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Reds star Joey Votto expects to come off the COVID-19 list this weekend, just in time to play the Blue Jays in his hometown of Toronto. A six-time All-Star in 16 seasons, Votto hasn’t played a lot in front of the local fans — only nine games at Rogers Centre, during which he’s hit three home runs while going 8 for 33 with seven RBIs. Votto is off to a tough start this season. He’s hitting a meager .122 with no home runs and three RBIs in 22 games. He’s struck out 29 times in 74 at-bats.

North Korea says that nearly 10% of its 26 million people have fallen ill and 65 people have died amid its first COVID-19 outbreak. Outside experts question the validity of its reported fatalities and worry about a possible humanitarian crisis. Some observers say North Korea was likely forced to acknowledge the omicron outbreak last week because it couldn’t hide the highly contagious viral spread among its people and suffer possible public discontent with leader Kim Jong Un. Observers also believe North Korea is underreporting mortalities to try to show that its pandemic response is effective, while the country lacks test kits to confirm a large number of virus cases.

AP

FILE - People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea on May 16, 2022. North Korea said Friday, May 20, that nearly 10% of its 26 million people have fallen ill and 65 people have died amid its first COVID-19 outbreak, as outside experts question the validity of its reported fatalities and worry about a possible humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

FILE - In this photo provided by the North Korean government, a doctor checks a resident's temperature to curb the spread of coronavirus infection, in Pyongyang, North Korea on May 17, 2022. North Korea said Friday, May 20, that nearly 10% of its 26 million people have fallen ill and 65 people have died amid its first COVID-19 outbreak, as outside experts question the validity of its reported fatalities and worry about a possible humanitarian crisis. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

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A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by Arizona challenging the part of President Joe Biden’s massive coronavirus rescue law that bars states from using the federal money to offset tax cuts. Thursday's ruling from a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a decision by a federal judge in Phoenix who said Arizona did not have the right to sue. The panel did not rule on the merits of the case. The same Arizona federal judge will now weigh the state’s allegation that Congress overstepped its authority when it tied acceptance of American Rescue Plan Act money to state certification that it would not be used to offset tax cuts.

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U.S. health advisers are urging a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly signed off on the advice. The decision opens a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids, just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older. Regulators this week authorized the extra dose to be given at least five months after youngsters' last shot. CDC's advisers endorsed it during a public meeting on Thursday.

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Virginia’s public schools have experienced a yearslong trend of declining student performance exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. That's according to a critical state report released Thursday by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration. The report says Virginia's overall high performance has masked achievement gaps and poor reading proficiency and college-readiness measures. It also says Virginia has wide gulfs between performance on state tests and benchmarks for a national assessment. Youngkin pledges his administration will work to restore excellence and transparency in education. Democrats who control the state Senate and a leading teachers' union both are blasting the report's methodology and calling it a political exercise.

AP

An exhibit in Ohio pairing photographs from two moments of societal crisis — the Great Depression and the COVID-19 pandemic — aims to help visitors see parallels between the human tolls felt across generations. The show, “Chronicles: The Great Depression and the Pandemic,” opens Saturday at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio and runs through Aug. 28. It couples images of day-to-day life gathered by 10 Depression-era photographers and five contemporary Ohio photographers. The 1930s photographers, including Dorothea Lange, were hired by the U.S. government-funded Works Progress Administration’s Farm Security Administration. The Ohio photographers documented the coronavirus' human toll.