What are your options if you test positive for COVID? Plus, health experts make the case for vaccines, and more COVID-19 news

Here are a few COVID-19 news updates for today, March 8.

Teachers in Minneapolis go on strike

Minneapolis public school teachers hit the picket lines on Tuesday, saying they are fighting to ensure the “safe and stable schools our students deserve” and for better wages for the lowest-paid support professionals.

For many families of the 29,000 students in one of Minnesota’s largest school districts, an extended walkout by the nearly 3,300 teachers could mean a return to the struggles of balancing work and child care that they have faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

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World Health Organization supports booster doses of the vaccine

An expert group convened by the World Health Organization said Tuesday it “strongly supports urgent and broad access” to booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine amid the global spread of omicron, capping a reversal of the U.N. agency’s repeated insistence last year that boosters weren’t necessary for healthy people and contributed to vaccine inequity.

In a statement, WHO said its expert group concluded that immunization with authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and death amid the continuing spread of the hugely contagious omicron variant. WHO eased back on its earlier position in January by saying boosters were recommended once countries had adequate supplies and after protecting their most vulnerable.

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How to get free antiviral medicine if you test positive for COVID-19

The rollout of the US government’s Covid-19 test-to-treat program is underway, with in-pharmacy clinics ordering shipments of Covid-19 antiviral medications and some locations expecting to offer the service within days.

“We’ve had more than 1,000 pharmacy-based clinic sites register today, so that even exceeded our expectations for Day One of this program,” Dr. Tom Inglesby, senior adviser to the White House’s Covid-19 Response Team, told CNN on Monday.

The Covid-19 antiviral pills Paxlovid and molnupiravir are already available for free in the United States, but quick access can be challenging for some people.

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Here are more COVID-19 stories from the day: