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Each week, we offer you a round-up of our noteworthy coronavirus coverage.
More than 31 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday morning, April 9, according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 560,000 people who have died nationwide.
Globally, there have been more than 134 million confirmed cases of the highly infectious virus, with more than 2.9 million reported deaths.
More than 66.2 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of April 8 — about 20% of the total population, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows.
Here’s what happened between April 2 to April 8.
How soon and how long could you feel side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?
No immune system is the same, which means side effects may last longer or be more intense in some people compared to others. So, just how long could arm pain, fever or fatigue last after COVID-19 vaccination? And how soon after getting the shot should you expect to feel side effects, if any at all?
The CDC says side effects “may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days,” but each vaccine may cause different reactions for different lengths of time.
Here’s what to know about the three COVID-19 vaccines and its side effects.
Walgreens is changing how it schedules some COVID-19 vaccines
Patients who get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Walgreens will now receive the second dose a week sooner.
The pharmacy chain has been scheduling people to receive the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — both of which require two shots to be fully effective — for roughly four weeks, or 28 days, after they received their first dose. But CDC guidelines recommend spacing the Pfizer doses only 21 days apart — prompting frustration and confusion from some.
Read on to learn more.
CDC issues new COVID-19 cleaning guidelines
You may not need all of those disinfecting wipes or sprays after all.
The CDC updated its guidelines for cleaning to protect against COVID-19 transmission through surfaces. The agency now says cleaning alone is usually enough and that disinfecting is likely only needed in some circumstances.
Federal government won’t require COVID-19 vaccine passports
The federal government won’t require COVID-19 vaccine passports, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. But Americans may still need them in some circumstances.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he doubts the federal government would be the “main mover” of vaccine passports but that “individual entities” — such as businesses or schools — could require them.
The idea of such documentation has recently sparked political ire, specifically around a potential requirement.
Can you donate blood after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
Health care systems across the nation have suffered from blood shortages since the beginning of the pandemic, and although supplies have balanced out since then, some hospitals are still dealing with concerning deficits.
But now that millions of Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, health care professionals want the public to know it’s OK to donate your blood after getting jabbed.
The American Red Cross said anyone who has received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines can donate their blood at any point after vaccination with no waiting period, as long as they are symptom-free and feeling well at the time of their appointment.
Here’s everything you need to know.
How will we know the pandemic is nearing the finish line?
Millions of Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day. Experts agree it’s the nation’s best strategy to overcome the pandemic. And it’s working.
But the reality is that there isn’t going to be a precise number of new infections, hospitalizations or deaths that marks the finish line, Fauci says. But, “we’ll know it when we see it.”
Fake COVID-19 vaccine cards are a growing — and illegal — trend
People are selling bogus COVID-19 vaccination cards on the internet at an alarming rate, and officials are trying to crack down on them.
When someone gets vaccinated against the coronavirus, they receive a vaccination card at their first appointment. It lists which of the three authorized vaccines the person received and the date and location of each shot. And because they might be important in the coming months, some people have started selling fake ones online, which are illegal, the FBI said.
Here’s what you should do, and what’s being done to tackle the issue.
Summer can’t ‘bail us out’ of the pandemic, Fauci says
About a year ago, scientists, politicians and the public alike were looking forward to the brighter, sunnier days of summer, hoping the warmer weather would slow the spread of the coronavirus, potentially relieving overwhelmed hospitals and saving thousands of people from severe illness.
Instead, the summer of 2020 brought the largest spikes in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths the U.S. had seen since the pandemic began. The fall and winter seasons were even worse, spurred by a growing sense of coronavirus fatigue and back-to-back holiday gatherings.
But could this year’s summer season, which runs from June through September, tell a different story now that vaccines have joined the fight?
Biden administration holds $500K contest for new masks
President Joe Biden’s administration is looking for ways to improve face masks — and will give out $500,000 in prizes to help do it.
The “Mask Innovation Challenge” invites Americans to submit ideas to make masks more comfortable to wear and to eliminate “barriers to use,” such as discomfort, contact dermatitis from “extended wear,” trouble communicating, “speech intelligibility,” foggy glasses, difficulty finding a mask that fits and “lack of understanding of the device’s features,” according to the contest’s description.
Continue reading to learn more about the contest.