Jason Beaubien

Jason Beaubien is NPR's Global Health and Development Correspondent on the Science Desk.

In this role, he reports on a range of issues across the world. He's covered the plight of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, mass cataract surgeries in Ethiopia, abortion in El Salvador, poisonous gold mines in Nigeria, drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar and tuberculosis in Tajikistan. He was part of a team of reporters at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their extensive coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. His current beat also examines development issues including why Niger has the highest birth rate in the world, can private schools serve some of the poorest kids on the planet and the links between obesity and economic growth.

Prior to becoming the Global Health and Development Correspondent in 2012, Beaubien spent four years based in Mexico City covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In that role, Beaubien filed stories on politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.

For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, Beaubien drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.

In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, Beaubien worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.

During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates. Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.

In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.

Beaubien grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at NPR Member Station KQED in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.

Haiti has one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 in the world.

As of the end of April, only 254 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in Haiti over the course of the entire pandemic. The Caribbean nation, which often struggles with infectious diseases, has a COVID-19 death rate of just 22 per million. In the U.S. the COVID-19 death rate is 1,800 per million, and in parts of Europe. the fatality rate is approaching 3,000 deaths per million.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Earlier this month, Namibia's president was invited to join the World Health Organization's weekly press briefing to talk about World Health Day. The idea was for him to help explain to the hundreds of reporters from around the world what was happening with COVID-19 immunization efforts in his southern African nation.

In what has become all too common during the pandemic, the video connection was unstable. President Hage Geingob kept freezing on the screen. The audio would become muffled and incomprehensible, or the sound would drop out entirely.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish environmental activist, is now lobbying world leaders to make sure that COVID vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

Speaking at a Monday press conference for the World Health Organization, Thunberg called it is "unethical" that young people at low-risk from COVID in rich nations are being vaccinated before health care workers in low-income countries.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Cuba has a dream — to have so much COVID-19 vaccine that not only could everyone on the island get immunized but Cuba would give it away to friends and allies around the world. There would be so many doses, Cuban officials would even offer free inoculations to tourists on arrival at the airport in Havana.

Two teams of European scientists, working independently, say they believe they've identified the cause of a rare blood clotting condition that has occurred in some people after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

If correct, their research could mean any blood clots that occur could be easily treated.

There were reports earlier this month of roughly 30 blood clots occurring after vaccination, a few of them fatal. This led more than a dozen European countries to suspend their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For anyone looking forward to the annual frivolity of spring break or the diversion offered every year by March Madness, the coronavirus pandemic is once again reminding: not so fast.

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

The Biden administration says it plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico. That vaccine isn't yet authorized for use here in the U.S. Here's White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on Feb. 20 to include a statement provided by email from AstraZeneca.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, is not happy about how the global rollout of COVID vaccines is going. He's not happy at all.

"We are more than a little bit concerned that there is ... or is to be ... hoarding and price gouging," of vaccines, the Prime Minister said in a press conference on Thursday with the head of the World Health Organization.

In some countries, citizens are grumbling about the inefficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It's unclear exactly when doses will be available. Websites for appointments keep crashing. Lines are long.

And then there are the 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF. That's 2.5 billion people who so far have been completely shut out of the global vaccine campaign.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Peru is scrambling to get access to COVID vaccines as cases spike.

But the Latin American nation is in a tough slot.

The first problem is its relative wealth. Peru is classified by the World Bank as "upper middle-income." So it has some money to spend on vaccines but not nearly the financial resources of the U.S., the European Union or even wealthier neighbors like Brazil or Chile. But it's not poor enough to qualify for free doses from COVAX, the global program aimed at assuring equitable access to vaccines.

The New York Mets have fired the team's new general manager Jared Porter over alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter.

Guatemala security forces are attempting to block thousands of Honduran migrants from heading north towards Mexico and the U.S. border.

On Sunday, police and soldiers in riot gear confronted a caravan of migrants from Honduras on a highway near Chiquimula in southeastern Guatemala. After a tense standoff, in which police fired tear gas and attempted to beat back the migrants with batons, the surging crowd broke through a phalanx of soldiers.

As nations around the world scramble to start vaccinating against COVID-19, many countries are finding it difficult if not impossible to get the vaccines they want.

Case in point — Argentina. President Alberto Fernández promised to start vaccination campaigns in the South American nation before the end of 2020.

Even disaster experts are stunned by the devastation this fall in Honduras.

"I've been to too many disasters all over the world," says Vlatko Uzevski, who arrived in Honduras last week from Macedonia to lead an emergency response team for Project Hope.

"And I have never been to a place that was struck by two hurricanes in two weeks," says Uzevski, a physician who has been doing this type of work for 15 years.

Coronary heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death for Homo sapiens on planet Earth, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. This fact has remained unchanged for the past two decades. But this analysis of global deaths over the past 20 years finds significant shifts in how people die — as well as dramatic differences in what leads to death in different regions.

Noncommunicable diseases such as dementia and diabetes are now claiming more lives, while infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis are taking far fewer.

A once-promising treatment against COVID-19 has fallen out of favor with the World Health Organization.

On Thursday, a WHO review panel issued new guidelines recommending against the use of remdesivir for COVID-19 — even though the medicine is one of the few to win regulatory approval as a treatment for the disease.

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