Maureen Pao | CAI

Maureen Pao

Maureen Pao is an editor, producer and reporter on NPR's Digital News team. In her current role, she is lead digital editor and producer for All Things Considered. Her primary responsibility is coordinating, producing and editing high-impact online components for complex, multipart show projects and host field reporting.

She also identifies and reports original stories for online, on-air and social platforms, on subjects ranging from childhood vaccinations during the pandemic, baby boxes and the high cost of childcare to Peppa Pig in China and the Underground Railroad in Maryland. Most memorable interview? No question: a one-on-one conversation with Dolly Parton.

In early 2020, Pao spent three months reporting local news at member station WAMU as part of an NPR exchange program. In 2014, she was chosen to participate in the East-West Center's Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship program, during which she reported stories from Taiwan and Singapore.

Previously, she served as the first dedicated digital producer for international news at NPR.

Before coming to NPR, Pao worked as a travel editor at USA TODAY and as a reporter and editor in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

She's a graduate of the University of Virginia and earned a master's in journalism from the University of Michigan. Originally from South Carolina, she can drawl on command and talk about dumplings all day. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.

There are many things still unknown about the coronavirus. But one thing is certain: the disproportionate harm COVID-19 has caused in communities of color.

To address the issue, California has implemented a new health equity requirement on the state's 35 largest counties — those with a population of more than 106,000. It's believed to be the first such measure in the U.S.

In the three years since the Harvey Weinstein story broke and the #MeToo movement took off, a new report finds that people working in Hollywood and the entertainment business say not enough has changed.

The Hollywood Commission, a nonprofit that works to eradicate harassment and discrimination, surveyed nearly 10,000 people in the entertainment industry nationwide. It found many are staying silent because they fear retaliation, or they don't believe people in positions of power will be held to account.

Last week, the House passed Savanna's Act, a bill that requires the Department of Justice to strengthen training, coordination, data collection and other guidelines related to cases of murdered or missing Native Americans. It aims to address the alarming number of cases involving Native women.

Former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp first introduced the bill in 2017. It passed the Senate earlier this year and President Trump is expected to sign it into law.

After a steady rise in coronavirus cases, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania has restricted students to their dormitories and moved all classes online in a sweeping quarantine that began Tuesday and will last at least through the end of the week.

Gettysburg, which has more than 2,000 students enrolled, is believed to be the first U.S. college to enact such a measure.

Two back-to-back blazes broke out around Los Angeles this week, marking a dramatic start to the wildfire season.

A wildfire that started Thursday continues to burn near the San Gabriel Canyon east of Los Angeles. Activity at what's called the Ranch2 Fire is expected to increase today due to extreme heat — with highs near 108.

Contact tracing has been one of the key tools in the fight against the coronavirus. Now, as the virus has infected more than 5 million Americans, the U.S. has at least 41,122 contact tracers — but that's not even half what public health experts said would be needed to help contain the spread.

Schools across New York state will be allowed to open for in-person learning this fall because of low coronavirus infection rates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

"We've been smart from day one. We do the masks, we do the social distancing, we've kept that infection rate down," Cuomo said during the announcement. "And we can bring the same level of intelligence to the school reopening that we brought to the economic reopening."

Texas Tech has fired the head coach and assistant coach of its women's basketball team, after a scathing report chronicling claims of physical, mental and verbal abuse against players was published on Wednesday.

Head coach Marlene Stollings was fired Thursday; the termination of assistant coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins was announced Friday morning. A third staff member, strength and conditioning coach Ralph Petrella, resigned in March at the end of the season.

Mississippi is heading for a title that no state would want: It is on track to overtake Florida to become the No. 1 state for new coronavirus infections per capita, according to researchers at Harvard.

The state already faces high levels of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed plans to divert $120 million from law enforcement to efforts that address inequities faced by the city's Black community in housing, health, economic opportunity and education.

