Heidi Glenn

For Manas Ray, the distance from his home in Massachusetts to India, where his extended family lives, has made the coronavirus pandemic feel like a nightmare.

At least 12 friends and family members close to the biochemist have been infected since April 2020, including his mother, Bandana. Reports earlier this spring from his friends and relatives were especially bleak as the second wave devastated the country he left 33 years ago.

"It's very hard on me because I'm so far away from them and cannot help," Ray tells Morning Edition.

The 2020 hurricane season was so prolific that the National Hurricane Center used up its roster of 21 alphabetized storm names. When that happens, the government pulls in the Greek alphabet. But don't expect to see Hurricane Alpha or Beta again.

Turns out the names were Greek to a lot of people, and forecasters worried about creating confusion.

"Some of those were very difficult to translate into other languages," says Kenneth Graham of the National Hurricane Center. "In our region we have French. We have Portuguese, Spanish and English."

Why does the world need a new pasta shape?

For Dan Pashman, host of the food podcast The Sporkful, there's just a lot of mediocre pasta out there. There's plenty of room for improvement.

"Spaghetti is just a tube," he tells Morning Edition. "After a few bites, it's the same." And its round shape means it's not great at holding on to sauce.

Meet his cascatelli — Italian for "little waterfalls."

As chief of critical care at Houston's United Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Joseph Varon is at the center of managing care for patients with the coronavirus. He's worked every day for the last 272 days.

"No days off," he told NPR's Morning Edition.

It's been a grueling pace at Varon's hospital for months.

Philando Castile, Eric Garner and George Floyd. The deaths of these Black men at the hands of police have fueled outrage over police brutality and systemic racism.

Men make up the vast majority of people shot and killed by police.

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., there is a stone memorial engraved with the names of graduates who fought and died in the Civil War for both the Union and the Confederacy.

Some recent West Point graduates want that to change, and they wrote a policy proposal outlining ways they say will help create an "anti-racist West Point."

Dr. Gabrielle Mayer took her Hippocratic oath during a virtual graduation ceremony last month. Just three days later, she was a resident at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

Now, almost six weeks into her residency, she says she's been inspired by "seeing the medical community as a whole rally around the patients who needed us the most."

Vinton County, Ohio, has been on the front lines of the opioid crisis in the U.S. for several years. The drugs may have changed over the years — from opioids to meth — but the devastating effects on families have not. And even though the county hasn't had high infection rates of the coronavirus, the necessary social restrictions have made it harder to keep people addicted to drugs and their children safe.

Researchers suspect that the coronavirus is hitting men and women differently. Worldwide, men appear more likely to suffer more severely or die from COVID-19 than women.

Facebook on Tuesday announced the 400 news organizations that are receiving a first round of grants to help support coronavirus news coverage.

After weeks of pressure, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday ordered Florida residents to stay at home. It's a move that Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, a Democrat, issued last week to help stem her city's growing number of coronavirus cases.

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal has some advice for President Trump on how to lead the nation through the coronavirus pandemic: instill confidence, tell the truth, be unified and fight it like a war.

A day after issuing a stay-at-home directive to Maryland residents, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said he and other governors are still "not satisfied" with federal assistance in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Hogan, who is also the chair of National Governors Association, issued the directive on Monday as did leaders in nearby Virginia and Washington, D.C., to combat an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the mid-Atlantic region.

As Americans stock up on — and often clear out — grocery staples and other household items, Amazon is taking on a growing role during the coronavirus outbreak.

As the coronavirus spreads and disrupts life across the country, Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans are facing a secondary threat: racism.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and some now blame the country for its global spread. In recent weeks, blame has escalated into reports of harassment and even assault in places with large communities of Asian Americans.

Coronavirus home cooking is now a part of American life.

Glenn Hurst didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a doctor. But eventually, he made his way into health care, taking a job placing doctors in small towns. Traveling farm country, he says, the work moved him in ways he didn't expect.

"To see the physicians in those communities helping those people stay in their fields, helping those people's families be safe ... I decided that I wanted to be part of something rural and I wanted to be part of health care," he says.

People across China are remembering the life of Liang Jun, who is celebrated as the first Chinese woman to work as a tractor driver.

Recognized as a national folk hero, trailblazer and model socialist worker, Liang Jun was immortalized in the 1960s on China's 1 yuan banknote driving a tractor. She died this week at the age of 90.

Her story is typical of model workers in China, says Tina Mai Chen, a professor of Chinese history at the University of Manitoba. Chen interviewed Liang Jun in 1996.

Jessica Kibblewhite grew up the daughter of an astronomer. Her dad, Edward Kibblewhite, invented, among other things, a system that allows scientists to take clearer pictures of stars.

Given his background, Jessica asked him for help finding clarity on a different subject: starting a family.

The world, Jessica told Edward at StoryCorps last October, seemed like an especially difficult place, and she and her husband had been struggling with the idea of bringing children into it.

She felt scared for the future.

Edward, now 75, asks her what the alternative is.

NPR wants to read how sports has touched your life — in poetry form.

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