Coronavirus Coverage

New Mexico State Parks

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is loosening some of the states COVID-19 restrictions, including the reopening of state parks to non-residents. KSUT’s Sarah Flower has more.

The U.S. is still ramping up its vaccination program, hoping to finally clamp down on the COVID-19 pandemic. But even as vaccine doses are being rolled out, their makers are exploring several strategies to bolster them, hoping to protect people against worrying new variants that have sprung up in recent months, from South Africa to the U.K.

Americans seeking COVID-19 vaccine appointments are faced with online portals, long waits and expanding eligibility groups.

Some critics say this is an ethical failure of the vaccine distribution systems — the government forcing Americans to come to them, instead of the government going to those at-risk. Others point out that the systems favor tech-literate, wealthier individuals.

Here & Now‘s Jane Clayson speaks with Dr. Leana Wen, professor of public health at George Washington University and emergency room physician, about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine effectiveness and the timeline for Food and Drug Administration approval.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine will be at the forefront of international vaccination efforts, due to its high production capacity and less-strict cold storage needs.

But the vaccine has faced setbacks: In Europe, many see it as “second-class” compared to Pfizer-BioNTech’s, and the South African virus variant has been shown to drastically reduce the vaccine’s effectiveness.

The scramble to secure a COVID-19 vaccine appointment is chaotic and fierce. There are not yet enough doses for everyone who's eligible and wants to get vaccinated. As frustration rises, the federal government hasn't offered much besides assurances that things will get better and appeals for calm.

In Colorado, It’s a Race Between COVID-19 Variants And The COVID Vaccine

Feb 24, 2021
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado is headed in the right direction — but the COVID variants are worrisome.

In a twist from the typical narrative of urban-rural disparities, many rural Colorado counties have the highest rates of getting vaccine administered. State officials also believe size matters when understanding why rural counties are more successful at getting vaccine administered. San Juan County, for example, will be at a "standstill" in its vaccine progress until the state opens up more eligibility criteria.

William Wooddell for the Ark Valley Voice

How one Colorado county prioritized in-person learning in the face of COVID-19, while protecting its tourism-based economy.

Here & Now‘s Jane Clayson talks with Deborah Wang, a reporter at KUOW, about the problems her mother ran into signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine.

This article was originally published on

A study last week published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines may be less effective at neutralizing the South African variant of the coronavirus. Vaccine makers are now racing to develop booster shots that address these more resistant variants.

Host Peter O’Dowd speaks with Dr. Drew Weissman, professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and pioneer of the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Chinese pharmaceutical makers are seeking market approval from Beijing for two new coronavirus vaccines – one that has shown 72% efficacy and another 69% efficacy in human Phase III trials.

The separate announcements on Wednesday come from Sinopharm for its second vaccine after the state-run company's first was approved for distribution in December, and from CanSino Biologics, Inc. (CanSinoBIO), for its first vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration released an analysis of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday morning that supports its authorization for emergency use.

On Friday, a panel of advisers to the agency will meet to evaluate the vaccine and make a recommendation about whether it should be given the OK. If the agency goes on to authorize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, it would be the third, after those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, to become available in the U.S.

A national health care provider has administered COVID-19 vaccinations to people deemed ineligible for the scarce vaccine by local health departments, including people with connections to company leaders and customers of its concierge medical service, according to internal communications leaked to NPR.

When the school district in Pima, Ariz., got its first round of federal pandemic relief last summer, Superintendent Sean Rickert put it toward the expenses incurred while suddenly shifting classes online at the start of the pandemic.

Now, as some Republicans in Congress question why COVID-19 aid for schools has not yet been spent, Rickert is just learning how much his district will get from a second relief bill approved in December.

On Monday, the U.S. reached a heartbreaking 500,000 deaths from COVID-19.

But widespread death from COVID-19 isn't necessarily inevitable.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that some countries have had few cases and fewer deaths per capita. The U.S. has had 152 deaths per 100,000 people, for example, versus .03 in Burundi and .04 in Taiwan.

In 2001, Maurine Murenga was pregnant and HIV-positive. She was living in Kenya, and a counselor encouraged her to fill out a memory book. She wrote directions to her village, details about her family so that when she died, someone would know where to bury her and where to send her child.

"It was nothing like preparing," says Murenga. "It was actually preparing us for death."

How To Talk About COVID-19 Vaccines

Feb 23, 2021

The U.S. is now averaging more than 1.3 million doses per day, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Biden and Vice President Harris acknowledged a grim milestone Monday: the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans from COVID-19.

Biden and Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play "Amazing Grace" as they held a moment of silence.

Andrea Zeiner

You have to go back more than a century to find another time Coloradans faced a statewide crisis as big and deadly as the current COVID-19 pandemic. But experts who studied the state’s response to the Spanish flu of 1918 say history is not repeating itself when it comes to how state lawmakers are responding to the latest outbreak.

Today, visitors to the Capitol building must wear masks and have their temperatures taken, and lawmakers sit between plexiglass dividers.

The pandemic and winter weather have delayed or canceled vital elective surgeries.

After months of waiting, host Robin Young got knee surgery. Now in recovery, she joins us to discuss the ramifications of these surgery delays and how it impacted her own hospitalization.

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In the Los Angeles area, the challenge of vaccinating people is further compounded by the city’s homeless population.

Health officials are trying to vaccinate 65,000 people who are experiencing homelessness in LA County. Shannon Fernando, a nurse practitioner and chief innovations officer at LA Christian Health Centers, is tackling this challenge head on.

Vaccinating people facing homelessness requires a measure of creativity, she says. It’s difficult to reach people who are homeless, and officials must also work to ensure people get their second dose.

U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 500,000

Feb 22, 2021

Around 500,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the U-S — more than in any other country.

But at the same time, there are some signs of hope: The average daily number of cases in the U.S. has dropped by more than 40% in the last two weeks. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday that around 43 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Health care personnel are not alone on the front lines of the struggle with COVID-19. Another group is the faith leaders who minister to the sick and console those who are grieving. Four faith leaders with different missions and experiences share their thoughts and feelings about their pandemic work and the burdens they bear.

Pastor Patrick Young

1st Baptist Church, East Elmhurst, N.Y.

How do we wrap our minds around the fact that nearly half a million people have died of COVID-19 in the United States alone?

The nation is on the cusp of that milestone: 500,000 lives lost, in just one year.

When COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S., Jodee Pineau-Chaisson was working as the director of social services for a nursing home in western Massachusetts. By the middle of April, residents at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst were getting sick.

Tens of thousands of people who volunteered to be in studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are still participating in follow-up research. But some key questions won't be easily answered, because many people who had been in the placebo group have now opted to take the vaccine.

Even so, there's valuable information to be had in the planned two-year follow-up studies. And that motivated Karen Mott, a 56-year-old job counselor who stuck with the continuing study.

President Biden is set on Friday to announce a total of $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the vaccine alliance trying to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries, a senior administration official told reporters.

Biden will make the announcement during a virtual meeting of G-7 leaders about the pandemic.