Want to stop the pandemic? Vaccinate the world.

President Joe Biden will commemorate the victims with a candle lighting ceremony and a moment of silence later today.

The once unfathomable milestone arrives just over a year after the first US death. But it also comes at a rare moment of hope. Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US have dropped to the lowest level since early November, when the fall surge in cases and deaths began. The vaccination drive continues according to the plan. Over the weekend, federal officials said states would receive more doses of Covid-19 vaccines than they “have ever received before” in the coming days. The bad weather in parts of the country has caused a backlog of about 6 million vaccine doses, which the White House hopes to clear by midweek.

Despite the vaccination rollout progress, leading medical experts and associations have pleaded with people to keep following the rules. The pandemic is far from over and the virus keeps spreading, albeit at a slower rate. According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, another 91,000 Americans are projected to die from the disease by June 1.

“It really is a terrible situation that we’ve been through and that we’re still going through,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “And that’s the reason why we keep insisting to continue with the public health measures — because we don’t want this to get much worse than it already is.”

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: Do vaccines prevent actual infection or just its symptoms?

A: Health experts have said that data so far has shown that Covid-19 vaccines prevent symptoms of the virus — but a new study suggests that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines may also prevent infections.

A team at the Mayo Clinic health system looked at more than 31,000 people across four states who had received at least one dose of either vaccine — and found the vaccines were upward of 80% effective in preventing infection 36 days after the first dose.

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

This device is crucial in the fight against Covid. It may not work on dark skin

The pulse oximeter has been an essential tool for doctors treating Covid-19 patients. The small clamp-like devices attach painlessly to a patient’s finger and constantly monitor the amount of oxygen in their blood.

But they may not work well for people with dark skin, according to multiple studies and government health agencies. One study showed that in White patients, the pulse oximeter gave a misleading number 3.6% of the time, while in Black patients, it was 11.7% of the time.

Pulse oximeters work by sending two types of red light through your finger to detect the color of your blood; bright red blood is highly oxygenated, while blue or purplish blood is less. If the device isn’t calibrated for darker skin, the pigmentation could affect how the light is absorbed.

A pulse oximeter is attached to a patient's finger.

CNN Exclusive: WHO panel to recommend ‘deeper’ study of early Covid-19 clues

The World Health Organization’s preliminary report into the origins of the novel coronavirus will recommend more extensive contact tracing of the first known patient with Covid-19 in Wuhan, China, as well as the supply chain of nearly a dozen traders in the Huanan seafood market, which is thought to have played a role in the early spread of Covid-19 in late 2019, according to investigators familiar with the draft report.

WHO chief: This our best chance at defeating the pandemic

Dr. Keith Rowley, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, along with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, write that while it is a miracle that Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out in more than 80 countries, the majority of shots have been administered in a handful of rich countries. “This has sent a worrying message that the health of those in developed countries is worth more than those in other parts of the world,” they write. “But we will not defeat the pandemic if countries go it alone. There are compelling moral, scientific and economic reasons why. And fortunately a solution exists: supporting equity.”

ON OUR RADAR

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce his long-awaited roadmap for taking England out of lockdown, UK government officials confirmed to CNN on Monday morning.
  • Australia began its Covid-19 vaccination rollout for frontline workers on Monday, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office.
  • The hotel that hosted a mostly maskless rally for Florida’s governor is under investigation.
  • Bereft of visitors, the Louvre keeps busy with major refit and restorations.
  • Inside Europe’s biggest Hindu temple, Covid-19 myths get debunked and vaccines administered.
  • A 90-year-old Seattle woman walks six miles in snow to get her Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Six Flags plans to open all of its amusement parks for the 2021 season.
  • For those with body dysmorphic disorder, masks do more than protect. They help them function.

TOP TIP

Distance learning has taken away a lot of the social and emotional aspects of education, including teaching children about empathy.

We asked Helen Demetriou, a lecturer in psychology and education at the University of Cambridge, how parents can make up for this loss.

“We need to keep reminding children to always think about things from someone else’s perspective. How are they feeling? What are they thinking that made them behave like that?,” she said.

Reading helps, too, Demetriou added. “There is lots of research that shows that books can elicit empathy, and conversation about the characters and stories helps children see what it is like to experience life as another person.”

TODAY’S PODCAST

“I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to be in a position to relieve the suffering of others.” — Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in the US

Black women have made significant contributions to medicine and public health but all too often, their stories are overlooked and forgotten. Today, we’re honoring the life of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, a pioneer in our country’s medical history as the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, back in the 1860s. Listen now.

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