Coronavirus

The U.S. Response to COVID-19

Read our latest investigations into the crisis response and public health infrastructure.

How Operation Warp Speed Created Vaccination Chaos

States are struggling to plan their vaccination programs with just one week’s notice for how many doses they’ll receive from the federal government. The incoming Biden administration is deciding what to do with this dysfunctional system.

CDC Shut Down a Lab Involved in Making Faulty Coronavirus Tests

A CDC lab involved in making faulty coronavirus tests sent to state and local officials early in the pandemic was closed down hours after an October investigation by ProPublica exposed key mistakes the CDC made in manufacturing those tests.

“Those of Us Who Don’t Die Are Going to Quit”: A Crush of Patients, Dwindling Supplies and the Nurse Who Lost Hope

Almost a year into the pandemic, supply shortages remain so severe that nurse Kristen Cline reuses her N95 for several shifts while her hospital buckles, patients suffer and folks nearby socialize maskless as if the pandemic were already over.

How the History of Waterloo, Iowa, Explains How Meatpacking Plants Became Hotbeds of COVID-19

Waterloo was the site of a historic battle for labor rights and racial justice. But as the meatpacking industry changed, the workforce lost its power and was primed for an outbreak. This is how we got here.

Leaked Documents Show How China’s Army of Paid Internet Trolls Helped Censor the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus spread in China, the government stage-managed what appeared on the domestic internet to make the virus look less severe and the authorities more capable, according to thousands of leaked directives and other files.

Only Seven of Stanford’s First 5,000 Vaccines Were Designated for Medical Residents

Stanford Medicine officials relied on a faulty algorithm to determine who should get vaccinated first, and it prioritized some high-ranking doctors over patient-facing medical residents.

Vaccinating Black Americans Is Essential. Key States Aren’t Doing the Work to Combat Hesitancy

States and the federal government also don’t reliably collect data so we won’t have a good idea of whether the vaccine is reaching these critical populations.

The Family Court Judge Who Threatened a Mother With Contempt of Court for Getting Her Child a COVID-19 Test

Ohio juvenile court Judge Timothy Grendell thought coronavirus precautions were overblown, and made sure people knew it. In one case he forbade a mother from getting her children tested for COVID-19. Then, one of them had to go to the emergency room.

States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders

Lax states are attracting shoppers and students from stricter neighbors — and sending back COVID-19 cases. The imbalance underscores the lack of a national policy.

Two School Districts Had Different Mask Policies. Only One Had a Teacher on a Ventilator.

Eleven states let school districts decide whether students and staff must wear masks. One Georgia middle school where masks were optional became the center of an outbreak.

Rapid Testing Is Less Accurate Than the Government Wants to Admit

Rapid antigen testing is a mess. The federal government pushed it out without a plan, and then spent weeks denying problems with false positives.

The Enraging Deja Vu of a Third Coronavirus Wave

Health care workers don’t need patronizing praise. They need resources, federal support, and for us to stay healthy and out of their hospitals. In many cases, none of that is happening.

Most States Aren’t Ready to Distribute the Leading COVID-19 Vaccine

A review of state distribution plans reveals that officials don’t know how they’ll deal with the difficult storage and transport requirements of Pfizer’s vaccine, especially in the rural areas currently seeing a spike in infections.

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Taking Risks During the Pandemic

Experts who study the way we think and make decisions say that it can be more than politics driving our decision-making this year. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic undermines how we process information and assess risk. Need proof? Look around.

The Questionable Line Items of Illinois’ COVID-19 Spending

We thought you should know more about how your taxpayer dollars are being spent. Use our look-up tool to examine COVID-19 spending in Illinois.

Grenades, Bread and Body Bags: How Illinois Has Spent $1.6 Billion in Response to COVID-19 So Far

Fighting — and adapting to — the coronavirus in Illinois has been costly. So far, state agencies have spent more than $1.6 billion in federal and state COVID-19 funding since late March, buying everything from face masks to Subway sandwiches.

Illinois Will Start Sharing Data About COVID-19 Outbreaks in Schools

As educators and parents assess the risk of returning to the classroom, some felt frustrated by the lack of public data about COVID-19 in schools. After a ProPublica and Chicago Tribune investigation, the state will start publishing the data.

Who Decides When Vaccine Studies Are Done? Internal Documents Show Fauci Plays a Key Role.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will see data from government-funded vaccine trials before the FDA does. One caveat: Pfizer’s study, which is ahead of the others, isn’t included in his purview.

Illinois Has Had COVID-19 Outbreaks in 44 Schools but Won’t Say Where They’ve Occurred

More children are testing positive for COVID-19 than they were between March and mid-August, when schools shut down. As parents weigh the safety of in-person learning, Illinois has not published information about the virus’s spread in schools.

What’s It Like to Be a Contact Tracer? We Spoke With 3 to Find Out.

We wanted to know what life is like for the public health workers charged with limiting the spread of the coronavirus in Illinois. “A lot of people are initially in shock,” one said about making calls.

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