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Rapid tests can help you figure out if you have been infected with the coronavirus. But how accurate are they? Scientists trying to find out whether they are less sensitive to omicron and why. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Why rapid COVID tests aren't more accurate and how scientists hope to improve them

Recent research — and plenty of anecdotes — suggest some rapid tests may be less sensitive at detecting omicron if you don't have symptoms. Here's how researchers hope to make them more effective.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks about the COVID-19 situation while visiting New Plymouth on Thursday. New Zealand is among the few remaining countries to have avoided any outbreaks of the omicron variant — but Ardern said the nation would tighten restrictions as soon as one was detected. Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP hide caption

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Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP

New Zealand adds new restrictions and Ardern delays her wedding as omicron spreads

After nine cases were detected in the region, the country will impose gathering size limits and other measures. Until this month, New Zealand had avoided any outbreaks of the omicron variant.

Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was censured for siding with Senate Republicans to protect the filibuster, effectively dooming the passage of major voting rights legislation. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Arizona Democrats have censured Kyrsten Sinema over her pro-filibuster vote

The symbolic action comes as Sinema has come under criticism from progressive groups in Arizona after she voted to uphold the filibuster in the Senate.

The Omo-Kibish formation, near where the fossils of the oldest Homo sapiens were discovered. Céline Vidal hide caption

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Céline Vidal

A prehistoric eruption has helped recalibrate our timeline of human origins in Africa

Some of the oldest human remains ever unearthed are the Omo 1 bones found in Ethiopia. For decades, their precise age has been debated, but a new study may have the answer.

A prehistoric eruption has helped recalibrate our timeline of human origins in Africa

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Bob Spalding, left, and Don Wilson of The Ventures perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in New York, March 10, 2008. Wilson, a co-founder of the band, died Saturday at the age of 88. Jason DeCrow/AP hide caption

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Jason DeCrow/AP

Don Wilson, cofounder of the instrumental guitar group The Ventures, dies at age 88

Wilson played rhythm guitar for The Ventures, which with over 100 million records sold, was the best-selling instrumental band of all time.

Sen. Barbara Blackmon, D-Canton, speaks at the well in the Mississippi Senate Chamber in Jackson on Thursday. Blackmon was among the Black lawmakers who walked out of the Senate Chamber in protest on Friday. Rogelio V. Solis/AP hide caption

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Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Black Mississippi senators walk out in protest over critical race theory ban

The lawmakers withheld their votes as the state Senate passed a bill that would ban schools from teaching critical race theory. The education superintendent has said it is not being taught in schools.

Demonstrators gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021. Experts believe a ruling on this case could undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Americans are divided on abortion. The Supreme Court may not wait for minds to change

Kaiser Health News

Public opinion remains bitterly divided on the issue, but an imminent Supreme Court decision could overturn or dramatically undercut Roe v. Wade.

In this photo taken on Jan. 20, a beach resort in Tonga, on the outskirts of the capital of Nuku'alofa, shows the impact of the tsunami that hit the island nation in the wake of an underwater volcanic eruption. Aid efforts have been complicated by the pandemic — with only one case of COVID on record, Tonga is wary of outsiders who might bring the virus. Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima hide caption

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Xinhua News Agency via Getty Ima

Why Tonga is opting for 'contactless' humanitarian aid

It's a pandemic predicament. With only 1 recorded case of COVID-19 in their island nation, Tongans are desperate for help after the volcanic eruption — but eager to keep the virus out.

Why Tonga is opting for 'contactless' humanitarian aid

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Anke Gladnick for NPR

How colleges are dealing with high COVID case counts on campus

Despite the omicron surge, college students are starting the spring semester on campus – and administrators are bracing for the worst.

How colleges are dealing with high COVID case counts on campus

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Bark beetle larvae grip the ground with their claws in order to build up energy to accomplish their acrobatics. Adrian Smith/Matt Shipman hide caption

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Adrian Smith/Matt Shipman

Simone Biles has a rival — a tiny bark beetle (but it can't stick the landing)

A team of researchers has discovered the gymnastic ability of bark beetle larvae. Scientists recently recorded the larvae performing the twisting leap for the first time.

Simone Biles has a rival — a tiny bark beetle (but it can't stick the landing)

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Mrs. Doubtfire is one of the Broadway shows that reopened but then had to shut down for a while after cases of COVID spread among cast and crew. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images hide caption

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Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Omicron hampers Broadway. Fewer tourists are there for just a score of shows

Tickets may be easier and cheaper to get for the plays that are still open. Some producers reopened until the virus raced through the cast and crew. Future productions are hard to see on the horizon.

Omicron hampers Broadway. Fewer tourists are there for just a score of shows

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Crates holding live monkeys are collected next to the trailer they were being transported in along state Route 54 at the intersection with Interstate 80 near Danville, Pa., Friday, after a pickup pulling the trailer carrying the monkeys was hit by a dump truck. Several monkeys were on the loose at the time of the photo. Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP hide caption

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Jimmy May/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise via AP

All 100 lab monkeys have been accounted for after several escape a truck crash

A pickup pulling a trailer carrying live monkeys in Pennsylvania on Friday was hit by a dump truck, setting several of the animals loose. The last of the monkeys were located the next day.

European carriers are urging the European Union to alter so-called "use it or lose it" regulations forcing airlines to continue flying empty or near-empty flights. Frank Augstein/AP hide caption

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Frank Augstein/AP

A teen's solo transatlantic flight calls attention to wasteful 'ghost flights'

Kai Forsyth relished being the only passenger on a flight from London to Orlando. But his solo trip highlights the wastefulness of near-empty flights that environmentalists are trying to ban.

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