good news
May 17, 2021

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, coronavirus case numbers are down in all 50 states, President Biden announced Monday.

This comes as 60 percent of Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. Despite the gains, "we're still losing too many Americans" to COVID-19, Biden said, and people who refuse to get vaccinated "will end up paying the price."

Biden also revealed that in June, the U.S. will send 20 million doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines abroad. "We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that's raging globally is under control," he said. "No ocean's wide enough, no wall's high enough, to keep us safe." Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2021

As of Tuesday morning, the U.S. earthquake early warning system can issue earthquake alerts to cellphone users in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Launched in Los Angeles in late 2018, the ShakeAlert early warning system aims to let people know about incoming shaking, so they can have at least a few seconds to find a safe spot to ride out the earthquake. The alert system is successful because communications systems are now faster than the speed of shaking waves moving through the ground, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The earthquake sensor system is about 70 percent finished, and alerts will come out faster once more sensors are placed in rural areas. Developers are also tweaking the computer software system that analyzes incoming shaking, to make it faster with more accurate alerts. Catherine Garcia

April 17, 2021

Back in 2008, Sean Kazmar Jr., then a 23-year-old middle infielder, played 19 games in the big leagues for the San Diego Padres. Flash forward to Saturday, nearly 13 years later, and he's getting another shot in the show.

Kazmar never made it back up to a Major League roster after his cup of coffee all those years ago, but the 36-year-old just got the call from the Atlanta Braves. If and when he gets into a game, he'll have had the longest break between MLB appearances since 1950, surpassing legends like Satchel Paige and Minnie Miñoso, who were called out of retirement for very brief stints in their 50s.

Kazmar, though, wasn't retired. He was grinding it out in the Minor Leagues, most recently for Atlanta's AAA team, the Gwinnett Braves.

The reason for Kazmar's perseverance is reportedly because he wanted his kids to see him play in the majors. They got the chance; Kazmar pinch hit in the 5th inning during the Braves' matchup with the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

This story has been updated to reflect Kazmar's appearance. Tim O'Donnell

March 11, 2021

In his prime-time address on Thursday night, President Biden will deliver hopeful news, sharing that he is directing states to make all adult Americans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, White House officials said.

Following this timetable, people should be able to hold small gatherings by July 4. "The fight is far from over," Biden will say. "We still have a lot of work to do. But together, unified, we can defeat this pandemic and we can all celebrate a more normal Fourth of July with families and friends."

Biden's prime-time address, the first of his presidency, comes on the anniversary of the World Health Organization officially declaring the coronavirus was a global pandemic. He is also expected to announce the deployment of additional National Guard troops to help with inoculation efforts, as well as the expansion of eligible vaccinators to include medical school students, dentists, veterinarians, and physician assistants. Catherine Garcia

March 9, 2021

Officials in Alaska shared some good news on Tuesday evening, announcing that anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the state is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Alaska is the first state to drop eligibility requirements for the vaccine, giving access to all. Previously, health care workers, educators, and senior citizens were given top priority, followed by people who work essential jobs, those at risk for developing a serious illness from COVID-19, and anyone 55 or older.

"Soon, this virus will be a preventable disease if people choose to get vaccinated," Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska's chief medical officer, said. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, told reporters he believes "we'll get enough Alaskans that want to be part of this process that we're going to put this behind us as quickly as possible."

Alaska has the country's highest COVID-19 vaccination rate, with 25 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated, compared to the national average of 18 percent, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Catherine Garcia

February 28, 2021

The first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses could reach vaccination sites as early as Tuesday, White House officials said on Sunday.

About 3.9 million doses have been shipped, and 16 million more will be sent out by the end of March. With Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine receiving authorization for emergency use on Saturday, the United States now has three vaccine options, with all of them safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, a senior administration official told USA Today.

In the U.S. clinical trial, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine had a 72 percent efficacy rate, and was almost 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. "Having different types of vaccines available for use, especially ones with different dosing recommendations and storage and handling requirements, can offer more options and flexibility for the public, jurisdictions, and vaccine providers," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. "Getting vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you will help protect all of us from COVID-19." Catherine Garcia

February 17, 2021

Japan began its COVID-19 vaccine drive on Wednesday, with Vice Health Minister Hiroshi Yamamoto calling it "the first major step" toward ending the coronavirus pandemic.

The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered at the Tokyo Medical Center. The initial shipments of the vaccine will cover about 40,000 health workers, Reuters reports. More than 3.7 million additional medical professionals will then receive the vaccine, followed by 36 million people 65 and older.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that in order for the Olympics to take place in Tokyo this summer, the vaccine deployment must run smoothly. To inoculate everyone in Japan, the government is aiming to get 126 million vaccines by the middle of the year. There have been 415,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan and 7,013 deaths. Catherine Garcia

December 16, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday evening that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials are supposed to hold five doses, but pharmacists have discovered a way to get one or two extra doses out of the bottles.

The FDA had told pharmacists the vials contain five doses, but it's been found that because they are overfilled in case of spillage, each vial could hold up to seven doses. Some pharmacists threw away the extra doses because they did not want to be in violation of the FDA's emergency use guidelines, but the agency told Politico that "given the public health emergency, FDA is advising that it is acceptable to use every full dose obtainable."

This will help the U.S. as it deals with a limited supply of the vaccine, possibly expanding the nation's inventory by up to 40 percent, Politico reports. Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo explained that "the amount of vaccine remaining in the multi-dose vial after removal of five doses can vary, depending on the type of needles and syringes used." Pfizer and the FDA have both said extra vaccine from vials should not be mixed together, due to the risk of contamination. Catherine Garcia

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