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The first South African doctor to alert the authorities about patients with the omicron variant has told The Telegraph that the symptoms of the new variant are unusual but mild.

Dr Angelique Coetzee said she was first alerted to the possibility of a new variant when patients in her busy private practice in the capital Pretoria started to come in earlier this month with Covid-19 symptoms that did not make immediate sense.

They included young people of different backgrounds and ethnicities with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a very high pulse rate, she said. None suffered from a loss of taste or smell.

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” said Dr Coetzee, a GP for 33 years who chairs the South African Medical Association alongside running her practice.

On November 18, when four family members all tested positive for Covid-19 with complete exhaustion, she informed the country’s vaccine advisory committee.

She said, in total, about two dozen of her patients have tested positive for Covid-19 with symptoms of the new variant. They were mostly healthy men who turned up “feeling so tired”. About half of them were unvaccinated.

“We had one very interesting case, a kid, about six years old, with a temperature and a very high pulse rate, and I wondered if I should admit her. But when I followed up two days later, she was so much better,” Dr Coetzee says.

Dr Coetzee, who was briefing other African medical associations on Saturday, made clear her patients were all healthy and she was worried the new variant could still hit older people – with co-morbidities such as diabetes or heart disease – much harder.

“What we have to worry about now is that when older, unvaccinated people are infected with the new variant, and if they are not vaccinated, we are going to see many people with a severe [form of the] disease,” she said.

South African demographics are very different from those in the UK. Only about six per cent of the population are over the age of 65. This means that older individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus may take some time to present.
The B.1.1.529 variant, now called omicron, was first identified in Botswana on November 11. It has now been detected in the UK as well as South Africa, Israel, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium.

It is the most mutated form of Covid-19 discovered thus far, with 32 mutations to the spike protein. Scientists are concerned that the mutations may allow it to evade existing vaccines and spread quickly.

Two cases of omicron have now been found in the UK, with two people in Essex and Nottinghamshire testing positive for the new variant.

UK officials are busy scouring testing databases for any further sign of the omicron variant, not least because there were many South Africans in the Twickenham area of south-west London for the England and South Africa match last Saturday.

South African scientists say omicron is behind an explosion of cases in the country’s Gauteng province, which is home to the country’s commercial capital Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have rocketed up from about 550 a day last week to almost 4,000 a day currently.

The UK, US, the EU and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the five surrounding countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The UK Government added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Sunday.

The Western travel ban has provoked anger among South Africans, with many claiming that they are being punished for having outstanding research institutions and being transparent about their findings.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-heal ... -symptoms/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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The Global Case Doubling Number is now at 261,373,214 (the target # is 268,435,455, but roughly 500,000 cases/day is the current norm). The previous # of 134,217,727 was reached on 9 April 2021.
7 months and over 153 million people were infected.
The death rate is 1%, still, despite the vaccines. 5,368,709 deaths predicted (for 268.4 million cases), actual deaths 5.2 million for 261.4 million cases.
Source: Worldometer.
"The upper class: keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class: pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there...just to scare the shit out of the middle class."--George Carlin

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The pharmaceutical company Merck said on Friday that in a final analysis of a clinical trial, its antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk Covid patients by 30 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 50 percent.

The lower efficacy is a disappointment for the drug, known as molnupiravir, which health officials around the world are counting on as a critical tool to save lives and reduce the burden on hospitals. It increases the importance of a similar, apparently more effective, offering from Pfizer that is also under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

A panel of advisers to the F.D.A. is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss Merck’s treatment and vote on whether to recommend authorizing it to treat high-risk Covid patients.

In briefing documents posted to the F.D.A.’s website on Friday, agency reviewers did not take a position on whether the drug should be authorized, though they found that the clinical trial data did not show any major safety concerns and that the drug was effective in preventing severe disease.

The reviewers said they had only become aware of the updated efficacy estimate earlier this week and were still reviewing the data. They said they could update their assessment when the panel meets on Tuesday.
Monoclonal antibody drugs, which are typically administered intravenously in the United States, have been found to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by at least 70 percent. Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which was found in a clinical trial to cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent, could become available within weeks. Fluvoxamine, a common and inexpensive antidepressant, appears to be about as effective as molnupiravir.

Meant to be dispensed at pharmacies and taken at home, Merck’s drug is the first in a new class of antiviral treatments for Covid that are expected to reach many more people than other treatments have. Public health experts say that while the pills are no substitute for vaccination, they have the potential to prevent severe illness and save lives.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/11/28 ... riant-news
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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For all the virus sequencing around the world, I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up sooner. But yes it's likely all over, spreading quicker in SA because only 24% of their population is vaccinated.

