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 By Jonathan Wolfe
  The W.H.O. approved China's Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use.
    The C.D.C. finally acknowledged that the virus is an airborne threat.
    Hiring has slowed in the U.S. despite signs the economy is starting to recover.
    Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and a vaccine tracker.
Back-to-work vaccines

As employers in the U.S. bring workers back to the office, they'll face a fraught question: Should they require employees to be vaccinated?

Doing so would protect staff, ease fears of those reluctant to return, and help boost vaccination rates. But it could also create a backlash among people who see it as an invasion of privacy. Vaccinations also bring up issues employers would rather avoid — employees' private lives, religious preferences and medical histories, such as whether someone is pregnant, breastfeeding or immunocompromised.

In polls, many executives say they're interested in requiring shots for all employees, but few have taken steps to do so. Most companies, it seems, hope that nudges will be enough. Some are offering incentives like paid time off, coupons and Waffle House gift cards.

Requiring vaccines for access to public life is not new. The Supreme Court ruled about a century ago that states could require vaccinations for children attending public school. In December, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued guidance stating that employers are legally allowed to require employees to be vaccinated before they return to offices.

But 25 states are considering legislation that could limit a company's ability to require vaccines for students, employees or the public.

Today Pfizer and the German company BioNTech became the first companies to apply to the F.D.A. for full approval of their Covid-19 vaccine — a process that could take months. If approved, it could raise confidence in the vaccine and make it easier for companies, government agencies and schools to require vaccinations. It could also prompt the military, which has had low opt-in rate, to mandate vaccinations for service members.
How to flourish

Flourishing, a combination of mental, emotional and physical well-being, is the opposite of languishing — the sense of joylessness and aimlessness that many of us have felt during the last year.

The Times recently suggested a handful of practical activities to get you flourishing. (Like trying something new, doing five good deeds or trying "Sunday dinner gratitude.")

For more help, I also turned to our readers, and asked what's bringing you joy these days. Hundreds of you wrote in.

Stephen Martin of Cave Creek, Ariz., learned the piano at age 76, while Carol Babcock of Dallas got back on a bicycle at 83. Susan Ko of Victoria, British Columbia, rediscovered her passion for making films, while Blass Freed found peace in origami, folding cranes on a "teeny tiny kitchen table" in New York City.

Many found solace in nature, whether gardening, hiking, bird watching or camping. Others brought new animal companions into their homes and have cherished the extra time with their pets. Some overachievers, like Salomón Salcedo-Baca in Santiago, Chile, used these solitary months to write a novel, while others finished screenplays or wrote poetry.

A lucky few found joy in new romances. During lockdown, and shortly after her 72nd birthday, Melanie Beene of San Francisco got a LinkedIn message from an old college boyfriend.

"I hadn't thought about him in more than 50 years. When his wife died and he was preparing their house for sale, he found letters that I had written him from my junior year abroad and wondered if I wanted them back. Despite being on opposite coasts, and thanks to technology, we were able to be in daily communication: first by email, then telephone, then FaceTime and Zoom, and finally in person (five visits so far and more planned). I am savoring the sweetness of deep connection with another; of being seen, appreciated, and loved. And all the more special because of its unexpectedness!"

Relationships also ended, but some, like Victoria Restrepo of Potomac, Md., found contentment there, too.

"I am 63 years old and last year was a hard one for me, not only because of the pandemic, but because my husband left me, I had to sell my home, and my youngest son went to college. Since I didn't have a place to stay and I was very confused about what should I do in the future, I first started visiting the national and state parks. I stayed in cabins, tents, boats, trailers, and inside my car. I have visited 31 states so far. I still don't know what I will do in the future, but even though it's been hard traveling by myself, I feel much stronger and happier now."

More than anything, flourishing came for many of you through self-discovery. Here's John Robert Hatherly from Chicago:

"Last year when the pandemic first took hold in the U.S., I decided to give myself a mulligan and take a second chance at my life. I quit drinking and started doing yoga, left a toxic workplace and abusive employer, and opened my own creative studio dedicated to promoting peace through nonviolent communication. My newfound joy comes from knowing that ‘normal' never existed in the first place. And I'm never going back."
Vaccine rollout

    The vaccination campaign in Europe is accelerating, and officials expect to match the pace of the U.S. by July, the Washington Post reports.
    The vaccines regulator in Britain advised that all adults under 40 should be offered alternatives to AstraZeneca's vaccine.
    Norwegian Cruise Line is threatening to skip ports in Florida because of the governor's order banning businesses from requiring that customers be vaccinated, The Associated Press reports.
    Serbia is offering $30 to every citizen who gets a coronavirus vaccine before the end of May, Euronews reports.

See how the vaccine rollout is going in your county and state.

If you've found this newsletter helpful, please consider subscribing to The New York Times — with this special offer. Your support makes our work possible.
What else we're following

    India is facing a surge of cases in rural areas where election rallies were held.
    Germany appears to have entered a new, more hopeful phase of recovery after months of struggling against a tough third wave of the coronavirus.
    There's a debate about whether sexuality and gender identity should be represented in U.S. Covid data.
    Pilots are getting ready to fly again as international travel is set to resume.
What you're doing:/b>

I am planning a trip to visit my 95-year-old father thousands of miles away in an assisted living home. However, it is already too late. Covid year isolation took what was left of his life. Several months ago, he stopped talking on the phone with his kids. So I don't think he will even know me, but I will know him. I am sad.

— June Steele, Keaau, Hawaii

Kris~ Dreamweaver
7th May 2021.


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