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A more easily spread coronavirus variant first identified in England last year has now become the dominant strain in the U.S., the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, spread quickly across the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning last fall, with the more infectious version of the coronavirus thwarting restrictions and lockdowns that had earlier helped keep the original strain in check.

It has been so frustrating watching the lack of guidance and uncertainty surrounding our education system during the pandemic. And I don't even have that much skin in the game. I feel very lucky to not be one of the parents who worry about sending a child to in-person school or who have had to work at home while leading kids through online school, to say nothing of the nightmare scenario some parents face leaving kids at home for school while they go to work. Our little boy is only a toddler. My husband is a teacher at a rural school, and I've spent five winters substitute teaching. I'm certainly no expert, but I've seen enough during my days in various grades to understand how essential being in school is for kids.

Voters in Greenland have given an opposition party its first-ever chance to form a government after a campaign that sought to define the limits of development on the Arctic island.

The Inuit Ataqatigiit party won 37% of the vote, compared with 29% for the ruling social-democratic Siumut party, according to official results reported by Reuters. The vote totals should allow Inuit Ataqatigiit to grab 12 seats in the 31-member unicameral legislature, known as the Inatsisartut, meaning it will likely need to form a coalition with support from one of the smaller parties.

Researchers are reporting some progress in their search for drugs that tamp down the overwhelming immune reaction that can kill a patient with COVID-19.

These reactions are triggered by coronavirus infections and can veer out of control in some people. It's this reaction, rather than the virus itself, that is the real peril for people seriously ill with COVID-19.

An Illinois State University faculty member has been recognized for his sci-fi screenplay about a chaotic near future that connects to many divisive issues in our present.

Updated April 7, 2021 at 11:52 AM ET

The European Union's drug regulator said Wednesday that the benefits of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine outweigh its risks, but that rare blood clotting events should be listed as a possible side effect.

Joyce Ann Kraner is eager for the pandemic to end and for life to get back to normal. Kraner, 49, wants to be able to hug her mother, who lives in a nursing home.

But she says she has no plans to get the vaccine, even though it's widely available in her community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. "I feel like I'm healthy," she says.

A new surge of COVID-19 in Brazil is filling hospitals and morgues, as the country's record daily death toll from the disease is nearing even the grim U.S. peak in January.

With less than two-thirds the population of the U.S., Brazil logged nearly 4,200 deaths on Tuesday. That is close to the peak U.S. daily death toll of 4,476 recorded on Jan. 12, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Updated April 7, 2021 at 10:39 AM ET

The Minneapolis police chief and other members of his department have testified that former officer Derek Chauvin's restraint of George Floyd was excessive and that it violated the department's policies on use of force.

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In his $2 trillion plan to improve America's infrastructure, President Biden is promising to address the racism ingrained in historical transportation and urban planning.

Biden's plan includes $20 billion for a program that would "reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments," according to the White House. It also looks to target "40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities."

MUMBAI — India confirmed another record jump in COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as the world's biggest vaccine maker said it was "very stressed" and needs help from the Indian government to boost production.

India is struggling to speed up vaccinations amid its sharpest spike in coronavirus infections since the pandemic began. Authorities are also trying to balance stricter curbs on movement while also ensuring fair voting in five regions holding state elections throughout the month.

It's become so common, perhaps you've stopped noticing how often your local weather forecast is "above normal." It's noted during extreme heat in the summer, when mild temperatures persist through the winter, or when nights don't cool down like they used to.

But on May 4, the hotter Earth will officially become the new normal.

On a recent weekday, some three dozen Marines and civilians filed into an auditorium at Henderson Hall, a Marine support center on a hill above the Pentagon.

They were there to talk about extremism in the ranks.

They reviewed their oath to defend against any enemy foreign or domestic, learned about active service members arrested for stockpiling weapons as members of neo-Nazi and other extremist groups, and took part in a wide-ranging discussion that included race, values and how to report suspicious activity.

The Texas state court system is signaling that it will no longer enforce a federal order aimed at stopping evictions during the coronavirus pandemic. That could clear the way for landlords to push ahead with tens of thousands of eviction cases that have been on hold.

The timing could be particularly painful for many families, coming after Congress has approved billions of dollars to help people pay the rent they owe to avoid eviction but before the vast majority of renters have been able to receive any of that money.

When Major League Baseball decided to move the All-Star Game to Denver, it was a moment of celebration for many Colorado politicos.

MLB had pulled the game from Atlanta in response to criticism of Georgia's new voting law. The choice of Coors Field as the new site was seen by Colorado lawmakers as another validation of Colorado's reputation for having some of the nation's most accessible and secure elections.

WGLT's The Leadoff is everything you need to know to start your day for Wednesday, April 7, 2021. You'll hear the results of the local elections, including the election of Bloomington's first Black mayor.


Copyright 2021 WGLT. To see more, visit WGLT.

The San Francisco Board of Education will ultimately keep the names of dozens of public schools in a case of high-stakes second thoughts.

Four candidates won four open seats on the District 87 school board on Tuesday—although one of them received far fewer votes than the others.

Unlike most city and town council races Tuesday, township races were partisan. And in contests for Normal Township trustee, voters elected two Democrats and two Republicans.

A resurgence of COVID-19 cases driven by virus variants throughout Canada has forced the country's largest city to suspend in-person learning.

All elementary and secondary school students in Toronto will return to remote learning Wednesday without the chance to return before April 18, city officials announced Tuesday.

It appears several newcomers will soon join the Bloomington City Council, while the progressive People First Coalition was shut out in its three council races.

It looks like that there won’t be any turnover on the Normal Town Council.

These are results from contested elections around the region.  The results are unofficial.  Some counties – such as Hancock – won't count absentee ballots until after Election Day.

Two familiar faces and one newcomer were headed toward election to the Heartland Community College Board of Trustees late Tuesday.

Eighteen years as mayor of the Town of Normal is not the end for Chris Koos.

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