Countries have a right to be concerned and close off air travel, this is a new variant we don't know much about, while we're in another surge with Delta. And at the same time countries are worried about their economies tanking again. So much we don't know, which is probably keeping the lights on late at night at CDC.

Watching and waiting is hard tough.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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South Africa has one of the best programs for epidemiology in the world. They don't have the shots in arms, but they have a health care system better primed to identify a new variant than may others. India comes to mind. The UK. Russia. China. Us.

If it turns out to be crazy infectious but also mild across the board, we might turn the corner. It clearly has the potential to outcompete the other strains. If it also confers immunity against them, even temporarily, it could nerf the others. If it has any mortality rate to speak of - we're in for a winter of hurt.

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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South Africa has a good system of tracking disease compared to any of the other southern African countries, I wouldn't say it rivals the UK or the US. They have some fine universities created during the colonial periods of the Dutch and British - Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Witwatersrand...

The South African president probably wishes they had a less sensitive tracking system, he was on TV complaining about the flight bans from different countries. It's politics, he has to complain that South Africa is a victim of the West.
Experts are now racing to determine the answers to these three critical questions:

• Does Omicron's mutations make it more transmissible?
• Is it more severe/dangerous/deadly than other variants?
• Is it more resistant to vaccines?

It could be weeks before we have the answers.
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/29/health/u ... index.html

South Africa has no vaccine shortages, people just aren't getting vaccinated.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59453842
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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highdesert wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 8:24 am South Africa has a good system of tracking disease compared to any of the other southern African countries, I wouldn't say it rivals the UK or the US. They have some fine universities created during the colonial periods of the Dutch and British - Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Witwatersrand...

The South African president probably wishes they had a less sensitive tracking system, he was on TV complaining about the flight bans from different countries. It's politics, he has to complain that South Africa is a victim of the West.
Experts are now racing to determine the answers to these three critical questions:

• Does Omicron's mutations make it more transmissible?
• Is it more severe/dangerous/deadly than other variants?
• Is it more resistant to vaccines?

It could be weeks before we have the answers.
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/29/health/u ... index.html

South Africa has no vaccine shortages, people just aren't getting vaccinated.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59453842
I’ve understood they mishandled the whole rollout and yes not because they didn’t have vaccines. On that account I do blame South Africa for its part in perpetuating the expansion of this disease. I’m well aware that South Africa is no backwater when it comes to technology and science. Their vaccination rate is shameful.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

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On a side note, my wife was telling me about an article she read covering the unvaccinated in our country. According to the article 17 percent of democrats are not vaccinated and 60 percent of republicans are not vaccinated. She did also mention numbers for independents but they were not as significant as the republican numbers. This is what happens when a country and its leaders allow politics to govern over science during a pandemic. We have allowed politics to kill science and scientific approach. And no, this didn’t just occur at the start of this pandemic, we have accepted unfounded criticism of science by politically motivated individuals and groups for a long time.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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sikacz wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:12 am On a side note, my wife was telling me about an article she read covering the unvaccinated in our country. According to the article 17 percent of democrats are not vaccinated and 60 percent of republicans are not vaccinated. She did also mention numbers for independents but they were not as significant as the republican numbers. This is what happens when a country and its leaders allow politics to govern over science during a pandemic. We have allowed politics to kill science and scientific approach. And no, this didn’t just occur at the start of this pandemic, we have accepted unfounded criticism of science by politically motivated individuals and groups for a long time.


This is data from September 2021.

KFF Survey
https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/the-re ... ion-rates/

According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released on Sept. 28, gaps in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups have virtually disappeared—while gaps reflecting political affiliation have widened substantially.

Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

A Gallup survey released on Sept. 29 confirmed the KFF findings. As of mid-September, 75% of adult Americans have been vaccinated, including 73% of non-Hispanic white adults and 78% of non-whites. Along party lines, however, the breakdown was 92% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.

There is no reason to believe that these gaps in vaccination rates will disappear anytime soon. According to Gallup, 40% of Republicans “don’t plan” to get vaccinated, versus 26% of Independents and just 3% of Democrats. In response to a more sharply worded KFF question, 23% of Republicans report that they will “definitely not” get vaccinated, compared to 11% of Independents and just 4% of Democrats.

