Vanessa Romo | WGLT

Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

Three former staff members of a Michigan youth home have been charged in the death of a 16-year-old Black boy. He died last month after employees sat on his chest, abdomen and legs in an effort to restrain him.

The mystery near and around Stonehenge keeps growing.

The latest revelation is the discovery of a ring of at least 20 prehistoric shafts about 2 miles from the famous Neolithic site of immense upright stones, according to an announcement from the University of Bradford.

Phoenix has joined several cities across Arizona requiring residents to wear masks in public spaces as the state contends with an aggressive spike in coronavirus cases.

The City Council voted Friday to implement the mandatory face covering rule, which will go into effect on Saturday at 6 a.m.

Updated at 8:39 p.m. ET

Californians are required to wear face coverings in high-risk settings as the state continues to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the statewide order on Thursday. It follows new guidance from the California Department of Public Health that asymptomatic or presymptomatic people can still spread the disease.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

NASCAR has banned the Confederate battle flag at all of its events and properties.

In a Wednesday tweet, the stock car racing organization said the presence of the flag "runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and industry."

"Bringing people together around the love of racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sports special," the statement said.

The American Civil Liberties Union says a federal judge has temporarily blocked the deportation of a 16-year-old Honduran boy in a case that challenges the Trump administration's recently enacted policy, based on federal health statutes, of expelling unaccompanied minors without due process.

The ACLU says the boy entered the United States alone last week and was scheduled to be deported Wednesday. According to the ACLU, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. Circuit blocked the deportation late Tuesday.

Thousands of protesters who have been arrested in Los Angeles for violating curfew or failing to disperse will not be prosecuted, county and city officials announced Monday.

Manhattan's district attorney will not prosecute protesters arrested for breaking the city's curfew during the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance made the announcement Friday, saying the previous policy allowed people to have the low-level offenses dismissed within six months.

Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET

One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.

Here are details of some protests around the country.

St. Louis

Updated 7:37 p.m. ET

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a new autopsy report Monday, ruling George Floyd's death was a homicide. The office said Floyd's heart and lungs stopped functioning "while being restrained" by law enforcement officers.

Floyd died due to "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression," according to the report.

Planned Parenthood scored a victory in Missouri on Friday in a ruling that allowed the state's only abortion provider to keep its doors open.

In a 97-page decision, a state administrative commission said the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services wrongfully denied the reproductive health organization a license renewal for a St. Louis clinic in 2019.

California churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship can reopen, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday. Additionally, in-store retailers are allowed to resume business throughout the state.

The changes are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest round of modifications to the state's stay-at-home order that is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made an unannounced visit to Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Del., on Monday.

It's the first time Biden has left the area around his home in Wilmington since mid-March, when he began self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wearing black masks, placed a wreath before a memorial wall commemorating war veterans from Delaware and New Jersey.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will follow through on her threat to take legal action against two Native American tribes that have defied orders to remove highway checkpoints onto tribal land in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on their reservations.

Coronavirus fatalities in long-term care facilities have surpassed a grim threshold in much of the country, accounting for at least a third of the deaths in 26 states and more than half in 14 of those.

The data, which was published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, reports tallies from a variety of care facilities, including nursing homes, adult care residences, and other skilled nursing care settings. However, it does not break out those categories separately.

There's a call Laura Jean Truman is dreading, and she's convinced it's just a matter of time before it comes.

Truman, who's a server at Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, says the source of her angst is the fear that sometime in the next few weeks her boss is going to call and say it's time to go back to work, putting her in the position of having to make a choice between her safety and being able to pay the bills that continue to arrive despite the coronavirus.

"Right now, everyone who is not working at restaurants is able to be on unemployment," she told NPR.

As the COVID-19 pandemic besieged New York City, Dr. Lorna Breen was on the front lines, striving to slow the onslaught of critically ill patients that have made the city the center of the outbreak in the U.S.

Breen continued her work at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital as medical director of the emergency department even after she too contracted, then recovered from, the virus.

On Sunday, the woman many regard as a hero died of self-inflicted injuries, according to police. Her family later spoke publicly about Breen's death.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is undeterred by President Trump's criticism of his move to reopen some nonessential businesses. He insists he will forge ahead with plans to jump-start the economy as early as Friday.

The governor said on Wednesday night that he plans to restart "shuttered businesses for limited operations" ahead of the state's shelter-in-place order being lifted on April 30.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Wednesday called for restaurants, hotels and casinos in the gambling mecca to reopen, saying competition would ultimately determine which were safest to visit and that only establishments with the most infections should be forced to close down.

Goodman, an independent, made the remarks on CNN, insisting that as mayor she bears no responsibility for figuring out how to safely maintain social distancing guidelines.

The United States and Mexico are extending restrictions on nonessential travel across their shared border for an additional 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The move comes on the heels of a similar announcement of an agreement with Canada over the weekend.

Crashing servers, outmoded software and overloaded call centers are some of the obstacles standing between millions of unemployed workers and the financial lifeline the government has promised under the $2 trillion relief package approved late last month.

With every passing week the problem is exacerbated by new waves of jobless or laid-off workers whose paychecks have vanished since the coronavirus pandemic crippled the U.S. economy.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 731 more people died on Monday due to the coronavirus, marking the largest single-day increase in fatalities in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The latest surge brings the total number of deaths in New York to 5,489 — nearly half of all deaths caused by the virus in the U.S. — and comes even as the three-day average of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are dropping, Cuomo said.

Updated at 3:10 a.m. ET Tuesday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved into intensive care at St. Thomas' Hospital in London after days of persistent symptoms, including a fever and a cough, according to British media quoting the prime minister's office.

When Ireland's acting Prime Minister decided to go into politics, he put his medical career behind him. But Leo Varadkar will be working as a doctor once again as the country battles the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Varadkar reregistered as a medical practitioner with Ireland's Health Service Executive in March and will begin work one shift a week.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test, that can deliver results in less than an hour.

Cepheid, a Silicon Valley diagnostics company, made the announcement on Saturday, saying it has received emergency authorization from the government to use the test.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday afternoon ordered all Illinois residents to stay at home, as the deadly coronavirus has spread to a quarter of the state's counties and infected more than 500 people.

The stricter limits will go into effect on Saturday.

The U.S. military confirmed a sustained rocket attack on Wednesday on a base near Baghdad where American personnel are housed.

The attack killed two Americans, according to a U.S. military official, as well as one member of Britain's armed forces, multiple news outlets have reported.

Army Col. Myles Caggins, a military spokesman in Iraq, said a barrage of "more than 15 small rockets impacted Iraq's Camp Taji base hosting Coalition troops" at 7:35 p.m. local time.

He added that an investigation into the extent of the damage is ongoing.

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered the Trump administration another win on one of its signature immigration policies on Wednesday, allowing it to continue the controversial "Remain in Mexico" policy across the entire southern border.

The Italian government has announced extraordinary measures to contain the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday declared the entire country a "red zone," meaning people should stay home except for work and emergencies.

The move expands the emergency measures already in place in northern Italy, which is where most of the more than 9,000 confirmed cases are.

As of Monday, 463 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported through the country.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

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