Why it matters: The U.S. faces a range of health care flashpoints — unaffordable drugs, opioids, vaping — as we debate whether to adopt universal care. For now, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but Republicans want to issue it a final death blow.

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5 hours ago - Health

Obama, Shaq and Barkley urge communities of color to get COVID vaccine

A screenshot of former NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and former President Obama on the NBC special. Photo: NBC

Former President Obama and NBA greats Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal joined forces to urge communities of color and young people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during an NBC special on inoculations, broadcast Sunday.

Why it matters: People of color have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Obama noted during the broadcast that with underlying, pre-existing health conditions being more prevalent in communities of color "we're more vulnerable" to the virus.

CDC: Half of U.S. adults have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Half of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about a third are fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still on the rise, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Friday's White House COVID-19 briefing. With cases in many states being driven by variants, public health officials have emphasized the need to ramp up vaccinations.

17 hours ago - Health

Fauci expects decision on resuming J&J coronavirus vaccine by Friday

Anthony Fauci at a subcomittee hearing on the coronavirus crisis on April 15. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said he expects a decision on resuming the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Friday after a CDC panel meets to discuss the issue, he told NBC's Meet the Press.

Why it matters: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said she expected the vaccine's pause to only last "a matter of days," as health officials investigated data on the "extremely rare" blood clots that caused the agency to recommend a halt to J&J vaccinations last week.

Apr 18, 2021 - World

Ontario backtracks on pandemic police powers after criticism

A vaccination clinic hosted by Humber River Hospital at Downsview Arena in Toronto, capital of Canada's province, Ontario.

Ontario officials reversed new pandemic restrictions Saturday that bolstered police powers to enforce a stay-at-home order and banned playgrounds in Canada's most populous province, one day after Premier Doug Ford announced them to curb surging COVID-19 cases.

Why it matters: There was widespread criticism of the ban and a measure authorizing officers from 12:01 a.m. Saturday to require anyone not at home to provide them with "their home address and purpose for not being at their residence." Several police forces pushed back on the direction.

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