Coronavirus

Updated May 27, 2021 at 5:59 PM ET

Abbigail Bugenske of Silverton near Cincinnati is Ohio's first million-dollar winner in a series of lotteries intended to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Joseph Costello of Englewood near Dayton won a full college scholarship in the lottery for people under age 18 who've been vaccinated.

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."

Editor's note: The fight against disinformation has become a facet of nearly every story NPR international correspondents cover, from vaccine hesitancy to authoritarian governments spreading lies. This and other stories by correspondents around the globe focus on different tactics to combat disinformation, the impacts they've had and what other countries might learn from them.


MEXICO CITY — COVID-19 is ravaging Latin America, but one country, Nicaragua, insists it's tackling the pandemic better than any of its neighbors.

Updated May 12, 2021 at 7:20 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given to adolescents ages 12-15.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued a statement saying, "The CDC now recommends the vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away."

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.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a coronavirus mandate Tuesday preventing schools and local governments from creating mask mandates. His order also bans the use of so-called vaccine passports in the state.

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.

Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

"The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4," the White House said.

People who want to use the program would need to select a vaccination site near them and then redeem the companies' offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps.

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.

LONDON — England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday recorded no new COVID-19 deaths – a milestone that health experts said represents an encouraging sign, but caution could be temporary.

Meanwhile, Wales recorded just four coronavirus-related deaths. Even so, it's a sharp contrast to a January peak across the U.K., when about 1,800 deaths were recorded in a single day.

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.

Brazil, one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the pandemic, is directing more than $1 billion toward the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the country's far-right president announced Monday, Reuters reported.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has criticized lockdown measures and has told Brazilians to "stop whining" about the deadly virus, said about $1.05 billion will be spent on the inoculation effort.

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.

In the early months of the vaccination campaign, Internet access was essential to the search for a vaccination appointment.

But given that more than 14 million people in the U.S. lack reliable access to high speed Internet, technology has been a barrier for some Americans.

The road to full economic recovery from the pandemic may be steeper than anticipated.

U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's far fewer than the nearly 1 million analysts expected given other recent signs of recovery: business reopening, consumer spending increasing, and new unemployment claims falling.

The European Union and Pfizer-BioNTech have signed a deal for up to 1.8 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bloc's biggest contract to date would cover its entire population, marking a significant ramp up in its fight against the coronavirus.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the deal in a tweet, writing it is for a " for guaranteed 900 million doses (+900 million options)."

Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech have started an application to request the Food and Drug Administration's approval for its COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

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