KRWG

Health

Please note:  Sometimes, NPR publishes headlines before the story and/or audio is ready; check back for content later if this occurs.  We also publish national/world news on our home page.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The omicron coronavirus variant was already in the Netherlands a week before South Africa reported the new variant to the World Health Organization, according to a Dutch health agency.

African leaders are pushing back on travel bans imposed by wealthy or Western nations in an effort to stop the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant — and expressing their anger that the result of South Africa's openness in sharing news of the variant has led to what they see as punitive measures.

The variant was detected last week in Botswana and South Africa, and since then it's been found in countries across the globe from Scotland to Canada. It's still unclear where the latest known strain originated.

A few weeks ago, South Africa was in an enviable state. After several massive COVID-19 surges, including one fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, the country's daily cases had plummeted and were in a lull.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated November 29, 2021 at 3:17 PM ET

When the omicron variant of COVID-19 was first identified in South Africa, the country's scientists were quick to inform global health leaders of the new mutations they had found.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, HOST:

Updated November 28, 2021 at 6:49 PM ET

As more cases of the omicron variant are revealed around the world, President Biden was briefed Sunday by his COVID-19 response team, including his chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and the president's chief medical adviser, said on Sunday that it's inevitable that the omicron variant of the coronavirus will be detected in the U.S.

While no cases of the variant have been detected in the U.S. so far, there have been cases detected in Botswana, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.

The World Health Organization is convening a special session of its governing body, the World Health Assembly, to start talks on a new global treaty covering pandemics. Representatives of WHO's 194 member states will meet virtually for three days starting on Monday to consider new international rules for handling future outbreaks.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says the world has not worked well together to confront the current COVID-19 pandemic.

People in Iquitos, Peru, refer to their city as "una isla," an island, even though it's not an island. Iquitos is a port city of roughly 400,000 people on the Amazon River in northeastern Peru. Residents proudly note that it's the largest city in the world that's unreachable by road. You can only get there by boat or by plane.

In the early days of the COVID pandemic being isolated seemed like an advantage. It might delay the arrival of the virus. It might make it easier to contain. But that didn't turn out to be the case for Iquitos.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Though his latest exploits involve outwitting a villain armed with a deadly virus in No Time To Die, James Bond is hardly known for promoting public health practices.

From his questionable sexual behavior to his unsafe eating habits to his risk-taking with regard to insect- and animal-borne diseases, it's remarkable that the famous fictional secret agent has repeatedly lived another day.

The West African nation of Liberia was settled 200 years ago by people of color from the United States. Brenda Brewer Moore can trace her family history back on both sides to former slaves who became some of the most prominent figures in their newly adopted country — explorers, surveyors, ambassadors. These settlers, known as Americo-Liberians, brought cultural traditions across the Atlantic Ocean with them, including Thanksgiving.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It's a striking image: A woman stands in a pond of waterlilies, with bundles of lily bulbs and their thick stems wrapped around her shoulders like a cape. With a dignified gaze pointed directly at the viewer, it almost looks like a regal portrait.

Her situation, however, is anything but. According to Peter Caton, who took the photo, this woman – who has been displaced by catastrophic floods in South Sudan — is collecting the bulbs to eat.

First, the good news: The death rate among young people around the world has been declining, a new study shows.

But boys and young men are not doing as well as girls and young women.

Since 1950, the death rate of young females ages 10 to 24 has gone down by 30%. But for males in this age group, it's only gone down by 15%. And in many countries, the gap in mortality rates between the genders is broadening. In 2019, 61% of all deaths among this age group were among young men.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Looking at the past stories we've published about World Toilet Day makes me flush with happiness. I mean, just the headlines ...

"Take the plunge into World Toilet Day." (That was in 2014).

and ...

"Oh, the places you'll go: Toilet signs try to help." (From 2018, because we can't get enough of toilet humor.)

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." See an archive of our FAQs here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

GAZA CITY — When the Israeli missile landed at the foot of her building during the Hamas-Israel conflict this May, spraying bits of glass from the surrounding apartments into the room where she huddled with her family, 15-year-old Sama Ahel did what any other teenager might do. She took out her phone and started filming.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

India's capital is under a partial lockdown amid a health emergency but not for COVID-19. NPR's Lauren Frayer has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Updated November 16, 2021 at 3:11 PM ET

Pfizer has signed a licensing deal to allow dozens of lower-income countries to benefit from generic versions of its new COVID-19 pill. The agreement covers 95 nations, but it omits some hard-hit countries.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Pages