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 U.S. recorded 71,671 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most in one day since the outbreak hit alarming heights in July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. One day earlier, around 63,000 new cases had been reported.

The U.S. also recorded 856 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, raising the death toll to more than 223,000 people lost to the pandemic.

A federal judge has vacated the Trump administration's rule that would have forced hundreds of thousands of Americans off food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's rule change was capricious and arbitrary, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said.

The USDA rule "radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice," Howell said in her ruling, adding that it would have "exponentially" increased food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans and imposed significant costs on states.

The world hit a new benchmark in the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, surpassing 40 million coronavirus infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. With the flu season looming, the rate of new cases in the U.S. and other countries is rising at rates not seen in months.

An eighth man is now charged with supporting an act of terrorism in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home. Attorney General Dana Nessel's office says Brian Higgins, 51, was arrested in Wisconsin Thursday. He allegedly brought night-vision goggles to aid surveillance of Whitmer's home.

London, Birmingham and other U.K. cities are now at a high alert for COVID-19, as officials tighten restrictions on people and businesses in a huge swath of England. The alert level rose Thursday as part of a new system meant to tamp down regional outbreaks.

"Things will get worse before they get better," U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said as he announced the changes in Parliament. Europe is seeing a huge spike in new cases, Hancock said, "And here, we certainly saw the highest figure for daily deaths since early June."

Coronavirus restrictions are taking effect in the Netherlands, the U.K., the Czech Republic and other parts of Europe on Wednesday as nations try to reverse an alarming wave in new cases. The continent is now seeing more new coronavirus cases – an average of 100,000 daily — than at any other time during the pandemic.

Bars, restaurants and schools are being shut down or sharply limited, and officials are working to bolster hospital capacity, to accommodate an expected influx of new COVID-19 patients.

Administrators at Brigham Young University's campus in southeastern Idaho say they are "deeply troubled" by reports that students may have intentionally tried to contract COVID-19, lured by blood donation centers that are paying a premium for plasma with COVID-19 antibodies.

"Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed," the university said in a statement issued Monday.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Two of the men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan's governor took part in a discussions earlier this year with members of self-styled militia groups about potentially abducting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, an FBI agent testified Tuesday.

The testimony came during a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids, Mich., as part of the Justice Department's case against six men charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Updated at 7:06 p.m. ET

The FBI says it has thwarted a plot by militia members to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and six people are facing federal charges. In a coordinated move, Michigan is pursuing state felony charges against seven people with ties to a militia called the Wolverine Watchmen.

In a statement early Thursday, Whitmer said two militia groups "were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me."

The Trump administration has "taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy" in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The New England Journal of Medicine says in a scathing editorial that essentially calls on American voters to throw the president out of office.

It is the first time the prestigious medical journal has taken a stance on a U.S. presidential election since it was founded in 1812.

Updated at 11:56 p.m. ET

Hurricane Delta is back in the Gulf of Mexico northwest of Cancún after making landfall around 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 2 storm, with winds estimated at 110 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane has weakened, with maximum winds of 90 mph. But it's expected to regain power before approaching the U.S. coast on Friday. Hurricane and storm surge warnings have been issued for parts of the northwestern and northern Gulf Coast.

Updated at 5 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Delta took aim at Mexico's northeast Yucatan coast Wednesday as a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, having weakened somewhat since Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said. It is still categorized as a major storm.

Delta earlier grew at an extraordinary rate, rising from sustained winds of only 40 mph Monday morning, to Category 4 on Tuesday with winds of 130 mph. The NHS says the storm is expected to strengthen once again as it heads for the U.S. Gulf coast.

More than 7,000 movie screens will be dark in the U.S. this weekend as the Regal theater chain said it will shut down all 536 locations on Thursday. The closure reflects "an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape" due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is temporary, the chain said.

Regal is shutting down theaters again less than two months after it started to reopen U.S. locations in late August. The decision was announced after the James Bond franchise's No Time to Die was shelved until 2021, further pushing back a release that had already been delayed.

Updated at 7:31 p.m. ET

President Trump's positive coronavirus test has set off contingency possibilities that center on some key questions: What if COVID-19 renders the president incapable of executing the duties of his office? How would that affect the government — and the current election season?

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

United Airlines and American Airlines have sent furlough notices to a total of more than 32,000 employees, saying they can't afford to have them on payroll after Thursday – the expiration date for the federal CARES Act Payroll Support Program.

