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It's not clear if the exceedingly rare reports — so far, six cases out of more than 7 million inoculations in the U.S. — really are linked to the J&J vaccine. But the government recommended a pause in J&J vaccinations on Tuesday, just a week after European regulators declared that such clots are a rare but possible risk with the AstraZeneca vaccine, a shot made in a similar way but not yet approved for use in the U.S.


"A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyze a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs and allow the U.S. to 'build back better' from the pandemic,'' the businesses and investors said in a letter to President Joe Biden.

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Make no mistake: The vaccines currently being rolled out across the U.S. offer strong protection. But new studies of experimental updates to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines mark a critical first step toward an alternative if the virus eventually outsmarts today's shots.

Maybe we have two worlds. One that we belong to and one that belongs to us. One world out there that gives us a definite shape and bearing as we interact with its realities; one inside that fills that shape with meaning and with feeling, a more subtle reality.

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The only exceptions to the deteriorating worldwide situation are countries that have advanced vaccination programs, mostly notably Israel and Britain. Even the U.S., which is a vaccination leader globally, is seeing a small uptick in new cases, and the White House announced Friday that it would send federal help to Michigan to control the state's worst-in-the-nation transmission rate.

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Nations around the world set new records Thursday for COVID-19 deaths and new coronavirus infections, and the disease surged even in some countries that have kept the virus in check. In the United States, Michigan has averaged more than 7,000 new cases a day.

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President Joe Biden, in his first gun-control measures since taking office, announced a half-dozen executive actions Thursday aimed at addressing a proliferation of gun violence across the nation that he called an "epidemic and an international embarrassment."

Greeting the families of gun violence victims and activists, he assured them: "We're absolutely determined to make change."

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Large numbers of students are not returning to the classroom even as more schools reopen for full-time, in-person learning, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Biden administration.

The findings reflect a nation that has been locked in debate over the safety of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as national COVID-19 rates continued to ebb in February, key measures around reopening schools barely budged.

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Though public health officials at first wanted to avoid people waiting in long lines in the hopes they might be able to get a vaccine, more providers in South Carolina seem to be moving to the option of offering the COVID-19 shots to people without the need to make an appointment. 

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Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots.

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While "normal" is still some time away, restrictions have been eased, restaurants have reopened, events have started again and vaccinations have been rolled out. As such, our visuals team revisited some of the scenes for a comparison to where our community was last year.

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Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America's perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.

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The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and U.S. Rep Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., have organized free events in Allendale, Bamberg and Hampton counties. Anyone age 18 or older is eligible, and no appointments are required.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for the coronavirus or going into quarantine afterward.

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Emergent BioSolutions, a little-known company vital to the vaccine supply chain, was a key to Johnson & Johnson's plan to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine to the United States by the end of May. But the Food and Drug Administration repeatedly has cited Emergent for problems such as poorly trained employees, cracked vials and problems managing mold and other contamination around one of its facilities, according to records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act. The records cover inspections at Emergent facilities since 2017.

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