NPR News

It's been six months since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. and now almost 40% of the country's population is fully vaccinated.

After more than a year of lockdown measures and quarantines, people are ready to get back to some sense of normal. With their vaccination cards in hand, they're ready to start traveling, go on vacations and see friends and family.

But how long that normalcy will be sustained depends on how long the vaccines offer protection from the coronavirus, and if people will need to receive booster shots in the future.

Last month, Ford announced it would allow staff who have been working remotely to remain remote — at least some of the time — long after the pandemic is over.

"Must be nice for them," thought Marcie Pedraza, an electrician at a Ford plant in Chicago. Like many workers across the U.S., from factories to grocery stores, working from home has never been an option for her. And that presents a challenge for companies frantically rewriting their remote work policies: How do you make the change feel fair, when not all employees can benefit?

Cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook, N.H., around 10 a.m. most mornings.

Well-intended patrons are here with truckloads full of treasures.

"We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate," explains Heather Steeves, spokesperson for the 30 Goodwill locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

She holds up "a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart."

A new study estimates that the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures.

Worldwide, the study's authors say, the COVID-19 death count is nearing 7 million, more than double the reported number of 3.24 million.

Seven years after choosing to remain in the United Kingdom and five years after opposing moves to leave the European Union, voters in Scotland are going to the polls once again Thursday in a parliamentary election that could set the stage for yet another independence referendum.

The Scottish Nationalist Party, or SNP, is favored to win a fourth term, but its chances of gaining an outright majority in the semi-autonomous parliament are less certain.

When President Biden announced this week that his administration would raise the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 for this fiscal year, refugee advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief. The number is far above the historically low limit of 15,000 refugees set by the Trump administration.

There is a 30-year gap in the life expectancies of Black and white Chicagoans depending on their ZIP code. On average, residents of the Streeterville neighborhood, which is 73% white, live to be 90 years old.

Updated May 6, 2021 at 2:03 PM ET

The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday expressed concerns that a controversial audit and recount of the November election in Arizona's Maricopa County may be out of compliance with federal laws.

Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, wrote in a letter that federal officials see two issues with the election review ordered by the Republican-led state Senate.

A Malian woman has given birth to nine babies in what could become a world record. Halima Cissé had been expecting to have seven newborns: Ultrasound sessions had failed to spot two of her babies.

"The newborns (five girls and four boys) and the mother are all doing well," Mali's health minister, Dr. Fanta Siby, said in an announcement about the births.

Before Taqueria Las Gemelas was approved for coronavirus relief aid on Wednesday, the Mexican eatery, like countless other businesses across the country, was struggling to stay afloat.

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.

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.

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.

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