Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News, where her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also a contributor to the PBS NewsHour and is one of the hosts of NPR's Life Kit.

Along with her NPR science desk colleagues, Aubrey is the winner of a 2019 Gracie Award. She is the recipient of a 2018 James Beard broadcast award for her coverage of 'Food As Medicine.' Aubrey is also a 2016 winner of a James Beard Award in the category of "Best TV Segment" for a PBS/NPR collaboration. The series of stories included an investigation of the link between pesticides and the decline of bees and other pollinators, and a two-part series on food waste. In 2013, Aubrey won a Gracie Award with her colleagues on The Salt, NPR's food vertical. They also won a 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. In 2009, Aubrey was awarded the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition. She was honored with the 2006 National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in radio and earned a 2005 Medical Evidence Fellowship by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Knight Foundation. In 2009-2010, she was a Kaiser Media Fellow.

Joining NPR in 2003 as a general assignment reporter, Aubrey spent five years covering environmental policy, as well as contributing to coverage of Washington, D.C., for NPR's National Desk. She also hosted NPR's Tiny Desk Kitchen video series.

Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for the PBS NewsHour and a producer for C-SPAN's Presidential election coverage.

Aubrey received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

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.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Wow, some difficult scenes there from Michigan - all right, let's bring in NPR science correspondent Allison Aubrey.

Hey there, Allison.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Hey there.

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

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Updated 11:35 a.m. ET

When it comes to testing for COVID-19, there are two competing narratives. The Trump administration claims the U.S. has been doing well and has enough testing capacity, for states to begin to enter the first phase of the White House plan for reopening.

But many public health officials, hospital administrators and state leaders disagree.

Earlier this week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said during a CNN interview that a lack of testing is a problem and "has been since the beginning of the crisis."

As data emerges on the spectrum of symptoms caused by COVID-19, it's clear that people with chronic health conditions are being hit harder.

First things first: It's not yet time to end social distancing and go back to work and church and concerts and handshakes.

Public health experts say social distancing appears to be working, and letting up these measures too soon could be disastrous. Until there is a sustained reduction in new cases — and the coronavirus' spread is clearly slowing — we need to stay the course.

Around the world, COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to grow each day. Yet, there are also more than 440,000 people globally who have recovered to date.

For those who have had the illness, recovery can be a slow journey. And even after you're feeling better, there can be a period of uncertainty. After days or weeks of isolation, you may be eager to see family again and even step foot into the outer world. But how soon is too soon? And how do you know when you're no longer infectious?

About 1 in 3 people who become sick enough to require hospitalization from COVID-19 were African American, according to hospital data from the first month of the U.S. epidemic released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even though 33% of those hospitalized patients were black, African Americans constitute 13% of the U.S. population. By contrast, the report found that 45% of hospitalizations were among white people, who make up 76% percent of the population. And 8% of hospitalizations were among Hispanics, who make up 18% of the population.

A new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that people with chronic conditions including diabetes, lung disease and heart disease appear to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET

A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.

But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Three weeks ago, Washington, D.C., resident Rebecca Read Medrano started feeling unwell. She had a dry cough, fatigue, nausea and terrible stomach pains that had her bending over.

There was one more symptom, and it was a bit odd. Medrano had largely lost her sense of taste. "My cousin was cooking, and everything he made tasted weird," she recalls.

Ford has teamed up with 3M and GE Healthcare to speed up the production of personal protective gear for health care workers and of ventilators for people in acute respiratory distress amid the coronavirus epidemic.

"We see the need and we want to jump in and help," Jim Baumbick, vice president for enterprise product line management at Ford Motor Co., told reporters during a teleconference Tuesday morning announcing the new efforts.

Updated 7:55 p.m. ET

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Friday in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

"Today President Trump took decisive action to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus in the United States," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a White House press conference.

The risk of contracting the coronavirus is the U.S. is low — something that federal health administration officials emphasized repeatedly. "We are working to keep the risk low," Azar said.

More Americans are ordering more rounds, and that's leading to more funerals, according to a new study on alcohol-related deaths.

Looking at data from the National Center for Health Statistics, researchers estimate deaths from alcohol-related problems have more than doubled over the past nearly 20 years.

Death certificates spanning 2017 indicate nearly 73,000 people died in the U.S because of liver disease and other alcohol-related illnesses. That is up from just under 36,000 deaths in 1999.

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There's new evidence that mind-body interventions can help reduce pain in people who have been taking prescription opioids — and lead to reductions in the drug's dose.

In a study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers reviewed evidence from 60 studies that included about 6,400 participants. They evaluated a range of strategies, including meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis and cognitive behavioral therapy.

E-cigarette maker Juul Labs announced Thursday it will suspend sales of most of its flavored products, including mango, fruit and cucumber. These types of flavors are considered an on-ramp to vaping for teenagers.

The move comes as the industry faces immense scrutiny. Several states have instituted bans on flavored products, and the Trump administration has signaled that a federal ban may be in the works.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intensified its warnings about the risks of vaping, as the number of patients with vaping-related illness continues to climb.

The case count has reached 1,080, the agency announced Thursday. There have been 18 deaths in 15 states, and more deaths are being investigated. All patients reported a history of vaping, and the majority reported using THC-containing products.

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The shooter who opened fire after a routine traffic stop Saturday in Texas, killing seven people and injuring 22, was fired just hours before the deadly shooting.

Seth Aaron Ator, 36, who lived in the Odessa area, had been fired from his job at Journey Oilfield Services after a disagreement, according to Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke. The shooting rampage, which appears to have been random, ended when Ator was killed by police.

At a time when more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use, the U.S. surgeon general says no amount of the drug is safe for teens, young adults and pregnant women.

Emphysema is considered a smoker's disease. But it turns out, exposure to air pollution may lead to the same changes in the lung that give rise to emphysema.

Some who have given up booze altogether join "sober sometimes" friends to enjoy nonalcoholic drinks at Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.
Julia Robinson for NPR

For roughly 40 million Americans, SNAP benefits are a lifeline.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, delivers about $60 billion in aid each year. And retailers that accept SNAP benefits are required to stock a variety of staple foods — including a minimum number of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and grain options.

Feel like you're living under a rain cloud? Life not going your way? Lots of us have a bit of Eeyore's angst and gloom.

But here's the good news (sorry to be so cheery): You can be taught to have a more positive attitude. And — if you work at it — a positive outlook can lead to less anxiety and depression.

Measles is on the rise again, all around the globe.

Though the number of people affected in the U.S. is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of U.S. measles cases — more than 700, so far, in 2019, according to the CDC — the highest since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000.

Pediatricians have long warned parents about the risks of consuming too many sugary drinks — including the link to Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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