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Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.

Jared Cornutt has heard some farfetched concerns about the coronavirus vaccine in some of his Southern Baptist Facebook groups.

"I have a very hard time getting from vaccine to the Mark of the Beast," Cornutt said, referring to one baseless rumor that linked vaccination requirements to an idea in Revelation, the apocalyptic book at the end of the New Testament.

Balaram Khamari is a doctoral student in microbiology who has always felt the connection between science and art.

"They are interlinked," he says. "Even doing a science experiment requires art."

Now, Khamari is bringing the worlds of art and science together – in a petri dish. He's been spending a lot of time in his lab in Puttaparthi, India, culturing colorful bacteria and artfully arranging it on a jelly like substance called agar. He is part of a growing body of scientists across the world who make agar art, and even compete for prizes.

In 2003, the rock group Evanescence released their debut album, Fallen – which went on to sell more than 17 million copies worldwide and win two Grammys, while hit singles such as "Bring Me to Life" and "My Immortal" remain anthems for angsty teenagers. Now, almost a decade since their last album of original material, Evanescence is back with a new album, The Bitter Truth. The group's co-founder and lead singer, Amy Lee, is more than ready to spill the truth on why it took so long to release this album.

One day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January, thousands of miles away in northern California, anger began to boil over at a meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

"This is a scamdemic, it's a plandemic, and it's a damndemic. We're sick of it!" one woman shouted.

A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is condemning the role of "radicalized Christian nationalism" in feeding the political extremism that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

On Jan. 6, Hilary Izatt was watching TV when she began to worry.

"My husband and I are both political scientists; we're kind of nerdy; we watch C-SPAN a lot," Izatt says. "And when we were watching C-SPAN is when the rioters started breaking into the Capitol."

At a time when the country seems more and more divided, it can be a lot to ask of a person to "love thy neighbor," even when they don't necessarily love you back. It takes an aggressive kind of love to start engaging, and that's the idea that inspired the title track of Ani DiFranco's newest record, Revolutionary Love. The phrase is also the name of a book by DiFranco's good friend, activist Valarie Kaur, which encourages an understanding of one's adversaries.

Joe Biden is only the second Catholic president of the United States. He's also a supporter of abortion rights — a position at odds with official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

For some Catholic activists, like Marjorie Dannenfelser, Biden's high-profile example of a Catholic who supports abortion rights is troubling.

"It's a negative example of a deep and important moral issue that is being debated in this country," she said.

President Biden is preparing to reverse a Trump administration policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions — the first of several moves reproductive rights advocates are hoping to see from the Biden administration.

In prepared remarks released by the White House on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the World Health Organization's executive board that Biden will soon revoke the Mexico City Policy "as part of his broader commitment to protect women's health and advance gender equality at home and around the world."

As it gets colder, and harder to gather outdoors, some of Kenzie Billings' conversations with her loved ones are feeling a bit more fraught.

"It's felt frustrating at times. You know, you can feel energy from people in terms of wanting to be together," the 29-year-old from Portland, Ore., says.

Lately, Jon Horton has been dreaming about freezers.

"I was opening the freezer and I was taking something out of the freezer and putting it in something else," Horton said. "And it was just like — whew!"

And not just an ordinary freezer. Horton is pharmacy operations director at Sentara — a health care network based in Norfolk, Va.

As coronavirus cases spike, a national group that represents thousands of evangelical Christian doctors and other healthcare providers is asking churches to stop holding services in person.

In Anashay Wright's suburban Atlanta home, President Trump's name is seldom spoken. But this week, he's been hard to ignore.

"There's something to people who don't get their way, and they have temper tantrums like him," Wright said. "The fragility, because something don't go your way? How dare you?"

Last year around this time, Tammy, her husband, and their young son were getting ready for a big expansion of their family: she was expecting twins – one boy and one girl.

The family celebrated around Christmastime with a gender reveal party, complete with matching onesies reading, "Little Brother" and "Little Sister."

