It's just after 10 a.m. ET in the US where vaccination efforts continue across the country and the House is expected to vote on a Covid-19 relief plan that includes direct payments to Americans.
Here's what you need to know about the pandemic to get up to speed this morning:
- Right now: The House is slated to hold a final vote today on President Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. If it passes, it will be sent to the White House to be signed into law. You can follow live updates here.
- Schools: The Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles to reopen schools for in-person learning by April. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation with more than 600,000 students in more than 1,000 schools.
- Restrictions: Starting today, Texans will no longer be under a statewide mandate to wear masks in public. But, some cities and businesses say they will still require masks – including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso. Federal health leaders have also pushed back against lifting restrictions.
- CDC guidance: New guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people. The CDC said it will issue travel and going out guidance for vaccinated individuals when science is more clear.
- Variants: The coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, could be more deadly. New research published in a peer-reviewed journal said it is associated with an estimated 64% higher risk of dying from the virus. Researchers have detected it in at least 46 states and Washington, DC.
- Looking ahead: The CDC now projects there will be 547,000 to 571,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by April 3, according to an ensemble forecast.