Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public as the rate of new coronavirus cases surges to record heights in parts of the United States.

The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the world – and humanity is failing because of a lack of leadership and unity, the head of the World Health Organization declared in a passionate speech Thursday.

Updated July 10 at 7:45 a.m. ET

Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale is urging his constituents not to get tested for the coronavirus, flouting advice from health officials — and from another Republican lawmaker, Gov. Mike DeWine.

"This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested," Vitale wrote on Facebook this week. "STOP GETTING TESTED!"

The U.S. has reported more than 3 million coronavirus cases as of Wednesday morning, with all but a handful of states struggling to control outbreaks of COVID-19. One million of those cases have been confirmed over the past month — part of a wave of infection that began after many states started to reopen their economies in May.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering 19 counties to shift many business operations outdoors or close them immediately, citing a sharp spike in new coronavirus cases. The state recorded nearly 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the governor said.

Jacksonville, Fla., is now requiring people to wear face masks while indoors and in public spaces where they can't stay 6 feet away from other people, hoping to slow a spike in coronavirus cases.

"Every person over the age of six (6) who is in a public space shall wear a face mask or covering when not able to engage in social distancing," the mandate states.

U.S. travelers won't be among those allowed to visit the European Union when the bloc begins opening its external borders on July 1. EU ambassadors endorsed a list of 15 travel partners on Tuesday, including South Korea, Japan and, with a caveat, China. Those countries were hit early by the pandemic but have been able to bring the coronavirus under control.

Planned Parenthood has named interim President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson as its new permanent leader in a bid to bring stability to the health care provider that has come under repeated attacks by conservative groups.

McGill Johnson will continue to lead both Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the organization's advocacy arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says the World Health Organization made "a total mistake" when it included Sweden in a list of countries seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus. The WHO misinterpreted the Swedish data, Tegnell said.

"It is a total mistake," Tegnell said, according to Swedish public broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

A massive cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert is arriving along the U.S. Gulf Coast this week after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. The phenomenon happens every year – but the 2020 version is especially large and imposing, experts said.

The dust cloud is "quite large" this year, said Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia, in an interview on NPR's All Things Considered. "I think that's why it's garnering so much attention."

The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday morning after having been shut down for more than three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the Paris landmark's longest closure since World War II.

The reopening is a dramatic sign of people reclaiming public spaces in France following more than 100 days of restrictions. But the tower's highest point is still not open – and for now, visitors will need to take the stairs.

Bayer will pay more than $10 billion to end tens of thousands of lawsuits filed over its Roundup weedkiller, the company announced Wednesday. The settlement also resolves many other cases over the herbicide dicamba as well as water contaminated with toxic chemicals called PCBs.

Many plaintiffs say Roundup's active ingredient — glyphosate — caused them to develop cancer. Roundup was developed by Monsanto, which Bayer bought in 2018 for $63 billion.

Update at 6:02 p.m. ET

"Today, Texas will report an all-time high in the number of cases of people testing positive" for the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, adding that for the first time, his state would surpass 5,000 new cases in a single day.

Hours later, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,489 new cases.

A record high in South Carolina. A two-month high in Florida. Record hospitalizations in Texas. Several states that were among the first to reopen their economies are now reporting spikes in new coronavirus cases, driving an alarming trend that has propelled the U.S. to 2 million cases.

The U.S. has reached another dire landmark in its fight against COVID-19, surpassing 2 million confirmed cases on Wednesday. New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states, even as restrictions on daily life continue to ease across the country.

As of Thursday morning, more than 112,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. — the most fatalities reported by any nation, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. And most experts believe those numbers underestimate the true toll.

President Trump's controversial foray to St. John's Church on Monday is generating widespread criticism, after police and National Guard troops physically cleared out demonstrators, using tear gas, to allow a photo opportunity outside the church. The bishop who oversees St. John's is among the critics.

