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    Starbucks is no longer requiring its U.S. workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy it announced earlier this month. In a memo sent Tuesday to employees, the Seattle coffee giant said it was responding to last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 6-3 vote, the court rejected the Biden administration’s plan to require vaccines or regular COVID testing at companies with more than 100 workers. “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in the memo. On Jan. 3, Starbucks said it would require all employees to be vaccinated by Feb. 9 or face a weekly COVID test requirement. At the time, Culver said it was the responsibility of Starbucks’ leadership “to do whatever we can to help keep you safe and create the safest work environment possible.” In Tuesday’s memo, Culver said the company continues to strongly encourage vaccinations and booster shots. Starbucks required workers to reveal their vaccination status by Jan. 10. The company said Wednesday that 90% have reported and the “vast majority” are fully...
    KHNL-TV reported that Ige is also talking with mayors about the possibility of requiring boosters for event and restaurant access. The stations also reported that Ige is willing to make the possibility a mandate if Hawaii's hospitals became overrun and overwhelmed. According to Fox News, Hawaii's rolling 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases increased to at least 3,705 over the weekend, up from approximately 2,595 at the start of the year. At the time of this reporting, 75.2% of Hawaii's population is considered fully vaccinated under the state's current guidance.
    NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you plan on vacationing in Hawaii, make sure you get your booster shot.Hawaii's governor is changing the definition of "fully vaccinated" to include booster shots.Visitors who haven't had all three shots, the governor says, will have to quarantine for five days.The change won't go into effect for at least two weeks, so travelers have will time to plan accordingly.RELATED: What are the symptoms of the COVID omicron variant?Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:Daily cases, hospitalizations in New York continue to go downGov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that coronavirus cases across New York are continuing to decline across all regions of the state. That includes the 7-day average positive cases and COVID-19 hospitalizationsOmicron surge hasn't peaked nationwide, US surgeon general saysAreas that were among the first to get hit hard by the Omicron variant are starting to see their Covid-19 numbers level off or even improve. But that's not the case for much of the country, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said."There are parts of the country -- New York, in particular, and other...
    OMICRON is still spreading throughout the UK, with thousands testing positive each day. Knowing the signs is important, as it means you stand less chance of accidentally passing on the virus. 2Nine symptoms keep popping up in the unvaccinated, according to an expertCredit: Alamy A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta. Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said. The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions. Symptoms are appearing to be slightly different in people who have been vaccinated against Covid. Professor Tim Spector, behind the ZOE Symptom Study App, where people log how they are feeling with the virus, revealed around nine symptoms that keep popping up. He told newsGP: "Back in 2020, it quickly became clear that the original and Alpha versions of...
    Travelers to Hawaii will now have to show proof of having received the coronavirus booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated. Under the state’s current “Safe Travels” program, visitors to the state must quarantine for five days or test negative for the coronavirus within one day of travel if they are not fully vaccinated, which previously meant two doses of the Pfizer/Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The new guidelines will now include booster shots in order for people to skip quarantine. Speaking to Hawaii News Now, Gov. David Ige (D) said the new guidelines will not be implemented for another two weeks, allowing visitors to adjust. “We know that the community needs time to react to that, so we would have to provide at least two weeks for those who may not be up-to-date to go to have the opportunity to go and get vaccinated if they need to,” he said. Ige added that he will discuss with county mayors about whether or not to require booster shots for access to restaurants, bars, and other...
    Hawaii will require tourists to get their COVID-19 booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated avoid a mandatory five day quarantine on arrival. Gov. David Ige announced plans for the new Safe Travels policy during a press conference last week. ‘We want to see a booster shot for those who are fully vaccinated within five or six months of completing their vaccination regiment,' he said. 'We are looking to see what actions are necessary to implement that in Safe Travels.’  Under the current regulations, travelers who do not wish to quarantine must have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A negative COVID test taken within one day of travel is also sufficient to avoid quarantine. Ige's announcement comes as Hawaii reports a spike in positive COVID cases, as well as rising hospitalization and mortality rates — likely due to the surging Omicron variant which is impacting citizens nationwide. In the pas two weeks, the number of COVID deaths in America has risen by 36 percent even as the Omicron...
