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Biden says unvaccinated face 'winter of severe illness and death,' encourages Americans to get booster – The Washington Post

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‘Omicron is here’: New surges of infections across northeast and Midwest fuel fears of impending fifth wave
Should healthy, vaccinated pro athletes who test positive play on? Not yet, experts say.
Biden says unvaccinated face ‘winter of severe illness and death,’ encourages Americans to get booster
New York City to distribute at-home tests, KN95 masks
Biden’s vaccine policy for private companies will be heard by three-judge panel
CDC advisers recommend Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J, citing rare blood-clotting condition linked to 9 deaths
In lawsuit, fired employee of radio host Dave Ramsey says staff was told to ‘pray away’ covid
Army officials: 98 percent of soldiers vaccinated, but nearly 4,000 refusing shots
Germany seeks to buy additional vaccine doses from across Europe to battle omicron surge
Key coronavirus updates from around the world
Regeneron and AstraZeneca give mixed results on potency of coronavirus antibody cocktails against omicron
Colleges move exams online, urge boosters as cases rise and omicron fears grow
Omicron has ‘extraordinary ability to transmit efficiently,’ Fauci says
Analysis: Americans are united by their weariness over the pandemic
Britain’s queen cancels traditional pre-Christmas family lunch over omicron concerns
‘Omicron is here’: New surges of infections across northeast and Midwest fuel fears of impending fifth wave
Should healthy, vaccinated pro athletes who test positive play on? Not yet, experts say.
Biden says unvaccinated face ‘winter of severe illness and death,’ encourages Americans to get booster
New York City to distribute at-home tests, KN95 masks
Biden’s vaccine policy for private companies will be heard by three-judge panel
CDC advisers recommend Pfizer, Moderna vaccines over J&J, citing rare blood-clotting condition linked to 9 deaths
In lawsuit, fired employee of radio host Dave Ramsey says staff was told to ‘pray away’ covid
Army officials: 98 percent of soldiers vaccinated, but nearly 4,000 refusing shots
Germany seeks to buy additional vaccine doses from across Europe to battle omicron surge
Key coronavirus updates from around the world
Regeneron and AstraZeneca give mixed results on potency of coronavirus antibody cocktails against omicron
Colleges move exams online, urge boosters as cases rise and omicron fears grow
Omicron has ‘extraordinary ability to transmit efficiently,’ Fauci says
Analysis: Americans are united by their weariness over the pandemic
Britain’s queen cancels traditional pre-Christmas family lunch over omicron concerns
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President Biden, during a meeting of his coronavirus task force, issued a dire warning to Americans who haven’t yet received their vaccine as the nation prepares to battle the omicron variant.
“For [the] unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death,” Biden said.
Biden urged Americans to get their coronavirus shots, whether it is their first one or a booster. The omicron variant, he said, is in the nation, and it is “going to start to spread much more rapidly at the beginning of the year, and the only real protection is to get your shot.”
As the holidays near in many parts of the world, some countries are putting in place new restrictions to stem the tide and many people are taking new precautions.
What to know about the omicron variant of the coronavirus
Here’s what to know
States across the Northeast and Midwest are reporting an increasing number of new coronavirus cases, worrying officials as the country lurches into the holiday season amid fears about the omicron variant.
New York, the first epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, is recording an average of nearly 12,000 new cases per day — the most in the country, according to data analyzed by The Washington Post. On Thursday, the state reported 18,276 infections, its third-highest tally ever.
Health experts there have attributed the rise in part to the omicron variant, and New York City officials announced plans to distribute 500,000 at-home coronavirus tests and a million KN95 masks to combat the concerning trend.
Coronavirus cases have spiked this week across North American professional sports despite sky-high vaccination rates among players and staffs. Sidelined stars, postponed games and disrupted seasons have doused any promise that vaccines would restore normalcy to the sports world. One month away from the NFL playoffs and barely a week out from the NBA’s annual Christmas Day showcase, both leagues are again mired in covid-related obstacles.
Among the rash of players unavailable to play after testing positive, the vast majority are vaccinated and many are asymptomatic. So in a time of widely available vaccines and booster shots, would it be safe for sports leagues to allow vaccinated, asymptomatic players who test positive for the coronavirus to play in games?
This is an excerpt from a full story.
President Biden, during a meeting of his coronavirus task force, issued a dire warning to Americans who haven’t yet received their vaccine as the nation prepares to battle the omicron variant.
“For [the] unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death,” Biden said.
“Due to the steps we’ve taken, omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would have otherwise done,” he said. “But it is here now, and it’s spreading, and it’s going to increase.”
Biden urged Americans to get their coronavirus shots, whether it is their first one or a booster. The omicron variant, he said, is in the nation, and it is “going to start to spread much more rapidly at the beginning of the year, and the only real protection is to get your shot.”
New York City plans to give out 500,000 at-home coronavirus tests and a million KN95 masks amid a rise in infections sparked in part by the omicron variant, officials announced Thursday.