Mass protests that have erupted over police brutality toward black people in America are raising concerns about the risk of spreading the coronavirus. But some health experts, even as they urge caution, said they support the demonstrations — because racism also poses a dire health threat.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed guidance on its website that houses of worship should limit choir activities — advice that was based on evidence that group singing can spread the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The warning was part of new guidance for leaders of faith-based organizations that the CDC had posted last Friday. It stated that they should:

New Zealand is now down to only one active COVID-19 case, reaching a new level of success in its fight against the coronavirus. The last time a new case was reported in the country was more than a week ago; no one is currently hospitalized with the disease caused by the coronavirus.

"For the seventh day in a row, there are no new cases of COVID-19 to report in New Zealand," the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

New York businesses can refuse entrance to anyone who doesn't wear a face mask, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday under his executive order that gives store owners the authority to decide whether patrons must wear a mask or other face coverings to enter.

Face masks are "amazingly" effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the governor said.

"People have a right to jeopardize their own health (I don't recommend it)," Cuomo said via Twitter. "People don't have a right to jeopardize other people's health."

The French government is revoking a decree that had allowed hospitals to prescribe hydroxychloroquine in some COVID-19 cases, saying there is no proof that it helps patients — and citing data that shows it could cause heart problems and other health risks.

"This molecule must not be prescribed for patients affected by COVID-19," the Ministry of Solidarity and Health said as it announced the change.

A licensed pharmacist in New York bought up thousands of rare N95 masks and sold them at much higher prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities said Tuesday, announcing the arrest of Richard Schirripa, aka "the Mask Man," on charges that include violating the Defense Production Act. Schirripa is accused of charging up to $25 per mask – often selling them out of his car.

People visiting Six Flags theme parks and water parks this summer will be required to wear face masks at all times, the company said, as it prepares to reopen its first park to visitors since the coronavirus forced mass closures. Six Flags said it also will use thermal imaging to screen temperatures of guests and employees before they can enter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is clarifying its guidance to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, hoping to clear up confusion over whether a person can contract the disease by touching surfaces that have the virus on them. The agency said "usability improvements," including a headline change on its webpage about preventing viral infection, seemed to trigger news stories saying its guidelines have changed.

"Our transmission language has not changed," CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes told NPR.

U.S. government buildings, military posts and embassies will fly the flag at half-staff through Memorial Day weekend in memory of the nearly 100,000 people who have died of COVID-19, President Trump announced Thursday night. The decision comes after Democratic leaders in Congress sent a letter to the president requesting the gesture.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. could have prevented roughly 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 if broad social distancing measures had been put in place just one week earlier in March, according to an analysis from Columbia University.

Underlining the importance of aggressively responding to the coronavirus, the study found the U.S. could have avoided at least 700,000 fewer infections if actions that began on March 15 had actually started on March 8.

Capt. Tom Moore, the British World War II veteran who raised more than $39 million to support health workers by walking 100 laps for charity in his garden, is being awarded a knighthood in recognition of how he has inspired people in the U.K. and around the world.

Moore launched the campaign in the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday in late April. Wearing a coat and tie and his military medals, he pushed his walker around the garden, hoping to draw donations.

The Maryland Department of Health reported 1,784 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, setting a new high mark four days after the state began reopening its economy. Maryland is now reporting 41,546 cases, including nearly 2,000 people who have died from the disease.

Along with the new positive tests, 5,368 people tested negative for the coronavirus in the 24 hours leading up to 10 a.m. ET — meaning roughly 25% of the 7,152 tests in that period resulted in positive diagnoses.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump is giving the World Health Organization 30 days to commit to substantial changes in how it operates — or he will make his hold on U.S. funding permanent. The threat came in a letter that sharply criticizes the WHO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its relationship with China.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the World Health Organization failed in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and that it "cost many lives," delivering a sharp criticism of the WHO at the organization's annual meeting Monday.

"We must be frank about one of the primary reasons this outbreak spun out of control: There was a failure by this organization to obtain the information that the world needed. And that failure cost many lives," Azar said at the World Health Assembly, reiterating President Trump's complaints about the WHO.

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