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Former president Donald Trump’s office revealed Monday that he received a coronavirus vaccine at the White House in January, the first time his advisers have acknowledged his inoculation.

Trump and former first lady Melania Trump, who both tested positive for the virus in the fall, received vaccines at some point before their final departure from the White House on Jan. 20, though a staffer did not specify the exact date or type of vaccine they received.

News of Trump’s vaccination comes one day after he encouraged a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference to get vaccinated, a message he often avoided when he was president.

“Everybody, go get your shot,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson began distributing its one-shot vaccine Monday morning, giving the country three effective tools to combat the pandemic. It comes at a crucial time, with new infections on the rise once again. So far, 15 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine shot.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be sent to harder-to-reach communities — a decision that makes practical sense, because it is easier to store and use. But it could also lead to perceptions of a two-tiered vaccine system.
  • Two Democratic senators urged the White House coronavirus task force to use vaccine doses set aside for second shots to instead reach a wider swath of the population for the first shot.
  • A real-world study from England showed that the first doses of vaccines made by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech sharply reduced the risk of serious illness and death among the country’s elderly, an especially encouraging sign for the AstraZeneca vaccine, as some countries have questioned its efficacy among older patients.
  • Israel’s lightning-fast vaccination program is providing a wealth of information on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including that it is safe for pregnant and nursing women as well as for those with food allergies and autoimmune disorders.
  • More than 512,000 people have died in the United States of the coronavirus, with 28.5 million cases reported since the virus was first identified. The rolling average for both deaths and new cases has been on the rise this week.
4:45 a.m.
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Royal Caribbean is starting ‘fully vaccinated’ cruises from Israel

As cruise lines await an uncertain future in the United States, one major player is announcing plans to sail from Israel with vaccinated passengers and crew.

Royal Caribbean International announced Monday morning that its newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, will start sailing from Haifa in May with Israeli passengers. The operator said it will be the first to offer “fully vaccinated sailings,” with crew and passengers older than 16 required to have a full course of the vaccine against covid-19.

Cruises will visit Greece and Cyprus. Both countries announced tourism agreements with Israel last month for vaccinated travelers, according to the Associated Press.

4:00 a.m.
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Much of the world is seeing coronavirus cases fall. But Brazil’s outbreak is worse than ever.

RIO DE JANEIRO — The senior health official looked into the camera, eyes wide. He had a message for those who wouldn't stop partying, wouldn't wear a mask, wouldn't take the coronavirus seriously.

“We have no ICU beds for your mother,” Rondônia state Health Secretary Fernando Máximo said. “We have no ICU beds your father, your aunt, your son, your girlfriend. We have no ICU beds for you.”

On the opposite end of the country, more than 1,000 miles away, Santa Catarina state Health Secretary André Motta had a similar warning: “We are reaching capacity!” And in the northeast: “Our health system will reach capacity and Brazil will be in chaos in two weeks,” Bahia state Gov. Rui Costa said.

While much of the world is using restrictions and vaccines to try to tame the coronavirus, Brazil’s outbreak is worse than it has ever been.

3:15 a.m.
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D.C.'s vaccination portal failed three days in a row. It’s part of a bigger problem.

D.C. and Microsoft leaders are doing damage control after technical issues prevented tens of thousands of people from securing vaccination appointments – on the first days the city allowed people with qualifying medical conditions to sign up.

City and company officials issued a joint apology on Saturday after people across the city complained for three consecutive days that they were receiving a variety of error messages instead of vaccination slots

Others were asked to log in to a nonexistent account. And some said they repeatedly were told that the captcha codes they typed in were incorrect, even when they were the same as the digits displayed on the website.

The problems in the District highlight a broader problem throughout the United States.

The coronavirus has been an unfortunate stress test of local governments’ technical capabilities. And nearly three months since the first coronavirus vaccines were administered, cities and counties — and the tech vendors they’re working with — are continuing to fall short.

2:30 a.m.
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Social distancing? Surgical masks? The Germans have pandemic words for that — 1,200 new ones to be exact.

BERLIN — If you go out in Germany during the pandemic, don't forget your Alltagsmaske (everyday mask) or Spuckschutzschirm (spit protection umbrella). If it's a bit frigid outside, maybe don a Schnutenpulli (literally, snout sweater, a cozier word for mask).

Heading out on a date? Be sure to check the latest Mundschutzmode (mouth protection fashion) before selecting your Gesichtskondom (face condom, as a mask is sometimes known).

Germany’s nearly four-month-long lockdown has entailed no restrictions on the language’s propensity for multi-syllabic, often tongue-twisting words. Germans have coined more than 1,200 of them to describe the rules and realities of life in the time of the coronavirus.

