and potentially, homeless advocates fear, new sources of exposure to the coronavirus.

Three research institutions in Seattle have joined forces to study how Alzheimer's disease takes root in the brain.

The consortium will create a new research center at the Allen Institute for Brain Science to study tissue from brains donated by people who died with Alzheimer's.

The Trump administration is defending plans to close 13 federally run coronavirus testing sites in five states at the end of the month.

The testing sites are located in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas. They are the last of 41 federally operated testing sites.

Federal officials say the sites have been closing or transferring to state or local control because it's more efficient to run testing that way. In other instances they argue there are readily available testing sites nearby.

Whether it's online-only consultations, closed pharmacies or having to wonder whether going into an office is safe, the coronavirus has upended access to health care. And it has presented particular challenges for women and reproductive health.

The in-person Democratic National Convention will be scaled down significantly as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the Milwaukee event now relying heavily on "live broadcasts and curated content," organizers have announced.

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A black bear has been spotted several times this month in western Illinois.   And authorities are telling  the public to avoid getting too close or agitating the animal.  

Bayer will pay more than $10 billion to end tens of thousands of lawsuits filed over its Roundup weedkiller, the company announced Wednesday. The settlement also resolves many other cases over the herbicide dicamba as well as water contaminated with toxic chemicals called PCBs.

Many plaintiffs say Roundup's active ingredient — glyphosate — caused them to develop cancer. Roundup was developed by Monsanto, which Bayer bought in 2018 for $63 billion.

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