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.

There was still an hour to go before Vice President Pence took the stage to stump for Georgia's two incumbent U.S. senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Both Republicans are fighting to hold onto their seats against Democratic challengers, with a runoff election set for Jan. 5.

But Pence was clearly the celebrity draw at this Nov. 20 campaign event in Canton, an Atlanta suburb. People were so eager to see him that parking spots were scarce and a long line of cars snaked through the parking lot of a community college. Some drivers jumped the curb and parked in the grass.

Several medical workers in hazmat suits sprint across the hallway. A heart-wrenching wail pierces the air — "Baba!" — from a woman watching as her father's lifeless body is wheeled away. The opening scene of 76 Days, a new documentary about the resilience of front-line workers and patients in the 76 days of Wuhan, China's lockdown, directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen and a journalist credited as "Anonymous," throws the viewer right into the fray of body bags and ventilators, mirroring the helplessness and frenzy at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia and Maryland are sending thousands of extra COVID-19 vaccine doses out of their own supply to the District of Columbia as the city scrambles to inoculate health care workers amid the worsening pandemic.

Each state is sending 8,000 additional doses to the nation's capital. The move will more than triple the amount of the medicine that was allotted by the federal government.

Stanford Medicine apologized on Friday for its vaccine distribution plan – a plan that came under fire for leaving out nearly all of its medical residents and fellows, many whom regularly treat COVID-19 patients.

The residents waged a protest on Friday morning, holding signs and demanding answers from Stanford's leadership about why just seven of more than 1,300 residents at Stanford were selected to receive the vaccine in the first round of 5,000 doses.

Health care workers across the U.S. are getting a new arrow in their quiver.

The Trump administration on Friday made public a trove of federal data on the pandemic that reveals a country awash in red alerts.

The data contain a wealth of previously undisclosed information, including counties the federal government considers "hotspots," forecasts for whether virus cases are likely to increase at a local level, and information on cases, deaths and tests by metro area.

Updated at 10:27 p.m. ET

Agreement on a bipartisan coronavirus relief package remains elusive as top congressional leaders continue to negotiate and their efforts spilled into the weekend. While they've had a framework for days, they are struggling to close out several details, and a new issue emerged as a key sticking point.

Lawmakers from both parties insist they will not leave Washington for the holidays until they get a deal that wraps together an aid package and a broader spending deal.

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Pfizer is pushing back on the Trump administration's suggestion that the company is having trouble producing its COVID-19 vaccine, saying it's ready to ship millions more doses – once the government asks for them. As the company spoke out, several states said their vaccine allocations for next week have been sharply reduced.

Here's what the key players are saying about a complicated situation:

What Pfizer says

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Making Sense of 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, monk JayaShri Maathaa continually turned to one powerful mantra: "thank you," a statement of genuine gratitude to provide solace and strength in troubled times.

About JayaShri Maathaa

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Making Sense of 2020

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Making Sense of 2020

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Making Sense of 2020

A century after the 1918 flu, we see similar patterns in the ways we've responded to COVID-19. Laura Spinney reflects on the Spanish flu and how societies learn to move forward after pandemics. A version of this segment was originally heard in the episode, Inoculation.

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Sourdough Starter Recipes That Aren't Bread

Dec 18, 2020

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Early in the pandemic, so many people were baking bread, there was a national flour shortage, and then there was a yeast shortage.

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Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET

The fate of the Biden administration's ambitious climate goals — plans that, if fully implemented, would overhaul the United States' energy economy in the span of just 15 years — will largely rest in the hands of two longtime government officials who have obsessed on the topic for decades.

Hungarian-born scientist Katalin Karikó believed in the potential of messenger RNA — the genetic molecule at the heart of two new COVID-19 vaccines — even when almost no one else did.

Karikó began working with RNA as a student in Hungary. When funding for her job there ran out, Kariko immigrated to Philadelphia in 1985. Over the years, she's been rejected for grant after grant, threatened with deportation and demoted from her faculty job by a university that saw her research as a dead end.

Through it all, Karikó just kept working.

William Jennings and his wife have lived in their Virginia Beach, Va., home for the last 37 years. And their plan was to stay in it through retirement.

"I really like my house," Jennings says, standing in the front yard. "A two-story home. A swimming pool in the backyard."

But Jennings' neighborhood has flooded more often in recent years. His house did once, too. His mortgage requires flood insurance, which now costs him $2,336 a year and is set to increase 18% in July.

With just a few weeks left, 2020 is in a dead-heat tie for the hottest year on record. But whether it claims the top spot misses the point, climate scientists say. There is no shortage of disquieting statistics about what is happening to the Earth.

When they called to tell me my COVID-19 test was positive, I thought there must have been a mistake. I felt perfectly fine, and in the long months of the pandemic my husband, Jeff, and I had been behaving the way much of the United States had: hyper-vigilant about where we went and who we saw, and careful to follow the recommended public health precautions.

Health officials are administering the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine in Indigenous communities across the U.S., one of the populations most vulnerable in the pandemic.

Cedric Richmond, a congressman who is a close adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the transition team said on Thursday.

Richmond, who Biden picked as his director of the Office of Public Engagement, was not in close contact with Biden, his spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. He will quarantine for 14 days and be tested twice before returning to in-person work, she said.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

In a historic first, President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior, his transition team announced Thursday evening.

If confirmed by the Senate, Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, would be the country's first Native American Cabinet secretary. Fittingly, she'd do so as head of the agency responsible for not only managing the nation's public lands but also honoring its treaties with the Indigenous people from whom those lands were taken.

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Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is expected to become the second to get the Food and Drug Administration's green light. A decision could come within days.

But compared with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which was granted emergency use authorization last week, upstart Moderna doesn't have a track record when it comes to mass production.

The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized two new rules that offer a win to President Trump in his personal crusade to roll back water efficiency standards on appliances like showerheads.

Trump frequently has bemoaned what he views as insufficient water pressure with newer appliances.

Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET

Confirmed coronavirus infections and virus-related deaths are soaring in California, the nation's most populous state, setting new records as hospitals struggle to keep up with the onslaught of cases.

It has prompted the state to activate its "mass fatality" program, which coordinates mutual aid across several governmental agencies.

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