These national divergences are reflected at the state and county level as well, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Of the 21 states with vaccination rates above the national average, Joe Biden carried 20 last November. Of the 29 states below the national average, Donald Trump carried 24. At the county level, the vaccination-rate gap between the counties Biden and Trump won has increased nearly six-fold from 2.2% in April to 12.9% in mid-September, according to KFF.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2 ... ethnicity/

Pew Research Survey
https://www.pewresearch.org/ps_2021-09- ... ions_a-02/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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highdesert wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:29 am
sikacz wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:12 am On a side note, my wife was telling me about an article she read covering the unvaccinated in our country. According to the article 17 percent of democrats are not vaccinated and 60 percent of republicans are not vaccinated. She did also mention numbers for independents but they were not as significant as the republican numbers. This is what happens when a country and its leaders allow politics to govern over science during a pandemic. We have allowed politics to kill science and scientific approach. And no, this didn’t just occur at the start of this pandemic, we have accepted unfounded criticism of science by politically motivated individuals and groups for a long time.


This is data from September 2021.

KFF Survey
https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/the-re ... ion-rates/

According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released on Sept. 28, gaps in vaccination rates across racial and ethnic groups have virtually disappeared—while gaps reflecting political affiliation have widened substantially.

Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

A Gallup survey released on Sept. 29 confirmed the KFF findings. As of mid-September, 75% of adult Americans have been vaccinated, including 73% of non-Hispanic white adults and 78% of non-whites. Along party lines, however, the breakdown was 92% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.

There is no reason to believe that these gaps in vaccination rates will disappear anytime soon. According to Gallup, 40% of Republicans “don’t plan” to get vaccinated, versus 26% of Independents and just 3% of Democrats. In response to a more sharply worded KFF question, 23% of Republicans report that they will “definitely not” get vaccinated, compared to 11% of Independents and just 4% of Democrats.

These national divergences are reflected at the state and county level as well, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Of the 21 states with vaccination rates above the national average, Joe Biden carried 20 last November. Of the 29 states below the national average, Donald Trump carried 24. At the county level, the vaccination-rate gap between the counties Biden and Trump won has increased nearly six-fold from 2.2% in April to 12.9% in mid-September, according to KFF.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2 ... ethnicity/

Pew Research Survey
https://www.pewresearch.org/ps_2021-09- ... ions_a-02/
Pretty pathetic.
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"Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated!" Loquacious of many. Texas Chapter Chief Cat Herder.

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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sikacz wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:12 am On a side note, my wife was telling me about an article she read covering the unvaccinated in our country. According to the article 17 percent of democrats are not vaccinated and 60 percent of republicans are not vaccinated. She did also mention numbers for independents but they were not as significant as the republican numbers. This is what happens when a country and its leaders allow politics to govern over science during a pandemic. We have allowed politics to kill science and scientific approach. And no, this didn’t just occur at the start of this pandemic, we have accepted unfounded criticism of science by politically motivated individuals and groups for a long time.
The whole "alternate reality" and "alternate facts" is a direct result of the avoidance mindset that was implemented by choice following the initial school integration period. What is now the base of the Republican Party simply checked out. They created alternate school systems, alternate text books, alternate radio and TV networks, alternate web browsers, alternate accrediting organizations with the specific goal of censoring any and all data that might conflict with the preferred dogma.

The result has been that since September 1957 a whole segment of US children has been educated under a system that taught them how to NOT think. The same mindset has been passed on to their children and now on to the third and fourth generation.

The Christian Cult of Ignorance is today the primary driving force of the Republican Party.

We are seeing the result of over 60 years of willful ignorance and a total disconnect from reality or evidence-based decision making.

It will take at least a half century to change that change method of thinking if change is even possible in today's US society.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
Stories coming to you from Deep South Texas!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!

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Tucker Carlson Makes Unhinged Comparison To Anthony Fauci

Tucker Carlson, the station’s blowhard prime-time star, called the infectious-disease expert “an even shorter version of Benito Mussolini” on Monday after fellow Fox News host Lara Logan compared Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

The right has reaccelerated its attacks on Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a White House adviser on the country’s COVID-19 response, as the omicron variant has emerged as a potential threat.

“If you haven’t checked in on Tony Fauci lately, you may be a little surprised to discover what he’s become,” Carlson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “If you tuned in a couple years ago you may recall Fauci as a conventional public health official. He wore button-down shirts, he gave careful, precise answers that suggested deep medical knowledge. No more. After two years of being nonstop media adulation, Tony Fauci has morphed into an even shorter version of Benito Mussolini.”

Carlson went even further, calling Fauci a self-styled “deity accountable to no one” who would dare to “demonize a sitting senator.”

That would be Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who said Fauci should be prosecuted for his testimony on COVID-19 research to Congress. To which Fauci replied, “I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, Senator?”

