Kids Under 5 Still Can’t Get Vaccinated. What The Omicron Surge Means For Them

New daily cases are at an all-time high. The good news: vaccines and boosters have never been more widely available — but not for everyone. Children five and under still do not have a vaccine available as the omicron surge stretches health care workers thin.

For advice on navigating the pandemic in this moment, we turn to Dr. Ibukun Kalu, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Duke University.

Additional reporting in this episode from NPR’s Allison Aubrey.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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The ‘Big Lie’ Continues To Threaten Democracy

A year ago, insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building in hopes of overturning the election results – fueled by the “Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won. He did not.

As NPR Special Correspondent Melissa Block reports, this lie has become entrenched in the Republican party. And Republican state legislators across the country have used it to justify passing new laws restricting voting access.

We look at those changes, and what all this might mean for elections in 2022 and 2024.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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Revisiting January 6th One Year Later

This week marks a year since the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and in this episode we’re returning to the events of the day, which have become much clearer over the past year.

And Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, who was there on January 6th, describes what it’s like returning to work in the building where he says he was almost certain he would die.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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Was That This Year?

We take a look back on the year in news and pop culture… in quotes. Audie Cornish and Ari Shapiro join Sam Sanders for a special episode of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute to play a deluxe version of their favorite game, Who Said That.

Listen to It’s Been A Minute on NPR One, Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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Ai Weiwei On His Father’s Exile — And Hopes For His Own Son

In 2011, influential Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei was secretly detained by Chinese authorities.

While in detention, he thought often about his father – who had also been punished by the Chinese government – and how incomplete his understanding of his father was.

Ai spoke to Ailsa Chang about his new book, which explores his time in detention, his relationship with his father, and his attempt to avoid a similar disconnect with his own son.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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We’re Halfway Through Another Intense Year For Teachers

We’re halfway through another intense pandemic school year. As many teachers are taking a well-deserved holiday break, we’ll hear why these past few months in the classroom have gotten harder – and what that could mean for students and parents.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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CDC Guidelines Change As Omicron Cases Cause Disruptions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that people who test positive for COVID-19 but remain asymptotic can cut their quarantine time in half, from ten days to five. This shift comes in part due to major disruptions causes by rising Omicron cases, with hospitals and airlines in particular struggling to stay fully staffed.

This moment in the pandemic feels a little like living in a contradiction. Cases are rising, yet guidance on certain restrictions is loosening. Hospitals are filling up, yet many infections are mild.

Prof. Gaurav Suri, computational neuroscientist at San Francisco State, and Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, discuss how to live with the threat of Omicron right now.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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NPR Investigates: How States Charge Poor Parents For Their Own Kids’ Foster Care

An NPR investigation digs into the practice of billing parents for their children’s foster care — something that happens in every state in the country.

It’s a bill many cannot afford to pay, which in turn makes it even more difficult for parents to get their lives back on track and reunite with their children. On top of that, research shows government actually loses money when it tries to collect on foster care bills.

NPR investigative correspondent Joseph Shapiro reports, in collaboration with Teresa Wiltz of POLITICO.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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The Holiday Dishes That Are Never Missing From Your Table

After everything that has happened this year, it can feel difficult to find things to celebrate. So we’re using this episode to spread a little joy, through something everyone can relate to: food.

We asked all of you what holiday dish is never missing from your table, and you answered – from seafood gumbo in Louisiana to Hungarian Beigli to traditional New Mexican cookies called Biscochitos and more. Be careful listening on an empty stomach.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

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Manchin’s Holiday Gift To Fellow Dems: A Lump Of Coal On Climate Change

This week, Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said he cannot support the Build Back Better Act, which contains more than half a trillion dollars in climate investments. The White House has been negotiating with Manchin for months, hoping he would cast a key vote for the plan in the Senate, where their party’s majority is razor thin.

Without Manchin’s support, the Biden administration’s most ambitious action on climate may be dead, and the U.S. could fall short of key goals to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Reporters from NPR’s climate change team — Jeff Brady, Lauren Sommer, and Dan Charles — take stock of where things go from here.

NPR’s Jennifer Ludden also contributed to this episode. Read her piece Manchin says Build Back Better’s climate measures are risky. That’s not true.

In participating regions, you’ll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what’s going on in your community.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.