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

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Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

A new coalition of four parties in Sweden's parliament voted Friday to elect center-left Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to a second term, 18 weeks after an election in which Löfven's Social Democrats finished with their lowest vote share since World War I, Politico Europe reports.

The big picture: The Sept. 9 election left the Swedish government in a state of flux, with no party commanding an absolute majority and the far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats earning a record 17.7% of parliamentary seats. The establishment center-left and center-right coalitions ruled out working with SD — who have roots in neo-Nazism — forcing a rejiggering of political alliances that at points seemed impossible.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

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