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.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 poses a unique challenge to health authorities, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday as he gave an update on the viral epidemic that has now touched at least 62 countries. But he added that the virus is also showing signs that it can be contained.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Four more people in the Seattle area have died after contracting COVID-19, health officials say, bringing the total in both Washington state and the U.S. to six. The state now has a total of 18 cases.

Three of the people who died were residents of King County, Wash., which now has 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The fourth person had been living in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. That county has a total of four cases.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's been "confusion" about the handling of a coronavirus patient in California who is thought to represent the first case of the virus being transmitted in the general population, rather than through a known contact with someone who has been in China.

The case involves a woman who appears to have contracted the virus in California, apparently without having contact with anyone who had traveled abroad or was previously known to have the coronavirus.

Updated at 1:11 a.m. ET, Feb. 29

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Friday that it is "aware of four new presumptive cases of COVID-19."

The new cases were reported in:

  • California (another possible instance of community spread),
  • Oregon (that state's first possible case of community spread),

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Italy's number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases spiked by more than 50% in just 24 hours and now stands at 650, the Italian Ministry of Health says, adding that 17 people have died from the respiratory virus. More than 400 of the cases are in the hard-hit Lombardy region, where some towns are under a lockdown.

The first suspected U.S. case of a patient getting the new coronavirus through "community spread" — with no history of travel to affected areas or exposure to someone known to have the COVID-19 illness — was left undiagnosed for days because a request for testing wasn't initially granted, according to officials at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

"Yesterday, the number of new cases reported outside China exceeded the number of new cases in China for the first time," the head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday in an update on the coronavirus disease COVID-19.

"Outside China, there are now 2,790 cases in 37 countries, and 44 deaths," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Italy reported a total of 229 novel coronavirus cases on Monday, leaping ahead of Japan (156 cases) on the list of worst-hit countries. Six people have died from the respiratory disease COVID-19 in Italy, and 27 more are in intensive care.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Korea has doubled in just 24 hours, to 104 from 51, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Many of the new cases of coronavirus are linked to a Christian sect in Daegu, a city in southern South Korea.

Korea's CDC says a woman who became the country's 31st confirmed patient on Feb. 18 had attended services held by a religious group called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Roughly 600 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday, as a controversial shipwide coronavirus quarantine finally began to wind down.

All of those passengers had been tested for the COVID-19 disease by the Japanese health ministry, according to cruise operator Princess Cruises. As they left, they were met in the terminal by the cruise line's president, Jan Swartz.

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

Some 346 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak emerged from their quarantine at two military bases in California on Tuesday, U.S. officials say.

The group includes 180 Americans who have been living under a mandatory quarantine order at Travis Air Force Base, roughly 40 miles southwest of Sacramento, and 166 U.S. citizens who have been living at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.

Updated at 10:49 p.m. ET

The quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship has spawned several online communities, with passengers forming groups on WhatsApp and Facebook to break through the isolation and share information. While they exchange information, they also focus on keeping each other's spirits up.

"We check on each other to see how we are each doing daily," passenger Aun Na Tan of Australia said in a message to NPR.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The 195 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, last month have now been released from the first mandatory quarantine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered in more than 50 years.

The group, which faced numerous health screenings both in China and during their trip and quarantine, has now been "medically cleared," health officials said Tuesday, making it possible for them to leave the March Air Reserve Base in Southern California.

Updated at 8:09 p.m. ET

There are 65 new coronavirus cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been under a quarantine since last week, Japan's health ministry announced Monday. With the latest cases, a total of 135 people from the ship have been confirmed to have the respiratory virus.

Those newly diagnosed include 45 Japanese and 11 Americans, as well as smaller numbers of people from Australia, Canada, England, the Philippines and Ukraine, according to Princess Cruises.

Updated Sunday at 5:17 p.m. ET

People who are quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess in Japan have been wondering how long their situation would last. On Sunday, the World Health Organization offered clarity on that question.

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET

China says it has more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, representing a huge leap from the 4,400 cases reported as of last week. Chinese health officials said Monday morning that 2,829 new cases had been diagnosed in the previous 24 hours alone.

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. is placing 195 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, under a mandatory 14-day quarantine in an effort to limit the spread of a deadly new coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday. The evacuees are being housed at March Air Reserve Base in California – and the quarantine order comes after one of them tried to leave the base.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans not to travel to China, issuing its most serious travel advisory one day after the World Health Organization declared the Wuhan coronavirus to be a global health emergency. The virus has spread to at least 22 countries, and more than 250 people in China have died.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

The first human-to-human transmission of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus has occurred in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

The respiratory virus was spread from a woman who had recently traveled in China to her husband when she returned to Chicago, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said at a press briefing.

It's the sixth confirmed case of the new coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, in the U.S.

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

The deadly strain of coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan has now spread to every part of mainland China, from Shanghai to Tibet. The rapid increase caused the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency and prompted Russia to close its long border with China.

Late Thursday, the U.S. State Department also issued a "do not travel" advisory for China.

Updated at 11:15 p.m. ET

The 195 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, because of the coronavirus outbreak will remain at a military base in Southern California for three days while medical staff monitor their health, federal health officials said Wednesday, as the White House announced the formation of a special task force to handle the U.S. response to the outbreak.

Bangladesh is grappling with a record-breaking spike in dengue fever, with 1,477 new patients diagnosed just within the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry. Experts say the rise is part of a regional trend, driven by climate change and other factors.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is outlining two possible ways certain drugs that were intended for foreign markets could be imported to the U.S. — a move that would clear the way to import some prescription drugs from Canada.

A bloom of toxic algae has forced Mississippi to close 25 beaches along its Gulf Coast. State environmental officials say people can still visit the sandy beaches — but they should avoid any contact with the water.

The blue-green algae "can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting," the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says. And it warns that exposure can affect pets.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo "does not meet the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern," the World Health Organization said Friday. The agency said that while the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo constitutes a health emergency for that country and the region, the risk of it spreading beyond that region is low.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

A 5-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Ebola died Wednesday in Uganda, health officials say, and the boy's younger brother and grandmother are also sick. They are the first confirmed cases of Ebola to spread beyond the large outbreak in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Updated at 1:32 p.m. ET

Former nurse Niels Högel — who has admitted to giving potentially lethal drugs to patients so he could try to resuscitate them — has been sentenced by a German court to life in prison for murdering 85 people.

"Your guilt is unimaginable," Oldenburg district court Judge Sebastian Bührmann said as he sentenced Högel, according to Deutsche Welle. "The human mind struggles to take in the sheer scale of these crimes."

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is placing new restrictions on the use of human fetal tissue in medical research. Federal scientists working at the National Institutes of Health will be prohibited from obtaining new tissue samples from elective abortions for ongoing research projects at NIH.

Abortion-rights opponents hailed the move as a first step toward a complete ban on the use of human fetal tissue in research.

The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018, to 3,788,235 births — representing a 2% drop from 2017. It's the lowest number of births in 32 years, according to a new federal report. The numbers also sank the U.S. fertility rate to a record low.

Not since 1986 has the U.S. seen so few babies born. And it's an ongoing slump: 2018 was the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the provisional birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Sackler family's $1.3 million donation to the U.K.'s National Portrait Gallery will not go ahead as planned, as both sides say they're concerned that allegations of opioid profiteering against the family could overshadow the gift and become a distraction.

"It has become evident that recent reporting of allegations made against Sackler family members may cause this new donation to deflect the National Portrait Gallery from its important work," a spokesperson for the Sackler Trust said.

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