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While the country's attention is fixed on the rollout of the vaccine and the arrival of a new administration, the coronavirus pandemic rages on. In many parts of the U.S., case counts and deaths are still sky-high. And new variants of the virus are worrying scientists and prompting new restrictions around the globe.

While it's only 2021, a major question facing Democrats this year and next will be what to do about the presidential nominating calendar and whether Iowa, in particular, should retain its prized place at the front of the calendar in 2024.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Nearly a year into the pandemic, the most talked about piece of apparel is an item that folks barely even thought about back in the early days of 2020.

Yes, we're talking about masks.

Aid groups who help resettle refugees in the U.S. are hopeful about what President Biden's actions will mean for people fleeing persecution.

Twitter permanently banned an account believed to be linked to Iran's supreme leader Friday after it posted a threatening image that included former President Donald Trump.

With a spotlight on COVID-19 vaccine distribution shortcomings, there's another bottleneck that could prevent inoculations from significantly speeding up in the near future: Pfizer's and Moderna's ability to scale up manufacturing and deliver doses to the U.S. government.

The companies promised to deliver 100 million doses apiece to the United States by the end of March. But they'll need to make huge leaps in a short time to meet that goal.

Trailers for the latest 007 movie, No Time to Die, have been all over the Internet since late 2019. Its theatrical release has slipped from April, to November, to April 2021. And MGM says it will now slip again, to Oct. 8, a year and a half past the film's first scheduled premiere.

The U.S. Census Bureau has stopped working on a Trump administration-initiated project to produce citizenship data that could have politically benefited Republicans when voting districts are redrawn.

When the health system first collapsed in the Amazonian city of Manaus, Brazil, and COVID-19 victims were buried in mass graves, the mayor sent a desperate appeal to then-President Donald Trump and other world leaders.

"We are doing our best, but I tell you, it's still very little in [the] face of the oncoming barbarism" said Arthur Virgílio Neto in a video message. "We cannot be silent. We need all possible help."

The year 2008 saw the publication of Aravind Adiga's novel The White Tiger and the release of the film Slumdog Millionaire, two stories about young men escaping poverty and defying the odds against the backdrop of a rapidly globalizing India.

Remembering Jazz Tuba Player Howard Johnson

Jan 22, 2021

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As slow as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been in the United States, some estimates say billions of people around the world won't be vaccinated for COVID-19 until 2022 or 2023.

Bloomberg has been publishing a map that shows the level of vaccine distribution in different countries and virtually the entire continent of Africa — more than 50 nations — is blank.

The alternative social network MeWe had 12 million users at the end of 2020. Barely three weeks into 2021 — and two since a right-wing mob attacked the U.S. Capitol — the company says it's now passed 16 million.

CEO Mark Weinstein says this popularity is a testament to the reason he launched MeWe in 2016 as an alternative to Facebook. MeWe markets itself as privacy forward. It doesn't harness users' data to sell ads or decide what content to show them.

Hank Aaron, Baseball's Legendary Slugger, Dies At 86

Jan 22, 2021

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

Hank Aaron, seen as a hero for shattering Babe Ruth's home run record and also for his longtime advocacy for civil rights, has died. "Hammerin' Hank" was 86. The Atlanta Braves confirmed his death on Friday.

Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the sole article of impeachment for incitement to insurrection against former President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate on Monday and a trial against the Republican will begin the week of Feb. 8.

"The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump," Schumer said Friday on the Senate floor. "It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial."

A U.N. treaty outlawing nuclear weapons went into effect on Friday, having been ratified by at least 50 countries. But the ban is largely symbolic: The U.S. and the world's other nuclear powers have not signed the treaty.

"For the first time in history, nuclear weapons are going to be illegal in international law," Elayne Whyte, Costa Rica's former U.N. ambassador who oversaw the treaty's creation, tells NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines unfolds in the U.S., numerous questions around distribution, supply, hesitancy and efficacy persist. Experts from Harvard and the CDC will tackle these questions.

Watch an expert panel discussion on the effort to deploy against COVID-19 on Friday, Jan. 22, to be live-streamed here at 12 p.m. ET, as part of The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

You can email your questions to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history.

The Senate approved President Biden's nomination for Pentagon chief in a near-unanimous 93-2 vote Friday.

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as our country's 28th Secretary of Defense, and I'm especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position," Austin tweeted Friday.

"Let's get to work," he added.

Jaime Harrison is a former U.S. Senate candidate who lost to Republican Lindsey Graham in November, but not before shattering fundraising records. Now Harrison is the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, selected by President Biden.

When Super Bowl LV kicks off next month in Tampa Bay, Fla., some special guests will be in attendance – thousands of health care workers from around the country.

Germany's Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is constantly on the lookout for potential threats to Germany's democratic constitutional system, and it has wide-ranging powers when it finds them.

This story definitely has a yuck factor.

It's about hookworms.

When hookworm eggs land on moist, warm ground, via human feces, they develop into larvae, raise their tiny selves upward, and wave back and forth looking for bare feet to latch onto. The parasites penetrate the skin, enter the bloodstream, and eventually migrate to the small intestine — where they settle in, mature, and start sucking blood and laying eggs. When the worms and their eggs are passed in a host's stool, the cycle begins anew.

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When you're a parent of small children, at some point, you come across a Barbie children's book. She is white. She is blond. She is skinny. And she's spending time with her friends, going from poolside to parties, to the mall.

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Drugs to treat COVID-19 are being fast-tracked for development, but the pace can't match the astonishing speed that gave birth to the vaccines.

But one year into the pandemic, there has been strong progress toward effective drug treatments, and the groundwork has been laid for drugs to kill the virus and arrest disease.

How Biden's Pandemic Plan Could Affect The Economy

Jan 22, 2021

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President Biden promises an aggressive federal effort to get control of the coronavirus.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Japanese officials are swatting away rumors and reports that the government has concluded that, with the Tokyo Olympics 151 days away and much of the country in a COVID-19 state of emergency, the games cannot be held.

After years of delay, a decision by the Pentagon could mean three men accused of being behind terrorist attacks in Indonesia nearly 20 years ago could soon get a military trial.

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