health

Matias Ocner / Miami Herald

Many businesses have closed to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Local governments and the state are allowing some essential services to remain open. That includes grocery stores, pharmacies and other places needed to keep cities and towns running.

Screenshot from WSVN

As South Florida remains the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he’s issuing an executive order to unify the region’s response.

Ted S. Warren / AP

South Florida is a coronavirus hotspot in the state. The majority of confirmed cases in Florida are in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

The coronavirus appears to be much more lethal in some countries than in others.

In Italy, about 10% of people known to be infected have died. In Iran and Spain, the case fatality rate is higher than 7%. But in South Korea and the U.S. it's less than 1.5%. And in Germany, the figure is close to 0.5%.

So what gives?

The answer involves how many people are tested, the age of an infected population and factors such as whether the health care system is overwhelmed, scientists say.

Updated 9:31 p.m. ET Thursday

The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, surpassing China's total and highlighting how rapidly the virus can move through a population.

The U.S. logged more than 83,000 cases as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday, while China reported more than 81,00 infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In an unusual move, the Food and Drug Administration today announced that is making it easier for doctors to try an experimental treatment for COVID-19 patients that uses plasma from people who had the disease and recovered.

There is scant evidence it works in people infected with the coronavirus, but the approach has been tried for other illnesses.

The Trump administration announced Monday that the federal government was making it much easier to collect samples to test people for the coronavirus.

A new "self swab" technique would enable people to collect their own samples, making the process much simple, quicker and possibly safer, officials said at a White House briefing.

Ted S. Warren / AP

UPDATE: FoundCare announced Tuesday that it is no longer taking appointments for its COVID-19 drive-through testing site. The CEO Yolette Bonnet said in a statement that the nonprofit received Monday more than 6,000 calls for appointments. FoundCare says it is booked until April 10, and more testing appointments cannot be scheduled until it receives additional testing kits.

FoundCare, a nonprofit federally qualified health center, is setting up a drive-through testing site for COVID-19 in Palm Beach County, starting Monday, March 16 at 10 a.m.

Twitter Screenshot

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who became one of the first U.S. elected officials to test positive for the new coronavirus, is trying to reassure people about the experience.

"I want them to see what it's like because I know there's a lot of fear and anxiety," he said Friday on The South Florida Roundup.

Suarez has been live-blogging his COVID-19 experience daily. As of Sunday, it's been three days since he was diagnosed with the illness.

Claire Schneider / NPR

The novel coronavirus has upended our lives. Here are some stories that we hope will help you cope:

Why is all this happening? To try and stop the spread of the virus. So we all need to make our spaces as clean as possible: The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For 2-3 Days. Here's How To Clean Them

OCTAVIO JONES / AP

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday that the Trump administration should consider domestic flights in the ongoing effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Florida, where dozens of cases have been discovered.

Andre Penner / AP via Miami Herald

Coronavirus cases continue growing across South Florida.  More were found in Broward County. The first few cases were also recently confirmed in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

This is part of a new series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Updated at 10:19 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that the White House is planning to ask Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly wage earners in order to assist workers who may be feeling the financial pinch amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said that top administration officials will be meeting with Republican members of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss the possible payroll tax cuts and help for hourly workers.

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