The outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus, originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and is  spreading around the world. The illness has symptoms similar to the flu -- fever, cough and shortness of breath.

View all the latest updates, health tips and a map of the infections on our live blog

Why Is NC Delayed In Reporting COVID-19 Death Data? It's About Death Certificates.

4 hours ago
Hannah Critchfield / North Carolina Health News

How many people have died of COVID-19 in North Carolina?

Consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, and you’ll get one answer. Ask the state’s health department, you’ll get a death count of almost 1,000 more people.

Why the discrepancy? The CDC data relies on each state’s reporting of death certificate documents.

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that weekly coronavirus case numbers are rising in Europe at a higher rate than during the pandemic's peak in March.

At a virtual news conference, Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO in Europe, warned, "We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us."

"Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," he said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."


Republican leaders want public school students in North Carolina to have the option of returning to five-day-a-week, in-person classes as soon as possible. They laid out their argument during a press conference Wednesday. It was partly a chance for Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest to criticize the phased school reopening plans of Gov. Roy Cooper. 

NC Department of Public Safety

North Carolina public school students in grades K-5 will be permitted to transition to full in-person instruction beginning Oct. 5, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will stick with a phased-in return decided upon the night before the governor's announcement.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday approved a phased-in approach to bringing students back to school that brings the first students back in less than two weeks -- and the last ones Jan. 18.

I catch Patricia Stamper with a Zoom meeting going in the background and a child at her knee asking for attention. Stamper works as a teacher's assistant for special education students in the Washington, D.C., public schools.

These days, her virtual classroom is at home — and so is her toddler, who has a genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome, and her kindergartner, who receives speech therapy. Her husband works outside the home at a golf course.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there were lots of stories about scrappy manufacturers promising to revamp their factories to start making personal protective equipment in the U.S.

Back in the spring, fuel-cell maker Adaptive Energy retooled part of its factory in Ann Arbor, Mich., to make plastic face shields. Now, 100,000 finished shields are piling up in cardboard boxes on the factory floor — unsold.

Vera Arsic / Pexels

According to an analysis of court filings by the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter, there were more divorces on record in June in Mecklenburg County and across North Carolina than any of the previous 12 months. 

Athletes and fans anticipating the start of college basketball will have to wait a little bit longer.

The NCAA Division I Council announced on Wednesday that the upcoming men's and women's basketball seasons can begin on Nov. 25, roughly two weeks later than originally planned, in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Distributing a vaccine or vaccines for the coronavirus will be one of the biggest challenges the next president faces, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday.

"The development of a vaccine is only part of the battle. Distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as one of the most sensitive military operations," he said in prepared remarks in Wilmington, Del., after he received a briefing from a panel of vaccine experts.

Biden Steps Up Focus On Health Care In New Ad

Sep 16, 2020
Joe Biden For President

The time of presidential candidates giving little attention to health care is starting to change.

Joe Biden's campaign says it now has a $65 million health care campaign underway. The campaign includes two ads that feature President Trump’s efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

North Carolina Republican leaders are calling on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to give parents the option of choosing full-time, in-person classes in public schools. 

Are Students With Disabilities Being Left Behind? Challenges Of Virtual Learning.

Sep 16, 2020
Courtesy Autism Society of NC

As school districts across the state deliberated over whether to bring students back to the classroom or teach them virtually, social media message boards filled with comments from North Carolina parents with strong opinions on all sides.

But for Brooke Rose, there was no ideal option for her family in Wake County, which is holding virtual classes.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero as expected Wednesday and pledged to keep supporting an economic recovery that appears to be losing steam.

Most members of the Fed's rate-setting committee said they expect interest rates to remain near zero through at least 2023 as the economy slowly digs its way out of the coronavirus recession.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday again said widespread distribution of a vaccine against the coronavirus would happen before the end of the year, directly contradicting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. The CDC chief testified earlier Wednesday that a vaccine would not be widely available until next spring or summer.

Trump said he expects the government to be able to distribute a vaccine "sometime in October," though "it may be a little later than that."

The Big Ten Conference said it will return to football on the weekend of Oct. 23-24, a reversal from the conference leadership's decision a little more than a month ago to sideline its football program in the fall due to coronavirus concerns.

Cal Cunningham ad

Health care was a central topic of last year’s Democratic presidential debates. 

A year later, the focus has shifted. Those who watched the Republican and Democratic conventions heard more about leadership, threats to the democracy, violence and the pandemic.

The vast majority of children dying from COVID-19 are Hispanic, Black or Native American, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed the number of coronavirus cases and deaths among people under the age of 21 that were reported to the CDC between Feb. 12 and July 31 of this year. They found more than 390,000 cases and 121 deaths.

Mandy Cohen
NC Department of Public Safety


North Carolina’s top health official said she feels "very comfortable" with the federal process for testing and approving a coronavirus vaccine. 

Why Black Aging Matters, Too

Sep 15, 2020

Old. Chronically ill. Black.

People who fit this description are more likely to die from COVID-19 than any other group in the country.

Natalie and Nick Foy

A lawsuit seeking to force Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to bring students back to schools is raising questions about white parents who say they’re standing up for communities of color. 

South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Contracts COVID-19

Sep 14, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday, but is recovering in isolation with her family at home, officials said.

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A longtime Charlotte barbecue restaurant is closing shop for good amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The owners of Bill Spoon's BBQ made the announcement Monday on social media, saying the South Boulevard restaurant's last day will be Wednesday.

Agi Hajduczki, a research scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Infectious Diseases, opens a large freezer and takes out boxes of DNA. She is part of a team making a COVID-19 vaccine.

Hajduczki places a small, clear plastic tray under a piece of white paper on the table of her lab. The tray is dimpled. Pale yellow fluid can be seen under the dozens of dimples.

Some of the dimples are clearly more yellow than others.

Office designers are scrambling now to try to get more members of the workforce safely back to their desks. Clear plastic sneeze guards have become familiar, as have floors taped off at 6-foot increments. But by 2025 or so, after the immediate threat of the coronavirus has likely passed, which short-term fixes will be part of the new normal? And what other design changes could be coming our way?

Nick de la Canal / WFAE

It was an unusual start to the NFL season for Carolina Panthers fans. There were no fans in the Bank of America stadium for Sunday's first home game, and there were also fewer fans at Charlotte's sports bars.

CDC / Unsplash

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, cleanliness and sterilization have been the main tools for stopping the coronavirus' spread. Custodial and cleaning employees are essential to keeping buildings and homes sanitized. Here are a few stories of the many custodial and cleaning staff who are keeping Charlotte safe and clean.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccine studies have resumed in the United Kingdom, though not yet in the United States. The vaccine trials had been placed on hold around the world earlier in the week after a U.K. participant in one of the studies developed a neurological illness.

More Than 120 COVID-19 Cases At North Carolina's Only Immigration Detention Facility

Sep 12, 2020
Four people were arrested at a demonstration outside Alamance County Detention Center on Sept. 8.
Anthony Crider / Flickr

Via North Carolina Health News 

Nehel Gaya’s father has traveled so much during the pandemic, she’s having trouble keeping up.

The South Carolina resident had received calls from Georgia, Texas, Louisiana -- whatever immigrant detention facility her father, a Pakistani citizen, happened to be transferred to next.

Well into the pandemic, one of those places was a local North Carolina jail.

CHAPEL HILL  — Officials at the University of North Carolina says the school may need to implement furloughs to manage a deficit that could reach $300 million due to the coronavirus pandemic.