Jason Beaubien

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Cuba has a dream — to have so much COVID-19 vaccine that not only could everyone on the island get immunized but Cuba would give it away to friends and allies around the world. There would be so many doses, Cuban officials would even offer free inoculations to tourists on arrival at the airport in Havana.

Two teams of European scientists, working independently, say they believe they've identified the cause of a rare blood clotting condition that has occurred in some people after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

If correct, their research could mean any blood clots that occur could be easily treated.

There were reports earlier this month of roughly 30 blood clots occurring after vaccination, a few of them fatal. This led more than a dozen European countries to suspend their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For anyone looking forward to the annual frivolity of spring break or the diversion offered every year by March Madness, the coronavirus pandemic is once again reminding: not so fast.

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

The Biden administration says it plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico. That vaccine isn't yet authorized for use here in the U.S. Here's White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

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Editor's note: This story was updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on Feb. 20 to include a statement provided by email from AstraZeneca.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, is not happy about how the global rollout of COVID vaccines is going. He's not happy at all.

"We are more than a little bit concerned that there is ... or is to be ... hoarding and price gouging," of vaccines, the Prime Minister said in a press conference on Thursday with the head of the World Health Organization.

In some countries, citizens are grumbling about the inefficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It's unclear exactly when doses will be available. Websites for appointments keep crashing. Lines are long.

And then there are the 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF. That's 2.5 billion people who so far have been completely shut out of the global vaccine campaign.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Peru is scrambling to get access to COVID vaccines as cases spike.

But the Latin American nation is in a tough slot.

The first problem is its relative wealth. Peru is classified by the World Bank as "upper middle-income." So it has some money to spend on vaccines but not nearly the financial resources of the U.S., the European Union or even wealthier neighbors like Brazil or Chile. But it's not poor enough to qualify for free doses from COVAX, the global program aimed at assuring equitable access to vaccines.

The New York Mets have fired the team's new general manager Jared Porter over alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter.

Guatemala security forces are attempting to block thousands of Honduran migrants from heading north towards Mexico and the U.S. border.

On Sunday, police and soldiers in riot gear confronted a caravan of migrants from Honduras on a highway near Chiquimula in southeastern Guatemala. After a tense standoff, in which police fired tear gas and attempted to beat back the migrants with batons, the surging crowd broke through a phalanx of soldiers.

As nations around the world scramble to start vaccinating against COVID-19, many countries are finding it difficult if not impossible to get the vaccines they want.

Case in point — Argentina. President Alberto Fernández promised to start vaccination campaigns in the South American nation before the end of 2020.

Even disaster experts are stunned by the devastation this fall in Honduras.

"I've been to too many disasters all over the world," says Vlatko Uzevski, who arrived in Honduras last week from Macedonia to lead an emergency response team for Project Hope.

"And I have never been to a place that was struck by two hurricanes in two weeks," says Uzevski, a physician who has been doing this type of work for 15 years.

Coronary heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death for Homo sapiens on planet Earth, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. This fact has remained unchanged for the past two decades. But this analysis of global deaths over the past 20 years finds significant shifts in how people die — as well as dramatic differences in what leads to death in different regions.

Noncommunicable diseases such as dementia and diabetes are now claiming more lives, while infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis are taking far fewer.

A once-promising treatment against COVID-19 has fallen out of favor with the World Health Organization.

On Thursday, a WHO review panel issued new guidelines recommending against the use of remdesivir for COVID-19 — even though the medicine is one of the few to win regulatory approval as a treatment for the disease.

Steven used to take a pill every morning to control his HIV. Then he heard about a study for a ground-breaking treatment where he wouldn't have to take any pills at all.

"I get an injection in each butt cheek once a month," says Steven, an attorney based in Pittsburgh, Pa., who tested positive in 2015.

He's asked us to withhold his last name because while he came out as gay last year, he hasn't come out to all his professional contacts.

The drug he's getting is called Cabenuva. It's one of a new type of anti-AIDS drugs that need to be taken only a few times a year.

While an effective vaccine against HIV may still be a long way off, a new HIV prevention technique has proven remarkably effective at protecting women against the virus.

A single injection of a drug called cabotegravir every two months was so successful in preventing HIV in a clinical trial among women in sub-Saharan Africa that the study was wrapped up ahead of schedule.

The multibillion-dollar global effort to eradicate polio hasn't just stalled. It's moving backward.

When the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began in 1988, roughly 350,000 kids a year were paralyzed by the virus. By 2016 that number had been driven down to 42 cases of any type of polio anywhere in the world.

During this pandemic, people in the United States are dying at rates unparalleled elsewhere in the world.

A new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that in the past five months, per capita deaths in the U.S., both from COVID-19 and other causes, have been far greater than in 18 other high-income countries.

"It's shocking. It's horrible," says Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a professor of health policy and medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the study.

In March, Dr. Achintya Moulick found himself at the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic.

He oversees three CarePoint Health hospitals in northern New Jersey and in the early days of the pandemic, they were swamped. "We had no idea what this infection was all about," he says.

One of the first challenges was screening patients for COVID-19 even before they entered the hospital.

"One day I saw a big line outside the entrance of the hospital," he says. "And they were manually checking everybody's temperature."

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been given to the U.N. World Food Programme for its efforts to fight hunger and to prevent the use of starvation as a weapon of war.

But did you know that the World Food Programme has a canine mascot named Foxtrot?

About 10% of the global population may have been infected by the coronavirus, according to a senior World Health Organization official.

It's an estimate that's far higher than the total of global confirmed cases reported by governments. At the same time, it would mean that most of the world's population is still vulnerable to getting infected and this pandemic is far from over, the WHO's head of emergencies Dr. Michael Ryan said Monday.

In the largest study ever of transmission patterns for COVID-19, researchers in India tested more than a half-million contacts of 85,000 cases to examine how and to whom the coronavirus is spreading.

The first interesting finding: Children are spreading the virus amongst themselves and also to adults. Second: The greatest risk for infection among the people studied in the two southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is a long bus or train ride.

The United States is home to the world's best-known technology companies, but so far the use of smartphones to fight the coronavirus has been tepid at best.

Smartphones have the potential to be a powerful tool in tracking the spread of COVID-19. They can tell you exactly how close you've been to other people, for how long and keep a detailed log of everyone you've been around for the last 14 days. Linked to testing systems, they can rapidly alert you if someone you've been in contact with tests positive.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

As millions of students return to virtual classes at their dining room tables, some parents who are also trying to work from home have decided to ship their kids off to camp.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Coffee lovers, here's something to be grateful about. Unlike paper towels, disinfectant or yeast, coffee has never been hard to find during the pandemic.

In some places in the world right now, getting tested for COVID-19 remains difficult or nearly impossible. In Rwanda, you might just get tested randomly as you're going down the street.

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