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Texas Education Agency will stop enforcing Abbott’s ban on mask mandates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seen in June, tested positive this week for the coronavirus. (Eric Gay/AP)
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The Texas Education Agency said on Thursday that it would not enforce a ban by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on mask mandates, and would instead wait for “court issues” to be resolved as legal challenges to the ban play out throughout the state.

The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday denied Abbott’s request to stop school districts from requiring students to wear masks. The ruling is the latest in a legal battle playing out in Texas and other parts of the country. At least seven states are restricting local officials from instituting mask mandates in schools while classes resume and students younger than 12 remain ineligible for the vaccines.

Also on Thursday, three vaccinated senators said they have tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the latest members of the Senate to announce breakthrough infections in recent weeks. Public health experts have emphasized that some breakthrough infections are expected and that the vaccines’ main goal is warding off serious illness.

Here’s what to know

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Here's what to know:

A day after top health officials announced plans for more Americans to get booster shots of the coronavirus vaccine, President Biden told ABC Thursday that he and first lady Jill Biden would get their extra doses when they become available.
Israelis over 40 and teachers are now eligible for a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the country’s health minister announced Thursday.
Only 2 percent of the African population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, a World Health Organization official said Thursday, while criticizing wealthy nations for embracing booster shots while others lack their first doses.

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Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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