    CHICAGO (CBS) — Five days after testing positive for COVID-19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is out of isolation and looking forward to resuming a normal schedule. “Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me and sent their well wishes. I am happy to report I am feeling fine, and have completed my required isolation period. I look forward to resuming my regular schedule and will continue to adhere to the relevant public health guidelines,” Lightfoot said in a statement Monday afternoon. READ MORE: Family Of Amazon Delivery Driver Killed When Tornado Hit Downstate Warehouse To File LawsuitThe mayor tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and had been working from home ever since. She is fully vaccinated and received a booster shot in November. CDC guidelines recommend people who have been fully vaccinated and then test positive for the virus isolate for at least five days, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others to reduce the risk of infecting others. READ MORE: Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin Joins Republican Primary For Illinois GovernorLightfoot’s last public...
    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece Monday imposed a vaccination mandate for people over age 60, as coverage remains below the European Union average and a recent spike in infections has sustained pressure on hospitals. Older people failing to get vaccinated will face penalties, starting at a 50-euro ($57) fine in January and followed by a monthly fine of 100 euros ($114) after that. About two-thirds of Greece’s 10.7 million population is currently fully vaccinated — the EU average is just over 70%. The rate of death and daily hospitalizations has increased following the recent spread of the omicron variant, though pressure on ICU capacity has eased slightly. Health Minister Thanos Plevris said fines would be collected through the tax office with the money to be used to help fund state hospitals. “The age factor is important because of its impact on the public health service,” Plevris told private Open TV on Sunday. A vaccination mandate was imposed for health care workers last year. And starting Feb. 1, vaccination certificates for adults will expire after seven...
    Maryland Representative David Trone said he has tested positive for COVID-19 but has only experienced mild symptoms. In a statement on Saturday, Trone said that he planned to vote by proxy the following week and will continue to isolate and recover at home. Trone also said he’s fully vaccinated and boosted and encourages others to get vaccinated. Today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m fully vaccinated + boosted, and am only experiencing mild symptoms. I’ll be voting by proxy this week. In the meantime, I’ll use my saved commute time to continue telling folks to #GetVaccinated so we can finally end this damn pandemic! — Rep. David Trone (@RepDavidTrone) January 16, 2022 The Maryland Democrat’s announcement followed the completion of a telephone workshop on stopping the spread of COVID-19 and reports of hospitals moving to crisis standards of care. Congressman Trone was the latest local leader to test positive for the virus, following reports that Representative Dutch Ruppersberger tested positive on Jan 11. At the time, Ruppersberger acknowledged that [he was having mild/severe/no symptoms] I tested positive for COVID-19...
    (CNN)Health care workers covered by the Biden administration's vaccine mandate will have until March 15 to be fully vaccinated in the 24 states where the requirement was reinstated by the Supreme Court, the agency implementing the policy said Friday. Twenty-five states and Washington, DC, continue to face a February 28 deadline for covered health care workers to be fully vaccinated, as the mandate had not been blocked in those states before the Supreme Court order that came down Thursday.The mandate -- issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- remains blocked in Texas. How the Supreme Court rules during a pandemic shows what may happen nextTexas had brought its own lawsuit challenging the mandate separate from the cases that were before the Supreme Court and the preliminary injunction that was issued in that case last year still stands.RELATED: How the Supreme Court rules during a pandemic shows what may happen nextRead MoreThe mandate covers health care workers at facilitates that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. On Thursday, by a 5-4...
