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Jan. 28 Coronavirus updates: Miami Heat welcomes back fans with virus-sniffing dogs

As calls for schools to reopen grow louder across the country, many teachers are saying: vaccinate us first.
Image: Health workers in protective suits are seen in the Huangpu district on Jan. 28, 2021 in Shanghai, China.
Health workers in protective suits are seen in the Huangpu district on Thursday in Shanghai, China. Hu Chengwei / Getty Images

Live coverage of this blog has ended, please click here for NBC News' latest coverage of Covid-19.

As calls for schools to reopen grow louder across the country, many teachers are saying: vaccinate us first.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended reopening schools as soon as possible with mask-wearing and other safeguards in place, but teachers in cities such as Chicago remain resistant to returning.

As of Wednesday, about a third of all students in the United States have not had any in-person education since March, a situation repeated across the world.

Meanwhile, there have now been 25.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in the U.S., a quarter of the world's total.

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Delayed doses, unfulfilled requests and last-minute allocations: Inside the vaccine rollout

Since Covid-19 vaccine distribution started last month, every week has been a test of patience for Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert.

"Right now, I can't book vaccine appointments for next week or the following week," said Ruppert, who is the health commissioner for Rockland County, New York, a small suburb outside New York City. "We don't know how many doses we'll get, so we don't know how to organize staffing or how many volunteers we need."

Ruppert can't plan ahead because she has no idea how many doses the county will receive until that week, making it impossible to book appointments in advance without the risk of having to abruptly cancel them, a situation that has already developed in cities across the U.S., including New York.

"It's a week-to-week kind of thing," Ruppert said. "It's like hurry up and wait."

Read the full article here.

WHO team in Wuhan visits hospital that treated early Covid-19 cases

WUHAN, China — A World Health Organization-led team of experts investigating the origins of Covid-19 on Friday visited a hospital in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was one of the first to treat patients in the early days of the outbreak.

After meeting with Chinese scientists earlier in the day, the team went to the Hebei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine.

Zhang Jixian, director of the hospital's department of respiratory and critical care, has been cited by state media as the first to report the novel coronavirus, after treating an elderly couple in late 2019 whose CT scans showed differences from typical pneumonia.

Police officers keep watch outside Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, where members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the Covid-19 virus are visiting, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China Jan. 29, 2021.Thomas Peter / Reuters

"Extremely important 1st site visit. We are in the hospital that treated some of the first known cases of COVID-19, meeting with the actual clinicians & staff who did this work, having open discussion about the details of their work," Peter Daszak, a member of the WHO-led team, wrote on Twitter.

British researcher seeing symptoms of 'Covid tongue'

There may be another addition to the growing list of strange possible symptoms of the new coronavirus: “Covid tongue.”

A British researcher who is helping to track Covid-19 warning signs is reporting more cases of infected people complaining of tongue discoloration, enlargement and other mouth problems.

“Seeing increasing numbers of Covid tongues and strange mouth ulcers. If you have a strange symptom or even just headache and fatigue stay at home!” Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, tweeted this month.

Novavax says its vaccine 89.3 percent effective

An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the biotech company Novavax is 89.3 percent effective at preventing Covid-19, the company announced Thursday.

Results from Novavax's Phase 3 trial in the United Kingdom demonstrated the vaccine candidate's efficacy and showed that it protected against the U.K. variant of the virus. Results from another trial, in South Africa, showed that it was also effective against the variant that emerged there, although efficacy was lower.

Stanley Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said the trial results show that the vaccine "has the potential to play an important role in solving this global public health crisis."

Read the full story.

L.A. mayor vaccinated though he's not in priority group

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made clear in December that he would wait his turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, echoing county policy that nursing home residents, people 65 and older and medical workers will be first in line.

“I’m not jumping any queue,” he said.

But the 49-year-old Democrat was quietly vaccinated last week at the recommendation of medical personnel, after spending several days assisting health care workers at a large coronavirus vaccination center at Dodger Stadium.

His office said Wednesday he received the first dose of the vaccine Jan. 21, his fifth day working at the site where he was “interacting with hundreds of Angelenos each day.”

Over 1,000 Columbia students on tuition strike, demanding pandemic concessions

More than 1,000 Columbia University students are withholding this semester's tuition as they demand that the Ivy League school in New York City lower its cost amid financial burdens and the move to online classes prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students initiated the tuition strike last Friday, when payments for the semester were due. In a sweeping list of demands, students accused the school of demonstrating a "flagrant disregard for initiatives democratically supported within the community." The striking students are asking the school to lower tuition by at least 10 percent and to increase financial aid.

The letter also asks the school to end its expansion into and gentrification of West Harlem, defund its university police force and bargain in good faith with campus unions.

Read the full story.

Fauci backs CDC's recommendations on reopening schools

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday that he supports re-opening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines. 

“I would back the CDC recommendations because that is really based on data… we need to try and get the children back to school and that's the goal of President Biden that in the next one hundred days to get the K to eights back in school,” Fauci said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The CDC said in a recent study that schools should bring back in-person learning as soon as possible if social distancing and masks are mandated. The research, published online in the journal JAMA, offered guidance for local officials, school administrators, and parents on how to open schools safely while limiting the spread of Covid-19. 

Read the full story here.

California lawmakers vote to extend eviction moratorium as Covid continues to stifle economy

California lawmakers voted to extend the state's eviction moratorium through June 30 as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to create economic uncertainty for millions of renters.

Under the proposed legislation, $2.6 billion in federal funds would be used as rental subsidies and would reimburse landlords 80 percent of unpaid back rent that occurred between April 2020 and March 2021 if the landlords agree to forgive the remaining 20 percent. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom has previously said he will sign the legislation. 

“These bills aren’t perfect and will not solve the problem in the long run, but we had to take action now to prevent hundreds of thousands of people from falling into homelessness in the next couple of months," said Assemblymember Richard Bloom, a Democrat who represents Santa Monica and surrounding communities. "For many, this would be a potential death sentence."

Democrats prepare to go it alone on Covid relief if Republicans don't cooperate

WASHINGTON — Democrats are discussing a path to bypass Republicans and approve an aggressive Covid-19 relief package on a party-line basis as prospects for bipartisan support for President Joe Biden's top priority diminish.

White House economic adviser Brian Deese and Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zientz held a call Thursday with Senate Democrats as they grapple with whether to cut a slimmed-down deal or use a process known as reconciliation to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote rule to avoid a filibuster.

"The sentiment is this: We would like Republicans to work with us to be part of the solution to deliver emergency help, but we can’t wait, it’s urgent, and we need to double-track this process,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who was on the call, told reporters. “So we will continue to reach out to Republicans, but I’m a big supporter of having an insurance policy in place through reconciliation.”

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Beloved Asian American photographer Corky Lee dies after bout with Covid-19

Acclaimed New York photographer Corky Lee, who passionately chronicled the Asian American experience through his lens, died Wednesday following a brief bout with Covid-19, his family said.

He was 73.

“He did what he loved and we loved him for it,” according to a family statement. “His passion was to rediscover, document and champion through his images the plight of all Americans but most especially that of Asian and Pacific Islanders.”

One of his most famous shots was snapped at the site of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, where America was finally united, coast-to-coast via the transcontinental railroad a century and a half earlier.

Click here to read the full story.