Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.

About 20 men are standing on a sidewalk, some have backpacks and there is a blue bike. There is a large white tent behind them.
Isaac Hoops

The Reno City Council has approved the use of a local park as the location for an emergency homeless shelter. As KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck reports, the city is looking for more space to maintain social distancing, especially as winter approaches.

A graphic showing a medical professional giving a patient a nasal swab used for COVID-19 testing.
Russell Tate / United Nations COVID-19 Response

Retailer CVS announced plans last week to double its COVID-19 drive-through test sites at locations across the U.S., including in two Mountain West states.

A federal program called Pandemic EBT has been a lifeline for many low-income families recently. But unless Congress acts, it’ll expire at the end of the month.


A young woman crosses her arms on a windowsill looking out in the distance through the window.
Isabella Wolf / KUNR Youth Media

Washoe County Schools have been in session for about a month, but for 10 of those class days, schools have been closed and they switched to remote learning, due to poor air quality from fires blazing in California. Local high school student Isabella Wolf recorded an audio diary for KUNR's Youth Media program to share how she’s been feeling about the frequent closures.

A packed crowd of approximately 1,000 people. Very few are wearing masks.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Nevada’s Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday, blasting the Trump campaign for defying the administration's COVID-19 safety guidelines. President Donald Trump spoke to thousands of mostly maskless people packed into two campaign rallies last weekend.

Un gráfico con tres fotos de la cabeza de los panelistas.

Read in English. 

Con el semestre de otoño en curso para las escuelas públicas de todo el estado, KUNR invitó a expertos en salud y educación a un evento de Facebook Live en español, en el que se respondieron preguntas de la comunidad. La reportera bilingüe Natalie Van Hoozer y moderé la sesión de preguntas y respuestas. Hablo con reportera bilingüe Stephanie Serrano, quien fue panelista del evento, para recapitular las principales conclusiones de la discusión.

The poll came from the Colorado Health Foundation but national polls over the past few months paint a similar picture.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:30 p.m. | September 15, 2020

Nevada Reports 226 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 And 26 COVID-19-Related Deaths
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 226 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The department reported 26 additional COVID-19-related deaths statewide. There are nearly 1,500 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been more than 948,000 tests performed in the state.

Researchers recently investigated three outbreaks of COVID-19 at child care centers in Salt Lake City. Their findings are helping to fill a knowledge gap on how younger children might spread the virus.

Two of the outbreaks started after staff came to work while their sick relatives were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms at home. In the third outbreak, it’s unclear who brought it in, but in the end children in that particular outbreak seemed to have passed the virus to at least five people at home, including a parent who had to be hospitalized.

Una niña se sienta en un escritorio mirando hacia adelante con un lápiz en la mano.
Elineriipers / Flickr Creative Commons

Read in English.

Durante semanas los miembros de la comunidad han estado pidiendo a la junta de administradores del distrito escolar del condado de Washoe que establezca un umbral que haga uso de métricas específicas para determinar si el distrito detendría la instrucción en persona durante la pandemia y cuándo. Algunos fideicomisarios dijeron en una reunión el martes que no quieren adoptar una posición radical.

Its dark outside. A man stands at a podium with five American flags behind him. He’s in front of a crowd.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

President Donald Trump used his campaign stop in northern Nevada over the weekend to slam Democrats and sow doubt about the integrity of the election.

Una mujer se toma una foto estilo “selfie” en su coche. Lleva mascarilla y bolsas de alimentos gratuitos para repartir en  las casas de familias que necesitan la comida.
Carolina Juárez / Communities In Schools

Read in English. 

Debido a la COVID-19, la necesidad de alimentos gratuitos ha aumentado en el norte de Nevada.  

Communities in Schools o Comunidades en las Escuelas, trabaja directamente con familias que tienen hambre. Es una organización nacional sin fines de lucro que ayuda a estudiantes a ser exitosos en las escuelas. En estos momentos también mantiene las despensas de alimentos en aproximadamente 10 escuelas públicas en Reno y Sparks, en asociación con el Banco de Alimentos del norte de Nevada.

Promotional graphic for the event, featuring the headshots of the three panelists.

Lee en español. 

With the fall semester underway for public schools across the state, KUNR recently hosted a Facebook Live event in Spanish, with health and education experts, to answer community questions. 

Our bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer moderated the Q&A and spoke with Jayden Perez to recap the main takeaways from the discussion.

Two women in masks face each other sitting several feet away in a white circle painted in grass.
Isaac Hoops / Nevada Sagebrush

The University of Nevada, Reno’s fall semester has been in session for nearly three weeks. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck reports on how the university is faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A sign outside that says, “Reno Tahoe International Airport,” with a sign beneath it in the grass that says, “RENO,” in large letters.
Trevor Bexon

A Trump campaign rally in Reno planned for this weekend has been canceled because the event would violate the state's COVID-19 restrictions, and Nevada officials aren't backing down on efforts to control the virus.

A student is sitting in a desk facing the front of a classroom and is holding a pencil down on a piece of paper.
Elineriipers / Flickr Creative Commons

Lee en español.

For weeks, community members have been asking the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees to set a threshold that would use specific metrics to determine if and when the district would stop in-person instruction during the pandemic. Some trustees said in a meeting Tuesday they do not want to draw a hard line.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6:49 p.m. | September 8, 2020

Washoe County Reports One COVID-19 Death Tuesday
By KUNR Staff

The Regional Information Center reported one additional COVID-19 death on Tuesday, a man in his 70s without underlying health conditions. The death toll in Washoe County is approaching 150 and nearly 7,800 cases have been confirmed since the start of the pandemic. The county also reported 42 new cases and 41 recoveries on Tuesday. 

The Food and Drug Administration has said it's open to making a COVID-19 vaccine available before phase 3 clinical trials are complete.

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told the Financial Times last week that he was "prepared to authorize a vaccine before phase 3 clinical trials were complete, as long as officials believed the benefits outweighed the risks."

Typically, phase 1 trials involve a small number of volunteers.

A new report shows that the COVID-19 recession has households in the Mountain West facing high hardship rates, especially when it comes to rent and food security.