Jason Beaubien

Earlier this year, when the first reports of the coronavirus started to come out of China, global health officials said they were very worried about what would happen if the virus started spreading in Africa, where many health systems are already struggling.

Well, now the coronavirus is spreading in Africa.

President Trump Thursday defended his new policy that, for 30 days, will bar most travelers arriving to the U.S. from much of Europe. Trump says coronavirus cases from the continent have been seeding outbreaks in the United States. The travel ban, he says, will save American lives.

Hong Kong and Singapore were hit early with the coronavirus. But each now has fewer than 200 cases, while France, Germany and Spain, which were hit late, all have more than 10 times that number.

Three weeks ago, Italy had only three cases. Now it has more than 10,000.

These dramatic differences show that how governments respond to this virus matters, says Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's head of emergencies.

As the U.S. and much of the world deals with the arrival of COVID-19, one place that's managed to limit the spread of the disease is Hong Kong.

Hong Kong sits right up against China's Guangdong Province, which has had more than 1,300 cases, the second largest number on the mainland after Hubei.

But Hong Kong has seen fewer than 100 cases since the outbreak began, and so far its strategies to contain the coronavirus have prevented large-scale outbreaks that have happened in countries like Iran, Italy and South Korea.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

As the new coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world, Hong Kong is bracing for a possible surge in cases. The city so far only has 18 cases but its first death from the disease was confirmed on Tuesday – a 39-year-old man who had visited Wuhan, China.

Residents are particularly on edge because many of them lived through the devastating SARS outbreak in 2003. Hong Kong suffered 299 deaths from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the most anywhere outside of China. SARS crippled the city's economy. The concern now is that this latest outbreak might do the same.

Nurses in Hong Kong are threatening to go on strike if the city doesn't shut its border with mainland China. Some nurses have already engaged in unauthorized sickouts to protest what they say is a lack of action by Hong Kong officials.

A "wet market" in Wuhan, China, is catching the blame as the probable source of the current coronavirus outbreak that's sweeping the globe.

Patients who came down with disease at the end of December all had connections to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan China. The complex of stalls selling live fish, meat and wild animals is known in the region as a "wet market." Researchers believe the new virus probably mutated from a coronavirus common in animals and jumped over to humans in the Wuhan bazaar.

Before Britain started sending convicts to the continent in the 1700s, aboriginal Australians used fire to manage brushlands and forests across the continent.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It used to be that the battle to overcome inequality was about money. It was about helping the poor get better jobs so they could access a larger slice of the economic pie.

What if that approach to inequality is no longer relevant?

In the latest edition of its Human Development Report, the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) argues that 20th-century thinking on global inequality no longer works in the 21st century.

The report warns that a new generation of inequities are driving street protests and damaging societies — and they're on track to get worse.

After decades of progress against one of the most contagious human viruses, the world is seeing measles stage a slow, steady comeback.

The World Health Organization and the CDC say in a new report that there were nearly 10 million cases of measles last year, with outbreaks on every continent.

An estimated 140,000 people died from measles in 2018, WHO says, up from an all-time low of 90,000 in 2016.

And so far 2019 has been even worse.

"Shocking and unprecedented," that's how ousted Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer describes President Trump's intervention in the Navy SEALs Trident scandal. Spencer was fired this week over the controversy.

Cameron Simmons is far more familiar with dengue than he would like to be.

"I've had dengue. My family's had dengue. It's a miserable, miserable experience," he says. "It's not one I'd ever want to repeat or have anyone else experience."

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