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The scariest coronavirus mutation yet

A mutant strain of the novel coronavirus discovered in South Africa appears to be able to ward off antibodies from individuals who had previously recovered from COVID-19 — meaning if the new strain becomes widespread, we may see more people getting infected multiple times.

This story first appeared in Salon.

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'We’ve let the worst happen': Reflecting on 400,000 dead

In May of last year, ProPublica health care reporter Caroline Chen reflected on the first 100,000 lives lost to COVID-19 and posed an important question: "How do we stop the next 100,000?" Eight months later, with 300,000 additional American lives lost and the chaotic distribution of the vaccine underway, Chen shares her thoughts on where we are and what happens next.

In your 100,000 lives lost piece, you wrote about questions we needed to ask at that moment: "How do we prevent the next 100,000 deaths from happening? How do we better protect our most vulnerable in the coming months? Even while we mourn, how can we take action, so we do not repeat this horror all over again?" It's been almost eight months since then. What are the biggest questions we need to be asking now?

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IOC plans to vaccinate all Olympic athletes to save 2021 games: report

Trying to host the largest sporting event in the world was impossible in 2020. So the International Olympic Committee has a new plan to ensure the games go on as re-scheduled in 2021: vaccinate everyone. Organizers are trying to work with the World Health Organization to get all Olympians planning to participate in the 2021 Tokyo games vaccinated to try to save the summer games from total cancellation, according The Telegraph. The Tokyo games are still scheduled to start July 23, 2021 in the Japanese capital. Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming Olympics are still scheduled t...

United Airlines CEO wants to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees — if other companies go along

United Airlines wants to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for its workforce, as long as it’s not the only company to do so, CEO Scott Kirby told employees at a virtual meeting Thursday. “I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory,” he said, according to a transcript provided by the company. If other companies start requiring the vaccine, Chicago-based United likely would be among the first to do so, Kirby said. But he doesn’t think the airline “will get away with” being the only company to require employe...

More than 100 National Guard in Washington for inauguration test positive for coronavirus: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Between 100 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington D.C to provide security for President Joe Biden's inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a U.S. official said on Friday. The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the number could rise but was still a small percentage of the more than 25,000 troops that were in city over the past few days. (Reporting by Idrees Ali)

'I want to feel safe again': Americans lament slow pace of U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rollout

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Jerry Shapiro, a 78-year-old pharmacist from Los Angeles, is at the top of the list of Californians now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but more than a month after the state began inoculations, he has yet to receive one. Shapiro said he has spent hours calling multiple health agencies and making fruitless computer searches, an experience familiar to many people across the United States, as the days-old administration of President Joe Biden races to bring the country's slow, chaotic vaccine rollout up to speed. "Why not make it easy?" asked ...

'Mask up, America': Biden signs pandemic mandates for traveling and federal properties

In a stark—and according to many public health experts welcome—departure from his mask-averse predecessor, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order requiring many interstate travelers to wear face coverings in order to help combat the coronavirus pandemic that has now claimed more than 413,000 U.S. lives.

"I'm asking every American to mask up for the next 100 days."
—President Joe Biden

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New York state runs out of COVID-19 vaccines: Gov Andrew Cuomo

New York state was to run out of coronavirus vaccines on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, increasing pressure on President Joe Biden's administration to speed up deliveries.

"NYS will use up our first dose vaccine allocations today. But our next allocation is coming throughout the week," Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

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Boris Johnson says evidence UK virus strain more deadly

The coronavirus strain that has swept Britain and beyond in recent months could be more deadly as well as more transmissible, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

The sobering news came as the UK sees record deaths from Covid-19, following a surge in cases and hospitalisations since the variant was first identified in southeast England in September.

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US existing home sales hit 14-year record despite pandemic

Record low mortgage rates amid the coronavirus pandemic fueled a US housing boom last year, pushing existing home sales to the highest since 2006, according to a survey released Friday.

Existing home sales totaled 5.64 million in 2020, 5.6 percent higher than in 2019, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said.

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Biden pushes to get food, cash to crisis-hit Americans

President Joe Biden, in just his third day on the job, ordered help for hungry Americans Friday in a rush to pull the country from its multi-pronged pandemic crisis.

The latest orders boosting food aid and speeding up stimulus payments were modest in scale but reinforced Biden's message that he wants to act decisively against coronavirus and the related economic fallout.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci: Donald Trump’s lies ‘very likely’ cost lives

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the coronavirus misinformation now-former President Donald Trump spread for nearly a year "very likely" cost American lives.

Asked point-blank by CNN's John Berman Friday morning if Trump's "lack of candor" and "lack of facts" about COVID-19 "cost lives," Fauci replied, "You know it very likely did."

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In tracking virus mutations, most countries flying blind

To monitor changes to the coronavirus that could supercharge the pandemic or render vaccines less effective, scientists must sequence its genetic code to catalogue potentially dangerous mutations as they emerge.

But so few countries are conducting and sharing surveillance that experts are as worried about the mutations they cannot see as those they can.

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