Coronavirus

New research released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinforces an old message: COVID-19 spreads less in schools where teachers and staff wear masks. Yet the study arrives as states and school districts across the country have begun scaling back or simply dropping their masking requirements for staff and students alike.

With the majority of school-age children still too young to qualify for vaccination, Friday's research is the latest salvo in a simmering fight between public health officials and politicians — with parents lining up on both sides.

Do you like piña coladas? What about getting caught in the rain? Well, if fear of the coronavirus is what's keeping you from finding someone who also enjoys both, the White House is trying to help.

The nation's largest dating apps are hoping to make it easier for vaccinated singles to find one another, the White House announced Friday, part of the push to meet the Biden administration's goal of getting 70% of adults at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4.

Restaurants are among the countless businesses trying to chart next steps given the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it's OK for fully vaccinated people to go unmasked outdoors and indoors.

A brand new generation of Indian doctors is just starting out in medicine in the middle of the world's worst coronavirus outbreak.

As the coronavirus spread throughout the country last spring, marathoners heard this: "On your mark. Get set. Wait."

After a year and half without races, soon the last word will be "Go!"

Starting late summer, several marathons in big cities will be back. Plans have been made, and people have signed up for those 26.2-mile races in Boston, London, Tokyo, Chicago and other locales.

All this news makes runner Jeff Dengate happy. "I have not run at all in the last 18 months. I'm really bumming out," he says.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, says that he expects COVID-19 vaccinations to open up to younger children in the coming months.

He said Wednesday that children at least as young as 4 "would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of calendar year 2021 and at the latest, into the first quarter of 2022."

The debate over masks has returned to the House floor.

As an increasing number of Republicans express frustration that they have to continue to wear masks on the floor of the chamber, a GOP-led resolution to change the House's guidance on masks was tabled on Wednesday evening.

Their effort comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week eased its guidelines on face coverings, saying that those who have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine are mostly free to go maskless indoors and out, except where required by law and local regulations.

The Food and Drug Administration says it's now OK to store the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at normal refrigerator temperatures for up to a month. This is much longer than was previously allowed under the FDA's emergency authorization and will make storage and distribution of the vaccine easier.

After a long, dark year, social muscles have atrophied. In-person gatherings now call for weighty questions about COVID-19 safety. And many people, who during the pandemic found relief in empty calendars, don't want to go back to the world as they knew it.

As Emergent BioSolution's Baltimore factory was throwing away unfinished COVID-19 vaccine doses and struggling to pass muster with the Food and Drug Administration, the company awarded at least $3 million in bonuses to a handful of executives, according to documents released by a congressional subcommittee Wednesday.

The European Union is poised to allow travelers from more countries to visit the bloc, as long as they've been vaccinated with an approved vaccine, in its latest loosening of travel restrictions.

The new policy is expected to allow EU member states to admit travelers from the U.S. and other countries, though the EU has yet to clarify to which countries the policy applies. EU ambassadors formally approved the new policy Wednesday; it now heads to the European Council, an EU official told NPR, with a formal adoption possible on Thursday.

The Philippines' Health Department says it will no longer allow local governments to announce which brand of coronavirus vaccines will be available at inoculation sites.

The move comes after hundreds of people this week lined up at a site in Manila when they found out the Pfizer vaccine would be given out there.

As more states shed their universal mask mandates for those who are vaccinated, many Americans are weighing how much faith to put in the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in the integrity of their unvaccinated peers, who are supposed to follow the rules and keep wearing masks.

Texas government entities are no longer allowed to mandate masks, Gov. Greg Abbott announced in an executive order on Tuesday.

The restriction bans counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities and government officials from requiring mask-wearing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government entities that don't adhere to this new restriction will be subject to a $1,000 fine.

With much of Japan in a renewed state of emergency due to a spike in coronavirus infections, a group representing some 6,000 primary care physicians in Tokyo has called for the Summer Games to be canceled.

In an open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga published Monday on its website, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association says hospitals "have their hands full" and have almost no capacity left to deal with a possible outbreak triggered by the massive international event.

Some of the boldest reform experiments underway in the wake of the national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism following George Floyd's murder are pilot projects in Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere.

On the sidewalk outside Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Alexandria, Va., Rhea and Mark Woodcock wait for their turn to go inside for their weekly ice cream treat — a scoop of Texas Sheet Cake for her, a scoop of Gooey Butter Cake for him.

The Woodcocks are vaccinated, and they're also wearing masks, abiding by the MASKS MANDATORY signs plastered all over the doors.

The end of this pandemic sometimes gets boiled down to two words: herd immunity. But now, as an academic debate swirls over when or even if America can get to a high enough percentage of people with immunity to reach that goal, some scientists say it's time for the public to stop worrying about it.

MONTREAL — With just over 3% of Canadians fully inoculated against COVID-19, a growing number of America's northern border states and communities have stepped up to offer excess vaccines to Canadians.

Truck driver John Harrower was on the road last month when he heard on the radio that North Dakota had agreed to vaccinate truckers from his home province of Manitoba.

Updated May 17, 2021 at 5:38 PM ET

President Biden on Monday announced his intention to ship surplus doses of the coronavirus vaccine to needy nations abroad, including millions of doses of the U.S.-authorized Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The majority of the planned shipments will be of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not yet have authorization for use in the United States.

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