The omicron wave that assaulted the United States this winter also bolstered its defenses, leaving enough protection against the coronavirus that future spikes will likely require much less — if any — dramatic disruption to society.
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — On past deployments Army National Guard Spc. Michael Stockwell surveilled a desolate section of the U.S.-Mexico border during a migrant surge, and guarded a ring of checkpoints and fences around New Mexico’s state Capitol after the January 2021 insurrection in Washington.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Tucked in a corner of a dimly-lit hallway of a rundown block of flats in Zimbabwe’s Mbare township, a few drug users desperate for recovery prayed and encouraged each other to reduce their habits.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan announced Thursday it will ease its tough COVID-19 border controls by increasing the number of people allowed to enter each day and reducing quarantine requirements following criticism that its current policy is unscientific and xenophobic.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Canadians who have disrupted travel and trade with the U.S.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A showdown appeared to be shaping up in Ottawa’s nearly three-week siege by truckers protesting the country's COVID-19 restrictions as police in the capital warned drivers Wednesday to leave immediately or risk arrest.
LONDON (AP) — British authorities will offer a coronavirus vaccine to almost six million children from age 5 to 11, officials said Wednesday.
The government said young children will be offered a low-dose COVID-19 shot on a “non-urgent” basis beginning in April in England.
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Airbus booked a record profit of 4.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion) last year as the aircraft maker delivered more planes with the global economy rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's hospitals reached 90% capacity on Thursday and quarantine facilities were at their limit, authorities said, as the city struggles to snuff out a record number of new cases by adhering to China’s “zero tolerance” strategy.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan awarded Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates its second highest civilian honor on Thursday, in recognition of his work to alleviate poverty and diseases like polio and tuberculosis.
JAKARTA (AP) — Countries must avoid tensions and cooperate to support a recovery from the pandemic as it lingers in many parts of the world, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told a gathering of top financial leaders of the world's largest economies Thursday.
BANGKOK (AP) — With the first community outbreak of the coronavirus in the Solomon Islands spreading rapidly through the largely unvaccinated population, the Red Cross warned Thursday that the Pacific Island nation's fragile health care system is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.
NEW DELHI (AP) — On New Year’s Eve, the Indian government wrote to states encouraging them to promote the use of COVID-19 home tests, especially for people who are experiencing symptoms, in a bid to avoid straining local health systems.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister says the country’s coronavirus vaccination “green pass” system will be suspended as new daily cases of COVID-19 continue to decline.
Naftali Bennett said Thursday after meeting with health officials that Israel’s omicron wave “has been broken” and that additional reductions in coronavirus restrictions were forthcoming.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants to talk about the state's mask policies as COVID-19 case totals and hospitalizations have fallen in recent weeks.
Cooper scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss guidance for mask-wearing, which largely centers around schools.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia University is lifting some of its masking requirements put in place to combat COVID-19 as the number of virus cases in the state is decreasing.
University officials announced Wednesday that masks will no longer be required in most indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Van Morrison, Lil Wayne, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sarah McLachlan, Foo Fighters, Three 6 Mafia and Death Cab for Cutie are among the eclectic group of artists set to perform at this year's Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Tennessee.
Zhou Jun remembers the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, when it seemed like everyone was learning English to be able to communicate with the foreign visitors about to descend on the city.
Athletes and foreign fans roamed the city throughout the Games.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials will unveil Thursday a plan for coexisting with the coronavirus, which scientists say is likely to be around for the foreseeable future.
The plan presumes the most populous state is entering an endemic stage, where the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is hoping to use his upcoming State of the Union address to nudge the pandemic into the nation’s rear-view mirror. But it could turn into yet another disruptive display of national tensions and frustration over trying to move past COVID-19.
The parents of San Francisco have spoken, and their message is echoing like a wake-up call across the country.
Fueled by pandemic frustration, parents launched a recall of three school board members that ended Tuesday with a landslide victory.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly was scheduled to pass a package of Republican-authored bills Thursday designed to force more people into the workforce by tightening eligibility for unemployment benefits and Medicaid coverage.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are hopeful of a change to a local vaccine mandate that would make Kyrie Irving available for home games, one that New York City's mayor is “struggling” with whether to make.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — After two years in which it was disrupted and diminished, Super Rugby was set to return on Friday in blockbuster form as an international tournament again and with two Pacific teams for the first time.
BEIJING (AP) — If NHL players are taking part in the 2026 Winter Olympics, international hockey officials want to know sooner rather than later.
