Coronavirus Coverage

Many state and city officials welcomed news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday that fully vaccinated people in the U.S. can forgo masks and social distancing.

But some still stopped short of immediately implementing the changes.

The CDC said vaccinated people must follow existing state, local or tribal laws and regulations on masks and social distancing, as well as policies at businesses and workplaces.

When the CDC announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated people can safely take off their masks in most settings, one group that did not necessarily breathe a sigh of relief was the parents of young children.

Some noted that the CDC's new guidance does not have any specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in their households.

Updated May 13, 2021 at 5:49 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday.

"You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said.

Children's immunizations dropped dramatically during the pandemic, and health officials are eager to get kids caught back up on their routine shots before they return to school.

The Pandemic Surges In Southeast Asia

May 13, 2021

Infections are surging in some countries in this part of the world, including Thailand and Vietnam.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with NPR’s Michael Sullivan in the region.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

It's called the "black fungus," and it can be deadly. It's also adding to India's growing COVID-19 woes at the moment.

On Sunday, the Indian Council of Medical Research and India's Health Ministry issued an advisory calling for better awareness, screening and management of mucormycosis, a rare but dangerous fungal infection.

With more than one-third of U.S. adults now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there's growing optimism on many fronts. A majority of states have either lifted health-related restrictions or have announced target dates for doing so.

Already, many clinicians and health policy experts are thinking about what the post-pandemic world will look like.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed dangerous failings on the national and international scale, according to an independent review ordered by the World Health Organization. The review found a range of problems, from a slow initial reaction to the coronavirus to "weak links at every point in the chain of preparedness and response."

The world has a new coronavirus mutant spreading from one continent to another — and it looks like a tough one to stop.

The World Health Organization declared Monday the variant that emerged in India, known as B.1.617, is officially a "variant of concern."

In February, I decided to leave my town of Flint, Mich., and travel to my home country of Ethiopia to work on a potential mental health research partnership for a few months — and visit my family, whom I hadn't seen since before the start of the pandemic. Cases seemed very stable both in Michigan and in Addis Ababa. Considering I take public health measures seriously and do not have much job-related exposure, I figured I would have a safe trip.

Sayer Ji is a 48-year-old proponent of what he calls natural medicine.

"My parents didn't know about natural medicine, so it really wasn't until I was 17 that I learned some basic principles of nutrition and self care," he told attendees at a recent virtual conference. "I was liberated from needing pharmaceutical medicines."

Ji was also there promoting his website, full of natural remedies and reams of anti-vaccine misinformation. He sells subscriptions for anywhere from $75 to $850 a year.

MUMBAI, India — Outside an upscale Indian hospital last week, Baljeet Asthana put her phone on selfie mode, propped her eyeglasses on her head so she could stare directly into the camera, and hit record.

A tiny change to the website of the World Health Organization this month didn’t make many headlines, but one expert says it was a milestone in the scientific understanding of COVID-19.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 46% of transplant patients produced no antibodies after either dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Iowa Community Nears Herd Immunity

May 12, 2021

Many Native American tribal communities are ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to getting vaccinated.

Side Effects Public Media’s Natalie Krebs reports on one place in Iowa that’s nearing herd immunity.

Colorado to Start Vaccinating 12 to 15-Year-Olds

May 12, 2021

As the coronavirus outbreak recedes in many parts of the U.S., the Pacific Northwest has emerged as an outlier — gripped by a late spring surge that has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle and Portland.

In recent weeks, the governors of both states have hit the brakes on reopening plans in hopes of countering the rapid spread of the more contagious B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the U.K.

The COVID-19 vaccination operation at the Flathead County fairgrounds in northwestern Montana can dole out 1,000 doses in seven hours. But demand has plummeted recently, down to fewer than 70 requests for the shots a day. So, the county dropped its mass vaccination offerings as May began — from three clinics a week to two. Though most of those eligible in the county haven't yet gotten the jab, the takers are few.

Updated May 12, 2021 at 7:29 PM ET

Teens and preteens in the U.S. have spent much of the past year distance learning. Many have missed out on birthday parties, book clubs, team sports and hanging out with groups of friends.

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive a key COVID-19 vaccine as the agency expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said the expansion "brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy."

China will set up a "line of separation" on one side of Mount Everest's peak, saying the measure is needed to keep Nepal's COVID-19 outbreak from crossing the border, according to state media.

The plan is part of China's "zero contact strategy" to keep climbers from the Chinese and Nepalese sides of Everest from mixing if they reach the summit on the same day, said Nyima Tsering, head of the Tibetan Sports Bureau, according to the state-run Xinhua news outlet.

The average number of people getting their first or single COVID-19 vaccine shots has fallen by about 50% since the peak in mid-April. Supply is beginning to outstrip demand in some places.

Derek Thompson, staff writer for The Atlantic, gives some possible explanations for why this slowdown is happening.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

The seven-day average number of COVID-19 shots going into arms in the U.S. has dropped under 2 million per day for the first time since March — with a lack of demand causing some states to turn down doses targeted to them. Only a third of the country is fully vaccinated.

San Juan Basin Public Health update, May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

The FDA has authorized emergency use of the biopharmaceutical company Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds. KSUT’s Sarah Flower spoke with Liane Jollon of San Juan Basin Public Health about the importance of vaccinating this demographic, and how it can better protect the general population as more variants of the virus continue to be found in Colorado.

 

Updated May 14, 2021 at 4:34 PM ET

Scientists in the U.K. now say that one of the variants from India, known as B.1.617.2, is highly contagious and likely more transmissible than the variant from the U.K., B.1.1.7.

Eighty-year-old Nardo Samson, a retired policeman, lay dying in the back of a makeshift ambulance. It was nearly Easter. A surge in coronavirus cases triggered yet another lockdown in the capital Manila, where a confusing patchwork of quarantines to contain the virus persists.

Updated May 7, 2021 at 3:44 PM ET

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the top respiratory disease official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who was among the first to warn the American public about how much the pandemic would change everyday life, is stepping down from the agency.

Laura Burns was thrilled when she got her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine three months ago. The 71-year-old thought that with vaccination, she might finally be closer to being able to see her family in Europe again.

"I have not seen them now for two years, and that's including my stepdaughter. It's very, very ... that's hard," says Burns, who lives in Austin, Texas.

Updated May 13, 2021 at 5:34 PM ET

It's been six months since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. and now almost 40% of the country's population is fully vaccinated.

After more than a year of lockdown measures and quarantines, people are ready to get back to some sense of normal. With their vaccination cards in hand, they're ready to start traveling, go on vacations and see friends and family.

The Colorado Media Partnership has announced that KSUT is among eight Colorado newsrooms and two newsroom-community partnerships that will receive a total of $85,000 in grants to support local journalism and community listening and reporting projects addressing critical information needs, questions, and concerns about uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among communities of color and other marginalized groups.

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