1:40 a.m.
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Mexico’s López Obrador to ask Biden for help with coronavirus vaccines in virtual summit

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to ask President Biden on Monday for help in ensuring that coronavirus vaccines are available to poorer countries such as Mexico, which has been whiplashed by the pandemic.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon for the first time since Biden’s inauguration in a virtual summit that also will focus on migration.

Mexico has scrambled to get shots, signing agreements for seven vaccines that have been approved or are in testing, but they have been slow to arrive. About 2.5 million people in Mexico had received at least one dose as of Sunday; the number in the United States is about 50 million.

12:50 a.m.
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‘It just sucks’: America’s jobless owe thousands of dollars in taxes on their unemployment

Erika Rose was shocked this month when she sat down to do her taxes and realized she owed $600 to the federal government. She has been on unemployment since April and has spent much of the winter stretching every penny to pay rent and to keep the lights on. On a recent trip to the grocery store, she had only $20 in her bank account.

“I was so upset. How do I owe over $600 in taxes?” said Rose, 31, who lives in Los Angeles. “I have never been so fearful in my life of how I’m going to pay my bills.”

Rose is among millions of unemployed workers facing surprise tax bills, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and many say they just cannot pay. For tax purposes, weekly unemployment payments count as income just like wages from a job. But few people realize the money they get from the government is actually taxable.

12:00 a.m.
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He refused to wear a mask at a basketball game and then shot the officer who intervened, police say.

The George Washington Carver High School basketball team had built a huge early lead in their playoff game in New Orleans on Saturday when John Shallerhorn tried to walk into the gym. But Shallerhorn, 35, wasn’t wearing a mask, so a staffer blocked his way, police said.

When Shallerhorn punched the staffer, Tulane University police officer Martinus Mitchum, who was working security for the team, rushed to help. That’s when Shallerhorn pulled a gun, police said, and fatally shot Mitchum, 38, in the chest, sending players and fans scurrying for safety.

Shallerhorn, who was quickly arrested and charged with multiple felonies including murder of a police officer, had also robbed someone outside the game before coming inside, according to a criminal complaint reviewed by

He confessed to the killing, police said, and was ordered held without bail. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

11:10 p.m.
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Biden administration, Senate Democrats retreat on $15 minimum wage in relief bill

Senate Democrats and the White House are retreating on efforts to include a $15 minimum-wage increase in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill as they aim to move the package forward this week in the Senate.

The House passed the relief bill Saturday with the $15 minimum wage included — even though the Senate parliamentarian had already said the wage increase would not pass muster in the Senate because of the complicated rules governing consideration of the overall bill.

Liberals in the House are pressing the Biden administration to try to overrule the parliamentarian, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki nixed that idea Monday.

“That’s not an action we intend to take,” Psaki said. She noted that such a move would also require 50 votes in favor in the Senate, which Democrats do not have.

10:23 p.m.
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Canadian committee advises against use of AstraZeneca vaccine in people 65 and older

TORONTO — Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization on Monday advised against the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in people 65 and older, citing “limited information on the efficacy of this vaccine in this age group at the time.”

Several countries, including France and Germany, have restricted the use of the vaccine to people under 65. Britain and the World Health Organization are among those that have said it is safe for that age group.

Canada, which has an agreement for 20 million doses, approved the vaccine last week. Health Canada, the federal regulator, said in its decision summary that while clinical trial results “were too limited to allow a reliable estimate of vaccine efficacy” in those 65 and older, efficacy was supported “by immunogenicity data, emerging real world evidence and post-market experience in regions where the vaccine has been deployed.”

All of that suggested “a potential benefit and no safety concerns,” the regulator said.

The advisory committee is responsible for making recommendations, but they are nonbinding, leaving Canada’s 13 provinces and territories free to decide whether to follow them.

9:54 p.m.
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What you need to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

U.S. regulators have approved a third coronavirus vaccine, giving the country another badly needed tool at a critical time in the pandemic.

The newest greenlit vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson, requires only a single shot. It is easy to use, ship and store, and it did not cause any serious side effects during clinical trials. The nation’s leading medical experts cheered its authorization and urged people to take whichever coronavirus vaccine is available to them.

“You now have three highly efficacious vaccines, for sure. There’s no doubt about that,” Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said the day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”

With the rollout starting soon, here’s what you need to know.

7:58 p.m.
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How one D.C. school built trust and got reluctant parents to return

When Principal Victorie Thomas emailed a survey to families at W.B. Patterson Elementary School in the fall asking if they would want to return to the school building when it opened in February, just 2 percent responded. Most said no.

Thomas wasn’t surprised by the low response. Family engagement was often low, and pre-pandemic communication frequently took place at drop-off and pickup times. But she knew that many children at Patterson were among the students in the District who needed in-person learning the most.

She had autistic students who, even with strong parent support at home, weren’t able to get the services they needed virtually. Others didn’t have adults at home who could help them navigate software and technical glitches. And some students had parents who worked all day, and were being supervised by middle and high school-aged siblings. Nearly 90 percent of Patterson students are considered at-risk for academic failure based on their families’ incomes.

7:20 p.m.
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New coronavirus cases tick upward in U.S., sparking concerns over variants

New coronavirus cases are ticking upward again after weeks of steady decline. Public health officials are warning that new, more transmissible variants could be taking hold.

Despite the recent downward trend, the number of new infections remains critically high in the country, with more than 125,000 cases reported over the weekend.

Health experts gave varying explanations for why cases were declining: The quickening pace of vaccinations; the natural seasonal ebb of respiratory viruses; adherence to social distancing measures.

But whatever the reason they dropped, it seems to have stalled. And the more contagious variants are probably driving the uptick, according to interviews with more than a dozen epidemiologists, modelers and virologists.

“The latest data suggest that these declines may be stalling, potentially leveling off,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday. “It’s still a very high number. We at CDC consider this a very concerning shift in the trajectory.”

Even experts who believe summer will bring some relief — particularly as hundreds of millions of vaccine doses are distributed — are still cautious about the near-term.

Growing concerns about the uptick are compounded by officials easing restrictions. Iowa and Montana have lifted mask mandates. New York is reopening stadiums for concerts. California and D.C. are now allowing indoor dining. Roughly 30,000 fans recently flocked to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race in Florida.

“Reopening just as these variants are spreading is not smart,” said Tom Frieden, a former CDC director. “We’re like a punch-drunk boxer, getting up just as our opponent is preparing to deliver an even faster punch. … By reopening, we’re leaning into that left hook. Why can’t we ever learn?”

7:20 p.m.
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Syria begins vaccinating at-risk health-care workers

BEIRUT — Syria on Sunday began vaccinating health-care workers who are most at risk of contracting the coronavirus, its state news agency said Monday, without providing details on which vaccine has been rolled out.

On Thursday, Syrian Health Minister Hasan al-Ghabbash announced that vaccinations will begin after receiving an unspecified amount of the vaccine “from a friendly country.” China and Russia are both strong Syrian allies, with both countries backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the past 10 years of civil war and economic ruin.

Syria approved Russia’s Sputnik vaccine last month, the Russian news agency Tass said, quoting a statement by the Syrian Embassy in Moscow. Syria was also approved for the World Health Organization’s Covax program, which will begin vaccinations in April.

Syria has recently come under fire following media reports that said Israel, Syria’s proclaimed enemy, was set to finance a shipment of the Russian vaccine, as part of a prisoner exchange deal. Syrian state news agency SANA denied the reports.

Over the past year, the war-ravaged country has announced overall low numbers of coronavirus cases, with the official number below 16,000 cases total and slightly more than 1,000 deaths. But doctor unions have contradicted government numbers, placing themselves in danger. The sharp absence of sufficient testing across the country also has made things murkier.

6:03 p.m.
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White House promotes efficacy of J&J vaccine and promises equitable distribution

The White House sought Monday to tamp down fears that the newly authorized coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson is not as useful as two earlier ones and could be steered mainly to hard-to-reach communities.

At a briefing by the White House’s coronavirus-19 response team, officials talked up evidence that the vaccine authorized for emergency use over the weekend is effective at blocking severe cases of illness from the virus as well as deaths, even if clinical trials have suggested it is somewhat less protective against moderate cases.

And officials countered an emerging public perception that the vaccine, with its simpler storage and handling requirements, could be targeted to mobile clinics and other vaccination sites in underserved communities. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the Biden administration’s coronavirus equity task force, said the government will allocate the J & J vaccine in direct proportion to the population size of states, tribes and other jurisdictions — the same allocation method used for the vaccines developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech and by Moderna.

“All vaccines will reach all communities,” Nunez-Smith said, though she acknowledged that not every vaccination site within a given community will have each vaccine.

Pressed on what federal officials will do to ensure communities distribute the three vaccines equitably, beyond monitoring where supplies go, Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said, “we will take action to ensure supply is distributed evenly.” He said that will include communicating federal expectation and if necessary providing technical assistance to state and local health officials. He did not elaborate on the nature of that assistance.

Nunez-Smith said the government would “intervene and correct,” if warranted.

At Monday’s briefing, Zients also acknowledged flaws in registration systems in many parts of the country that are leaving vaccine-seekers frustrated and without appointments. “Scheduling remains for far too many people too frustrating, and we need to make it better,” he said, adding that federal officials are working with states, in ways he did not specify, to make sure “the systems can handle not only the current demand but future demand.”