Maria Godoy

Updated March 19 at 12:08 p.m. ET

Over the past few days, social media has lit up with reports, picked up by some media outlets, that taking drugs like ibuprofen to ease COVID-19 symptoms could actually worsen the progress of the illness.

But most infectious disease experts say there's no good scientific evidence at this point to support that claim.

A federal judge has issued an injunction blocking the Trump administration from adopting a rule change that would force nearly 700,000 Americans off food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The rule change was set to take effect April 1.

In a ruling issued Friday evening in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell called the rule change capricious, arbitrary and likely unlawful.

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Before she was the interim minister at the Central Christian Church of Austin, Janet Maykus was a chaplain in health care settings, a job that required training in infectious disease control. So when she heard reports of the coronavirus spreading in some U.S. communities, she knew it was time to overhaul religious practices at her church.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling Americans that they should be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community.

But what does preparedness look like in practice? The short answer: Don't panic — but do prepare.

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Updated on March 17 at 6:43 p.m. ET:

Thousands of people have now died from COVID-19 — the name for the disease caused by the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.

According to the World Health Organization, the disease is relatively mild in about 80% of cases.

What does mild mean?

And how does this disease turn fatal?

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As the coronavirus continues to spread, officials in China are urging citizens to wear masks in public to stop the spread of the virus — and cities in China as well as other parts of Asia are reportedly running out of face masks.

But can a mask really keep you from catching the virus?

To answer that, it helps to clarify which kinds of masks we're talking about.

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As the Wuhan coronavirus spreads, cities in China and other parts of Asia are reportedly running out of face masks. NPR's Maria Godoy looked into whether a mask can protect you from the virus.

Updated at 3:32 p.m. ET

Health officials in two California counties have reported over the weekend two new cases of Wuhan coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to four.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported Saturday that a man in his 50s tested positive for the infectious disease and is currently being treated in isolation at a local hospital.

For many people, a package of applesauce is simply a convenient lunchbox staple or a snack you turn to when you're feeling sick or can't keep much else down. But when Tunde Wey looks at applesauce, he sees a tool for social justice.

Call it a tale of science and derring-do. An international team of researchers has spent six years fanning across the globe, gathering thousands of samples of wild relatives of crops. Their goal: to preserve genetic diversity that could help key crops survive in the face of climate change. At times, the work put these scientists in some pretty extreme situations.

What did a meal taste like nearly 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylonia? Pretty good, according to a team of international scholars who have deciphered and are re-creating what are considered to be the world's oldest-known culinary recipes.

The recipes were inscribed on ancient Babylonian tablets that researchers have known about since early in the 20th century but that were not properly translated until the end of the century.

When Elle Simone Scott was a young girl, her family relied on food stamps and her school's free lunch program to get by.

"At several points in my life, receiving free lunch when I needed it the most, it was so beneficial for me," she says. "You know, it was sometimes the most complete meal that I and some of my friends would have in a day."

Consider the almond.

Almonds and other nuts are often touted as healthy snacks, because they can help you maintain a healthy weight and are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

We all know we should be exercising, but wanting to is a different story. But what if your exercise regimen was the highlight of your week, a chance not just to get active but to see all of your friends?

Enter soul line dancing.

Soul line dancing – like country line dancing – is really just choreographed dance moves that you do in a group, without a partner. The Electric Slide is a classic example. The "soul" part comes from the music used — like R&B, hip-hop, soul and contemporary hits.

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Earlier today, I ate a scoop of chocolate ice cream – creamy and pleasantly fatty feeling in my mouth. This would hardly seem newsworthy, except for the high-tech ingredient that made my frozen treat go down so smoothly: dairy proteins produced in a lab, no cows needed.

Over the past 70 years, ultra-processed foods have come to dominate the U.S. diet. These are foods made from cheap industrial ingredients and engineered to be super-tasty and generally high in fat, sugar and salt.

It was the morning after the election of America's first black president, and Kwame Onwuachi was hungover. He'd been partying all night. He was dealing drugs to survive after he dropped out of college. He was, he says, lost.

But when he saw President Obama, something clicked. "I thought, I can do anything. And I immediately flushed everything that I had down the toilet and was like, I need to find myself," Onwuachi recalls.

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By now, you've likely heard the argument to eat less meat for the health of the planet. Heck, even Beyoncé has been pushing this message, dangling the prospect of free concert tickets for life before fans to raise interest in plant-based eating for the environment.

The Super Bowl isn't just one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It's also one of the biggest eating events. And whether your team wins or loses the big game can influence how you enjoy your food – and how much of it you consume – even the day after.

I have become the type of person that used to mystify me. I ... am a fitness fanatic.

That was certainly not the case a year and a half ago. Back then, like a lot of Americans, I was mostly sedentary (unless you count walking to meetings). Which is ironic, because, as a senior editor for NPR's science, food and health team, it is literally my job to know better. But, with two small kids, a full-time job and recurring insomnia, I didn't have the time or energy to work out. And I'm not going tell you how much I used to weigh, but it wasn't healthy.

Nutrition advice can be confusing. NPR's science desk is reporting on the science of healthy eating, and we want to hear from you.

Tell us your questions about what's healthy to eat and what to avoid, and how to change your habits when you're trying to eat well. Share your questions and your best tips for how you make healthy dietary choices work in your life.

It was a hot day at the zoo when Jordan Carlson's son, who has motor-planning delays, got thirsty. "We went to the snack bar and found out they had a 'no straw' policy," Carlson says. "It was a hot day and he couldn't drink."

Experts will tell you that if you want to raise a kid who eats just about everything, you should feed them what you eat — assuming you're eating a varied, healthy diet. It's what most cultures have done for most of human history.

But American culture sends parents a very different message. Kids menus full of so-called "kid foods" like chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries are everywhere. There's good reason why salty, sweet and fatty foods appeal to kids: It's basic biology.

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