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia on Friday began a fourth round of vaccinations against the coronavirus in response to the omicron variant, with high-risk groups being among the first to receive the additional boosters. Frontline medical staff and members of the armed forces were among those lining up at hospitals and clinics. Government ministers, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, also received booster doses on Friday. Hun Sen has appealed to all Cambodian people to get fully vaccinated, including a booster, saying on his Facebook page that it is the only way to make sure to keep their families and communities safe from COVID-19. A campaign to have people get their third jabs is still ongoing. The country’s first case of the highly transmissible omicron variant was confirmed in mid-December in a 23-year-old woman who returned from Ghana. Cambodia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on November 15, two weeks earlier than originally planned, in a move aimed at revitalizing the country’s economic and social activity. Cambodia’s vaccination drive started slowly but ramped up quickly. Children aged 5 and...
                 State Representative Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) responded to Minnesota’s new COVID vaccine incentives for kids, calling it bribery and coercion. The state of Minnesota and Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that they will be giving every family of 5 to 11-year-old children $200 for getting fully vaccinated in the months of January and February. Minnesota will also be hosting drawings later on in the spring for fully vaccinated 5 to 11-year-olds to win a $100,000 college scholarship. The state already hosted a similar giveaway for 12 to 18-year-olds. According to the state of Minnesota’s website, “Minnesota families are able to receive one $200 Visa gift card per each eligible 5 to 11 year old fully vaccinated between January 1 — February 28.” The children must obtain both their first and second dose of the vaccine within the timeframe. Walz tweeted out, “That’s cash in your pocket for starting the year off right by protecting your child from COVID.” Big news: Starting this month, families who get their 5- to 11-year-olds vaccinated can get $200! That’s cash in your...
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea will slightly ease its coronavirus gathering restrictions starting next week but continue to maintain a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants and entertainment venues, as it braces for a possible surge in infections driven by the contagious omicron variant. Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said Friday the four-person limit on private social gatherings between fully vaccinated people will be raised to six for at least three weeks starting Monday. While officials have acknowledged frustration and fatigue with prolonged virus restrictions and the damage on small businesses, they say they couldn’t afford to loosen social distancing rules further when the country may face a huge wave of cases in coming weeks as omicron continues to spread. About 12% of South Korea’s infections reported last week were of the omicron variant and officials say it could become the country’s dominant in one or two weeks. Kwon raised concern that the spread could be accelerated by the Lunar New Year holiday break at the end of this month, when millions of people travel across the country to...
    By: KDKA-TV News Staff PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The University of Pittsburgh reported more than 400 new COVID-19 cases from Jan. 4 to Jan. 11. READ MORE: Pittsburgh Animal Rescue: Shelters 'Bursting At The Seams'According to the school’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, 209 students and 205 faculty and staff tested positive for the coronavirus at the Pittsburgh campus. READ MORE: Pittsburgh Public Schools Announces More Closures Due To COVID-19The school said more than 96 percent of students across all campuses are vaccinated, while 98 percent of faculty and 94 percent of staff are fully vaccinated. Recently, some students were disenrolled for the spring semester for not complying with the university’s vaccine mandate. MORE NEWS: As Some Struggle To Find Child Care, Rutledge Institute Provides Unique OpportunityIn November, Pitt announced it would be following the Biden administration’s federal mandate, requiring all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 6.
    SCOTUS blocks vaccine-or-test rule for businesses, but mandate remains for health care workersThe Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job. At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S.Nurse in Italy caught faking shots, ditching COVID vaccine, police sayPolice in Italy have arrested a nurse on charges that he faked giving coronavirus vaccinations to at least 45 people so they could get a health pass fraudulently, ditching vaccines in a bin and even putting bandages on his "patients" so no one would suspect the scam.ER director at LA hospital says he and his staff are '100% broken and in complete disaster mode'An emergency room director in Los Angeles is shedding light on the severity of the COVID-19 surge inside his facility, saying he and his staff are "100% broken" and in "complete disaster mode." During a phone interview with ABC News...
