Stories by Associated Press

US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes that Slowed Mail

In this July 31, 2020, file photo, letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A U.S. judge on Thursday blocked controversial Postal Service changes that have slowed mail nationwide, calling them “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Infection Rates Soar in College Towns as Students Return

Masked students walk through the campus of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. College towns across the U.S. have emerged as coronavirus hot spots in recent weeks as schools struggle to contain the virus. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Among the 50 large U.S. counties with the highest percentages of student residents, 20 have consistently reported higher rates of new coronavirus cases than their states have since Sept. 1, according to an Associated Press analysis.

COVID-19 Danger Continues to Drive Joblessness in US

In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, a customer leaves a Pier 1 retail store, which is going out of business, during the coronavirus pandemic in Coral Gables, Fla. The Labor Department reported unemployment numbers Thursday, Sept. 3. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Before the pandemic hit the economy, the number signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week, even during the depths of the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Now they've topped 700,000 for 26 straight weeks.

US Outlines Sweeping Plan to Provide Free COVID-19 Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield holds up his mask as he speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on a “Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts” on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, Pool)

In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or even late this year.

Big Ten Changes Course, Aims For October Start to Football

In this June 4, 2019, file photo, Kevin Warren talks to reporters after being named Big Ten Conference Commissioner during a news conference in Rosemont, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to spring in the name of player safety during the pandemic, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the weekend of Oct. 24. 

As MLB Plays On, The Businesses It Feeds Fight for Survival

Patrons at the Big Star Wrigleyville restaurant Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, are seated in a social distant manner on West Patterson Ave., across from Wrigley Field during a baseball game between the Cubs and St Louis Cardinals in Chicago. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast)

As MLB sprints through two months, the businesses in the neighborhoods surrounding the stadiums that rely so heavily on thousands making their way through the turnstiles 81 times a year are struggling, their futures murky at best.

Petalo, Not Charmin: Virus Brings Mexican Toilet Paper to US

This Sept. 4, 2020, photo, shows Regio, a Mexican toilet paper brand, on the shelf at a CVS in New York. (AP Photo / Joseph Pisani)

Demand for toilet paper has been so high during the pandemic that in order to keep their shelves stocked, retailers are buying up foreign toilet paper brands, mostly from Mexico.

Anti-Inflammatory Drug May Shorten COVID-19 Recovery Time

The Eli Lilly corporate headquarters is pictured April 26, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo / Darron Cummings, File)

A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an additional day.

2 California Deputies Shot in Apparent Ambush in Patrol Car

A screen grab from a security camera video released the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows a gunman walking up to sheriff’s deputies and opening fire without warning or provocation in Compton, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Authorities searched Sunday for a gunman who shot and critically wounded two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were sitting in their squad car — an apparent ambush that drew a reward for information and an angry response from the president.

Trump’s Virus Debate: Project Strength Or Level With Public

In this Sept. 11, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump clasps his hands as he speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, File)

In times of crisis, effective leaders strike a balance between inspirational rhetoric and leveling with the public about the tough times ahead. Facing the coronavirus, President Donald Trump chose a different path.

2 Ex-Child Welfare Workers Face Charges in AJ Freund Case

This undated photo provided by the Crystal Lake, Illinois Police Department shows Andrew “AJ” Freund. (Crystal Lake Police Department via AP)

Two former Illinois child welfare workers who investigated abuse allegations involving AJ Freund face child endangerment charges accusing them of failing to protect him from harm, according to an indictment filed Friday.

Poll: Pandemic Takes Toll on Mental Health of Young Adults

In this June 1, 2020 file photo, a woman looks through a window at a near-empty terminal at an airport in Atlanta. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a harsh toll on the mental health of young Americans, according to a new poll. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

A majority of Americans ages 18 through 34 say they've sometimes felt isolated in the past month, compared with about 4 in 10 older Americans, according to a new COVID Response Tracking Study conducted at the University of Chicago.

In A Year of Restrictions, Virus Changes Sept. 11, Too

In this Sept. 11, 2017, file photo, the Tribute in Light illuminates in the sky above the Lower Manhattan area of New York, as seen from across the Hudson River in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo / Jason DeCrow, File)

In a year when the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped countless American rituals, even the commemoration of 9/11 could not escape unchanged.