Carlson twisted Fauci’s burn of Cruz, who voted against confirming Joe Biden’s electoral victory before the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection attempt to overturn the results, into more attacks.

Cruz had also accused Fauci of distorting “science and facts in order to exercise authoritarian control over millions of Americans.” Perhaps that helped trigger Carlson’s comparing Fauci to the fascist dictator.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tucker-c ... 1e550c59a9

The Faux News rule. If you can't counter their real facts with real facts, then attack the person. Faux News just carries to the extreme what the Republicans have been doing for years. It has just become worse since the defeat of their glorious leader in the last election.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

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A federal judge in Missouri has partially halted another one of the Biden administration’s key vaccine requirements, temporarily blocking the imposition of a rule for certain health-care workers in 10 states.

The Biden administration issued the vaccine mandate, for health-care workers at facilities that received funding from Medicare and Medicaid, in early November through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It was estimated to apply to some 1.7 million workers at 76,000 facilities across the country, including hospitals and nursing homes.

But in a 32-page ruling issued on Monday in St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said that a preliminary injunction to halt the rule was warranted because he believed the arguments made by the plaintiffs — 10 mostly Republican-dominated states — that the CMS lacked authority to implement the requirement, probably had merit.

He also questioned whether there was enough data about transmissibility and vaccination status, and he said that he believed the order was probably “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires,” he wrote.

The order will halt the CMS vaccine mandate in the 10 states that brought the lawsuit until the court can hear their legal challenges. They are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

CMS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

However, CMS said in a statement that it was reviewing the ruling and underscored that unvaccinated health-care workers posed a threat to patient safety, according to Reuters.
As cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus continue to be detected globally, President Biden on Monday emphasized that vaccines were a key defense. “The best protection against this new variant or any of the variants out there, the ones we’ve been dealing with already, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” Biden said in remarks from the Roosevelt Room.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... dge-block/

Off to the 8th Circuit of the US Court of Appeals in St Louis and then probably SCOTUS.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge on Monday to Mass General Brigham's COVID vaccine mandate for staff. The suit was brought last week by employees who were fired for refusing to be vaccinated.

A group of employees claimed the hospital failed to accommodate employees' religious or medical objections to vaccination, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who handles emergency cases from Massachusetts, rejected the case, choosing not to refer it to the full court.

Mass General Brigham says 430 staff members were fired for "non-compliance" with the vaccine mandate, and that more than 80,000 employees complied.

"Mass General Brigham joins many other leading health care systems in the United States in making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment, ensuring that patients are being cared for in the safest clinical environment possible," a hospital spokesperson said in a statement. "Mass General Brigham has communicated regularly with employees since we announced the mandate and had a process for employees to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. We received a number of exemption requests, and each request was carefully considered by a knowledgeable team of reviewers."

The case went to the Supreme Court after both the U.S. District Court and First Circuit Court of Appeals denied requests for preliminary injunctions.

The appeal to the Supreme Court said that Mass General Brigham had already terminated the plaintiffs, "depriving them of the ability to feed their families." It said many of them are the sole breadwinners for their families, "and are currently suffering significant psychological harm from their inabilities to provide, even as they lose their health insurance and other employee benefits."

The Supreme Court rejected a similar appeal from health care workers in Maine last month. The high court is also reviewing a case in New York after the appeals court made a similar decision.
https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/20 ... -employees
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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tonguengroover wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:22 am I cannot remember a ruling by a judge based on probability.
He's a TOT appointee what do you expect.

As for CMS, they can set the rule requirements for Medicare and Medicaid certification. Don't follow the rules and requirements set forth, lose your certification and no money. Also not certified, most healthcare insurance say no pay from us.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.-Huxley
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis Brandeis,

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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These states will be surprised when SCOTUS denies them cert or rules against their case, unless there is some technicality that the Biden administration didn't foresee.. A precedent from the last century allows vaccine mandates. Breyer felt sure enough to deny staff fighting MGH's mandate, he didn't refer it to the court.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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The first case of the Omicron variant has been detected in the US, a person in San Francisco and the variant was confirmed through testing by UC, San Francisco Medical Center. The person had been to South Africa. The person had received two doses of Moderna, but we don't know when but they hadn't received a booster. Their symptoms are reported as mild.
https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/01/health/u ... index.html
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: New SARS type virus spreading in China

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President Biden, confronting a worrisome new coronavirus variant and the potential of a winter surge, will lay out a new pandemic strategy on Thursday afternoon that includes hundreds of vaccination sites aimed at families, booster shots for all adults, insurance reimbursement for at-home coronavirus tests and fresh travel restrictions, including a requirement that international travelers must show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within a day before departing for the United States.

