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.

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."

Across the country, medical professionals are working to save the lives of people suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In many places, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) means that that nurses must reuse masks and do without certain protective measures.

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.

This is part of a new 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 Trump administration has announced a series of measures intended to speed testing for the coronavirus disease COVID-19: a new federal coordinator to oversee testing, funding for two companies developing rapid tests and a hotline for labs to call to get help finding needed supplies.

The U.S. government has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the virus, particularly when it comes to testing. Only this week has testing become more widely available in the U.S., and kits remain in limited supply.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

The NCAA has announced that it is canceling its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments. This year, there will be no March Madness.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement Thursday.

Countries around the world are mobilizing to try to halt the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100,000 people and killed more than 4,000 others. Here's a look at some of the measures that the nine countries with the most cases have implemented so far.

China

Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET

As cases of coronavirus disease continue to be identified in countries around the world, the effort to stem its spread has kept some 290 million students home from school.

According to the United Nations, as of Tuesday, 22 countries on three continents have closed schools because of the virus.

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has health officials scrambling to educate the public on good hygiene and best practices. And the need to communicate those messages has resurrected a classic art form: the public service announcement, or PSA.

Because the coronavirus is a global concern, video PSAs are emerging from all corners of the globe, all at once.

Updated Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET

After a slow initial roll-out, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States. That means a big surge in testing is coming — one that will likely cause a significant increase in identified cases of the COVID-19 illness.

Here are some things to know about the tests.

What is the current availability of coronavirus testing?

Within the wood paneling of a hallway in the British House of Commons, there was a small brass keyhole.

Members of Parliament and staff walked past the tiny hole each day. The rare person who noticed the hole took it for an electrical cabinet.

Scotland is now a big step closer to becoming the first country in the world to make tampons and pads free to anyone who needs them.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill passed through the first of three stages in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday by a vote of 112-0, with one abstention.

Updated at 2:50 pm ET

Riots and mob violence have rocked neighborhoods for three nights in New Delhi — the Indian capital's worst sectarian tumult in decades. At least 20 people have been killed in the fighting, which follows months of mostly peaceful protests over a new citizenship law that excludes Muslim refugees.

Deep in the third quarter against Stanford, Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu picked up a defensive rebound.

It was a big one: With that play, Ionescu became the first NCAA basketball player, male or female, to reach the milestone of 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.

Major League Baseball's opening day is a little more than a month off. But one of the boys of summer has been cross-training in the off season — by roping cattle. Professionally. Under an alias.

Madison Bumgarner, the left-handed pitching ace who was 2014 World Series MVP with the San Francisco Giants, has been entering — and sometimes winning — rodeo events under the name Mason Saunders.

The extradition hearing for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange began Monday in London — the latest turn in the legal saga of perhaps the world's most famous secret-spiller.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the barricades that have blocked railways in the country for two weeks must come down, calling the situation "unacceptable and untenable."

A homicide that shocked Lesotho has become more shocking still: Police say Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will be charged in the killing of his estranged wife.

But rather than appear in court as he was supposed to Friday, the 80-year-old leader has gone to South Africa to seek medical treatment. "He's not fled the country," Thabane's son Potlako told Reuters. The prime minister's office says he will go to court when he returns.

It has been just over 78 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans.

Now, in a unanimous vote, the California Assembly has apologized for the role the state played in rounding up about 120,000 people – mainly U.S. citizens – and moving them into 10 camps, including two in California.

Ontario's newly-designed license plates just hit a speed bump. Call it plate-gate.

A little background: The Canadian province's new design was unveiled by the provincial government — led by center-right Ontario Premier Doug Ford — last year.

Mississippians had been braced for historic floods after days of heavy downpours. When the Pearl River crested in Jackson on Monday, the water was 8 feet above flood stage — but that was lower than many had feared.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts.

The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. Scouting programs will continue throughout.

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court decision blocking states' requirements that people must work in order to receive Medicaid.

Residents of Kentucky and Arkansas brought the action against Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, contending that Azar "acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when he approved Medicaid demonstration requests for Kentucky and Arkansas."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed, writing in an opinion posted Friday that the secretary's authorization was indeed unlawful.

Updated 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spoke Saturday about a newly reached deal between the U.S. and the Taliban to deescalate the longest-running war in American history.

The "reduction in violence" deal will take place over a seven-day period and ultimately will aim to bring the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan down to 8,600 from around 12,000 over the following months.

The 8,600 number will still include counterterrorism and training operations.

The images of the current outbreak of the new coronavirus have so far been very human: air travelers wearing masks, tourists stranded on cruise ships, medical workers wearing protective suits.

But new images of the virus show us what it looks like up close.

These images were made using scanning and transmission electron microscopes at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A judge has overturned a contentious settlement that the University of North Carolina system reached with the Sons of Confederate Veterans over the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam.

The November 2019 agreement required the UNC system to give Silent Sam to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with $2.5 million for its preservation and display. It was announced within minutes of a lawsuit filed by the group.

Democrats could avoid another tech meltdown like the one that afflicted the Iowa caucuses with a better strategy for building the tools they need, progressive technology specialists say.

The origins of the Iowa debacle are in a boom-and-bust cycle that places technology in competition with other priorities as time-crunched campaigns grapple with how best to spend as they hurtle toward an election.

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