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Former first lady Rosalynn Carter and former President Jimmy Carter in Washington, D.C., U.S., in 2017. Photo: Saul Loeb/Pool via Bloomberg

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are attending church once again after receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

Driving the news: Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, erupted into applause as Pastor Tony Lowden made the announcement, telling the congregation Wednesday: "Let's welcome them back — they've both had their shots."

  • Wearing face coverings, the oldest living president and former first lady waved from their regular pew at the front of the church as Lowden made the announcement, before adding that if they "get tackled" by him or the secret service "it's because we're still practicing social distancing."

Why it matters: It's a sign of a return to normalcy for the 96-year-old former president and 93-year-old former first lady, who had been in isolation since the pandemic began early last year, per WSB-TV.

  • Jimmy Carter has had a series of health issues in recent years, including being hospitalized following falls and overcoming melanoma.

Of note: The church announced on Facebook that it enacted coronavirus protocols now that the Carters have returned — including masks-wearing and temperature check requirements and capacity capped at 30% (90 people), in accordance with CDC guidelines. There's also a ban on taking photos.

Go deeper: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives"

Go deeper

Southern Baptists expel 2 churches over LGBTQ inclusivity

One of two churches ousted by the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee on Tuesday for being too inclusive of LGBTQ people is pushing back, saying "it is our commitment to share the love of Jesus."

Driving the news: Senior SBC leaders at a meeting the ouster of Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, and St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, warned that the biggest Protestant group in the U.S. was "damaging itself" with disharmony on such issues, per AP.

Feb 24, 2021 - Health

White House to send 25 million free masks to America's most vulnerable

Anthony Fauci wears a protective mask while listening to President Biden. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will send more than 25 million masks to more than 1,300 community health centers and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens in order to reach some Americans most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Why it matters: Many studies show wearing tightly fit masks, and even double-masking, is effective to curb the spread of COVID-19 when social distancing is not possible.

4 mins ago - World

South Africa says it's being "punished" for detecting new COVID variant

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 22, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images)

South Africa said Saturday it's being "punished" for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions.

Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron.