The big picture

While US hospitalizations are falling, COVID-19 variants concern experts

The average daily death rate over the past week remains above 3,000.

Jan 31, 2021 - Health
2020 was bad — but not nearly the worst

As bad as this year was, humanity is still far better off than it has been for nearly all of our history.

Dec 24, 2020 - Health
The states where face coverings are mandatory

More than 35 states across the country have mandated facial coverings.

Updated Dec 8, 2020 - Health
Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines

Three major candidates now reporting efficacy rates of more than 90%.

Updated Nov 30, 2020 - Health
U.S. coronavirus updates

See where the virus has spread.

Updated Oct 16, 2020 - Health
Better testing can fight more than the pandemic

New technologies like saliva-based diagnostics and CRISPR have opened the door to rapid COVID-19 tests

Aug 22, 2020 - Health

All Coronavirus stories

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

Updated 10 hours ago - World

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.

21 hours ago - World

Olympic public viewing sites in Tokyo canceled, governor says

Photo: Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Saturday said that all public viewing during this summer's Olympics will be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japan Times reports.

The state of play: After meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Koike told reporters that the locations where viewings were scheduled will instead be used as vaccination sites.

Jun 18, 2021 - Health

Biden: 300M COVID-19 shots administered in United States

President Biden speaks before signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden announced Friday that 300 million coronavirus shots have been administered in the United States in the last 150 days.

The big picture: More than 175 million Americans have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot and infection rates, as well as deaths, have decreased by more than 90%, according to the White House.

  • The president's announcement comes less than one month before July 4, which Biden had previously set as the goal to get 160 million Americans fully vaccinated and 70% to have received at least one shot.
Jun 18, 2021 - Health

U.S.-Canada border restrictions extended until July 21

Travelers leave the arrivals hall at Vancouver International Airport in British Columbia on Feb. 22. Photo: Xinhua/Liang Sen via Getty Images

Canada extended restrictions Friday that bar nonessential U.S. travel until July 21, per Reuters.

The big picture: Travel restrictions between the two countries were first imposed in March 2020 and have been updated in 30-day increments, per Reuters.

Jun 18, 2021 - Health

Poll: Americans are restarting pre-coronavirus daily activities

People doing yoga on the Edge Observation Deck in New York City on June 17. Photo: Ed Jones/ AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Americans are relaxing COVID-19 precautions and resuming activities they did before the virus shut down parts of the country in early 2020, according to a new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of 1,125 adults.

Why it matters: Almost all states have lifted most of their restrictions as vaccination rates have steadily increased throughout the country, and as new coronavirus cases have dropped to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

Jun 18, 2021 - World

Palestinian Authority cancels COVID vaccine agreement with Israel

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila administers a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a woman during a vaccination campaign in Ramallah on March 21, 2021. Photo: Sababa/Xinhua via Getty

The Palestinian Authority called off the COVID vaccine deal with the new Israeli government after determining the does were too close to their expiration date, Reuters reports.

The latest: Israel had agreed to transfer 1.2 million doses of Pfizer to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the fresh Pfizer shipment Palestinians were expected to receive in October. But on Friday Palestinian officials said the doses from Israel were set to expire soon and did not meet the necessary standards.

Jun 18, 2021 - Health

The less than welcome return of social obligations

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The curbing of the pandemic in the U.S. means the return of dinner parties, movie dates and brunch. But it also means the return of things you don't really want to do.

What's happening: Many of us spent over a year stuck in our homes by default — not having to decline social engagements we weren't keen on. Now it's time to re-learn the fine art of saying "no."

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jun 18, 2021 - Health

The dubious return of the handshake

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Handshakes were one of the first habits to go when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, but with vaccination rates rising, you may find yourself confronting an outstretched hand again soon.

Why it matters: Whether firm or floppy, handshakes were a near-universal greeting in the West for strangers, business contacts and casual acquaintances. As people emerge from their pandemic shell, it's worth considering the act again — or picking up a new habit.

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