Listen

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.

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."

If a visitor to Cyprus tests positive for the coronavirus this summer, the government will cover many of their expenses — including food, drink and lodging — according to a new plan that maps out how the island nation can revive its crucial tourism industry.

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.

Casinos in Las Vegas and other Nevada cities can reopen next Thursday for the first time since the coronavirus forced the gaming industry to shut down more than two months ago, Gov. Steve Sisolak says. The state plans to revive its gaming industry nearly a week after it starts Phase 2 of its reopening this Friday.

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.

Stock traders wore masks at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday as the trading floor reopened for the first time since March. The exchange has been restricted to electronic trading for two months out of concern over the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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.

Alabama is allowing movie theaters, bowling alleys and summer camps to reopen Friday afternoon as Gov. Kay Ivey expands her "Safer at Home" order.

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.

President Trump's administration will give official notice of the U.S.'s intent to exit the Open Skies treaty, officials announced Thursday. The 34-nation agreement allows the U.S., Russia and other countries to fly their aircraft over each other's territory – increasing transparency and reducing the chances for perilous miscalculations.

"Russia didn't adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out," Trump said, adding that there is "a very good chance" to reach a new deal. "We're going to pull out, and they're going to come back and want to make a deal."

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.

The U.S. economy, frozen by COVID-19 shutdowns, is in the process of thawing out. All 50 states have at least partially eased tight restrictions on businesses, with a mix of policies letting restaurants or stores welcome customers.

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.

China's President Xi Jinping is defending his country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has acted openly and responsibly in sharing information with the international community. Speaking at a World Health Organization conference via video, Xi said that if China succeeds in developing a vaccine, it will share it widely.

"All along, we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility," Xi said. "We have provided information to the WHO and the relevant countries in a most timely fashion."

The International Olympic Committee plans to spend up to $800 million to help cover costs for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Games and other expenses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the organization is providing few details about how the money will be spent, saying the situation is constantly changing.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Americans should oust President Trump from the White House and elect a leader who will support – rather than undermine – public health experts who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, British medical journal The Lancet says in a newly published editorial.

All of New Jersey's beaches can reopen on May 22, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday, in a move that gives the state's coastal resort areas a week to prepare for Memorial Day – a holiday that normally draws thousands of tourists to the beach.

"The Jersey Shore will be open in time for Memorial Day weekend with social distancing guidelines in place," Murphy said at a news conference. "The shore is central to our Jersey identity, and we want to ensure that families can safely enjoy it this summer."

People flocked to bars in Wisconsin on Wednesday night, after the state Supreme Court voided the state's "Safer at Home" orders. The ruling quickly triggered a jumble of policies in counties and cities, as officials set their own rules related to COVID-19.

Russia is now reporting more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any other country except the U.S. after a surge in cases vaulted it past both Spain and the U.K. In another new development, President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has confirmed he's being treated for COVID-19.

"Yes, I have fallen ill," Peskov told state-run Tass media. "I am receiving treatment."

The U.K. is extending a worker furlough program that pays people idled by the COVID-19 pandemic up to around $3,088 a month, as Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak says the program will now run through the end of October. The government is doubling the original four-month timeline, he said, to support workers when the economy starts to emerge from a crippling shutdown.

"As we reopen the economy, we will need to support people back to work," Sunak said.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

Public health officials closed a restaurant in Castle Rock, Colo., on Monday, one day after its owner hosted a Mother's Day event in which the entire dining room was open to seat customers — most of whom weren't wearing face masks.

Wuhan is reporting a small new cluster of COVID-19 cases, more than a month after lockdown restrictions were eased in the city that was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Wuhan now has at least six new COVID-19 cases, the first to be confirmed in Hubei province in at least 35 days.

"An 89-year-old Wuhan man tested positive for COVID-19 this week," NPR's Emily Feng reports from Beijing, adding that the man's wife and several other people who lived in the same residential community also tested positive — although they had displayed no clinical symptoms of the disease.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

It was supposed to be a day of parades, a vast party that would transcend borders and bring generations together, not unlike the spontaneous euphoria that swept through victorious European allies when Nazi Germany finally surrendered.

But instead of a mega-event, leaders in London, Paris, Moscow and other capitals, observed the 75th anniversary of V-E Day at a diminished level Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pages