In recent weeks, the city has seen what health commissioner Dave A. Chokshi called “an alarming trend.” The seven-day average of new covid cases has tripled in the last month, and all boroughs are experiencing high transmission. Hospitalizations, which lag cases, have “gone up steadily but not radically,” Chokski said. The variant accounts for about 13 percent of cases, and experts expect the share to rise.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected requests to initially review the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine or testing requirements for large private companies with a full complement of judges and will instead handle the case with the usual three-judge panel.
The decision divided the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and drew sharp dissents from a pair of judges who used the opportunity to express deep concerns about the legality of the administration’s policy, which is set to take effect Jan. 4.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that people seeking the safest and most effective vaccines or boosters go with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots, instead of those made by Johnson & Johnson.
The expert panel advised use of the two mRNA vaccines because of an increased risk of a potentially fatal blood-clot issue associated with the J&J shots. Nine deaths — seven women and two men, ages 28 to 62 — have been confirmed in connection with the J&J vaccine through September. Officials are looking at two additional deaths, but confirmation of the link to the vaccine has been difficult because of lack of medical information.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Days after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) declared a state of emergency in March 2020 over the coronavirus pandemic, Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey allegedly called 900 people with his company, Ramsey Solutions, to an in-person meeting. The evangelical radio host told staffers they would not be permitted to work from home, saying it showed a “weakness of spirit,” according to a new lawsuit.
Ramsey’s alleged remarks were troubling to at least one employee, Brad Amos, who this week filed the suit against Ramsey and his company, claiming he was retaliated against and ultimately fired for wanting to take precautions during the pandemic. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tennessee, where Ramsey Solutions is based, describes a “cult-like” workplace where employees were forced to share personal details about their lives and were told to “pray away” covid-19.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Army officials announced Thursday that 98 percent of the service’s active-duty force was at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus as a Wednesday deadline passed. But nearly 4,000 soldiers refused to get the shots, and thousands more had received temporary exemptions.
While the vast majority submitted to the military’s vaccination mandate, 3,864 soldiers did not comply, according to data released by the Army. An additional 6,263 were granted temporary medical or administrative exemptions. Permanent exemptions are expected to be rare, and officials have granted four for medical reasons and zero for religious reasons.
BERLIN — Germany’s health minister said Thursday that he was in negotiations with several European countries to buy their coronavirus vaccine doses for a booster campaign amid the surging omicron variant.
“Through a very aggressive and fast booster vaccination strategy, we will try to keep the omicron variant as small as possible to avoid overburdening the health-care system and possibly society at large,” Karl Lauterbach said at a news conference.
Germany has opened talks with Romania, Poland, Portugal and Bulgaria to purchase additional vaccine doses. Almost 88 percent of Portugal’s population has received at least one dose, while Bulgaria has the lowest vaccination rate in the European Union, with fewer than 27 percent of its population having received at least one dose, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca, makers of popular monoclonal antibody cocktails used as treatment for many coronavirus patients who have not been vaccinated, announced contrasting data Thursday about the potency of their covid-19 therapies against the omicron variant.
Regeneron, which warned earlier this month that its antibody treatment may not be as effective against the new variant, said data confirms it has “diminished potency” against omicron but remains useful against delta.
AstraZeneca, however, said that a lab study of Evusheld, the company’s coronavirus antibody cocktail, found that the treatment “retained neutralizing activity” against omicron. The study, conducted by independent investigators with the Food and Drug Administration, adds to “the growing body of preclinical evidence demonstrating that Evusheld retains activity against all tested variants of concern to date,” according to AstraZeneca.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Princeton and Cornell universities abruptly switched final exams online this week amid a rise in coronavirus cases among undergraduates on campus, including suspected cases of the omicron variant. Cornell also shut down many campus activities, including calling off a ceremony for December graduates.
In the nation’s capital, George Washington University officials announced Wednesday that all in-person events were canceled effective immediately, and exams from Friday onward would be held online for the remainder of the semester. The school and nearby Georgetown University had said a day earlier that they would require booster shots after the omicron variant was detected at the schools.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said Thursday that the omicron variant has “an extraordinary ability to transmit efficiently and spread.”
Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases predicted that omicron would soon become the dominant variant in the United States.
“We’ve seen that in South Africa,” Fauci said. “We’re seeing it in the U.K., and I’m absolutely certain that’s what we’re going to be seeing here relatively soon.”
One of the patterns that emerged early in the pandemic was that Democrats were more concerned about contracting the coronavirus than Republicans. That wasn’t true immediately; in mid-April 2020, three-quarters of Republicans expressed concern that they or a member of their families would become sick with covid-19. But then President Donald Trump’s rhetoric shifted and so did perceptions among members of his party.
Since then, there have been two broad universes in the country. One group expresses concern about the virus, advocates mask-wearing and has high rates of vaccination. The other group is not as worried, waves away masks and is more likely to shrug at vaccination. Those two groups also generally go by shorter descriptors: Democrats and Republicans.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.
Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.
Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.
Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.
Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.
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