Kansas last week was the first state to shut its public schools for the remainder of the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Virginia followed suit on Monday. Other states — Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware — extended their closures until late April or mid-May while saying lon…

One month ago, President Donald Trump expressed great confidence in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero,” he said, “that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” Now the United States has more tha…

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For many of us, the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic registers in new awkward work-from-home arrangements and the struggle to keep our cooped-up kids productively occupied.

The COVID-19 epidemic is inflicting grievous damage on American lives and the economy. It may also mark a decline in U.S. leadership in the world. If so, the loss will be particularly regrettable, because even more than the other injuries, the diplomatic harm will have been senseless and sel…

Just as the Great Recession revealed the need for better long-term financial regulation, the unfolding COVID-19 national health emergency reveals the need for better state-level public health policy.

There is no point in denying reality, which has become clear with frightening speed: The U.S. and global economies have gone from fairly robust stability to free fall. There is hope that public health measures may succeed in halting the virus, the downward slide may be arrested — and normal …

When a coronavirus infection advances through the body in more severe cases, the lungs begin to fill with fluid and breathing becomes difficult. In a hospital intensive care unit, lifesaving ventilators can help a patient survive by pumping oxygen into the impaired lungs. But what if thousan…

A coronavirus epidemic is now inevitable in the United States, but appropriate, large-scale public health measures can still forestall the worst scenarios. Similarly, economic damage is inevitable, yet large-scale monetary and fiscal measures can prevent the worst from happening in that realm.

At least 56,000 schools across the United States are closed or planning to close in an urgent effort to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Some 29.5 million children in grades K-12 will be affected, with impacts not just on learning but also on the health and well-being of many stude…

Battered by years of declining public trust, polarized by brutal partisan warfare and poisoned by nasty rhetoric emanating from the Trump White House, America’s Democratic institutions entered the coronavirus crisis surrounded by justified doubts about their basic capacity to respond. So the…

“It would be very disturbing to return to the situation of the mid-1980s,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January. “With the leaders of the state, one by one, staying in power until the end of their days.” He was right at the time, but this week Putin nonetheless cleared the way to…

It took 120 years and nearly 5,000 innocent deaths, but Congress finally acknowledged the nation’s inexcusable past by approving legislation to make lynching a hate crime under federal law.

Revitalization of America’s coal industry was a notable topic in the 2016 presidential election campaign — certainly for the Southern Alleghenies area and Pennsylvania’s other coal-producing regions – and it also might be an issue during this year’s campaign.

On the surface, the oil price war disrupting the global economy pits the world’s third-largest producer, Russia, against the second, Saudi Arabia. Make no mistake about it, however: The ultimate loser — and a probable intended target — is the world’s No. 1 crude producer, the United States. …

The rising number of coronavirus cases in Britain isn’t a surprise: the shocking thing would be if the total didn’t go up. But the increase comes alongside something else.

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

Whether the United States can fend off serious short-term health damage from the threat of the COVID-19 virus remains to be seen. But the virus already has shown that long-term systemic problems with U.S. health care and economic policies need resolution.

Online commenters of The News-Item were quick to speak out against Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz on the announcement that accused teenage killer Sabian Ebersole would be receiving three to six years on a voluntary manslaughter charge after he shot and killed a man d…

As fears mount over coronavirus, perspective is in order. If you’re reading this editorial, chances are you’ve already survived a pandemic, the term for when an epidemic goes global.

African Americans know what February is. It’s Black History Month, a time for remembering the legendary sacrifices of great Americans from the foundation of this nation, through the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance to the election of President Barack Obama.

Prospects for an agreement that could lead to withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan are “very promising,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said last Saturday.

Pennsylvania is one-third of the way to becoming a more prominent player in the presidential primary nominating process, albeit not until 2024 at the earliest.

We have been strong supporters of Gov. Tom Wolf’s past efforts to fund state police while discouraging municipalities from relying on troopers for local law enforcement.

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

The New Hampshire primary is supposed to narrow a party’s nominee roster. This year, it widened the field — and sparked much anxiety among Democrats about the persistent crowd of candidates. But there’s a bright side to all these shades of blue.

In these times of extreme political divides, there are still people willing to reach across the aisle to work together to send us urgent warnings to protect ourselves from scams.

Americans have lately been learning that the apps they use to check whether they need an umbrella, or follow their favorite sports team, or hurl one animated animal at another for points, are sucking up their location data and selling it. Now it turns out that it’s not only advertising compa…

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., expressed grave disappointment with the answers they received when they questioned the Trump administration’s rationale for last month’s attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Even Lt. Gov. John Fetterman wore a business suit Tuesday for Gov. Tom Wolf’s annual budget address to the General Assembly. But as Wolf spoke about the need to focus on education and improving educational buildings statewide, workers wearing protective hazardous materials suits began removi…

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

There will be justice for Deana Eckman. At least if the Pennsylvania Senate has its way. No, it will not bring back the Delaware County woman whose life was cut short by a serial drunk driver, but it could spare another family from suffering the same agony.

Democrats in Virginia aren’t wasting time with their first statehouse majority in 26 years — by repealing the state’s 70-year-old right-to-work law that has helped the commonwealth thrive.

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

On Monday, Iowans will participate in the first presidential nominating contest. The results could greatly influence the Democratic race. But Iowans won’t vote like most Americans, who participate in primary elections. Instead, they will caucus. That means the results will be less fair and d…

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is not terribly popular among many of the state’s hunters.

Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is temperamentally and politically moderate — not unlike his Democratic counterpart Sen. Bob Casey and, for the most part, the commonwealth that they both represent in the Senate. That is especially so in comparison with the partisan flamethrow…