"To our departing 13,000 family members: thank you for your dedication and we look forward to welcoming you back," United said in a message sent to employees Wednesday night that it also shared with NPR.

President Trump has consistently told Americans "the complete opposite" of what his health experts have been telling him in private meetings about COVID-19, according to Olivia Troye, who until recently worked on the the White House coronavirus task force.

Two NFL teams are suspending all in-person club activities after the Tennessee Titans announced three players and five other personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus. Joining the Titans in shutting down in-person activities are the Minnesota Vikings, who played against them Sunday.

The Vikings said that as of Tuesday morning, no one in their organization has gotten a positive result from tests carried out after Sunday's game.

Former leaders at a state-run nursing home for veterans in Holyoke, Mass., are facing criminal neglect charges, after an investigation found their "substantial errors and failures" likely worsened a COVID-19 outbreak that killed at least 76 veterans earlier this year.

Bennett Walsh and David Clinton — who served as the superintendent and medical director, respectively, of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke when a deadly COVID-19 outbreak struck in the spring – have been indicted on criminal neglect charges, state Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Friday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and first lady Pamela Northam have tested positive for the coronavirus, the governor's office announced Friday. The couple underwent PCR tests Thursday, after a staff member of the governor's residence was diagnosed.

The governor does not have symptoms, but Pamela Northam "is currently experiencing mild symptoms," a statement from the governor's office says. The Northams will self-isolate for the next 10 days as their health is monitored. Northam will continue to work from the governor's mansion.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to encourage unemployed New Yorkers to work at polls during the Nov. 3 election and has signed an executive order that relieves people who receive unemployment benefits from having to report part-time income they get from an election board.

The venerable Sizzler USA family steakhouse chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a business environment roiled by COVID-19 restrictions — and saying that not enough has been done to help restaurants survive.

"Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact," Sizzler President Chris Perkins said, "due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements."

"There is insufficient evidence to prove negligent or reckless homicide" in the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez in April, prosecutors in Pima County, Ariz., say, opting against criminal charges despite finding that Tucson police officers who placed him in custody failed to follow protocol and created an "unjustifiable risk."

Ingram-Lopez, 27, died after being handcuffed and held face-down in a garage for some 12 minutes. For much of that time, police kept two plastic emergency blankets and a "spit sock hood" over his head.

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday — reaching what was once the upper limit of some estimates for the pandemic's impact on Americans. Some experts now warn that the toll could nearly double again by the end of 2020.

"I hoped we would be in a better place by now," said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "It's an enormous and tragic loss of life."

The NFL has fined several head coaches $100,000 for not wearing face masks on the sidelines — a safety precaution that is required at games during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coaches' teams were also punished, with $250,000 fines.

The coaches include Pete Carroll of Seattle, Kyle Shanahan of San Francisco and Vic Fangio of Denver, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. A league source confirmed details about the fines to NPR on Tuesday morning.

The U.K.'s COVID-19 numbers are rising fast and could reach new 50,000 cases per day by mid-October, the country's top science adviser announced Monday. Sir Patrick Vallance said his warning is based on current trends that show "the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days."

"There's no doubt we're in a situation where the numbers are increasing," Vallance said during an online briefing hosted by 10 Downing Street. The challenge now, he added, is to prolong the time it takes for infection rates to double.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he and other staff will take an unpaid furlough week, part of an effort to respond to billions of dollars in lost revenue and to show solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic shutdowns.

Updated at 11:17 p.m. ET

Hurricane Sally brought 100-mph winds and the threat of historic flooding to southeastern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle on Wednesday after making landfall as a Category 2 storm. Some isolated areas in its path could see nearly 3 feet of rain.

Nine drug companies pledged Tuesday that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.

"There's no doubt whatsoever" that an operation to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was approved at the highest levels of Russia's government and intelligence services, according to Steven Hall, the former CIA chief of Russia operations.

"There really is no other way to explain this," Hall said in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. "And this is something that the Russian intelligence services have been doing literally for decades, if not longer."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ordering state agencies to end their relationships with Quest Diagnostics after the large medical laboratory said it had mistakenly delayed reporting the results of nearly 75,000 coronavirus tests to the state.

The delayed results dated as far back as April. Quest has apologized, saying a technical error was at fault.

While the problem resulted in Florida's Department of Health being left in the dark about a large clump of results, it did not keep people who took the tests from getting their results, the lab said.

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