Allison Aubrey | New Hampshire Public Radio

Allison Aubrey

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Updated at 6:49 a.m. ET

As coronavirus cases surge around the country, President-elect Joe Biden says voters have given him a mandate to take action.

"Daily cases are skyrocketing," Biden said in remarks Friday evening in Wilmington, Del., as the nation waited for the election to be called. "I want everyone — everyone — to know on Day 1, we're going to put our plan to control this virus into action."

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As Election Day nears, the pandemic looms large. Amid a surge in new cases, the coronavirus has changed the way we live, work and — perhaps — how some Americans will vote.

As President Trump makes the case that his leadership has saved lives in the pandemic and ushered in record-fast vaccine and therapeutics development, Joe Biden has described Trump's handling of COVID-19 as "totally irresponsible" and points to American's health as the nation's top domestic issue.

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Pfizer announced this week that it has received FDA approval to enroll children as young as 12 years old in its COVID-19 vaccine trial. The expansion is aimed at understanding whether the vaccine would be safe and effective for adolescents.

Until now, children under 16 have not been included in any of the COVID-19 vaccine trials in the U.S., and the average age of participants has skewed much older.

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President Trump will be staying in the presidential suite at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the next few days, according to the White House.

The president's doctor released a written statement saying Trump is "is doing well," after testing positive for the coronavirus, adding that the president is "not requiring any supplemental oxygen."

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Tonight, President Trump boarded Marine One, bound for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, following his coronavirus diagnosis. Before getting on board, he recorded a video posted to Twitter.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Six months ago, COVID-19 was spreading fast in this country. And there was a lot we still didn't know. Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force went on NBC's "Today" in March. And she made this prediction about the death toll.

As we get closer to a COVID-19 vaccine, it's exciting to imagine a day when the virus is gone. But a vaccine will not be a magic bullet. In fact, it may be only about 50% effective.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Health and Infectious Disease, has tried to set realistic expectations when discussing the importance of a vaccine. "We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50% or 60%," Fauci said during a Brown University event in August.

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Updated 4:10 p.m. ET

As students return to the campus of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this month, they will be tested for COVID-19. And, then they'll be tested, again.

"We are requiring testing two times per week for access to campus facilities. This is for students, faculty, and staff," explains Rebecca Lee Smith, an associate professor of epidemiology.

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As schools across the country grapple with bringing kids back into the classroom, parents — and teachers — are worried about safety. We asked pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts for help evaluating school district plans.

What we learned: There's no such thing as zero risk, but certain practices can lower the risk of an outbreak at school and keep kids, teachers and families safer.

As scientists study the burden of COVID-19 around the globe, it's pretty clear that despite some cases of serious illness, kids tend to get infected with the coronavirus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults.

"It seems consistently, children do have lower rates of infection than adults," says Dr. Alison Tribble, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Parents, teachers and students across the country are gearing up for the new school year. But what school will look like is still a mystery.

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Updated Aug. 12 at 1:15 p.m. ET

How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in your community? If you're confused, you're not alone. Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, from case counts to deaths, it's often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

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