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.

Millions of Americans who are expected to receive the new COVID-19 vaccinations in coming months will need to take two doses of the drug – and the U.S. government says it will issue a vaccine card and use other tools to help people follow through with their immunizations.

The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis Wednesday, taking it off the strict Schedule IV list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as heroin. The U.N. still deems cannabis a controlled substance. But the move, which the U.S. supported, could ease restrictions on research into marijuana's therapeutic use.

Campbell County, Va., is taking a stand against Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 restrictions as its Board of Supervisors endorsed a measure Tuesday night that calls on county agencies not to enforce Northam's crowd-size limits and other orders.

Updated on Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. ET

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has collapsed, after weeks of concern from scientists over the fate of what was once the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Arecibo's 900-ton equipment platform, suspended some 500 feet above the dish, fell overnight after the last of its healthy support cables failed to keep it in place.

No injuries were reported, according to the National Science Foundation, which oversees the renowned research facility.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was recognized as a hero on Tuesday by the New York City borough of Brooklyn, where he was born and raised. As he accepted the honor, Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, shared his optimism that a COVID-19 vaccine is close.

"The vaccine is on its way, folks, so hang in there, hang tough. We're going to get over this together," Fauci said via video link, speaking to a crowd gathered outside Brooklyn Borough Hall.

"Amen!" a woman in the crowd replied.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

The United States woke up the morning after Election Day not knowing who will be president for the next four years. It's not unprecedented, and with a slew of mail-in ballots to process, several key states are working to finish counting.

The U.S. recorded 88,521 new coronavirus cases Thursday, more than any other day in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly a thousand people died from the disease in the U.S. on Thursday, pushing the total to 228,696 lives lost.

In the past week, the U.S. has blown past record levels of infection that were seen in the summer, when new cases topped 77,000 in July. Since last Thursday, the U.S. has posted more than 80,000 cases on several days.

Rescue and emergency teams are sorting through the damage wrought by Hurricane Zeta, which made landfall in Louisiana as a very strong Category 2 storm Wednesday afternoon. Zeta brought powerful winds to much of the southeast, where more than 2 million power customers are now without electricity.

The hurricane struck Louisiana's coast with winds of 110 mph, arriving Wednesday afternoon near Cocodrie, in Terrebonne Parish. Its eye then pushed inland over New Orleans and neighboring areas before rushing on to Mississippi and nearby states.

NASA has confirmed the presence of water on the moon's sunlit surface, a breakthrough that suggests the chemical compound that is vital to life on Earth could be distributed across more parts of the lunar surface than the ice that has previously been found in dark and cold areas.

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."

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