    The United States Army reprimanded six active-duty commanders for refusing to comply with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all military ranks.   The Army did not specify the rank of the punished officers, though it included two battalion commanders who were relieved of their duties. In addition, 2,994 soldiers received written reprimands for refusing the vaccine out of the 3,611 troops who have yet to get the jab.  The Army has yet to initiate separations for soldiers refusing the vaccine. but expects further guidance this month.  Over 96 percent of of the roughly 481,000 active-duty soldiers in the largest military branch have been fully vaccinated and more than 97 percent are partially vaccinated. The Army Reserves remain at about 73 percent fully vaccinated.  There are about 57,000 officers serving at the level of captain or above in the US Army, meaning around 0.01 percent of commanding officers were punished for not getting the jab.   Over 96 percent of active-duty soldiers in the US Armed Forces have been fully vaccinated against the virus and over 97 percent partially vaccinated Secretary...
    Germany's president called Wednesday for a thorough debate over plans for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for all adults in the country, saying such a drastic measure needs to be fully justified.  Chancellor Olaf Scholz has backed calls for a vaccine mandate and lawmakers are expected to begin debating a bill later this month. Polls show a majority of people in Germany back compulsory vaccination against COVID-19, but a vocal minority opposes the idea.  "I, for one, consider it necessary and will actively campaign for it," Scholz told lawmakers in parliament in Berlin, adding that not getting vaccinated was not a personal decision since it has consequences for the entire society.  COVID-19: GERMANY TO TIGHTEN RESTAURANT RULES WHILE CUTTING QUARANTINE TIME  German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks about the pros and cons of mandatory vaccination to overcome the Covid 19 pandemic in Germany at the start of a discussion with guests, as well as digitally connected participants, at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.  (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP) "There’s no decision you make just for yourself, and that’s...
    BROOKLINE (CBS) – The Town of Brookline will require proof of COVID vaccination to enter many businesses starting Saturday. Proof of vaccination will be required in sit-down restaurants, gyms, and indoor recreation entertainments, recreation and event venues. That includes restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, though the requirement does not apply for businesses offering takeout food only. The town said the new order will take effect in phases. Starting Saturday, anyone 12 and older must provide proof they received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Phase 2 begins February 22, when everyone 12 and up must prove they are fully vaccinated. The third phase begins March 22, when customers 5-11 years old must show they have received at least one dose. By May 1, all customers 5 and older must be fully vaccinated to enter applicable businesses. Brookline officials said violators face fines of $300. Public safety, public health, and emergency services personnel are exempt from the policy. No proof of vaccination will be required for people entering businesses for a “quick, limited purpose” such as using a...
    As the omicron variant spreads like wildfire across the United States, it's likely just about everybody will be exposed to the strain, but vaccinated people will still fare better, the nation's leading infectious disease expert said Tuesday."Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody," Dr. Anthony Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Those who have been vaccinated ... and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death."In contrast, those who are not vaccinated are "going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this," he added.Across the United States, at least one in five eligible Americans -- roughly 65 million people-- are not vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 62% of the country has been fully vaccinated, but only 23% are fully vaccinated and boosted, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Fauci's comments...
    By Travis Caldwell, Jason Hanna, Deidre McPhillips and Christina Maxouris, CNN (CNN) — As the Omicron variant spreads like wildfire across the United States, it’s likely just about everybody will be exposed to the strain, but vaccinated people will still fare better, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert said Tuesday. “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.” In contrast, those who are not vaccinated are “going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” he added. Across the United States, at least one in five eligible Americans — roughly 65 million people– are not vaccinated against Covid-19. More than 62% of the country has been fully vaccinated, but only 23% are...
