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D.C. businesses prepare to enforce new mandate
Pop-up covid test sites have ballooned as demand surges. Officials warn consumers to be cautious.
U.S. reaches 1,819 daily average deaths, the highest since early October
CVS, Walgreens say some locations will temporarily close as infections strain workforce
Google temporarily requires workers going to office to present negative coronavirus test, even if vaccinated
CDC: N95 masks offer superior protection to cloth coverings and other masks
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he regrets not speaking out ‘louder’ against shutdowns
Arkansas inmates sue jail, doctor for treating them with ivermectin
Americans will be able to order free rapid tests beginning Jan. 19 on new federal website
Doctors call out Spotify over Joe Rogan spreading ‘false and societally harmful’ covid-19 claims
Omicron puts new stress on nursing homes and long-term care facilities
FEMA administrator announces funds for states that use National Guard troops to help hospitals during spike
Biden administration threatens to rescind stimulus funds from Arizona over anti-mask school policy
A professor called students ‘vectors of disease to me.’ He has been suspended.
Hong Kong’s hotly anticipated Lunar New Year fairs will be canceled for another year
D.C. businesses prepare to enforce new mandate
Pop-up covid test sites have ballooned as demand surges. Officials warn consumers to be cautious.
U.S. reaches 1,819 daily average deaths, the highest since early October
CVS, Walgreens say some locations will temporarily close as infections strain workforce
Google temporarily requires workers going to office to present negative coronavirus test, even if vaccinated
CDC: N95 masks offer superior protection to cloth coverings and other masks
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he regrets not speaking out ‘louder’ against shutdowns
Arkansas inmates sue jail, doctor for treating them with ivermectin
Americans will be able to order free rapid tests beginning Jan. 19 on new federal website
Doctors call out Spotify over Joe Rogan spreading ‘false and societally harmful’ covid-19 claims
Omicron puts new stress on nursing homes and long-term care facilities
FEMA administrator announces funds for states that use National Guard troops to help hospitals during spike
Biden administration threatens to rescind stimulus funds from Arizona over anti-mask school policy
A professor called students ‘vectors of disease to me.’ He has been suspended.
Hong Kong’s hotly anticipated Lunar New Year fairs will be canceled for another year
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Free rapid coronavirus tests will be available online to ship to Americans beginning on Wednesday, but they won’t arrive until seven to 12 days after being ordered. Experts say that timeline may mean the tests arrive too late to significantly blunt the impact of the omicron surge along the Eastern Seaboard, which may be beginning to slow.
The tests, made available through the website covidtests.gov, will be shipped through the Postal Service’s first-class mail. Yet, processing delays may slow down the tests’ arrival at a time when testing centers have reported staggering wait times and Americans have lined up for hours to get tested.
Here’s what to know
Starting Saturday, people across Washington, D.C., will need to flash a vaccination card and matching ID before catching a game, grabbing a drink or hitting the gym.
Over the past few weeks, businesses have been gearing up to implement Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s (D) new mandate, which requires patrons of indoor businesses to show proof of vaccination and matching identification. The new rule will be enforced for sit-down restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters and most other public places where people spend long periods sitting inside. Grocery stores, retail stores and houses of worship are among the locations exempt.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
First there was bootleg hand sanitizer, counterfeit KN95 masks and vaccine cards. Now, nearly two years into the pandemic, the scam variant of concern involves testing.
Attorneys general in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Oregon have issued consumer alert warnings in recent days about questionable covid tests and pop-up sites. Complaints include markups on at-home test kits and sites in New York that wrongfully billed patients for tests that are free; fake at-home tests being sold in Michigan and testing centers in Illinois that return dubious results — or none at all.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
For the first time, the United States has surpassed the weekly average of 800,000 coronavirus cases a day in an explosive growth of infections fueled by the highly transmissible omicron variant — bleak news especially as hospitalizations and deaths also have climbed to new recent records.
On Friday, the country’s toll reached 1,819 daily deaths averaged over the past seven days, the highest since early October, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. Meanwhile, eight states and Puerto Rico set new records for confirmed and suspected covid-19 hospitalizations: Delaware, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.
Two of the largest retail pharmacies in the United States are temporarily closing some of their locations over the weekend as a wave of coronavirus infections has strained the already stretched workforce.
CVS and Walgreens, two drugstore chains with thousands of locations across the country, are scrambling to make up for the staffing shortages, which come as the retail pharmacies have handled an “unprecedented” demand for at-home coronavirus tests and led vaccination efforts.
