Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. She blamed him for his supporters' attempt at an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

"Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate," wrote Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath."

The leader of the right-wing group Proud Boys was released from police custody on Tuesday and ordered by a judge to leave Washington, D.C. — and stay away.

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, 36, was arrested Monday shortly after his arrival in the District, where Trump supporters are gathering to rally during Congress' official certification of the Electoral College ballots on Wednesday.

Tarrio was charged with destruction of property and possession of high-capacity firearm magazines.

Privacy concerns have been raised after ministers in Singapore's government acknowledged that data collected by its widely used COVID-19 contact-tracing program may be turned over to police for criminal investigations.

Desmond Tan, minister of state for home affairs, told Parliament on Monday, "The Singapore Police Force is empowered ... to obtain any data, including TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations," Reuters reported.

That was in contrast with previous assurances by the government.

The series of events that shook the city of Kenosha, Wis., in August continue to reverberate as victims and their families seek justice.

Within the next two weeks, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to decide whether to criminally charge Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake. Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, who is Black, seven times in the back as Blake walked away from officers. Blake is now paralyzed.

To a world upended by the coronavirus, Pope Francis offered a timeless message during a Christmas Eve Mass that was itself shaped by the ongoing pandemic.

The Mass was celebrated in a smaller rear section of St. Peter's Basilica, and only 100 or so people were present, Reuters reported. In normal times without a pandemic, the Mass is celebrated in the main part of the basilica before some 10,000 people.

All in attendance wore masks except for the pontiff and a small choir. Those in the pews sat at a distance from one another.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California has surpassed 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the virus has spread with startling speed in the state.

It's the first state to pass that number. In the last day, according to Johns Hopkins, California saw 43,986 new cases and 319 deaths.

The Vatican says that it's "morally acceptable" to receive a vaccination for COVID-19, even if the vaccine's research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, given the "grave danger" of the pandemic.

Stanford Medicine apologized on Friday for its vaccine distribution plan – a plan that came under fire for leaving out nearly all of its medical residents and fellows, many whom regularly treat COVID-19 patients.

The residents waged a protest on Friday morning, holding signs and demanding answers from Stanford's leadership about why just seven of more than 1,300 residents at Stanford were selected to receive the vaccine in the first round of 5,000 doses.

MacKenzie Scott, the author and philanthropist, says she has given away more than $4 billion in the last four months.

"This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling," Scott wrote in a post on Medium announcing the donations. "Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires."

Tyson Foods has fired seven managers at an Iowa pork plant after investigating allegations they bet on how many workers there would get sick from the coronavirus.

The company, one of the country's largest meat suppliers, launched an independent investigation into the complaints last month, suspending without pay the managers allegedly involved. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder led the investigation.

"Warning lights — for our societies and the planet — are flashing red." That's according to a new report from the United Nations Development Programme.

The report notes that COVID-19 has thrived "in the cracks in societies, exploiting and exacerbating myriad inequalities in human development."

The city of Paris has been fined 90,000 euros for an unusual infraction: It appointed too many women to senior positions in the government.

In 2018, 11 women and five men became senior officials. That meant 69% of the appointments were women — in violation of a rule that dictated at least 40% of government positions should go to people of each gender.

The Food and Drug Administration is likely soon to authorize distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. But the vaccine trials have so far excluded pregnant people.

In a recent roundtable with Joe Biden, nurse Mary Turner told the president-elect something he found surprising:

"Do you know that I have not been tested yet?" said Turner, who is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "And I have been on the front lines of the ICU since February."

"You're kidding me!" Biden replied.

She wasn't kidding.

Despite the repeated warnings of public health experts and officials, millions of people traveled for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you're one of them.

Denmark's agriculture minister has resigned amid backlash to the government's order to cull all of the country's mink population.

Mogens Jensen stepped down on Wednesday. He released a statement in which he said his ministry had made a mistake in ordering the destruction of all minks in Denmark. Jensen repeated his earlier apologies, offering particular regret to the country's mink farmers.

The United States has surpassed yet another devastating milestone in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: 250,000 Americans have now died from the disease. That's more than twice the number of U.S. service members killed in World War I.

Coronavirus case numbers are exploding across the country at the beginning of what is shaping up to be a difficult winter of illness in America.

Mink at two farms in northern Greece have been found to have the coronavirus, according to an official in the country's agriculture ministry.

The strain found in the minks is the same one found in humans, the official said, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini. The breeder at one of them also tested positive for the virus.

New research has found that nearly 1 person in 5 diagnosed with COVID-19 is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder like anxiety, depression or insomnia within three months.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, using electronic health records for 69.8 million patients in the U.S. — including more than 62,000 diagnosed with COVID-19.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced a new statewide mask mandate and additional measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid a steep spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Under the new mask requirement, all Utah residents must wear masks in public and when within 6 feet of anyone they don't live with.

In an address Sunday evening, Herbert said the measures were necessary to relieve the overwhelming burden on the state's hospitals and medical professionals.

Two recent "superspreader events" on Long Island, N.Y., show the impact of large gatherings during virus outbreaks — and threaten to undo the months-long efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the area.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone announced fines on Wednesday against a country club and a homeowner for hosting events in violation of social-gathering limits.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

A Virginia judge has ruled that Richmond's statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee can be removed under the governor's order. The statue, which stands 60 feet high, is the only Confederate statue still standing on the city's Monument Avenue after others were toppled by protesters or removed by the city.

Judge W. Reilly Marchant's ruling came Tuesday evening, following testimony in the case a week earlier. The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the ruling.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More time at home during the pandemic has meant more time online for many of us. And as we spend more of our lives in the digital world, our personal information can be compromised, and our technology is tracking our movements. For NPR's Life Kit, reporter Laurel Wamsley talked to experts to find out the best ways to keep our personal data safe and got a list of things you can do today to protect yourself and your data.

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing for the eventual rollout of one or more COVID-19 vaccines — by identifying the concerns that some people have about taking such a vaccine.

At a meeting Thursday of experts advising the FDA on COVID-19 vaccines, the concerns of front-line workers and people of color were read aloud verbatim, highlighting the crucial project of communicating the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine in an environment of deep political distrust.

The U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will stay closed to nonessential travel for at least another month.

Bill Blair, Canada's public safety minister, tweeted on Monday, "We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until November 21st, 2020. Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe."

Wells Fargo has fired more than 100 employees, saying they personally defrauded a coronavirus relief program from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In a memo sent Wednesday and obtained by NPR, the company said it had identified employees that it believes made false representations in applying for relief funds through the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The employees' actions were outside of their work responsibilities, the company said.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters on their private street in June, pleaded not guilty to two felony charges on Wednesday.

Updated at 4:59 p.m. ET

A Wisconsin judge has put a temporary hold on an order by Gov. Tony Evers' administration that limits the capacity of bars, restaurants and indoor spaces amid record numbers of coronavirus cases in the state.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

Two coronavirus studies have been put on pause by drugmakers as they investigate safety concerns.

The pauses are not uncommon or cause for undue concern, but they highlight how little is known about the combination of medications prescribed to President Trump following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Johnson & Johnson paused all clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after a study participant became sick with an "unexplained illness."

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