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Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish environmental activist, is now lobbying world leaders to make sure that COVID vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

Speaking at a Monday press conference for the World Health Organization, Thunberg called it is "unethical" that young people at low-risk from COVID in rich nations are being vaccinated before health care workers in low-income countries.

Australia and New Zealand have launched one of the world's first "travel bubbles" between countries. People traveling between the two now no longer have to quarantine upon landing.

"You're a hero."

I can't count the number of times I've heard this from well-intentioned friends and family. They send messages of praise for the work I've done over the past decade, addressing rural health and infectious diseases in India (where I was born), Mozambique, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Thailand, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Uganda.

In many ways, this recognition felt and still feels misplaced.

Global COVID-19 Deaths Top 3 Million

Apr 17, 2021

Global deaths from COVID-19 has surpassed 3 million, according to the latest data from John Hopkins University.

Leading in those deaths are the United States, with more than 566,000, and Brazil, with more than 368,000. They are followed by Mexico, India and the United Kingdom.

The global death toll reached 1 million in September 2020 and 2 million in January.

It's no secret why poor countries don't have as many vaccines as rich countries.

"There's really just a scarcity of doses," says Kate Elder, senior vaccine policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders' Access Campaign. The question is, how do you fix it?

Post Vaccine Happy Dance: Not Just Showing Off

Apr 17, 2021

YouTube

He got his two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. And each time, he danced on a frozen lake to celebrate.

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Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

I've been hearing about breakthrough infections in people who have been vaccinated. Should I be worried? What can I do to protect myself?

The short answer:

CAPE TOWN, South AfricaIn South Africa, the government tried to control the COVID-19 outbreak by banning booze to keep people from gathering. Plus, sober South Africans were less likely to violently protest a complete lockdown.

You couldn't sit at a bar; you couldn't order a glass of wine; you couldn't even buy beer at the store.

There was an immediate public health benefit that had nothing to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, emergency rooms were empty, devoid of alcohol-related accidents.

India surpassed a somber COVID milestone Thursday, confirming more than 200,000 new cases in a single day as patients and doctors grapple with a shortage of beds and cities announce curfews.

There's medical first aid. And then there's psychological first aid: an eight-step approach to help people who've been through trauma. It's part of the mission of the Doctors Without Borders staff to help the tens of thousands fleeing the northern city of Palma, ravaged by civil unrest.

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The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause in the U.S. – because of reports of rare cases of potentially fatal blood clots in a small number of vaccinated women – could have global ramifications.

Even though the J&J vaccine so far has had very limited distribution outside of the United States, it's slated to provide more than a billion doses to the global fight against COVID.

J&J is authorized in, among other countries, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Chile and New Zealand (although none of those countries have received shipments yet).

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Ezhil Arasi Kumar was 8 weeks pregnant and due for her first prenatal visit — which would include an ultrasound scan.

But she didn't go.

Her appointment had been scheduled around the time when India's 21-day lockdown began, with little notice, on the eve of March 24, 2020.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 2:11 PM ET

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they are recommending a "pause" in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an "abundance of caution" while a review of reports of rare, potentially dangerous blood clots is conducted.

Updated on April 15 at 1 p.m. ET

Ginger Eatman thought she was safe after getting her second COVID-19 vaccination in February. But she kept wearing her mask, using hand sanitizer and wiping down the carts at the grocery store anyway. A few weeks later, she noticed a scratchy throat.

"By Wednesday morning, St. Patrick's Day, I was sick. I had congestion — a lot of congestion — and some coughing," says Eatman, 73, of Dallas, Ga.

People infected with the U.K. variant of the coronavirus didn't experience more severe symptoms and weren't more likely to die from this particular strain, according to a new study of hospitalized patients published Monday.

The strain, called the B.1.1.7 variant, remains more contagious than original strains of the virus however, according to the study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Pubs In England Open

Apr 12, 2021

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Here's something people in England have not heard in more than three months.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Do I have anyone that's booked?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Group of four of us.

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making good on a veiled threat she issued two weeks ago to centralize pandemic management. Amid growing calls for Merkel to take control of the situation and bypass the country's 16 state leaders, Germany's parliament is expected to pass a measure this month that will allow her finally to take charge of the country's COVID-19 response.

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In a narrow lane near Mumbai's docks, commuters on bicycles weave through the crowd as workers push wooden carts loaded with heavy burlap sacks into warehouses.

Thirty-eight-year-old laborer Mohammad Yaqoob unloads sacks full of marbles from a truck. When he gets tired and thirsty, he walks to an ornate stone structure in the middle of the bustling street. It's a drinking fountain, or pyau (sometimes spelled pyaav), as it's called in the local Hindi and Marathi languages.

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Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Editor's note: As noted in this article, research is ongoing into the efficacy of various vaccines against the different variants. This piece reflects the state of knowledge as of its publication date, Friday, April 9.

MUMBAI — About 100 vaccination centers abruptly shut down Friday in India's financial capital, Mumbai, amid a shortage of doses and as the country confirmed its highest daily jump in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian Supreme Court justice ordered the Senate on Thursday to investigate the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and the full court ruled that churches can be barred from reopening during the pandemic, threatening to further strain tensions between President Jair Bolsonaro and the judiciary.

The order by Justice Luis Roberto Barroso for a Senate probe came only minutes after the whole court upheld the power of local authorities to prevent churches and other houses of worship from opening.

This isn't the first time the world has been engaged in a conversation about "vaccine passports." And there even is a version of a passport currently in use – the World Health Organization-approved yellow card, which since 1969 has been a document for travelers to certain countries to show proof of vaccination for yellow fever and other shots. Without which they can't visit those countries.

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