The proposal comes two months after, as Breed put it during Friday's announcement, "the murder of George Floyd shook this country to its core, in a way that I have never seen before," stoking ongoing protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is delaying the region's legislative elections by a year, citing a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Critics decry the decision, seen as the latest in a series of recent moves that curb Hong Kong's limited autonomy. That autonomy was guaranteed for 50 years after the end of British rule and its handover to China in 1997.

Whether it's online-only consultations, closed pharmacies or having to wonder whether going into an office is safe, the coronavirus has upended access to health care. And it has presented particular challenges for women and reproductive health.

Across the country, leaders and activists are seeking ways to improve relations between their communities and the police, including how to reduce encounters that lead to arrests and the use of force. In places such as Kansas City, Mo., this has renewed calls to ease marijuana laws.

As stay-at-home orders across the U.S. begin to loosen, companies are planning for their employees' return to the office. For months, millions worked from home, raising the question of whether physical offices are even necessary.

Nabil Sabet thinks so. The group director at M Moser Associates, a firm that specializes in workplace design, says there is more to the office than just cubicles and conference rooms.

School hasn't ended yet in most places around the country. But educators are already grappling with what the next academic year will look like, as the future spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. remains unclear.

This week, California State University — the largest four-year public college system in the country — announced it plans to suspend in-person classes for its roughly 480,000 students for the semester beginning in August and move most instruction online.

The university system consists of 23 campuses, covering an 800-mile swath of the state.

Coronavirus fatalities in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for at least one-third of the deaths in 26 states.

Pediatricians across the U.S. are seeing a steep drop in the number of children coming in for appointments right now — only about 20% to 30% of the volume they would normally see this time of year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Though telemedicine can make up part of the difference, doctors say the size of the drop-off in some routine well checks is a big problem — for those children and for the nation — though parents are understandably concerned about exposing their kids to the coronavirus.

Ventilators have been in short supply as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, and corporations are shifting production capacity to help fill the gaps.

Last month, Ford Motor Co. announced plans to build simple medical ventilators, with a goal of producing 50,000 of the devices over the next three months.

Thomas E. Lo is an anesthesiologist who works at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York. Since the coronavirus outbreak, his job has gotten dangerous.

"The exposure risk as an anesthesiologist is extremely high because when we intubate a patient, we are literally less than a foot away from the patient, who is in distress, and we're right by their airway, which is where the virus is," Lo tells All Things Considered.

And that exposure risk is made worse by widespread shortages of crucial personal protective equipment, or PPE, like masks, gowns and gloves.

Originally from Cameroon, Pisso Nseke's work as a business consultant took him to Wuhan, China — where he was trapped when the city where the coronavirus first emerged sealed itself off from the world in January.

That changed on Wednesday. After 76 days, Nseke and the other residents of Wuhan are finally able to leave the city.

Of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, California trails behind New York. To date, there are slightly more than 16,000 cases — around an eighth of New York's total — and far fewer deaths, at less than 400.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We're going to end this hour with a strange and wonderful moment from earlier this week. It happened in the normally hushed Great Hall of the Library of Congress here in Washington, D.C. NPR's Maureen Pao was there.

Editor's note on Aug. 9, 2018: Since this story was published, NPR has published a story that re-examines the "30 million word gap" cited below.

"A busybody." That's how Raven Judd describes her 10-month-old daughter Bailey.

"She loves tummy time. She likes to roll over. She'd dive if you let her," says the 27-year-old mother from Washington, D.C.

When Maisha Watson heard about baby boxes, her first reaction was: "Why would I want to put my baby in a box?"

She was talking with Marcia Virgil — "Miss Marcia" to her clients — a family support worker with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative.

Giving new moms face-to-face education about safe sleep practices — and providing them with a cardboard "baby box" where their newborns can sleep right when they get home — reduces the incidence of bed sharing, a significant risk factor for SIDS and other unexpected sleep-related deaths, a study from Temple University in Philadelphia has found.

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