Jason Beaubien

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — President Biden this month announced plans to ship a half a billion doses of the Pfizer vaccine to the 100 lowest income countries in the world. That would include Sierra Leone and many other sub-Saharan African nations.

Hospital wards across Uganda are filling with COVID-19 patients as the country faces an aggressive surge in cases. One of the biggest issues have: a serious shortage of oxygen.

Over the last month, the number of daily reported infections has increased tenfold, showing no signs of letting up. Cases have jumped from less than 100 a day in mid-May to 1,584 on June 18. "ICU bed capacity is now full, almost at 100%," says Willy Tabu, a physician based in Kampala who helps coordinate Mercy Corps response to the pandemic.

Sahr Tarawaly is proud to be the breadwinner for his family. Each day the 14- year-old fetches water for several of his neighbors. He collects firewood to sell by the side of the road. He goes around to construction sites and asks for work sweeping and cleaning up debris. When fishing boats come in, he helps them draw in their nets.

"I used to like mathematics," the round-faced teenager says. But that was in the past. "Now I go down to the beach to fish, to have fish to eat."

Sahr dropped out of school two years when he was 12.

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leonoe — Gunmen opened fire at 2 a.m., killing more than 160 people in the West African nation of Burkina Faso over the weekend, according to local officials.

The assault on the village of Solhan on Saturday is the latest incident in a region reeling from a recent coup and plagued by instability. Human rights groups say it was the worst attack on civilians in the region in years.

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A massacre over the weekend left more than 130 people dead in Burkina Faso.

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From the get-go, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was different.

This week, President Biden announced that the U.S. will be sending millions of doses of COVID vaccines abroad by the beginning of July. But he said the U.S. would not be doling out these life-saving vaccines simply to curry favor with allies ravaged by the pandemic.

Haiti has one of the lowest death rates from COVID-19 in the world.

As of the end of April, only 254 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in Haiti over the course of the entire pandemic. The Caribbean nation, which often struggles with infectious diseases, has a COVID-19 death rate of just 22 per million. In the U.S. the COVID-19 death rate is 1,800 per million, and in parts of Europe. the fatality rate is approaching 3,000 deaths per million.

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Earlier this month, Namibia's president was invited to join the World Health Organization's weekly press briefing to talk about World Health Day. The idea was for him to help explain to the hundreds of reporters from around the world what was happening with COVID-19 immunization efforts in his southern African nation.

In what has become all too common during the pandemic, the video connection was unstable. President Hage Geingob kept freezing on the screen. The audio would become muffled and incomprehensible, or the sound would drop out entirely.

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Greta Thunberg, the 18-year-old Swedish environmental activist, is now lobbying world leaders to make sure that COVID vaccines are distributed equitably around the globe.

Speaking at a Monday press conference for the World Health Organization, Thunberg called it is "unethical" that young people at low-risk from COVID in rich nations are being vaccinated before health care workers in low-income countries.

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Cuba has a dream — to have so much COVID-19 vaccine that not only could everyone on the island get immunized but Cuba would give it away to friends and allies around the world. There would be so many doses, Cuban officials would even offer free inoculations to tourists on arrival at the airport in Havana.

Two teams of European scientists, working independently, say they believe they've identified the cause of a rare blood clotting condition that has occurred in some people after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

If correct, their research could mean any blood clots that occur could be easily treated.

There were reports earlier this month of roughly 30 blood clots occurring after vaccination, a few of them fatal. This led more than a dozen European countries to suspend their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For anyone looking forward to the annual frivolity of spring break or the diversion offered every year by March Madness, the coronavirus pandemic is once again reminding: not so fast.

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

The Biden administration says it plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico. That vaccine isn't yet authorized for use here in the U.S. Here's White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

In some countries, citizens are grumbling about the inefficient rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. It's unclear exactly when doses will be available. Websites for appointments keep crashing. Lines are long.

And then there are the 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF. That's 2.5 billion people who so far have been completely shut out of the global vaccine campaign.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Peru is scrambling to get access to COVID vaccines as cases spike.

But the Latin American nation is in a tough slot.

The first problem is its relative wealth. Peru is classified by the World Bank as "upper middle-income." So it has some money to spend on vaccines but not nearly the financial resources of the U.S., the European Union or even wealthier neighbors like Brazil or Chile. But it's not poor enough to qualify for free doses from COVAX, the global program aimed at assuring equitable access to vaccines.

The New York Mets have fired the team's new general manager Jared Porter over alleged sexual harassment of a female reporter.

Guatemala security forces are attempting to block thousands of Honduran migrants from heading north towards Mexico and the U.S. border.

On Sunday, police and soldiers in riot gear confronted a caravan of migrants from Honduras on a highway near Chiquimula in southeastern Guatemala. After a tense standoff, in which police fired tear gas and attempted to beat back the migrants with batons, the surging crowd broke through a phalanx of soldiers.

As nations around the world scramble to start vaccinating against COVID-19, many countries are finding it difficult if not impossible to get the vaccines they want.

Case in point — Argentina. President Alberto Fernández promised to start vaccination campaigns in the South American nation before the end of 2020.

Even disaster experts are stunned by the devastation this fall in Honduras.

"I've been to too many disasters all over the world," says Vlatko Uzevski, who arrived in Honduras last week from Macedonia to lead an emergency response team for Project Hope.

"And I have never been to a place that was struck by two hurricanes in two weeks," says Uzevski, a physician who has been doing this type of work for 15 years.

Coronary heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death for Homo sapiens on planet Earth, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. This fact has remained unchanged for the past two decades. But this analysis of global deaths over the past 20 years finds significant shifts in how people die — as well as dramatic differences in what leads to death in different regions.

Noncommunicable diseases such as dementia and diabetes are now claiming more lives, while infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis are taking far fewer.

A once-promising treatment against COVID-19 has fallen out of favor with the World Health Organization.

On Thursday, a WHO review panel issued new guidelines recommending against the use of remdesivir for COVID-19 — even though the medicine is one of the few to win regulatory approval as a treatment for the disease.

Steven used to take a pill every morning to control his HIV. Then he heard about a study for a ground-breaking treatment where he wouldn't have to take any pills at all.

"I get an injection in each butt cheek once a month," says Steven, an attorney based in Pittsburgh, Pa., who tested positive in 2015.

He's asked us to withhold his last name because while he came out as gay last year, he hasn't come out to all his professional contacts.

The drug he's getting is called Cabenuva. It's one of a new type of anti-AIDS drugs that need to be taken only a few times a year.

While an effective vaccine against HIV may still be a long way off, a new HIV prevention technique has proven remarkably effective at protecting women against the virus.

A single injection of a drug called cabotegravir every two months was so successful in preventing HIV in a clinical trial among women in sub-Saharan Africa that the study was wrapped up ahead of schedule.

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