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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I have interviewed some truly hateful people. It's part of what we have to do in the news business.

On April 12, 1955, a wave of public relief resonated across the United States as news arrived of a vaccine that could successfully prevent polio — one of the most feared diseases in the U.S. at the time, causing "more than 15,000 cases of paralysis a year," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's mid-January, and maybe you've resolved to lose 20 pounds this year, exercise every day, or quit drinking. And — so far — you have failed. So you give up. Sound familiar?

Every new year, we are bombarded with messages like "new year, new you," but for many of us, just living through the last several months has been a major accomplishment.

In a matter of hours on Jan. 6, the Republican Party went from shrugging off its loss of the White House to a party in crisis.

It was becoming clear just before the violent insurrection at the Capitol that the party had lost two Senate runoff elections in Georgia, making President Trump the first president since Herbert Hoover whose party lost the White House, the House and the Senate in one term. And plenty of Republicans blamed Trump for the Democrats' success in Georgia.

The U.S. government has executed Dustin Higgs, the last prisoner to be executed during the Trump administration, and the 13th in the span of six months.

The Supreme Court declined to stop the execution, although some justices dissented, noting that before the first of the 13, it had been 17 years since a federal execution had been carried out.

Next week marks one year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the outgoing CDC director, has been heading the federal public health agency's response to the pandemic from the start.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is imagining a world without racism as it honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We talk with museum educator Mikhayla Harrell. 

More info is online at ogdenmuseum.org.

Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

The National Mall, where millions of people have gathered to mark historic events in Washington, D.C., was closed to the public late Friday morning, as officials announced a string of security measures meant to foil any attempts to derail next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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