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Mary Louise Kelly

With the signing on Thursday of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, Democrats in Washington have now secured their first major achievement since winning control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

A year ago, everything changed for Americans as a new, highly infectious disease began spreading across the country.

Two scientists, longtime friends and colleagues became two of the most public faces of the U.S. efforts to fight what ultimately became the coronavirus pandemic: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of former President Trump's White House coronavirus task force, and his boss, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

A small, white building has been sitting on the campus of the College of William & Mary for nearly a century. But it was only recently identified as an 18th century schoolhouse where free and enslaved Black children were taught Christianity and literacy.

Researchers believe the Williamsburg Bray School, as it was called, to be the oldest standing building in the U.S. dedicated to the education of Black children.

A new initiative aims to interpret and share the school's complex, pro-slavery history.

Hunger has been weaponized in the war in Yemen, says a former U.N. official who is currently in the country.

"We are seeing a relentless countdown to a possible famine that the world hasn't seen since Ethiopia in the 1980s," says Jan Egeland, who is now secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The U.S. is currently administering about 1.4 million vaccination shots a day. About 9.5% of people in the U.S. have already gotten one dose.

But demand still outstrips supply in cities across the country, while anecdotes abound about difficulties of trying to get appointments.

Scientists say vaccinations need to be as fast as possible to prevent more contagious coronavirus variants from taking over.

President Biden said last week that the Saudi-led war in Yemen "has to end," as he pledged to end "all American support for offensive operations."

The complex war started in 2014, when Houthi militants supported by Iran overthrew the unpopular Saudi-backed government in Sanaa, Yemen's capital. A coalition of Gulf states — led by Saudi Arabia and with support from the U.S., France and the U.K. — responded with airstrikes starting in 2015.

Langhorne Slim is a singer-songwriter by trade — but for more than a year, he could barely write. Slim recalls only writing about a song and a half, and even then it was nothing presentable to others. He had quit drinking years before, but found himself addicted to prescription pills. "I had been numbing myself ... to the source of my own creativity," Slim says. "Really, to the source of love, you know?" So, Slim went into rehabilitation.

When it comes to domestic extremists such as those who stormed the Capitol, a longtime CIA officer argues that the U.S. should treat them as an insurgency.

That means using counterinsurgency tactics — similar in some ways to those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Robert Grenier served as the CIA's station chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2001. He went on to become the CIA's Iraq mission manager and then director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center from 2004 to 2006.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Four-hundred lights around the Lincoln Memorial's reflecting pool were lit Tuesday evening to honor the 400,000 people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris both spoke.

With millions of kids still learning remotely, the learning losses are piling up.

Back in 1970, as the book was closing on The Beatles' time together, Paul McCartney came out with a release that established him as an artist in his own right — and a versatile one, who played every instrument on the album simply titled McCartney. In 1980, he followed it up with McCartney II — another kind of do-it-yourself solo album, released as another band of his, Wings, was breaking up.

As the U.S. marks 300,000 dead, it's impossible to capture the grief families around the country are experiencing.

Each person who dies of COVID-19 has a story. But many of those left behind no longer have access to the traditional ways of remembering the dead. Funerals are often happening over Zoom or as stripped-down, socially distant affairs.

Hugs aren't safe anymore.

James Ramos, the first member of a California Native American tribe to serve in the state legislature, authored a trio of new laws bolstering the rights of Native Americans in the state.

The measures, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, will go into effect on Jan. 1. One such law will make it easier for tribes in the state to reclaim sacred artifacts and the remains of their ancestors that have been held by museums and other institutions for decades.

Like much of the response to the coronavirus across the United States, the approach to housing during the pandemic has been an uneven patchwork.

Forty-three states and Washington, D.C., put in eviction moratoriums starting in March and April, but 27 of them ended in the spring and summer. Then in September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered a national stop to evictions.

Journalist John Yang volunteered to take part in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial not for "great altruistic reasons," but because he wanted to get a vaccine sooner rather than later.