"It was great, and I think my husband I would both say that that was probably the highest point of what had already been a difficult pregnancy," she said.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation could open the door to a world that many anti-abortion-rights activists have been envisioning for decades.

"I hope and pray that we will be in a world post-Roe v. Wade," said Carrie Murray Nellis, 41, an adoption attorney based in Georgia.

A Democratic U.S. senator who has spoken openly about motherhood and giving birth at age 50 is asking her Republican colleagues to reconsider their support for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in light of the judge's ties to an organization that has publicly opposed some types of fertility treatments.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Americans woke up to the news on Friday that President Trump and his wife, Melania, had both tested positive for the coronavirus. And like with so many issues, the reactions often fell along political lines.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So what about reaction to this news here at home? NPR's Sarah McCammon has been talking with people in Virginia Beach as they start their day this morning. She's with us. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, David.

States led by officials supportive of abortion rights are preparing for a world without Roe v. Wade. If the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide is overturned by an increasingly conservative Supreme Court, regulation of abortion would fall to state lawmakers.

President Trump's hesitation, once again, to denounce white supremacy during Tuesday's presidential debate is drawing quick condemnation from anti-racism activists — as are his unusual comments directed at a white supremacist group called the Proud Boys.

During an exchange on the debate stage, moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists. Trump initially sidestepped that question, claiming that he mostly sees violence "from the left wing."

President Trump has made no secret of his intentions regarding the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion rights. During a presidential debate in 2016, Trump vowed to appoint justices who'd vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has made no secret of his affection for The Princess Bride — the 1987 cult classic starring Robin Wright. But he's now making it clear he's no fan of a plan by cast members to stump for Democrats in Wisconsin next week.

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., is promising reforms to the city's police department after five nights of protests over the death of Daniel Prude after his arrest in March.

Updated at 11:03 p.m. ET

Officials at Liberty University, one of the nation's largest and most well-known Christian universities, are doubling down after Jerry Falwell Jr. denied reports he'd agreed to step down as president following allegations of sexual behavior at odds with the school's honor code.

Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical ally of President Trump's, is taking "an indefinite leave of absence" from his positions as the president and chancellor of Liberty University in Virginia.

The move comes days after Falwell received criticism for posting a photo to social media that showed him with his pants unzipped alongside a woman who is not his wife.

Virginia is rolling out a new app designed to aid in contact tracing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said COVIDWISE is the first statewide app to use technology developed for the purpose by Google and Apple. It relies on Bluetooth technology that can notify users if they may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

Six states led by a bipartisan group of governors are joining together in an effort to speed up coronavirus testing. As the nation's death count continues to rise above 150,000, the states said they will jointly purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests that can quickly detect the virus.

For more than 40 years, 96.3 WHUR-FM broadcast Patrick Ellis's beloved and popular radio show Gospel Spirit Sunday mornings, filling the homes and cars of Washington, D.C., with the sound of church.

Each Sunday, Ellis chose music that would inspire, uplift and speak to his devoted listeners. And he filled the airwaves with their lives, too, sharing community and church announcements and marking birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.

Patrick Ellis passed away July 16 from complications of the coronavirus. He was 77 years old.

The sex lives of people in Morocco are shaped by cultural forces — and also the penal code. Sex outside marriage is illegal, and so is abortion in almost all cases. Adultery is punishable by prison time. And as for violating Morocco's cultural laws — those punishments fall mostly on women.

The French-Moroccan writer Leila Slimani explores the places where desire, intimacy and the patriarchy collide in her new book, Sex and Lies: True Stories of Women's Intimate Lives in the Arab World.

Around the country, communities of color continue to be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So in many of these communities, local leaders are stepping in to try to help solve a problem they say is years in the making.

In Richmond, Va., crews of local firefighters and volunteers have been fanning out across the city, going door to door with plastic bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and information about staying healthy.

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