NPR Stories

Pfizer and its partner, Germany's BioNTech, announced Thursday that they have agreed to donate vaccines to competitors and staff at the Tokyo Games, set to be held this summer despite ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video by Xueying Chang, Kaz Fantone, Michaeleen Doucleff and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

When will the pandemic end? How many more COVID-19 waves will the U.S. go through?

Less than three weeks after launching a quarantine-free "travel bubble" between New Zealand and Australia, officials in Wellington, New Zealand's capital, announced Thursday that flights from Sydney would be temporarily suspended after new coronavirus cases were detected there.

Twitter wants users to think twice about sending a mean or offensive tweet.

The tech company on Wednesday announced it has released a feature that detects "mean" replies on its service before a user presses send. When a not-very-nice tweet is detected, an automatic prompt reads, "Want to review this before Tweeting?" The user is presented with three choices: tweet, edit, or delete.

This feature, which launched Wednesday, will initially be enabled on accounts with English-language settings. It's unclear when other languages will be added.

Beverly Pickering says her neighbors in suburban Detroit are hitting the road. And that's good news for her pet sitting business.

"I have people going to California, Florida, the Carolinas — all over the country," she said. "It's travel, travel, travel. It's just exploded."

After one of the most destructive and extreme wildfire seasons in modern history last year, a widening drought across California and much of the West has many residents bracing for the possibility this season could be worse.

Updated May 6, 2021 at 10:20 AM ET

India has been setting daily records for positive coronavirus tests — more than 400,000 people on Wednesday alone.

In New Delhi, the Holy Family Hospital is at 140% capacity.

In a breakthrough for an 8-year-long effort, two senators behind legislation to revamp the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other serious crimes say the bill has the bipartisan votes to gain passage.

Facebook's Oversight Board on Wednesday essentially punted the decision back to the company on whether to eventually allow former President Donald Trump back on Facebook and Instagram. What the social media giant decides in the coming months will likely have major consequences for Trump's political power.

"It could be a make-or-break moment for Trump's political future," said Eric Wilson, a Republican political technologist.

In Linn County, Ore., public health officials have worked tirelessly to build an efficient mass vaccination clinic at the County Fairgrounds. They have the ability to vaccinate eight people per minute, thousands each day.

Hundreds of volunteers work there. Some drive hours in order help direct the flow of traffic or give shots. One retired doctor even road-tripped from San Francisco to work his shift.

But now, officials are dealing with a new problem of efficiency: not enough people.

Two older Asian women were stabbed on Tuesday while waiting for a bus in downtown San Francisco, authorities said. The attack occurred amid a spate of anti-Asian violence in the country since the start of the pandemic.

The women, age 84 and 63, both remain in the hospital and are receiving treatment for multiple stab wounds, the San Francisco Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday. Neither woman is in critical condition.

For most wine drinkers, a budget bottle from the grocery store is perfectly sufficient.

But for the adventurous wine connoisseur with a discerning palate — and a lot of money — there is a new frontier: space wine.

It seems incredible: At a time when low-income nations are clamoring for vaccines against COVID-19, at least three countries — Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and South Sudan — are either discarding doses or giving them to other countries. What's going on?

Updated May 5, 2021 at 6:43 PM ET

President Biden threw his support behind a World Trade Organization proposal on Wednesday to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, clearing a hurdle for vaccine-strapped countries to manufacture their own vaccines even though the patents are privately held.

Brick by brick, the stucco shell of a new flood-resilient public works building is taking shape blocks from the beach, the most visible sign yet of a small community's enormous task staving off the rising sea.

"This is actually the highest point in the city," Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker said, adding that right next door to the new public works building will be a new fire station.

It's a close-knit community established by rocket scientists south of Kennedy Space Center, on a low-slung barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Lagoon.

