Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

Beating back the pandemic may come down to simple math: getting enough people vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says the country will likely need a vaccination level of between 70% and 90% to reach herd immunity.

On one side of the screen is Dr. Alok Kanojia. He's in his home office in a plain white t-shirt, fiddling with a pen, listening through his big headphones. He's talking to someone who goes by Mini, who's got on similarly big headphones (hers have cat ears on them). Mini's talking to Kanojia — Dr. K, as he's known to his fans — about how she's suffered depression, low self-esteem, and panic attacks all her life. The thousands of people watching this on the live streaming platform Twitch offer a steady flow of heart emojis and condolences in the chat box.

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A coalition of progressive groups say they are organizing a sweeping network to mobilize around climate change, racial and environmental justice, making a new unified push as President-elect Joe Biden is days away from taking office with Democrats set to control both the House and the Senate.

As India embarks this weekend on what may become the biggest national vaccination campaign in the world, some scientists have raised questions about one of the two vaccines the country of 1.4 billion people has authorized for emergency use against COVID-19.

More than 5 million vaccine vials arrived early Wednesday at hundreds of hospitals and clinics across India. Inoculations start Saturday. India aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July.

Updated at 9:34 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a Trump administration request to reinstate restrictions for patients seeking to obtain a drug used to terminate early pregnancies.

Eleven million people are under lockdown in Hebei province after a new cluster of coronavirus infections.

Since Jan. 2, Hebei has reported more than 600 new positive cases, 544 of which were from the capital city of Shijiazhuang. To identify all potential patients, health officials have completed one round of mass testing of all the city's residents, and a second one is being carried out this week.

The Greater Sacramento Region of California lifted its regional stay at home order Tuesday after a month-long shutdown. The order restricted most California residents from early December, locking down regions when ICU bed availability dropped below 15%. Restaurants transitioned to take-out and pick-up orders only, gyms and salons closed and private gatherings of any size were prohibited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that all air passengers entering the United States will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. The new rule will go into effect Jan. 26.

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If you're 65 years or older, the Trump administration now says you should be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine right away. It's one of several changes announced today. And NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin has more on this.

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It may seem counterintuitive, but health officials say that even after you get vaccinated against COVID-19, you still need to practice the usual pandemic precautions, at least for a while. That means steering clear of crowds, continuing to wear a good mask in public, maintaining 6 feet or more of distance from people outside your household and frequently washing your hands. We talked to infectious disease specialists to get a better understanding of why.

Why do I have to continue with precautions after I've been vaccinated?

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is making several big changes to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, officials announced Tuesday, in a bid to jump-start the rollout and get more Americans vaccinated quickly.

The first change is to call on states to expand immediately the pool of people eligible to receive vaccines to those 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

At least three Democratic members of Congress have tested positive for the coronavirus this week, blaming their results on their Republican colleagues' refusal to wear face masks during the hours-long lockdown last Wednesday as pro-Trump extremists attacked the U.S. Capitol.

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We know there are some Americans who are hesitant to get vaccinated. So there's this idea out there to give them money to encourage them, and it's supported by a number of economists and politicians - essentially, a government cash-for-shots program. But there are those who do say it could backfire. NPR's Uri Berliner has more.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money's newsletter. You can sign up here.

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Malaysia's king approved a coronavirus emergency declaration, delaying the country's general election and giving an extended reprieve to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah's declaration suspended the national parliament and state legislatures for an unspecified period of time. No elections can be held during the emergency either, which could last until Aug. 1.

2 Gorillas In California Contract The Coronavirus

Jan 11, 2021

Members of a troop of gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, Calif., have tested positive for the coronavirus. Last Wednesday, two of the gorillas developed a cough and showed other mild symptoms, a news release says. Park staff tested the animals. A fecal examination detected the virus last Friday, and the results were confirmed by the Agriculture Department's National Veterinary Services Laboratories on Monday.

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Monoclonal antibody drugs are supposed to help people with mild to moderate COVID-19 avoid the hospital, but it can be a challenge to find out where the treatment is offered. NPR has heard from people across the country who have been frustrated by this.

They include Shirley Wagoner, an 80-year-old who still hits the ski slopes and helps run the family plumbing business in Spokane Valley, Wash.

First, her sons fell ill and were diagnosed with COVID-19. Then on the Monday after Christmas she came down with the symptoms of a bad cold, including a sore throat and laryngitis.

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Only a vaccine will save America from the COVID -19 pandemic. At least that's the opinion of nearly all public health officials.

Obviously, vaccine manufacturers are critical to any vaccine campaign. But there's another group that plays a less obvious but still crucial role in making sure vaccines do what they're intended: mathematicians.

Even if the Biden administration releases all available doses of the two authorized COVID-19 vaccines, for a while at least, supplies will remain limited. How best to use that limited supply is a question mathematicians can help answer.

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A lot can happen in nine days, and Democrats say leaving President Trump in office that long is a risk that the country cannot afford.

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The Trump administration is trying to push through a last-minute rule that could force banks to offer loans to gun-makers and oil exploration companies or to finance high-cost payday lenders.

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In the before times, this would have been a happy scene.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Portuguese).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Speaking Portuguese).

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