Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio and digital content as well as the NPR Politics Podcast. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. Previously, she was the executive assistant to the senior vice president for news at NPR. Sprunt was an intern at NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, where she produced the "Three-Minute Fiction" segment, and NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania native.

With more than 383,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United more than, and over 12,000 deaths, President Trump is continuing to ask Americans to maintain social distancing through the end of the month to help control the spread of the pandemic.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said "we certainly want to try" to lift restrictions on life in the U.S. by April 30 but he made no definitive commitment at a news conference on Monday at the White House.

Trump sought to walk a tightrope between grim warnings about a new spike in fatalities forecast for the coming weeks and upbeat exuberance about how well he said the response is going.

"Tremendous progress has been made in a very short period," Trump said.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

In a grim assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump on Saturday predicted that the coming week would be "one of the toughest weeks" of the outbreak. At the same time, the president expressed frustration with the toll that social distancing measures are taking on the economy, saying, "We cannot let this continue."

With data projecting cases in several regions hitting their peaks within seven days, the president told reporters that the United States could see its deadliest week since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

Just days after the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans to brace for sobering death tolls, the administration is vowing to reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus.

During his Thursday night briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump repeated a claim that the United States has done more testing for the contagion on a per capita basis than any other country.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

The government has gone to work disbursing the billions of dollars Washington has committed to sustain the economy after the deep shock it has undergone in the pandemic, the White House promised on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, vowed that some of the first systems for loans or payments would be up and running as soon as Friday.

President Trump was asked Wednesday why his administration hasn't reopened the healthcare.gov exchanges to help bridge the insurance coverage gap for those who do not have private insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

President Trump says he may consider grounding some or all flights as a coronavirus pandemic mitigation measure but also said on Wednesday he wants to apply the lightest touch possible in managing the disaster.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

During his briefing with the coronavirus task force on Monday, President Trump said Russia has sent medical equipment to the United States to combat the growing pandemic.

"And I have to say, we've had great relationships with a lot of countries," Trump said. "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."

Is that so?

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday just hours after the House approved it amidst the deepening crisis over the pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families, workers and businesses. And that's what this is all about," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Lagging in the Democratic presidential primary and facing the unique challenge of running for office amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is still assessing his campaign's future.

"It's changing every day because elections are being delayed," Sanders said in an interview with Morning Edition's Noel King.

"Where do we go from here with the elections that are being delayed, where we can't go out and hold rallies or knock on doors? That's what we're looking at right now," Sanders said.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

Roughly 50,000 Instagram viewers got a taste of what a White House briefing from the coronavirus task force would be like if only the doctor, not President Trump, answered questions.

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The White House's pandemic task force convened another briefing on Wednesday afternoon amid a tense denouement for legislation aimed at helping an economy poleaxed by the disaster.

Last-minute objections on Wednesday delayed the Senate vote until late in the evening, when it passed on a vote of 96 to 0.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

In the midst of Senate negotiations on a massive stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic, House Democrats have drafted their own counterproposal titled the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican bill before the Senate puts "corporations first, not workers and families."

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

The White House sought to show that it's in control of the sprawling coronavirus crisis on Friday even as it acknowledged enduring shortfalls in key supplies.

Administration officials also said they're imposing new controls on travel and restricting passage through the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico following agreements with those governments.

Here were some key points from the latest briefing.

Too few tests

President Trump signed a second coronavirus emergency aid package into law Wednesday evening, after it passed with overwhelming support from the Senate.

The legislation follows a first emergency funding bill, which allocated roughly $8 billion for coronavirus prevention, preparation and response efforts.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old who rose from mayor of a midsize Indiana city to a serious presidential contender, officially suspended his campaign on Sunday evening.

"The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close," Buttigieg told a crowd in his hometown of South Bend, Ind., after an introduction by his husband, Chasten. "We have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further."

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