Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

Earlier in this pandemic, the shortage of tests for the coronavirus was a major problem in fighting the spread of COVID-19. The shortage was such that many hospitals and clinics would test only someone who had traveled to a country with an outbreak, had a known exposure to a positive case or showed symptoms of the disease.

But access to tests has improved significantly, and in some places, people can now get tested without having to show any symptoms at all. So if you can get tested, should you?

I need to take a trip that would be either a few hours flying or multiple days driving. Which is safer?

As lockdown orders are relaxed to some capacity in countries around the world, travel is starting to see an uptick for the first time since mid-March. But when it comes to taking a longer trip, is it better to travel by car or by plane?

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

Each week we answer pressing coronavirus questions. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

How big a risk is it to catch the virus through your eyes? Should people be wearing eye protection?

Each week we answer pressing coronavirus questions. For this week's installment, we're focusing on flying.

We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

This is part of a 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 7:03 p.m. ET

The federal scientist who was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

New York City has opened seven miles of streets to pedestrians and cyclists, in an effort to create more space for people to maintain a safe distance from one another while outside.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council say 40 miles of streets across the boroughs will open during May, with an eventual goal of 100 miles in the coming weeks.

Florida began to reopen its economy Monday with Gov. Ron DeSantis lifting some of the restrictions that have been in place for more than a month.

The reopening does not extend to the three most populous counties, all in South Florida, where most of the state's confirmed cases are. Those counties are Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

Each week we answer some of your pressing questions about the coronavirus and how to stay safe. Email us your questions at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." This week, we're considering questions about pulse oximeters.

Preliminary results of a major study of the antiviral drug remdesivir show it can help hospitalized patients with COVID-19 recover faster. Dr. Anthony Fauci hailed the findings, released Wednesday, as "quite good news."

"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," Fauci said during a meeting with President Trump and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. "This is highly significant."

Each week we answer some of your pressing questions about the coronavirus and how to stay safe. Email us your questions at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Does the size of a viral dose make a difference? That is, if you're exposed to lots of viral particles, will you get sicker?

Updated on Thursday at 11:20 a.m. ET

National security adviser Robert O'Brien has accused the World Health Organization of being "a bit of a propaganda tool for the Chinese," and said the White House is investigating whether money from China influenced the WHO's judgments during the coronavirus crisis.

O'Brien made the remarks in an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep on Tuesday. The interview airs Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to step down as prime minister next year, as he and election rival Benny Gantz have reached a deal for a unity government. The agreement is set to break the deadlock Israel has faced over three elections in the past 12 months.

The right-wing prime minister would stay in office until October 2021 and then hand over the position to centrist Gantz, according to a statement released by the parties.

Can sunlight kill the coronavirus? What about UV light?

The Trump administration announced new guidelines Thursday for states to reopen businesses and schools and relax social distancing measures, but public health experts say the plan skirts a major hurdle needed to safely get things moving: a shortage of tests for the coronavirus.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the country's lockdown can begin to lift, after reaching a "fragile interim success."

For more than three weeks, there has been a ban on public gatherings of more than two people and people are required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) between each other. That ban was set to expire on Sunday, but has now been extended until May 3.

In a move that could be a step toward making air travel palatable to the public again, Emirates Airline has begun conducing rapid-on site COVID-19 for passengers.

The testing began with passengers on a flight from Dubai to Tunisia on Wednesday. The analysis is a blood test with results within 10 minutes. The airline says it is the first to roll out rapid testing.

Updated at 7:29 p.m.

President Trump says he will halt U.S. funding of the World Health Organization while his administration reviews the organization's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

"Today I am instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," Trump said Tuesday in a briefing at the White House.

As the spread of the coronavirus appears to be slowing in certain parts of Europe, some nations are cautiously beginning to ease restrictions on business and movement.

Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to announce that it would shut schools, borders and businesses, and fewer than 300 people have died from the virus. Now Danish authorities say that the spread of the virus has been slowed enough that the country can begin to reopen. Elementary schools and day cares will open their doors on Wednesday, but the move has been divisive.

Updated Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET

Race organizers have set new dates for the 2020 Tour de France: Aug. 29 to Sept. 20.

A sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt warship has died from COVID-19-related complications, the Navy said Monday.

The sailor's name is being withheld until 24 hours after his family is notified.

The sailor tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30 and was removed from the aircraft carrier and placed in an isolation house in Guam with four other sailors from the ship.

This is part of a 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."

Around the world, people are taking steps to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Here we ask experts questions from readers and listeners about COVID-19 and how to stay safe.

To stop the spread of the coronavirus, health officials have a favorite refrain: After being in a city or region where there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases, spend 14 days in quarantine even if you feel perfectly fine — don't leave your house. Coming from New York? 14-day quarantine. Arriving in Hawaii?

This is part of a 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."

More than 8,100 members of the U.S. National Guard have been mobilized across the U.S. to help communities deal with the coronavirus. In some states, they're moving supplies and people. In California, they're working at food banks; in Arizona, some members are restocking shelves.

On Monday, NPR's Ailsa Chang interviewed Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. Here are two questions she posed to him, and his responses, which have been edited for length and clarity.

This is part of a 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."

The global spread of COVID-19 cases continues, with cases around the world and increasingly strict measures to control its spread. Authorities in the U.S. and other countries have banned or discouraged large gatherings and are urging social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

Some people look at the weeks ahead and wonder how they will keep themselves from going stir crazy.

Across the U.S., new restrictions have limited in-person gatherings in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus infection, as concern grows from watching its effects on the hard-hit populations of China and Italy, where thousands have died.

A spring without baseball? Saturdays without soccer? March without Madness? Such is the uncharted world of sports in the age of coronavirus.

What had seemed unimaginable just days earlier is suddenly the new reality: Sports in America have shuttered.

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