How Countries Around The World Are Coping With New Surge In Coronavirus Cases

India is poised to overtake the U.S. as the country with the most COVID-19 cases. This week the Taj Mahal reopened to tourists for the first time in more than six months. NPR correspondent Lauren Frayer reports on how that’s not an indication that the pandemic there has subsided.

Across Europe, countries are also seeing cases surge. NPR correspondents Frank Langfitt, Eleanor Beardsley, and Rob Schmitz discuss the rise in cases, new restrictions and how people are coping in the U.K., France and Germany.

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What The SCOTUS Vacancy Means for Abortion — And The 2020 Election

This week Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. She’ll be the first woman in history to do so.

Ginsburg’s death sparked record political donations from Democrats, explains Jessica Taylor of Cook Political Report. Those donations may help Democrats in an uphill battle to retake the Senate.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans appear to have the numbers to fill Ginsburg’s seat with a conservative nominee, which would shift the balance of power on the court. Professor Mary Ziegler of Florida State University explains why that could change the outcome of several cases concerning abortion restrictions that could land before the Supreme Court.

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White Support For BLM Falls, And A Key Police Reform Effort Is Coming Up Short

Daniel Prude was shot and killed by police in Rochester, N.Y., after his brother called 911 on March 23. Joe Prude told NPR his brother was having a mental health crisis.

Calls like that make up an estimated 20% of police calls. NPR’s Eric Westervelt reports that efforts to reform how police respond — with crisis intervention teams — have fallen short.

And as protests for racial justice have continued, public support for the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen — especially among white Americans. NPR’s Brian Mann and Elizabeth Baker explain why activists say they need more support from white protesters.

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With Nearly 200,000 Dead, Health Care Workers Struggle To Endure

The coronavirus has killed nearly 200,000 people in America — far more than in any other country, according to Johns Hopkins University. And experts are predicting a new spike of cases this fall.

It’s not clear exactly how many of the dead are health care workers, who remain especially vulnerable to the virus. Dr. Claire Rezba has been tracking and documenting their deaths on Twitter.

Christopher Friese with the University of Michigan School of Nursing explains how we all feel the effects of a health care system whose workers are stretched to the brink.

NPR science correspondent Richard Harris reports on a crucial advancements health care workers have made that mean ICU patients are more likely to survive now than they were at the outset of the pandemic.

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Costs Of Climate Change Continue To Rise As Storms Become More Destructive

There have been so many tropical storms this year that the National Hurricane Center has already made it through the alphabet to name the storms. The last storm name started with “W” (there are no X, Y or Z names). Now, storms will be named using the Greek alphabet.

In the last five years, the United States has lost $500 billion because of climate driven weather disasters, including storms and fires. That estimate by the federal government doesn’t even include the storms that have hit the Southern coasts in 2020.

Hurricanes and wildfires are getting more destructive. And with a world that’s getting hotter, NPR’s Rebecca Hersher and Nathan Rott report that the costs of these disasters will continue to go up.

The change to energy sources with smaller carbon footprints comes with its own risks, too. NPR’s Kat Lonsdorf went to Japan to visit the Fukushima region — the site of a nuclear disaster in 2011. Now, people there are working to make the region completely powered by renewables by 2040.

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You can see more of Kat Lonsdorf’s reporting from Fukushima here.

This Election Season Is Shaping Up To Be The Most Litigated Ever

During the 2000 Presidential election season, it took 36 days and a Supreme Court decision before George W. Bush became the 43rd president of the United States.

Before that final Supreme Court decision, there was a five-week battle over the ballots, the rules, the laws and the courts. The amount of litigation and lawyers involved has been called “unprecedented.” But what was unprecedented two decades ago looks quaint in 2020.

This year campaigns and political parties have staffed up their legal war rooms, making this election season one of the most litigated ever. A lot of the on-going lawsuits are due to coronavirus-related election issues, with at least 248 nationwide.

Three of the lawyers preparing for this election season take us from where they were on election night in 2000 to the work they’re doing now.

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Special thanks to Sam Gringlas and Courtney Dorning for reporting featured in this episode.

Who Was Breonna Taylor Before She Became The Face Of A Movement?

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in March. Her killing in Louisville, Ky., was part of the fuel for the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism this spring and summer.

On Tuesday, an announcement came that the city of Louisville had reached a $12 million settlement in a civil lawsuit brought against it.

But Taylor’s mother, Tamika Parker, says this is only the beginning when it comes to getting full justice. There are on-going state and federal investigations, but still no criminal charges against any of the officers involved.

Before she became the face of a movement, Taylor was a daughter, a niece and a treasured friend. Ahead of what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday, NPR’s Ari Shapiro went to Louisville to speak with her family and friends about how they remember Taylor.

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Special thanks to Becky Sullivan, Sam Gringlas, Sarah Handel, Jason Fuller and Ari Shapiro for the reporting featured in this episode.

Conspiracies Add Fuel To An Already Challenging Wildfire Season

Wildfires in Western states aren’t slowing down and conspiracy theories about who started them are only making things harder for responders.

Conrad Wilson from Oregon Public Broadcasting reports on how claims of Antifa arsonists have clogged up the phone lines for 911 dispatchers in some Oregon towns.

And NPR’s Audie Cornish talks with Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communication, about the company’s decision to remove some misinformation about the fires — and their broader attempts to stop the spread of misinformation online.

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Journalist Bob Woodward Says Trump Is ‘The Wrong Man For The Job’

If President Trump knew how contagious and potentially deadly the coronavirus was back in February, why didn’t he express that to the American public?

That’s the question Trump has been facing since last week, when a recording of him expressing a desire to “play down” the virus went public. The audio came from interviews with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward that he conducted for his latest book, Rage.

In an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, Woodward comes to the conclusion that the president failed to protect the country from the virus and is “the wrong man for the job.”

Listen to more of the Bob Woodward interview.

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Wildfires Have Gone From Bad To Worse — And More Are Inevitable

More than 3 million acres have burned in California this wildfire season. The previous record in a single season was 1.7 million, two years ago.

Towns are being decimated across California, Oregon and Washington — and firefighting resources are maxed out, as NPR’s Kirk Siegler reports from Boise, Idaho.

In California, NPR’s Lauren Sommer reports on an effort to fight fire with fire — something some Native American tribes have been doing for a long time.

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