                 New findings from the University of Florida (UF) show the omicron variant’s sweep through Florida will likely peak around mid-January 2022. The findings also showed the newest variant will likely result in fewer deaths due to being the least severe of the COVID variants. “Preliminary data suggest that omicron infections may be less severe than those caused by delta, particularly among vaccinated people,” the report said. “This means that despite causing more infections, it is possible that substantially fewer deaths will result from the omicron wave. We estimate that omicron will cause 1/3 as many deaths as were caused by delta.” UF’s researchers also said many infections will likely take place. “We find that the omicron wave in Florida is likely to cause many more infections than occurred during the delta wave, potentially infecting most of the state’s population in this wave alone,” the researchers said. The data also indicated that COVID booster shots could add protections for Floridians. “Preliminary data suggest that boosting may dramatically increase protection against disease caused by omicron infections,” one of the findings...
    (CNN)It's one of the biggest rivalries in college football, but -- while their teams will duke it out on the field Monday night -- familiar faces from the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama will also unite against a "common opponent": Covid-19.University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne and University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart are participating in a television ad that will air during the College Football Playoff National Championship game Monday night, with both encouraging viewers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and get their booster shots."We're rivals on the field, but off it -- we face a common opponent: Covid," Byrne says in the ad."And now Omicron is lining up for a blitz," Smart adds, calling Covid-19 vaccines and boosters "our best defense."The 30-second ad, paid for by the US Department of Health and Human Services, comes as the Biden administration is working to find creative ways to reach more Americans and press the importance of vaccination, particularly as the Omicron variant surges across the country.Read MoreThe attempt to reach an audience that isn't usually...
    BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia is easing coronavirus restrictions after a decline in new infections while the fast-spreading omicron variant is yet to fully hit the country. The changes include the cancellation Monday of the overnight curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. The move allows bars and restaurants, stores and others to stay open without restrictions. Only fully vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to enter bars, restaurants, hotels, ski resorts, religious services and stores selling nonessential goods. Elementary and high schools fully reopened. but schoolchildren and students have to wear face coverings. The government also decided to partially lift restrictions for various public events, including concerts and sport competitions, allowing the number of spectators to reach up to 50% of capacity. In the case of high-risk events, such as weddings, parties, discotheques and others, up to 20 people can attend. Only the vaccinated or those who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible. Under the delta variant, Slovakia had faced a record surge of infections recently, but new cases have been on the decline...
    Eduardo Parra/Contacto/Zuma Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.We know that there’s no better way to prevent severe illness and death from the rapidly spreading Omicron variant than getting boosted. Receiving a booster after being fully vaccinated for five months, according to one study, reduced mortality by 90 percent. Yet booster shot outreach efforts are facing a big problem: We don’t know exactly who is getting boosted. The data is, frankly, a mess. And that stops public health workers on the state and local level from taking the actions they need to combat the coronavirus. One of the most glaring issues is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t publicly report racial and ethnic information on booster shot recipients under age 65, even though it does so for people fully vaccinated people and those who have received at least one dose. No word yet from the CDC on why that is. But for a disease that has killed and infected Black, Indigenous, and Latino people at higher rates than Asian...
                 The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Thursday declined to comment on recently revealed revelations that Pfizer is not currently shipping its fully Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine called Comirnaty in the United States. Instead, Pfizer continues to ship – and healthcare providers continue to distribute – the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, which has only received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval from the FDA. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the United States’ COVID-19 response, touted the FDA’s approval of Comirnaty on August 23, the date that the government agency gave the vaccine its stamp of full approval. “There are those individuals who understandably, in some respects, don’t want to get vaccinated until they get the full stamp of approval. I believe that that will mean – and this is purely an estimate,” he said on NPR. “But I think there are probably about 20 or more percent of people who are not getting vaccinated among the 90 million or so people who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not gotten vaccinated – I believe that those...
