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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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At 32 years old, Dr. K is old enough to remember the first time the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 1995.

She was 7 when girls were banned from school. "For years, my mother ensured that we continued our studies in secret classes conducted by women teachers in their homes," she says.

Inspired by her mother, who worked as a gynecologist, she enrolled to study medicine after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. By 2016, she had become a surgical resident at the country's only burn center, in the western province of Herat.

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.

The world is approaching the second anniversary of a cluster of cases of respiratory illness traced to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The cause: a virus we now know as SARS-CoV-2.

The World Health Organization named the illness caused by the virus COVID-19 in February 2020, as cases mounted in China and began spreading elsewhere.

Where are we now in the COVID-19 pandemic and where are we headed?

Kelly LaDue thought she was done with COVID-19 in the fall of 2020 after being tormented by the virus for a miserable couple of weeks.

"And then I started with really bad heart-racing with any exertion. It was weird," says LaDue, 54, of Ontario, N.Y. "Walking up the stairs, I'd have to sit down and rest. And I was short of breath. I had to rest after everything I did."

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The Twitter showdown between Elon Musk and the head of the World Food Programme has made headlines around the world.

In October, David Beasley, head of the U.N. food agency, tweeted a cheeky congratulations to Musk for reportedly earning $36 billion in a single day. "1/6 of your one-day increase would save 42 million lives that are knocking on famine's door," he wrote.

There have now been more than 250 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. That's according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. This milestone comes as wealthy countries have fully vaccinated about 65% of their populations. Yet in low-income countries fewer than 3% of people have been vaccinated.

Scientists have evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads explosively in white-tailed deer and that the virus is widespread in this deer population across the United States.

Researchers say the findings are quite concerning and could have vast implications for the long-term course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, first emerged, there have been several signs that white-tailed deer would be highly susceptible to the virus — and that many of these animals were catching it across the country.

They're the invisible victims of climate change

Nov 9, 2021

There are many people who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

At COP26, the global climate change summit now going on in Glasgow, for example, we have heard about the plight of "climate refugees." These are people whose ability to earn a meaningful livelihood is permanently impacted by unseasonal rains, harsher winters, drier summers and other impacts attributed to the changing climate.

And so they may have to find a new home in order to survive. They will become climate refugees.

In the spring of 2020 Glenn Magpili, 42, got sick with COVID. The first wave of the pandemic had flooded New York area hospitals and Magpili, an emergency room nurse in Manhattan, fell ill in the same hospital where he'd been caring for patients sick with the coronavirus. Then, he was intubated.

"When I woke up, I thought I was just asleep for a couple of days," he recalls. "They told me it was almost four weeks."

Magpili recovered but counts himself "one of the lucky ones. There were so many Filipino nurses who got sick," he says.

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