WYSO

Paige Pfleger

Paige Pfleger is a reporter for WOSU, Central Ohio's NPR station. Before joining the staff of WOSU, Paige worked in the newsrooms of NPR, Vox, Michigan Radio, WHYY and The Tennessean. She spent three years in Philadelphia covering health, science, and gender, and her work has appeared nationally in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Atlas Obscura and more. 

Health officials in the Ohio county that includes Columbus have apologized after releasing a document advising African-Americans to avoid face coverings that might be interpreted as being "associated with gang symbolism.”

Christopher has been struggling with addiction since he was 14. He uses heroin, and he says things have been hard since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Several large metal shipping containers are lined up in a warehouse under a large American flag. Their doors are ajar and workers stream in and out, power tools buzzing.

These are no ordinary shipping containers: They represent a huge scientific breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19.

"We're looking at the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System that we've developed to be able to decontaminate PPE for health care workers on the front-line," says Will Richter, a researcher at the Columbus, Ohio-based company.

Every day for the past week, colleges and universities around the country have made the announcement: in-person classes are cancelled due to fears over the spreading coronavirus.

Ohio State. Harvard. University of Virginia. University of Michigan. Duke. These are just some of the more than 100 universities across the country that are moving classes online.

Lecture halls will be empty. Labs closed. Concerts cancelled. Sports practices called off. Some universities are asking students to go home early for spring break, and if on break now, not to return to campus at all.

In more than 30 states, it is illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without first disclosing their status. Some are now pushing to change that, arguing that the laws are actually endangering public health.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and their HIV status could conceivably put them behind bars. That's what happened to Michael Holder.

"I served 8 1/2 years in prison and three years after on parole," Holder says.

Paramedic Scott Widener crouches in the back of an outfitted ambulance.

“I am six foot and I’m duckin',” he says, laughing.

In many Midwest states it’s illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without telling partners about the illness. Some public health experts are pushing to change those laws.

At first glance, the people inside Franklin County Municipal Court room 13C have little in common. There’s a man in cutoff jean shorts with tattooed arms. Behind him sits a younger woman with freckles who looks like she came from soccer practice.

The group is bound together by circumstance: All were addicted to opioids and got in trouble with the law.

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

Holmes Co., Ohio, is a patchwork of farmland. Modest houses perch on sloping hills and laundry hangs from clothes lines, flapping in the wind. There are horses and buggies – some driven by farmers in straw hats, others by women with their hair covered in bonnets, babies on their laps.

Holmes is one of the healthiest counties in Ohio. It’s also the least insured.

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