Walgreens said in a statement that “the vast majority” of its stores will remain open. However, the ongoing labor shortage combined with the surge of cases has led to “isolated instances” when stores have had to adjust operating hours or temporarily close.
Google will temporarily require all workers who come into its offices to present a negative coronavirus test, even if they’re vaccinated. The move comes as the omicron variant spreads throughout the United States, leading to record case numbers.
“We hope that this is something you are already doing, but during this period of heightened risk we are making it a matter of policy to get a weekly molecular test if you are coming into the office,” Google Chief Health Officer Karen DeSalvo said in a Thursday email to employees that was obtained by The Washington Post. A Google spokesperson confirmed the policy change.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided its most explicit guidance to date Friday on the superior protection offered by N95 masks compared to cloth coverings and other masks.
But the agency stopped short of recommending that people opt for N95 masks in updating its mask guidance. Officials have always maintained that the best mask is the one that fits well and is worn consistently.
But the latest CDC information ranks the different levels of protection afforded by different masks and how they should be used. “Loosely woven cloth coverings” offer the least protection, the updated guidance says. Well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95 masks offer more protection. And well-fitting respirators, including N95 masks, which are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “offer the highest level of protection.”
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he regrets not speaking “louder” against the Trump administration’s calls for lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic.
Speaking to the conservative podcast “Ruthless,” DeSantis said that in the earlier days of the pandemic he never thought the virus would lead to lockdowns in the country.
“I didn’t think that was on the radar,” DeSantis said. “I was dealing with, I had Pence and the CDC director down at Port Everglades talking about cruise ships the second week of March [2020]. No one was talking about shutting down the country. And I think, knowing now what I know … if that was a threat earlier, I would have been much louder about [it].”
Four inmates at a northwest Arkansas jail sued the facility and its doctor Thursday, alleging that they were unknowingly prescribed ivermectin to treat covid-19. Health officials have warned that the anti-parasitic drug should not be used to treat infections with the coronavirus.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the detainees against the Washington County jail, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder and physician Robert Karas.
The inmates said they were never told ivermectin was among the medications they had been given. They said they were given the drug in August after testing positive, according to the lawsuit.
The federal website where Americans can order free coronavirus rapid tests will be launched Wednesday and allow each household to order up to four tests, senior administration officials said Friday.
The website, called covidtest.gov, will require that users provide their names and addresses to receive the tests. The government purchased 500 million rapid tests that will be available to every household, and will limit to four the number of tests sent to each address, the senior officials said during a briefing with reporters.
A coalition of hundreds of doctors and public health experts have called out Spotify for allowing Joe Rogan to spread “false and societally harmful assertions” about coronavirus and vaccination on the streaming platform that hosts his wildly popular podcast.
In an open letter published Monday, more than 270 medical professionals urge Spotify to stop “enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance.” Rogan, whose show reaches an estimated audience of 11 million people an episode, has repeatedly downplayed the need for coronavirus vaccines and used his giant platform to flirt with misinformation about covid-19.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
The American Health Care Association issued an update Wednesday on the omicron variant’s impact on the 14,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities it represents across the country. From Dec. 19 to Jan. 9, cases increased from 4,000 to 32,000 among residents and from 6,000 to 57,000 among staff.
The following day, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal vaccine mandate for health-care workers, the AHCA issued another statement, calling for leniency and for a regular testing option for unvaccinated staff members.
Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, announced during a White House news briefing Friday that the Biden administration will provide funding to states that send their National Guard troops to aid hospitals overwhelmed by a surge in coronavirus cases.
“Since March of 2020, since the beginning of this pandemic, thousands of federal personnel have deployed all over our country,” Criswell said, adding that National Guard troops have helped medical facilities across the country continue running through some of the worst moments of the pandemic. “For that reason, with the president’s support, I am now directing an expansion of our FEMA policy to permit funding to states who elect to use their National Guard troops to fill these critical support roles in hospitals during every disaster.”
Arizona’s plans to use roughly $170 million awarded under the American Rescue Plan to promote a ban on school mask mandates isn’t sitting well with the Biden administration.
In a rare move, the Treasury Department told aides to the state’s Republican leader, Gov. Doug Ducey, that they have 60 days to reprogram the funding in a way that befits its original intent as an investment to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is an excerpt from a full story.
Some college students in Michigan might have expected their professor to cover the usual topics in a video kicking off the semester this week — attendance, grading, plagiarism. But Barry Mehler gave them a lot more than the basics.
Mehler, a history professor at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., told his students he didn’t want to know anything about them, not even their names, because “you people are just vectors of disease to me.”
The 74-year-old said it didn’t matter how hard they worked in his class since he randomly predetermined their grades.
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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