NPR-COVID19 | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

NPR-COVID19

A resurgence of COVID-19 cases driven by virus variants throughout Canada has forced the country's largest city to suspend in-person learning.

All elementary and secondary school students in Toronto will return to remote learning Wednesday without the chance to return before April 18, city officials announced Tuesday.

When COVID-19 was detected last spring in Panama, 26-year-old cartographer Carlos Doviaza feared for his "brothers" — not his blood relatives but indigenous people like himself.

He believed the way he could help them was to do what he does best: making maps.

"I thought, why not use my strength to build a platform created by indigenous people for indigenous peoples to show relevant information about the pandemic visually and easily?"

California could lift most statewide COVID-19 restrictions by June 15 if vaccine supply is sufficient and hospitalizations are low, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday.

Newsom said the state would lift its tiered system of risk and restriction, known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, contingent on those public health indicators, with its mask mandate and other "commonsense health measures" to remain in place.

The three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are safe and effective and were made in record time.

But they aren't ideal.

An ideal vaccine — besides being safe and effective — would have a few other desirable characteristics, says Deborah Fuller, a vaccine researcher at the University of Washington.

Such a vaccine would be "administered in a single shot, be room temperature stable, work in all demographics and, even pushed beyond that, ideally be self-administered," she says.

The United States may just become the engine of global economic growth this year, according to a new forecast released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF expects the U.S. economy will grow 6.4% this year, its strongest growth in decades. That's faster than the 5.1% growth it was projecting just two months ago and nearly double the growth rate it predicted in October.

Updated April 6, 2021 at 5:56 PM ET

President Biden announced Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all U.S. residents 18 and older by about two weeks. Less than a month after directing states to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1, Biden changed that deadline to April 19.

North Korea says it will skip the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, citing coronavirus concerns – a move that frustrates South Korea's hopes that the games might revive stalled peace talks between the bitter rivals.

The decision to sit out the already delayed Tokyo Games means the North's athletes will be a no-show at the Olympics for the first time since Pyongyang boycotted them in 1988, the year they were held in Seoul.

It's been a year since teachers were handed an unprecedented request: educate students in entirely new ways amid the backdrop of a pandemic. In this comic series, we'll illustrate one teacher's story each week from now until the end of the school year.

Maria Lemire, a preschool teacher in the East Village, New York City, on the challenges of early childhood education during the pandemic.

Episode 3

New Zealand and Australia will allow quarantine-free travel between the two countries starting April 19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Ardern called the new arrangement the Trans-Tasman bubble.

"The bubble will give our economic recovery a boost and represents a world leading arrangement of safely opening up international travel while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and keeping the virus out," Adern said at a press briefing Tuesday.

Jared Cornutt has heard some farfetched concerns about the coronavirus vaccine in some of his Southern Baptist Facebook groups.

"I have a very hard time getting from vaccine to the Mark of the Beast," Cornutt said, referring to one baseless rumor that linked vaccination requirements to an idea in Revelation, the apocalyptic book at the end of the New Testament.

MUMBAI — India on Monday recorded its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections, joining only a handful of countries, including the United States, to cross the threshold of 100,000 new cases in a single day.

A surge is happening across South Asia. Pakistan's prime minister and president are among those to test positive in recent weeks. A one-week lockdown began in Bangladesh on Monday.

Last March, I visited a senior center in Manhattan on its last day of programming before lockdown forced everything in New York City to a grinding halt. At that point in the pandemic, we were flying blind — elbow-bumping instead of handshaking, but not wearing masks, even in cramped indoor settings.

When Sacramento State University classes went online because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, 19 year-old Nicole Oneto moved back in with her parents about an hour south of Fresno, Calif.

"I was brought back into this bubble again," says Oneto about feeling isolated in her rural hometown of Woodlake. She lives on 10 acres and doesn't share some of the worldviews of her neighbors.

JERUSALEM — The historic walled Old City of Jerusalem came alive this week with Christian and Jewish religious festivals now that more than a third of the city is inoculated against COVID-19.

After more than two months of steep declines, coronavirus infections are on the rise again nationally — along with COVID-19 hospitalizations in many states.