Mr. Biden plans to announce the strategy at the National Institutes of Health. It comes a day after the new Omicron variant was detected in the United States for the first time, in California.

Senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to preview the plan, said it was aimed at keeping the economy, workplaces and schools open.

A big part of the plan is a renewed push to get people vaccinated, including the latest group to become eligible, children ages 5 to 11. The administration plans to launch “hundreds of family vaccination clinics” that will offer vaccinations and boosters for people of all eligible ages, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House.

The president will also announce a national campaign to reach the 100 million Americans who are eligible for booster shots and have not had them. The campaign will include paid advertising and free rides to vaccination sites coordinated by AARP, the advocacy group for older Americans. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will launch what the administration is calling Family Mobile Vaccination Clinics, beginning with deployments to Washington and New Mexico. The goal is for states and localities to replicate the model “with full federal funding and support,” officials said.

Mr. Biden will call on employers to provide paid time off for employees to get boosters.


Mr. Biden ran for office in 2020 on a promise to get the pandemic under control. Since then, though, the virus “has thrown us a number of curveballs, and unfortunately they were thrown at 200 miles an hour,” said Michael T. Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Many experts predict a surge in the United States over the winter, regardless of whether the Omicron variant spreads widely in the country. The nation has been reporting an average of more than 80,000 new cases a day over the last few weeks, according to a New York Times database; six months ago, the average was roughly 12,000 new cases a day.
The Biden administration’s pandemic response has relied heavily on vaccinations — too heavily, in the view of some experts, who have argued for months that testing and mask-wearing are also essential to containing the virus, and will become even more so if the Omicron variant is found to evade protection from vaccines.

The variant was first spotted by scientists in southern Africa and is now known to be present in more than 30 countries including the United States. It has mutations that scientists say may allow it to spread more quickly and cause more breakthrough infections in vaccinated or previously infected people, though neither characteristic has yet been confirmed.

In the United States, home coronavirus tests have been relatively hard to come by because of supply shortages, and they are expensive — as much as $25 apiece. Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University, said that rather than have people go through the cumbersome process of seeking insurance reimbursement for tests, “we should just subsidize them and make it incredibly cheap.”

In Britain, he noted, rapid tests are free, and in Germany they cost consumers about $1 apiece.

Reimbursement for at-home tests in the United States will not happen immediately, and will not be retroactive, the senior administration officials said, adding that federal agencies would issue guidance by Jan. 15 to clarify that insurers would have to reimburse people for at-home tests during the Covid-19 public health emergency. It was unclear how many tests a person could be reimbursed for buying.

Private insurers already cover the cost of coronavirus tests administered in doctor’s offices and other medical facilities. At least eight at-home tests are on the U.S. market.

Looking forward, experts envision a world where people will test themselves as soon as they exhibit symptoms — and then, if they are positive, would go into quarantine and seek treatment with new antiviral medicines that are in development. The White House says it is taking steps to secure 13 million courses of antiviral treatments.

Mr. Biden’s new strategy will extend the current mask mandate for people on airplanes, trains and buses, and in terminals and transit hubs, through mid-March.

Only six states now require people to wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of their vaccination status. Three more — California, New York and Connecticut — require masks indoors for people who are unvaccinated.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/12/02 ... iant-covid


A second case of Omicron was discovered in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Thursday that it has a confirmed case of the COVID-19 omicron variant in a resident with a recent travel history to New York City.

Officials only identified the patient with the omicron variant as a vaccinated adult male who lives in Hennepin County.

They said he developed mild symptoms on November 22 and sought COVID-19 testing on November 24.

The person spoke with MDH case investigators and reported traveling to New York City and attended the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 18-20.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the assumption is that there has been community spread.

"We are aware of a case of the Omicron variant identified in Minnesota that is associated with travel to a conference in New York City, and we should assume there is community spread of the variant in our city," he said. "We are working closely with the state and the CDC, as well as the Javits Center's event organizers, and our Test and Trace Corps will be contacting conference attendees. This conference required masks and complied with our Key2NYC requirement to mandate vaccination. Anyone who attended the AnimeNYC conference, especially anyone experiencing symptoms, should get tested immediately and take additional precautions, including social distancing. I urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, wear a face mask while indoors and in public, and help our city beat this virus once and for all."
https://abc7ny.com/omicron-variant-minn ... /11293277/

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"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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