Coronavirus Coverage

KSUT Public Radio wants to keep you updated on the latest news about COVID-19.

Listen each day for reporting from NPR, KSUT, and other trustworthy news sources. You can find an ongoing feed of stories about the pandemic below.


Colorado Public Radio

Colorado is headed in the right direction — but the COVID variants are worrisome.

In a twist from the typical narrative of urban-rural disparities, many rural Colorado counties have the highest rates of getting vaccine administered. State officials also believe size matters when understanding why rural counties are more successful at getting vaccine administered. San Juan County, for example, will be at a "standstill" in its vaccine progress until the state opens up more eligibility criteria.

William Wooddell for the Ark Valley Voice

How one Colorado county prioritized in-person learning in the face of COVID-19, while protecting its tourism-based economy.

Here & Now‘s Jane Clayson talks with Deborah Wang, a reporter at KUOW, about the problems her mother ran into signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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A study last week published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines may be less effective at neutralizing the South African variant of the coronavirus. Vaccine makers are now racing to develop booster shots that address these more resistant variants.

Host Peter O’Dowd speaks with Dr. Drew Weissman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and pioneer of the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Chinese pharmaceutical makers are seeking market approval from Beijing for two new coronavirus vaccines – one that has shown 72% efficacy and another 69% efficacy in human Phase III trials.

The separate announcements on Wednesday come from Sinopharm for its second vaccine after the state-run company's first was approved for distribution in December, and from CanSino Biologics, Inc. (CanSinoBIO), for its first vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning that supports its authorization for emergency use.

On Friday, a panel of advisers to the agency will meet to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation about whether it should be given the OK. If the agency goes on to authorize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it would be the third, after those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, to become available in the U.S.

A national health care provider has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to people deemed ineligible for the scarce vaccine by local health departments, including people with connections to company leaders and customers of its concierge medical service, according to internal communications leaked to NPR.

When the school district in Pima, Ariz., got its first round of federal pandemic relief last summer, Superintendent Sean Rickert put it toward the expenses incurred while suddenly shifting classes online at the start of the pandemic.

Now, as some Republicans in Congress question why COVID-19 aid for schools has not yet been spent, Rickert is just learning how much his district will get from a second relief bill approved in December.

On Monday, the U.S. reached a heartbreaking 500,000 deaths from COVID-19.

But widespread death from COVID-19 isn't necessarily inevitable.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that some countries have had few cases and fewer deaths per capita. The U.S. has had 152 deaths per 100,000 people, for example, versus .03 in Burundi and .04 in Taiwan.

In 2001, Maurine Murenga was pregnant and HIV-positive. She was living in Kenya, and a counselor encouraged her to fill out a memory book. She wrote directions to her village, details about her family so that when she died, someone would know where to bury her and where to send her child.

"It was nothing like preparing," says Murenga. "It was actually preparing us for death."

How To Talk About COVID-19 Vaccines

Feb 23, 2021

The U.S. is now averaging more than 1.3 million doses per day, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Biden and Vice President Harris acknowledged a grim milestone Monday: the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans from COVID-19.

Biden and Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play "Amazing Grace" as they held a moment of silence.

Andrea Zeiner

You have to go back more than a century to find another time Coloradans faced a statewide crisis as big and deadly as the current COVID-19 pandemic. But experts who studied the state’s response to the Spanish flu of 1918 say history is not repeating itself when it comes to how state lawmakers are responding to the latest outbreak.

Today, visitors to the Capitol building must wear masks and have their temperatures taken, and lawmakers sit between plexiglass dividers.

The pandemic and winter weather have delayed or canceled vital elective surgeries.

After months of waiting, host Robin Young got knee surgery. Now in recovery, she joins us to discuss the ramifications of these surgery delays and how it impacted her own hospitalization.

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In the Los Angeles area, the challenge of vaccinating people is further compounded by the city’s homeless population.

Health officials are trying to vaccinate 65,000 people who are experiencing homelessness in LA County. Shannon Fernando, a nurse practitioner and chief innovations officer at LA Christian Health Centers, is tackling this challenge head on.

Vaccinating people facing homelessness requires a measure of creativity, she says. It’s difficult to reach people who are homeless, and officials must also work to ensure people get their second dose.

U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 500,000

Feb 22, 2021

Around 500,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the U-S — more than in any other country.

But at the same time, there are some signs of hope: The average daily number of cases in the U.S. has dropped by more than 40% in the last two weeks. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that around 43 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health care personnel are not alone on the front lines of the struggle with COVID-19. Another group is the faith leaders who minister to the sick and console those who are grieving. Four faith leaders with different missions and experiences share their thoughts and feelings about their pandemic work and the burdens they bear.

Pastor Patrick Young

1st Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, N.Y.

How do we wrap our minds around the fact that nearly half a million people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone?

The nation is on the cusp of that milestone: 500,000 lives lost, in just one year.

When COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S., Jodee Pineau-Chaisson was working as the director of social services for a nursing home in western Massachusetts. By the middle of April, residents at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst were getting sick.

Tens of thousands of people who volunteered to be in studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are still participating in follow-up research. But some key questions won't be easily answered, because many people who had been in the placebo group have now opted to take the vaccine.

Even so, there's valuable information to be had in the planned two-year follow-up studies. And that motivated Karen Mott, a 56-year-old job counselor who stuck with the continuing study.

President Biden is set on Friday to announce a total of $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the vaccine alliance trying to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries, a senior administration official told reporters.

Biden will make the announcement during a virtual meeting of G-7 leaders about the pandemic.

Colorado Public Radio

For Denver chef Frank Bonanno, losing his sense of smell after catching COVID-19 has turned his professional and personal life upside down.

Colorado Public Radio

In 2020, 46,808 people died in Colorado, the most ever recorded in one year in the state, and a 21 percent increase over the average number of deaths for the three prior years.

For people having trouble navigating COVID-19 vaccine appointment systems when it’s their turn, it might be easier if they could go through their primary care doctor.

But so far, doctors have been largely left behind as states focus on mass vaccine rollouts through stadiums and pharmacies.

Here & Now‘s Tonya Mosley speaks with Dr. Wayne Altman of Tufts University of Medicine about why doctors should be centered in distribution plans.

The COVID-19 vaccines are here, but if it's your turn to get vaccinated, how are you supposed to sign up?

The answers vary by place, so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources. And we're sharing guiding principles and advice for navigating the process below.

Search for your state below. (There are a few large cities with their own immunization plans that you'll find on our list as well.)

Colorado Governor Jared Polis delivered his State of the State address to the legislatures yesterday. While the speech was mixed with somber moments around the virus and inequities, Polis remains hopeful for the future. KSUT’s Sarah Flower reports. 


The White House plans to increase testing capacity in the U.S. through multiple channels, officials said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administration says it will spend $650 million to expand testing for K-8 schools and settings where people congregate such as homeless shelters, via new "hubs" created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Regional coordinating centers will work to increase testing capacity, partnering with labs and universities to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.