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In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, speaks during an event in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh, File)

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday defended the decision to ease mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, stressing that increasing political pressure had nothing to do with the abrupt shift in guidelines.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool via AP)

The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the United States said Sunday that “the undeniable effects of racism” have led to unacceptable health disparities that especially hurt African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans during the pandemic.

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This file photo shows the former site of General Iron in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on the North Side of Chicago. (WTTW News)

Southside Recycling has long planned a move to the Southwest Side. But last week, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency asked Mayor Lori Lightfoot to conduct an environmental justice assessment in the community before allowing the company to operate.

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In this Feb. 8, 2021 file photo, Juan Delgado, 73, right, receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot from a health care worker at a vaccination site in the Mission district of San Francisco. (AP Photo / Haven Daley)

Many Latinos are forgoing COVID-19 shots because of concerns about losing work hours, getting a bill, and for some, immigration worries. That’s according to a new poll that offers insights into how to raise vaccination rates among the nation’s largest ethnic minority.

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FILE - In this May 3, 2021, file photo, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, left, and lawyer Rusty Webb enter the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse in Charleston, W. Va., for the start of the opioid trial. (Kenny Kemp / Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP, File)

A corner of West Virginia wrenched by opioid addiction is getting the chance to argue in a courtroom that some of the corporate giants it blames for a public health crisis that left hundreds of people dead deserve to be held accountable.

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FILE - In this May 13, 2021, file photo, although no longer required outside, a sign advises visitors to wear masks at the Denver Zoo in Denver. (AP Photo / David Zalubowski, File)

More than a dozen states quickly embraced new federal guidelines that say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or out in most cases. But other states and cities and some major businesses hesitated amid doubts about whether the approach is safe or even workable.

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A team of researchers at Northwestern University has developed a suite of wireless pregnancy monitors. (courtesy Northwestern University)

For pregnant women, fetal monitoring devices are a cumbersome array of wires and tape that require constant adjustment and, quite literally, tether the patient to a hospital bed. A team of researchers at Northwestern University is working to change that.

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The Village of Riverdale lags behind the rest of suburban Cook County in vaccinations. As part of our community reporting series, we speak with elected officials, community leaders and physicians about the vaccine rollout, and what they’re doing to make the vaccine more accessible.

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Runners enjoy Chicago’s lakefront trail. (WTTW News)

Chicago and Illinois officials said Thursday they will follow new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and jettison rules that require fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors. However, masks are not “going away,” according to city health officials.

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In this April 10, 2021, file photo, registered nurse Ashleigh Velasco, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Rosemene Lordeus, right, at a clinic held by Healthcare Network in Immokalee, Fla. (AP Photo / Lynne Sladky, File)

In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

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(WTTW News)

Illinois will enter the next phase of its reopening plan Friday, and is on track to fully reopen June 11, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday. Here’s what you should know about the “bridge” phase.

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(WTTW News)

Converted CTA buses will visit 15 Chicago Public Schools to provide COVID-19 vaccines to students over the next three Saturdays, city health officials announced Thursday.

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(WTTW News)

As schools across Illinois welcome back more students for in-person learning, state officials have announced a new investment to increase access to COVID-19 testing “at low or no cost.”

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(Free-Photos / Pixabay)

U.S. births dropped to their lowest level in more than 40 years in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the pandemic is impacting family planning. 

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Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of Chicago’s public health department, announces all city-operated COVID-19 vaccination sites will be open to children ages 12 and up during a news conference on May 11, 2021. (WTTW News)

Vaccine eligibility is expanding. We speak with Dr. Allison Bartlett, a pediatrician and associate professor of the pediatrics section of infectious diseases at University of Chicago Medicine, to learn more about vaccinating young people.

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(WTTW News)

Chicago’s top doctor says cases of COVID-19 are now concentrated among young, Black Chicagoans who live on the city’s South Side.