    By John Bonifield, CNN (CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for Covid-19 prevention in K-12 schools on Thursday, aligning the recommendations with the agency’s recently updated Covid-19 quarantine and isolation guidelines for the general public. It also expands its recommendations for screening testing and urges canceling or going virtual with some extracurricular and sports activities in order to protect in-person learning. The new K-12 school recommendations say children who have not been fully vaccinated and are exposed to the coronavirus should quarantine for at least five days after their last close contact with a person who has Covid-19. Adults who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have not received a booster shot are advised to follow this recommendation, too. Previously, the CDC K-12 guidance recommended a 14-day at-home quarantine for people exposed to the coronavirus who were not fully vaccinated. The new K-12 recommendations say students, teachers and staff with Covid-19 should stay home and isolate away from others for at least five full days. Day 0 is considered the first...
    (CNN)The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for Covid-19 prevention in K-12 schools on Thursday, aligning the recommendations with the agency's recently updated Covid-19 quarantine and isolation guidelines for the general public. It also expands its recommendations for screening testing and urges canceling or going virtual with some extracurricular and sports activities in order to protect in-person learning.The new K-12 school recommendations say children who have not been fully vaccinated and are exposed to the coronavirus should quarantine for at least five days after their last close contact with a person who has Covid-19. Adults who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have not received a booster shot are advised to follow this recommendation, too.What parents should know about sending kids back to school during OmicronPreviously, the CDC K-12 guidance recommended a 14-day at-home quarantine for people exposed to the coronavirus who were not fully vaccinated. The new K-12 recommendations say students, teachers and staff with Covid-19 should stay home and isolate away from others for at least five full days. Day 0 is considered...
    Devastated friends and family of a healthy 23-year-old who died this week after being hospitalised for Covid-19 have pleaded with the public to take the virus seriously. James Kondilios, a respected young scientist and powerlifter who lived in Canberra, was double vaccinated and had no underlying health issues, but died on Tuesday at St Vincent's Hospital. He was being treated there after suffering severe complications from Covid-19, leaving his loved ones in shock.  In a heartbreaking tribute, Mr Kondilios's friend Julia Adamcewicz said his death was a warning that 'even the strongest and wisest can be taken from this world before their time'. 'Yesterday was a reminder that this battle with Covid we have all been a part of for the last few years is not something to be taken lightly as even the healthiest people can be taken far too young.'  James Kondilios, 23, died in a Sydney hospital after testing positive to Covid-19 despite being double vaccinated and having no underlying health conditions Mr Kondilios's friend Julia Adamcewicz said his death from Covid-19 was a warning that 'even the strongest...
    White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified the decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep the definition of "fully vaccinated" as two coronavirus shots rather than three, despite evidence a third COVID-19 dose may be necessary to stave off serious infection from the omicron variant. “Consistent with how public health has historically viewed or even talked about how we recommend vaccines, we are now recommending that individuals stay up to date with additional doses that they are eligible for,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during the announcement at Wednesday's White House COVID-19 briefing. Psaki was asked during Thursday's White House press briefing what the "point" is "of calling someone fully vaccinated with only that primary series of shots if the science is showing that that's not enough to protect them?" "What the CDC is advising is for everyone to be up to date on their shots," the White House's top spokesperson responded. "That means if you're scheduled at that point to have a booster, you should get a booster, and that is true. That is how...
    The NCAA has also changed its quarantine and isolation requirements following recent updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who contract COVID-19 are required to quarantine for just five days after a positive test and may end their isolation if they have no symptoms or symptoms are resolving after that period. After leaving quarantine, a person who tested positive must wear a face mask for another five days. On the sixth day after quarantine ends, student-athletes can fully participate in athletic activities provided they have a negative PCR/NAAT test or antigen test. This is a significant change in policy that means any athlete, vaccinated or unvaccinated, may play games five days after a positive COVID-19 test as long as they test negative for the virus. The NCAA said that close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or if they have recovered from a recent coronavirus infection but should wear a mask around others for 10 days when not actively training or...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials said Wednesday they are not changing the qualifications for being “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, but they are urging Americans to stay “up to date” on their protection against the virus by getting booster shots when eligible. The move to keep the existing definition of fully vaccinated — either two doses of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — comes as health officials warned of waning protections from the initial doses. They are encouraging Americans to get additional doses to stave off serious illness and death from the delta and omicron variants. The decision to keep the initial definition, established more than a year ago when the vaccines first rolled out, means that federal vaccination mandates for travel or employment won’t require a booster dose. Maintaining the existing definition of “fully vaccinated” could make it more difficult to encourage some Americans who only begrudgingly got their primary doses of the vaccine to get boosted, since they would not face onerous restrictions often imposed on...