International Ice Hockey Federation president Luc Tardif said Thursday he is optimistic about reaching an agreement with the league, NHL Players' Association and IOC but he does not want to wait until the final year before the Games in Milan and Cortina to finalize it.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's secretary of transportation is stepping down to take over as CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, officials said.
The GOAA board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a five-year contract for Kevin Thibault, according to an agency news release.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration on Wednesday stopped recommending that masks be worn inside schools and other public places to curb COVID-19 in Michigan, pointing to a drop in cases and hospitalizations.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators on Wednesday approved a plan that calls for new solar generation to replace the capacity that will be lost when Public Service Co. of New Mexico stops buying electricity from the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona.
BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers representing the family of a 4-year-old boy with autism said Wednesday that they have received a temporary court order from a federal judge exempting him from having to wear a mask when flying from Florida to Boston for treatment.
The nation's leading health officials said Wednesday that the U.S. is moving closer to the point that COVID-19 is no longer a “constant crisis” as more cities, businesses and sports venues began lifting pandemic restrictions around the country.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams celebrated their Super Bowl championship Wednesday with a victory parade and rollicking rally where they told thousands of cheering fans they would try to “run it back” and win again next year.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has improved enough in Nebraska that local health officials lifted Omaha's mask mandate Wednesday, and some of the state's largest hospitals said they were easing certain restrictions.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear took executive action Wednesday to grant immediate relief to Kentucky taxpayers hit with pandemic-related increases in their vehicle property tax bills.
The Democratic governor also endorsed legislation to temporarily cut the state sales tax rate to take some of the sting out of rising inflation fueling higher consumer prices.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin System officials said Wednesday they plan to end their campus mask mandates by spring break.
UW System President Tommy Thompson announced that widespread vaccinations and waning case numbers on system campuses and across the state justify the move.
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington's most populous county will no longer require COVID vaccination checks to enter restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms beginning March 1.
King County officials made the announcement Wednesday.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Brightline trains killed one person and seriously injured another in separate accidents less than 12 hours apart, the latest in a spate of collisions plaguing the higher-speed passenger trains since the railroad recently resumed operations.
Wait times for new patients to see a medical specialist in Vermont averaged 61 days during part of the pandemic, according to a state report released Wednesday.
Vermont state government officials started investigating in the fall after Seven Days reported on long wait times for medical appointments.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Senate panel on Wednesday endorsed rolling back a proposal that aimed to severely limit workplace COVID-19 vaccine requirements, setting up potentially weeks of negotiations with House members on how far the Republican-led Legislature will go toward inserting itself on the issue.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany is scrapping most coronavirus restrictions and could have full stadiums at soccer games again in March – two years after the Bundesliga last operated at full capacity.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With the state heading into the peak of Carnival season, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana's COVID-19 health emergency declaration Wednesday, but did not reinstitute long-expired mask mandates or gathering restrictions.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's attorney general and a coalition of cities and counties are calling for the creation of a nonprofit foundation to distribute money obtained through settlements or judgments in opioid-related litigation against pharmaceutical companies.
New York's high school graduation rate rose slightly last year after the pandemic forced the cancellation of exams normally required for a diploma, education officials said Wednesday.
State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said it was difficult to know how much of an impact canceling the stringent Regents exams had on the Class of 2021.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be required for fans wanting to see the Utah Jazz play at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, the team said in a statement on Tuesday.
DENVER (AP) — Two Colorado inmates who say they were pressured into working despite health concerns are suing the state’s prison system, saying it's violating a constitutional ban on slavery and involuntary servitude.
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's leaders on Wednesday announced plans to end most of the country's coronavirus restrictions by March 20, a decision that coincided with moves by neighboring Austria and Switzerland to drop many of their curbs sooner.
NEW YORK (AP) — Fueled by pay gains, solid hiring and enhanced savings, Americans sharply ramped up their spending at retail stores last month in a sign that many consumers remain unfazed by rising inflation.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia city officials have lifted its vaccine mandate for indoor dining and other establishments that serve food and drinks, but an indoor mask mandate remains in place.
Philadelphia Public Health officials announced that the vaccine mandate was lifted immediately Wednesday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A woman who lost her job after moving from St. Louis to New York to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic should receive unemployment benefits, a Missouri appeals court ruled.
GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland on Wednesday became the latest European country to ease coronavirus restrictions, including ending health checks for incoming travelers and the need to have COVID-19 passes to enter many public venues.