Christianna Silva | KALW

Christianna Silva

Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, says that some Americans could start receiving a COVID-19 vaccine by the second week of December.

Cases of COVID-19 are rising at an alarming rate in nearly every state as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.

The cumulative case count passed 12 million on Saturday, six days after the previous million mark was crossed, which was six days after the previous million.

Journalist John Yang volunteered to take part in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial not for "great altruistic reasons," but because he wanted to get a vaccine sooner rather than later.

"It started off with self-interest — I wanted to get the vaccine sooner," Yang, special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, tells NPR's All Things Considered. "Then when I found out that it was the Moderna trial, a new technology, one that has never been approved for a human vaccine before, I got sort of excited. It sort of piqued the science nerd in me."

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber will become the first Black woman to serve as brigade commander at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

It's the top leadership post for midshipmen — in civilian terms, the equivalent of a student body president — and she is the 16th woman to serve in the position in the 44 years women have been allowed to attend the Naval Academy.

Poised to take over the role as leader of 4,400 midshipmen next semester, Barber told NPR's All Things Considered that there was a time when she had no desire to attend the Naval Academy.

The COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. is getting worse by nearly every metric. On Friday alone, there were more than 184,000 new confirmed cases and 1,400 deaths, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported. Hospitals are reaching capacity.

Hospitals are nearing capacity in North and South Dakota, two states where coronavirus has hit disproportionately hard for their small population size and where cases continue to rise daily.

Dr. Taison Bell, the director of the medical intensive care unit at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, was doing rounds in the COVID-19 ICU, caring for about 20 patients, when he noticed that his unit was full almost entirely of Black and Latinx people, despite the fact that Charlottesville is 70% white.

Bell, who grew up just an hour away from the hospital, says he "just couldn't escape the thought of this virus disproportionately killing people in my community."

Democrats and Republicans are reacting to news that former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris were elected to the White House on Saturday, narrowly defeating President Trump in an election that hinged on several swing states.

As the nation careens into the 2020 presidential election amid a damaged economy and a surging pandemic that has infected more than 9 million people and killed more than 230,000, Americans are facing historic division.

As cold weather envelops Illinois, the state is experiencing a massive upsurge in coronavirus cases, part of a trend across Midwest states.

The fires in Washington are largely under control now, but the state has been experiencing dangerous, even deadly, wildfires for years, something Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee says are only made worse by climate change.

New Yorkers have been watching with alarm as COVID-19 cases have begun to climb in the city, particularly in areas that Governor Andrew Cuomo has called hotspots, several of which are in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Queens.

The Glass Fire has prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents in California's Napa and Sonoma counties and caused the destruction of dozens of buildings.

Since igniting in the wine country on early Sunday, wind-fueled flames have engulfed 48,440 acres and consumed more than 50 homes and buildings, according to CalFire. As of late Wednesday morning, the fire was only 2% contained.

With COVID-19 continuing to spread, and millions of Americans still out of work, one of the nation's most urgent problems has only grown worse: hunger.

Editor's note: NPR will be continuing this conversation about Being Black in America online and on air.

Bruce Tomlin, a 63-year-old truck driver from New Mexico, said he was never really a "gun person." Then he saw a video of three white men following and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging.

Early voting via absentee ballot began in Michigan on Thursday, making 2020 the state's first presidential election in which residents can vote early with an absentee ballot without needing a reason.

Pregnant women had mountains of concern at the beginning of the pandemic, and doctors didn't have many answers. Now, months after COVID-19 began sweeping across the globe, new studies and CDC reports are out.

While there is still much that is unknown, the picture is beginning to be more clear.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said on Sunday that she will not support nominating a successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the 2020 presidential election. The announcement makes her the second Senate Republican to publicly take that position.

Twitter and Facebook both flagged posts by President Trump on Saturday that encouraged Americans to vote by mail as early as possible and then follow up that vote by going to the polls on Election Day to check that it was counted — action that could cause unnecessarily long lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot by police in Wisconsin last month, spoke from his hospital bed about the pain of recovery and his hope for the future in a video posted to Twitter by his attorney on Saturday.

Updated at 7:41 p.m. ET

The New York attorney general announced on Saturday that she is putting together a grand jury as part of her office's investigation into the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died of asphyxiation after being restrained by police in March.

President Trump will travel to Kenosha, Wis. on Tuesday to survey the damage from last week's protests in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. But the city's Democratic mayor, John Antaramian, would rather he didn't.

"Realistically, from our perspective, our preference would have been for him not to be coming at this point in time," Antaramian told NPR's Weekend Edition on Sunday. "All presidents are always welcome and campaign issues are always going on. But it would have been, I think, better had he waited to have for another time to come."

Across the country, colleges and universities are struggling to decide how to teach students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some schools have turned to remote learning; some have attempted to reopen campus with various precautions in place. Others are trying a mix of both.

For the municipalities that are host to colleges and universities, these decisions can be costly. Whether it's curtailing the spread of the virus in their communities, or losing the typical influx of student spending that arrives each fall, these cities and towns are bracing for a challenge.

A new show, called "Love in the Time of Corona," is a series of interwoven stories about people in quarantine trying to find love and stay connected. And the cast are actual couples, families or friends, in real life, who have been quarantining together during the pandemic.

California will be under a state of emergency this weekend, as more than 500 fires rage across the state.

Students in Los Angeles went back to school this week online. The Los Angeles Unified School District is planning for in-person classes to resume at some point during the 2020-21 school year, which will mean school nurses and licensed vocational nurses will be key to ensuring COVID-19 doesn't spread.

Thousands of Iowans are still coping with the aftermath of a storm that pummeled the state last Monday with 100-mile-per-hour winds — a storm that flattened corn and soybean crops, damaged grain elevators and leveled banks, churches and homes.

Much to the dismay of college sports fans, the coronavirus pandemic has caused the Big Ten and Pac-12 athletic conferences to put their fall sports schedules on hold.

Editor's note: NPR will be continuing this conversation about Being Black in America online and on air.

When Imani Brown, a 38-year-old from San Francisco, hit the streets to protest the recent police violence against Black Americans, she felt inspired and energized. Her parents fought for racial justice before her, so her participation felt like a part of her inheritance.

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