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Wednesday update that staying "up to date" on COVID-19 vaccinations means getting a booster shot.  The agency said that people who are up to date with their vaccines are "well protected from serious illness or other health outcomes." US ADVISERS ENDORSE PFIZER COVID BOOSTERS FOR YOUNGER TEENS "CDC recommends that people remain up to date with their vaccines, which includes additional doses for individuals who are immunocompromised or booster doses at regular time points. Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary shot and a booster shot," the agency said. Pharmacist Kenni Clark injects Robert Champion, of Lawrence, Mass., with a booster dosage of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's "The Center," which serves seniors, families and the community, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Lawrence. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) According to CDC data, 206.8 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the disease and 72.3 million people have received a booster dose.  Officials have urged all Americans who are eligible to...
    BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand reported its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in weeks on Thursday after a holiday season in which people traveled and gathered in large numbers amid the rapid spread of the omicron variant. Officials recorded 5,775 new cases, prompting the Ministry of Public Health to raise the official warning level to 4 on a scale of 5, permanent secretary Kiatiphume Wongrajit said. The warning level had been at 3 since the end of December. Under level 4, the ministry recommends closing high-risk venues, including those with poor ventilation, increasing restrictions on interprovincial travel, limiting group sizes in public places and lengthening quarantine requirements for travelers entering Thailand. The ministry has submitted a proposal to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, to ramp up virus restrictions due to the jump in cases. The CCSA is to meet on Friday and is expected to make a decision on the new measures. ___ In developments elsewhere in Asia: VIETNAM Vietnam continues to ease virus restrictions in some major cities despite well over 10,000...
    ROME (AP) — The Italian government approved a measure Wednesday requiring people older than 50 to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. as the country struggles with nearly daily new records of fresh infections fueled by the omicron variant. Earlier in the day, 189,000 new infections were confirmed in the country of some 59 million people. “We want to put the brakes on the growth of the curve of contagion and push Italians who are still not vaccinated to do so,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi was quoted by an official in his office as telling his ministers at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday evening. The Cabinet voted unanimously to impose the mandate, which Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said puts Italy in the vanguard in Europe in cracking down on those who refuse to be vaccinated and who now account for the majority of patients in Italy’s rapidly filling ICU beds. Some 78% of Italy’s population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which can cause COVID-19. So far, about 36% have received a booster shot, which experts say is...
    In related news ... According to a report from the Associated Press, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday said that the agency is not changing the qualifications for being "fully vaccinated" against COVID-19, but is urging all Americans to be vigilant about remaining up to date with their shots — meaning that there is no federal mandate for booster shots as they pertain to travel or employment at this time. “Individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they’ve received their primary series,” Walensky said Wednesday. “That definition is not changing ... We are now recommending that individuals stay up to date with additional doses that they are eligible for." The report added that on Wednesday, the CDC revised an agency website that was initially titled "When You've Been Fully Vaccinated" to "Stay Up to Date with Vaccines." A spokesperson for the CDC explained, “[The] CDC will now use the phrase ‘up to date’ when talking about COVID-19 vaccination. CDC recommends that individuals stay ‘up to date’ by receiving any additional doses they are eligible for,...
