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Daily News Lessons (show all)

One year into COVID-19 in the U.S.

March 15, 2021


One year after the first COVID-19 shutdowns began in the U.S., over 500,000 people have died from the disease, businesses have opened and closed and several vaccines have emerged. President Joe Biden has set a May 1 deadline for universal vaccine access; currently, over 10 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.

  • More than 20% of adults have been given at least one dose of the vaccine. In recent days, the U.S. has surpassed more than 3 million vaccine doses a day.
  • ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen recalls that in mid-March last year, lockdowns in the U.S. were just beginning and a lack of available COVID tests made it difficult to trace and control outbreaks across the country.
  • Chen explains that there may likely be enough vaccine supply to have doses available for every adult that wants one by June. But there are still obstacles to getting everyone vaccinated, including “vaccine hesitancy” or uncertainty about taking the vaccine.
  • Trials are still underway to determine whether or not vaccines can be approved for children.

Five Facts

  1. Who are some of the people who may be facing obstacles to getting vaccinated?
  2. What are some reasons for vaccine hesitancy?
  3. When do officials expect to have enough vaccine doses for everyone in the U.S.?
  4. Why is having enough doses not enough to ensure everyone is vaccinated?
  5. How do authorities plan on addressing vaccine hesitancy?

Focus Questions

Reporter Caroline Chen says that the confusing initial months of COVID-19 spread showed that we in the U.S. and the world generally weren’t “as prepared as we could be” for a pandemic. Looking back, what do you think are some things that could have been done differently to make the impact of COVID less severe?

Looking forward, what are some things we can all do to help move past what Chen calls “structural challenges” to speed the vaccine process and return to normalcy?

Media literacy: What question would you have for a journalist like Chen who has been covering the pandemic closely from the beginning?


For More

Want to help members of your community get registered for a vaccination? Use this full lesson or this guide to explore how to get vaccinated in your own community.

Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.