Virus Bill Blocked in Senate as Prospects Dim for New Relief

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)

The mostly party-line vote capped weeks of wrangling that gave way to election-season political combat and name-calling over a fifth relief bill that all sides say they want but are unable to deliver. 

Return of Football Renews Fears Over More Virus Spread

In this Aug. 29, 2020, file photo, fans walk through a parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium marked with traffic cones to keep fans from parking too close together during NFL football training camp for the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel, File)

The kickoff of the NFL season Thursday with 17,000 fans in the stadium illustrates the nation’s determination to resume its most popular sport in the middle of a pandemic that has already killed nearly 200,000 Americans.

States Ask Judge to Reverse Changes at US Postal Service

In this April 2, 2020 file photo, a United States Postal Service worker makes a delivery with gloves and a mask in Warren, Mich. I(AP Photo / Paul Sancya, File)

A group of states suing over service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service is asking a federal judge to immediately undo some of them, saying the integrity of the upcoming election is at stake.

Halt of Coronavirus Trial is ‘Safety Valve’ at Work: Fauci

This July 18, 2020, file photo, shows the AstraZeneca offices in Cambridge, England. (AP Photo / Alastair Grant, File)

The top U.S. infectious disease expert said AstraZeneca’s suspension of final testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows “one of the safety valves” built into the studies to spot any potential problems.

Tech’s Sudden Sell-Off Continues; Nasdaq Sinks 10% in 3 Days

The Charging Bull statue is shown in New York’s financial district, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. More sharp declines for big tech stocks are dragging Wall Street toward a third straight loss on Tuesday. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan)

Big technology stocks tumbled again on Tuesday, continuing the Icarus-like flight path for companies that just a week ago were the high-flyers carrying Wall Street to record heights. 

Appeals Court Agrees R&B Singer R. Kelly Should Stay Jailed

In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

R. Kelly can remain behind bars awaiting multiple trials on child pornography and other charges in three states, an appeals court in New York said Tuesday.

The Summer of COVID-19 Ends With Health Officials Worried

A jet skier passes a patriotic shanty-boat owned by AJ Crea on Pontoosuc Lake on Labor Day in Pittsfield, Mass., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (Ben Garver / The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

The Lost Summer of 2020 drew to a close Monday with many big Labor Day gatherings canceled across the U.S. and health authorities pleading with people to keep their distance from others.

Harris Meets Blake Family, Trump Goes on Attack in Labor Day Blitz

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during a tour of the IBEW 494 training facility Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo / Morry Gash)

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris met the family of Jacob Blake to kick off her Labor Day visit to the critical swing state of Wisconsin, while President Donald Trump assailed the Democratic ticket.

Census Bureau Must Temporarily Halt Winding Down Operations

This April 5, 2020, photo shows a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)

The U.S. Census Bureau for now must stop following a plan that would have it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September, according to a federal judge’s order. 

Jacob Blake Speaks Out For First Time Since Police Shooting

In this September 2019 selfie photo taken in Evanston, Ill., Adria-Joi Watkins poses with her second cousin Jacob Blake. He is recovering from being shot multiple times by Kenosha police on Aug. 23. (Courtesy Adria-Joi Watkins via AP)

Jacob Blake has spoken publicly for the first time since a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot him seven times in the back, saying he’s in constant pain from the shooting, which doctors fear will leave him paralyzed from the waist down.

Voting in Person Nov. 3? Expect Drive-Thrus, Sports Arenas

In this Aug. 11, 2020, file photo, a voter casts a ballot at a drive-thru voting station in the Barre Civic Center in Vermont’s statewide primary in Barre, Vt. (AP Photo / Lisa Rathke, File)

Voting will look a little different this November. States are turning to stadiums, drive-thrus and possibly even movie theaters as safe options for in-person polling places amid the pandemic.

Trump Denies Calling US War Dead ‘Losers,’ ‘Suckers’

President Donald Trump speaks before participating in a signing ceremony with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump defended himself Friday against accusations that he mocked American war dead as his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, intensified efforts to frame the election as a referendum on the president’s character.