Updated May 5, 2021 at 3:08 PM ET

Fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc. agreed to a voluntary recall of its Tread and Tread+ treadmills over safety concerns Wednesday, following at least 72 safety incidents involving people, pets and objects being pulled underneath the machine, one of which resulted in the death of a 6-year-old.

JERUSALEM — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tapped centrist opposition figure Yair Lapid to try to form a new government, sparking potentially weeks of political negotiations that could break Israel's cycle of inconclusive elections and lead to the end of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record-breaking uninterrupted 12-year tenure.

But there are "many difficulties" to forming a new government, Rivlin acknowledged, leaving open the possibility of an unprecedented fifth election in the span of two years.

Ed Ward, an incisive former critic and editor for Rolling Stone and longtime contributor to WHYY's Fresh Air, died this week in his home in Austin, Texas. He was 72 years old.

MUMBAI, India — Sanchi Gupta was running around, trying to get her hands on an oxygen cylinder — even an empty one.

Her mother was one of 140 COVID-19 patients in Saroj Hospital, one of the best-equipped hospitals in India's capital, New Delhi. She was on a ventilator in intensive care. Then the hospital told Gupta and other families that its oxygen supply had run out. So they had to go out and find oxygen cylinders to bring to the hospital to keep their loved ones alive.

Typically, if you get a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, you should get two of the same vaccine. Two Pfizer shots, or two Moderna shots. Not one and then the other.

But in the future, that could change, either by necessity or by design.

This idea of using two types of vaccines isn't a new concept. It's known as heterologous vaccination, although there's a more colloquial term.

Updated May 5, 2021 at 5:52 PM ET

Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, is doubling down on her condemnation of former President Donald Trump over his efforts to undermine the 2020 election and his role in inciting the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot as pressure mounts among top Republicans to remove her from her leadership role.

Updated May 6, 2021 at 9:26 AM ET

An Atlanta oversight board has ordered the reinstatement of Garrett Rolfe, the fired police officer charged with murder in the death of Rayshard Brooks, based on technicalities about dismissal procedures under the Atlanta city code.

Rolfe will remain on administrative leave until his criminal charges are resolved, the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement to NPR.

The number of babies born in the U.S. dropped by 4% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to a new federal report released Wednesday. The general fertility rate was 55.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, reaching yet another record low, according to the provisional data.

"This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979," the National Center for Health Statistics said.

The coronavirus pandemic has reached the top of the world, where it has reportedly disrupted the annual climb up Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks just as the window for summiting the mountains opens up.

In recent days, reports have emerged of an outbreak at Everest Base Camp in Nepal, at 17,597 feet (5,364 meters), where hundreds of climbers assemble each year to adjust to the oxygen-starved altitude as they prepare to ascend the 29,032-foot (8,849-meter) peak.

MUMBAI, India — India's top diplomat and his entourage have been forced to self-isolate, participating in a G-7 foreign ministers meeting only virtually — from hotel rooms near the venue in London — after at least two members of the Indian delegation tested positive for the coronavirus.

Of all the aches and pains I spend my days investigating as a family doctor, none seem to be as anxiety-provoking as a headache. And that's often true, both for patients wondering, "Could this be something dangerous?" and for clinicians trying to get to the root of pain that can be totally unexplained and yet completely debilitating.

Updated May 5, 2021 at 11:36 AM ET

Facebook was justified in its decision to suspend then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the company's Oversight Board said on Wednesday.

It's exactly what everyone's been waiting for.

"I'm very happy to get out," says one woman, sitting down to a view of the harbor, at the Pilot House restaurant in Sandwich, Mass., on Cape Cod.

"It's like we're free at last!" a friend laughs, joining her to celebrate a 70th birthday, albeit several months late.

They're as thrilled to be dining out again as restaurant owner Bob Jarvis is to see customers start pouring back in.

Updated May 5, 2021 at 10:25 AM ET

The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations is slowing down — not because of any vaccine shortage, but because some Americans don't want to get vaccinated.

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