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.

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.

There's hoarding and then there's HOARDING.

Stealing a truck that's hauling about 18,000 pounds of bathroom paper products during a global pandemic during which the commodity has become invaluable to the panicked public likely falls into the all-caps category.

On Wednesday, deputies from the Guilford County Sheriff's office in North Carolina said they came across the 18-wheel tractor trailer as it was traveling on Interstate 40 in Whitsett.

Starbucks says it is closing all U.S. company-operated cafes and is moving to drive-thru and delivery services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The closures will start on Friday and last for at least two weeks, the company said in a statement.

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.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first reigning monarch or head of state to publicly announce a diagnosis for the coronavirus-caused respiratory disease.

In a statement, officials from the city-state palace said despite the findings, the prince's health "is not worrying at all."

Yes, it's a pandemic.

Yes, it's got us all freaked out.

And yes, it's our civic duty to remain at least 6 feet away from each other throughout this crisis.

But singles looking to mingle still have needs.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Wednesday agents will temporarily postpone most arrests due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the agency will focus on only pursuing people who pose public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.

It is unclear how long the new strategy will be in place but officials explained in a statement the move is designed to "ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents."

Updated on March 16 at 11:38 p.m. ET

Governors around the U.S. are taking a variety of steps to try to contain the spread of coronavirus and protect the public.

Several states as well as officials from Washington, D.C., have declared states of emergency, clearing the path to respond to the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as experts warn the number of cases will increase in future weeks.

Here's a sense of how state leaders have been are trying to contain the highly contagious disease in recent days:

The United States on Thursday evening launched a series of airstrikes in Iraq against an Iranian-backed militia group suspected of firing an earlier rocket attack that killed and wounded American and British troops.

"The United States conducted defensive precision strikes against Kata'ib Hizbollah facilities across Iraq," the Pentagon said in a statement.

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.

It's pretty much the thrift store dream; to find a rare, long lost treasure on a crowded tchotchke shelf, on sale for a bargain price.

That's what happened at the Hotline Pink Thrift Shop in Kitty Hawk, N.C., when Wendy Hawkins came across an otherwise ignored piece of art.

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."

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

As COVID-19 spreads in the U.S., Maryland health officials are the latest to announce that a handful of Montgomery County residents have tested positive for the virus that causes it.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday said the state's Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore confirmed three cases of patients who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tavis Smiley has to pay up.

A Washington, D.C., jury decided on Wednesday that the former public television host, violated the morals clause of his contract by carrying on sexual relationships with multiple subordinates. Now, they agreed, he owes the broadcaster nearly $1.5 million.

Smiley, who was fired in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations, sued PBS contending he was dropped from the network as a result of racial bias and that he was wrongly terminated. Smiley was the only solo black host of a show on the broadcasting organization's airwaves.

A few days before Christmas in 2000, Beverly Hills police received an unsigned note in the mail with the word "CADAVER" written in block letters on one side.

On the other was an address, the home of Susan Berman where police found the body of the 55-year-old friend, confidante and former employee of Robert Durst, the eccentric heir to a massive real estate fortune. Berman had been shot at point-blank range in the back of the head.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

On the heels of a meeting with President Trump and pharmaceutical company leaders, Vice President Pence offered words of calm to the American public about the spread of coronavirus: "The risk remains low," he repeated numerous times during a news conference with reporters on Monday afternoon.

Pence, who on Friday was appointed by the president to lead the Coronavirus Task Force, delivered the remarks from the White House press briefing room, where he was surrounded by many of the nation's top health officials.

Australian officials announced on Friday there are no longer any active bush or grass fires in New South Wales, the state hardest-hit by massive wildfires that have scorched millions of acres in the country since July.

Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in California on Friday briefly blocked the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program, seemingly dealing a blow to the president's controversial policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in U.S. immigration court.

But within hours, a three-judge panel voted unanimously to suspend its own order, giving the government until the end of Monday to respond with written arguments and plaintiffs until the end of Tuesday.

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