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In this June 18, 2021 file photo, President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccination shots, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to get younger Americans vaccinated for COVID-19 as concerns grow about the spread of a new variant that threatens to set the country back in the months ahead.

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(Annie Spratt / Unsplash)

Dozens of different at-home COVID-19 tests are now available from big-box retailers and pharmacies. But before you run out and buy one, a few words of caution from Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at UChicago Medicine.

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This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the spherical coronavirus particles from what was believed to be the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (C.S. Goldsmith, A. Tamin / CDC via AP)

A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials. 

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(WTTW News)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the COVID-19 vaccine can cause swelling in the lymph nodes in the underarm where women received the shot, which the agency says is normal. But that swelling can appear in mammograms. Here’s what you need to know. 

Plus: Our Spotlight Politics team takes a look at mixed mask messaging on “Chicago Tonight”

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In this Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, a passenger wears a face mask she travels on a flight from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel, File)

The government’s new guidance on masks for vaccinated people has left some Americans confused and sent businesses and states scrambling to adjust their rules. 

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The CDC relaxes mask requirements for fully vaccinated people. But what about those who don’t want to give up masks? (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday lifted the state’s mask mandate for fully vaccinated residents. But not everyone is ready to follow the new guidance. We talk about the future of masks with Jocelyn Carter, director of clinical training at DePaul University.

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People wearing masks line up for a food drive in Brighton Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side on April 23, 2020. (WTTW News)

Following new CDC guidance, Gov. J.B. Pritzker lifted the state’s mask mandate for fully vaccinated residents on Monday. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she will continue to wear a mask, both indoors and outdoors, even though she is fully vaccinated. 

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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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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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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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Individuals are issued a COVID-19 vaccination card when they’re vaccinated. (Kristen Thometz / WTTW News)

COVID-19 vaccination cards have become the proverbial golden ticket. But what should you do if you lose it or never get one in the first place? And how do you keep your card safe? Here’s what you need to know. 

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

U.S. health officials say fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers, and those who are unvaccinated can go without a face covering outside in some cases, too.

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(WTTW News)

More than 20 residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities in Chicago contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. But a new report shows the majority of those who got sick had no symptoms – and did not spread the virus to others.

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In this March 3, 2021, file photo, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by pharmacist Madeline Acquilano at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo / Jessica Hill, File)

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine will remain in limbo for a while longer after government health advisers declared Wednesday that they need more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot — and if so, how big the risk really is.

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In this Thursday, April 8, 2021 file photo, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop-up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer, File)

The U.S. on Tuesday recommended a “pause” in use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, setting off a chain reaction worldwide and dealing a setback to the global vaccination campaign.