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Keep the mask: A vaccine won't end the virus crisis right away. Here's the latest.
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Keep the mask: A vaccine won't end the virus crisis right away. Here's the latest.

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Don’t even think of putting the mask away anytime soon.

Despite the expected arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in just a few weeks, it could take several months — probably well into 2021 — before things get back to something close to normal in the U.S. and Americans can once again go to the movies, cheer at an NBA game or give Grandma a hug.

The first, limited shipments of the vaccine would mark just the beginning of what could be a long and messy road toward the end of the pandemic that has upended life and killed more than a quarter-million people in the U.S. In the meantime, Americans are being warned not to let their guard down.

Rather than prevent infection entirely, the first COVID-19 vaccines might only prevent illness. Vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the virus, another reason experts say masks will remain crucial for some time.

In other developments:

  • Governors and mayors are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings that have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus.
  • The pandemic has forced people to spend more time with themselves than ever. Along the way, it has reshaped and broadened the way many think about and prioritize how they treat themselves — what has come to be called self-care.
  • Waiters and bartenders are being thrown out of work — again — as governors and local officials shut down indoor dining and drinking establishments to combat the nationwide surge in coronavirus infections that is overwhelming hospitals and dashing hopes for a quick economic recovery.
  • The world’s largest maker of rubber gloves said Tuesday it expects a two-to-four-week delay in deliveries after more than 2,000 workers at its factories were infected by the coronavirus, raising the possibility of supply disruptions during the pandemic.
  • With coronavirus cases spiking in the U.S. and Europe, the financial outlook of the world’s airlines is getting worse. Airlines will lose more than $157 billion over this year and next because of the pandemic, their main trade group said on Tuesday.

For more summaries and full reports, select from the articles below. Scroll further for the latest numbers.


Virus by the numbers

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