In the past seven days, the U.S. reported slightly more than 65,000 new cases per day on average, a jump of 20% from two weeks earlier. Many states have seen even more dramatic growth, as high as 125% in Michigan, according to an NPR analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Updated April 2, 2021 at 12:34 PM ET

Hiring accelerated last month as U.S. employers added 916,000 workers to their payrolls. It was the largest job gain since August, fueled in part by an improving public health outlook and a new round of $1,400 relief payments.

President Biden cheered the encouraging jobs report during remarks to reporters at the White House.

Drug deaths spiked dramatically during a period that includes the first six months of the pandemic, up roughly 27% compared with the previous year, the acting head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said Thursday.

"We lost 88,000 people in the 12-month period ending in August 2020," Regina LaBelle told reporters during a morning briefing. "Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and synthetic opioids are the primary drivers of this increase."

Updated April 1, 2021 at 2:53 PM ET

Johnson & Johnson is reporting a setback in its effort to produce tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses, saying a contract production plant in Baltimore produced an ingredient that failed quality control tests. The material was made by Emergent BioSolutions, according to Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson said the issue "was identified and addressed with Emergent," adding that it also informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There's a lot that is different this spring on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville. It's quieter, since coronavirus safety protocols restrict large gatherings, and the dorm common areas are often empty. But there's one thing that hasn't changed: On most weekdays, you can find Lavonda Little at Reid Hall, a four-story residential building, working as a custodian, a job she's held for the last 16 years.

It's been a long year for basically everyone — and especially for Dr. Henry Walke. For months on end, Walke has been pulling 13-hour work days as the COVID-19 incident response manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a job he took on last July.

He never expected the job to last this long. "The scale of this pandemic is mind-boggling, and it's affected all of us — every facet of our work and home," he says.

Imagine waking up, brushing your teeth, and quickly swabbing your nose to test for the coronavirus — whether you feel sick or not.

Before COVID-19, few scientists would have pegged the city of Wuhan, in temperate central China, as a likely starting point for a global coronavirus pandemic. Its climate and fauna don't fit the bill.

But the city of 11 million straddling the Yangtze River is home to some of China's most advanced biological research laboratories. And one of the secretive, state-run institutions, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is known to conduct experiments on the kind of virus that has killed nearly 3 million people worldwide so far since late 2019.

Updated March 31, 2021 at 2:29 PM ET

COVID-19 was the third-underlying cause of death in 2020 after heart disease and cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Wednesday.

An estimated 10% to 30% of people who get COVID-19 suffer from lingering symptoms of the disease, or what's known as "long COVID."

Judy Dodd, who lives in New York City, is one of them. She spent nearly a year plagued by headaches, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and problems with smell, among other symptoms.

She says she worried that this "slog through life" was going to be her new normal.

Updated March 31, 2021 at 8:17 AM ET

New clinical trials showed that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine elicits "100% efficacy and robust antibody responses" in adolescents from 12 to 15 years old, the drug company announced Wednesday. The trial included 2,260 participants; the results are even better than earlier responses from participants ages 16 to 25.

Janet Caldwell was looking forward to visiting her mother again as she did before the pandemic, with no dirty window or awkward outdoor booth between them.

Her 87-year-old mom's nursing home in Arkansas had announced in mid-March it would allow family members to visit residents indoors — something it had not permitted for an entire year in the coronavirus pandemic.

As more Americans get vaccinated, the desire to get back out into the world and enjoy activities again is strong. The idea of so-called vaccine passports is increasingly discussed as a way for those who are vaccinated or negative for the coronavirus to prove they are virus-free, and return to something approaching normalcy.

But there is skepticism in some circles, particularly on the right, about the use of such tools, even though they largely don't exist yet in the United States.

The teachers at New Hope Academy in Franklin, Tenn., were chatting the other day. The private Christian school has met in person throughout much of the coronavirus pandemic — requiring masks and trying to keep kids apart, to the degree it is possible with young children. And Nicole Grayson, who teaches fourth grade, says they realized something peculiar.

"We don't know anybody that has gotten the flu," she says. "I don't know of a student that has gotten strep throat."

Just before The Akron School for the Arts went remote due to the coronavirus in spring 2020, the cast of A Chorus Line made a video of the show's big ballad, "What I Did for Love," just in case t

Pages