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.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to lift its 16-year moratorium on the renaming of campus buildings.

"Many people have realized it's important to move forward with some of these issues. And that's what we intend to do on this campus," said Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stevens, as NPR member station WUNC reports. "It's a moment of leadership. It's time to do it."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday the state's highest-ever number of new COVID-19 cases: 2,622.

He also reported a second record high: 2,518 people hospitalized with the virus in Texas, up from 2,326 a day earlier.

After 24 days with no new cases of the coronavirus, New Zealand now has two. Both are women in the same family and traveled from the U.K. via Australia.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a pipeline company in a dispute about whether a new 600-mile natural gas pipeline could cross underneath the Appalachian Trail on federal land.

The 7-2 decision overturned one part of a lower court decision that had blocked construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is being jointly developed by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

Amid the uproar over policing and racism in America, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, hung a large banner on Saturday that said, "Black Lives Matter" on the front of the mission. Two days later, it has taken the banner down.

Updated June 17 at 11:50 a.m. ET

Rebekah Jones was fired last month from her job at the Florida Department of Health, where she helped create a data portal about the state's COVID-19 cases. Now, she has created a dashboard of her own.

The Trump administration has released a draft of new regulations that would sharply restrict how asylum is granted to immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking protection. Critics say the proposed changes are so severe that they would effectively shut down the asylum system in this country.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Police Department has reassigned seven officers to nonfield duties as it investigates dozens of complaints of excessive force during recent protests against police brutality.

The department said it has assigned 40 investigators to look into 56 complaint investigations into "allegations of misconduct, violations of Department policy, and excessive force" during the protests – of which 28 involve alleged use of force.

United Airlines will now require passengers to complete a "health self-assessment" as part of its check-in process. It's the latest effort by a U.S. airline to assure passengers that it's safe to fly as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Nearly four months after the MLS put its season on hold, pro soccer will return to the pitch with a leaguewide tournament at Disney World near Orlando, Fla., starting July 8.

The competition has an unsubtle moniker: The MLS is Back Tournament. And it isn't just a one-off — each game will count in the regular-season standings. The winner will also net a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

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?

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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.

Updated July 4, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET

It has been months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But given that coronavirus cases continue to surge in many places, 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."

Researchers in France say that they have found evidence that the country had cases of the coronavirus a month earlier than was previously known.

The findings were announced in a pre-proof article in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

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.

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