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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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President Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed sympathy for single people trying to enjoy Valentine's Day during the pandemic in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it would be stressful and frustrating to date while social distancing and trying to stay safe.

  • Fauci said he and his wife planned a quiet Valentine's Day dinner at home alone, but he empathized: "It would be really frustrating to essentially semi-isolate yourself at a time when you're trying to explore social interactions with people. That leads to a considerable amount of stress and maybe even depression on the part of some people."
  • "It really is an extraordinary stress on, on people at every level of life, in every age. For younger people, you know, who are at the point where they're very interested in socializing, you know, obviously, when you and I were at that age, we felt probably the same thing."

One fun thing: Fauci delighted in learning a new term in the American dating lexicon: "Fauci-ing" someone, which means to cut off a relationship because the other person doesn't take coronavirus precautions seriously.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 15, 2021 - World

New Zealand confirms U.K. coronavirus strain as city locks down

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday. Photo: Lynn Grieveson - Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday it was "absolutely right" for New Zealand's most populous city to lock down, after genome sequencing linked a COVID-19 outbreak in an Auckland family to a more virulent strain.

Why it matters: It's the first time the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K. has been found in NZ. Auckland locked down late Sunday for three days over the three community cases amid concern it might be a more contagious strain.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Feb 14, 2021 - Axios on HBO

Vice President Harris to "Axios on HBO": Trump left no COVID plan

Vice President Harris told me in a backstage conversation for "Axios on HBO" that the Trump administration had "no stockpile" of vaccines upon leaving office.

The big picture: "There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations, we were leaving it to the states and local leaders to try and figure it out," Harris told me at the White House after leading a virtual COVID event with African-American mayors.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Feb 14, 2021 - Economy & Business

The problem with vaccine patents

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Open-source the vaccines. That's the message being sent by the People's Vaccine Alliance, a coalition that includes Amnesty International, Oxfam, and UNAIDS.

Why it matters: Manufacturing capacity needs to be scaled up dramatically — and cutting out the need for laborious, expensive and secretive negotiations with vaccine patent holders could help.

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