Patti Neighmond

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As the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads across the United States, there are continuing concerns among hospitals, public health experts and government leaders that hospital intensive care units would be hard-pressed to handle a surge in seriously ill patients.

A key limiting factor to being able to provide good care, they say, is the number of ventilation machines — ventilators — a hospital has on hand to help the most seriously ill patients breathe.

As Americans begin to cope with the prospect that the novel coronavirus could spread more widely in the U.S., there are questions about how prepared and sufficiently funded most hospitals are to handle severe cases in a major outbreak.

So far, several dozen people or so, across the country have been hospitalized with the virus, and at least six people in the U.S. have died. Government health officials now say they expect significantly more cases could arise, which means that hospitals need to be ready.

The first Americans quarantined after evacuation from Wuhan, China, the center of this winter's coronavirus outbreak, are now beginning to settle back into normal routines.

For 24-year-old Daniel Wethli, a history buff who majored in philosophy as an undergrad, leaving Wuhan last month at the urging of the U.S. State Department was bittersweet.

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Mass shootings, health care concerns and the upcoming 2020 presidential election top the list of Americans' worries these days. That's according to a new survey out this week from the American Psychological Association.

Overall, 71% said mass shootings were a significant source of stress in their lives, up from 62% last year. Hispanic adults were most likely to report stress over mass shootings (84%).

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Some new research finds that a medication to prevent premature birth does not work. Now an independent panel of advisers to the FDA says it should be taken off the market. NPR's Patti Neighmond has this story.

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