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Elena Renken

When you listen to a story, whatever your age, you're transported mentally to another time and place — and who couldn't use that right now?

"We all know this delicious feeling of being swept into a story world," says Liz Neeley, who directs The Story Collider, a nonprofit production company that, in nonpandemic times, stages live events filled with personal stories about science. "You forget about your surroundings," she says, "and you're entirely immersed."

Imagine this: One minute you're a volunteer doing work that you find incredibly meaningful in a faraway place.

Then you get a notice – evacuate immediately. Suddenly you're back home, probably feeling down and definitely jobless.

That's the situation that over 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers found themselves in after an unprecedented evacuation order in mid-March. The reason: fear of coronavirus. The Peace Corps explains that it didn't want its volunteers stranded abroad if travel became impossible.

Over a thousand people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, and over a third of those deaths have taken place in New York. Nearly half the confirmed cases in the United States are in New York.

Editor's note, 6:05 p.m., March 16: This story will no longer be updated. Find our new U.S. map of coronavirus cases here.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. on March 13

Lydia Denworth wants you to make more time for your friends.

We don't fully appreciate our friendships, says the science writer and author of the new book Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond. If we did, we'd take cultivating those intimate bonds as seriously as working out or eating well. Because, she writes, a new field of science is revealing that social connections play a vital role in our health.

What's it like living with a coronavirus infection, isolated in a biocontainment unit? For Carl Goldman, diagnosed this week in Nebraska, his condition doesn't feel any different from a typical cold, he told NPR's Noel King. But the treatment is unusual: Doctors visit him each day wearing hazmat suits, and hospital staff wave at him from behind double-sealed windows.

Wuhan is a ghost town, yet there are still definite signs of life.

That's the status of this city of 11 million, which has seen strict quarantine measures imposed in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus disease.

As of Feb. 10, every compound, or residential complex, in Wuhan has been put under "closed-off management" orders by the government.

The goal is to keep healthy people from getting infected by going out and about.

Two bills up for debate and revision in the House this week aim to stop surprise medical billing — when patients are billed for services their insurance won't cover. New research reveals just how common surprise billing is after an elective surgery, like a knee replacement or hysterectomy.

Efforts across the U.S. in recent years to encourage medical students, nurse practitioners and others to go into primary care, especially in underserved areas, are built on a consensus in research: Primary care is good for patients.

They're mad, they're frustrated — and they're finding goofy ways to pass the time.

That's what residents of Wuhan are sharing on social media while they're under lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak that began in their city.

There's a lot of anger being expressed about an incident on Dec. 31, when Wuhan police detained doctors for "spreading rumors" about cases they had learned about that resembled SARS, the coronavirus that spread in China and throughout the world in 2003.

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

Last week, we asked our audience to share questions they might have about Wuhan coronavirus, the new respiratory virus that was identified in China.

While there is a lot we don't know about the virus — how the disease first emerged, for example — there are things that we do know.

Many reports refer to the newly identified coronavirus in Wuhan, China, as a "mystery" virus. Is it really a mystery? Do masks help keep you from getting infected? If an animal carries the virus, will cooking it make it safe to consume?

These are some of the questions circulating about the virus called 2019-nCoV. Here are some answers.

Will a mask protect me?

There's a run on masks in China, with the belief that wearing one in public will protect an individual from exposure to droplets sneezed or coughed out by someone infected with the Wuhan virus.