"It started off with self-interest — I wanted to get the vaccine sooner," Yang, special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, tells NPR's All Things Considered. "Then when I found out that it was the Moderna trial, a new technology, one that has never been approved for a human vaccine before, I got sort of excited. It sort of piqued the science nerd in me."

Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber will become the first Black woman to serve as brigade commander at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

It's the top leadership post for midshipmen — in civilian terms, the equivalent of a student body president — and she is the 16th woman to serve in the position in the 44 years women have been allowed to attend the Naval Academy.

Poised to take over the role as leader of 4,400 midshipmen next semester, Barber told NPR's All Things Considered that there was a time when she had no desire to attend the Naval Academy.

One week ago, President Trump fired his defense secretary, Mark Esper, and quickly installed Christopher Miller, a relatively low-profile counterterrorism official, in the role on an acting basis. Trump then shifted key loyalists into other senior Department of Defense jobs.

Adrianne Lenker's latest music takes you straight to where it was recorded: a cabin in the Berkshires. Lenker was supposed to be on tour with her band Big Thief this year, but once the pandemic upended those plans, she holed up in the mountains of Western Massachusetts and recorded not one, but two new albums.

The return of live music may still be a distant hope, but Jeff Tweedy has found plenty to keep him busy during the pandemic. The leader of Wilco has a new solo album called Love Is the King, on which he's traded his usual bandmates for people he's been quarantining with — his sons Spencer, who's 24, and Sammy, who's 20.

Colorado is among the states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. In August, the state logged about 2,000 new cases a week. Last week, that number jumped to more than 8,000.

The state's Democratic governor, Jared Polis, warns that the situation could worsen in the coming months.

When the now former British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch described Donald Trump's White House as "inept" and "deeply dysfunctional" — and added that the president "radiated insecurity" — an international scandal ensued.

And when his frank assessment became public in the summer of 2019, he became persona non grata in Trump's Washington, overnight.

The county government cafeteria in Northampton County, Pa., is a large, airy room with big windows and, for now, lunch tables separated by plexiglass.

But a few months from now, on Election Day, this is where the county plans to have a couple of dozen people processing what it expects could be 100,000 mail-in ballots, nearly triple what they handled in the June 2 primary and 15 times what they handled in November 2016.

Philando Castile, Eric Garner and George Floyd. The deaths of these Black men at the hands of police have fueled outrage over police brutality and systemic racism.

Men make up the vast majority of people shot and killed by police.

More widespread wearing of face masks could prevent tens of thousands of deaths by COVID-19, epidemiologists and mathematicians project.

A model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows that near-universal wearing of cloth or homemade masks could prevent between 17,742 and 28,030 deaths across the US before Oct. 1.

Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls "Songs of Comfort."

"I do believe that everything that we do," he says, "people in every profession — medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians — we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need."

Following the police killing of George Floyd, officials on the state, local and national level are focusing on how to improve policing in the United States.

Amid record-breaking unemployment numbers, Nevada stands out. The jobs crisis hit the state early and dug in deep. Unemployment there has soared to more than 28% — the highest in the nation and the highest for any state since 1976, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this data.

As the number of COVID-19 deaths continues its upward march, many of the rituals designed to help people navigate the loss of a loved one aren't possible.

Living with the pandemic has been difficult for everyone: the isolation, the need to wear protective gear like masks and gloves, the adjustment to working or learning from home.

For those living with or caring for someone with severe autism, those challenges can be exponentially more difficult.

"Wearing gloves or masks, you know, things like that? That's just not going to happen here," says Feda Almaliti.

These days, it seems any morsel of good news about a coronavirus vaccine sends hopes — and markets — soaring.

The reality is, developing and producing a vaccine is an incredibly complicated process — one that is heavily reliant on global cooperation, says Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Yadav says cooperation is necessary for a number of reasons. For one, "just protecting U.S. population won't be sufficient for us to resume global travel and trade," he says.

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