    Office workers walk out for lunch break at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on January 4, 2022.Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images SINGAPORE — People in Singapore will lose their fully vaccinated status after 270 days if they do not take booster shots, the government announced on Wednesday. Protection from the primary series vaccination wanes and is "substantially reduced six months after the last dose," Singapore's health ministry said in a press release. The policy will be in force from Feb. 14, 2022. The Southeast Asian country is not the first to take such a step. Similar policies have been in place in Israel and Bahrain since October. In December, top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC that the definition of fully vaccinated could change. Boosters increase protection against infection and severe illness from the omicron variant, the ministry said. Around 87% of Singapore's total population has received two shots under the national vaccination program, and 42% of the population has received booster shots. "Fully vaccinated" statuses will expire after around nine months, but...
     Lupita Nyong'o tested positive for COVID-19. The Oscar winning actress tweeted her diagnosis on Tuesday morning, revealing that she was fully vaccinated and isolating. The movie star canceled her virtual interviews scheduled for her upcoming film, The 355, as well, according to Variety.  Lupita tweeted: 'I too have tested positive for COVID-19. I'm fully vaccinated and taking care in isolation, so I trust I will be well. Please do all you can to keep yourself and others protected from serious illness. #StayMaskedAndVaxxed.'  The latest: Lupita Nyong'o tested positive for COVID-19; seen June 15, 2021  Lupita stars in the film The 355 with co-stars Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Sebastian Stan. The movie, directed by Simon Kinberg, is about a group of top agents who try and retrieve a weapon before it falls in the wrong hands. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Kim Kardashian 'unfollows Miley Cyrus on Instagram'... after... Kim Kardashian shares throwback snaps with Khloe Kardashian... Amber Heard still drives around in the Tesla ex-boyfriend... Delilah Belle Hamlin...
    Sign up here to get our updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. On Tuesdays, MinnPost provides weekly updates that cover COVID-19 developments in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present. This week in COVID-19 news At the start of 2022, the omicron variant has contributed to a surge in positive cases of the coronavirus around the nation. The rise in cases during this latest wave has exceeded records during earlier stretches of the pandemic. Article continues after advertisement On Monday, just over 1 million cases were reported — a count that is likely higher due to people waiting to get tested until after the New Year’s holiday weekend but also sets a new record for cases reported in one day. Though disconcerting, experts believe less attention should be paid to reported case numbers and instead focus should shift to the number of people being admitted to the hospital. Hospital numbers have not spiked alongside the deluge of positive tests. Also, though the omicron variant is highly...
    President Joe Biden had separate messages for those vaccinated and those unvaccinated amid the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with his words to the former group likely to raise eyebrows. During a speech from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said, “Those are fully vaccinated especially those with the booster shots … you can still get Covid, but it’s highly unlikely, very unlikely, that you become seriously ill.” “And we’re seeing Covid-19 cases among vaccinated and workplaces across America, including here at the White House, but if you’re vaccinated and boosted, you are highly protected,” continued Biden. “You know, be concerned about Omicron, but don’t be alarmed. But if you’re unvaccinated, you have some reason as to be alarmed. “Many of you will, you know, you’ll experience severe illness in many cases if you get Covid-19 if you’re not vaccinated. Some will die, needlessly die. The unvaccinated are taking up hospital beds and crowding emergency rooms and intensive care units. That just displaces other people that need access to those hospitals.” Biden’s remarks came the day after the United States reached 1 million daily Covid cases, shattering...
              by Debra Heine   The coronavirus has reached remote Antarctica, striking most of the 25 Belgian staffers at a research station, despite all of them being fully vaccinated, passing multiple PCR tests, and quarantining before arrival. Two thirds of the researchers working in Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth Polar Station have caught Covid, the Daily Telegraph reported, “proving there is no escape from the global pandemic.” None of the cases are severe, according to the Telegraph. There are two emergency doctors at the station monitoring the situation. All 25 researchers were fully vaccinated and one had a booster shot. Before leaving for the station, they underwent a PCR test in Belgium two hours before flying to South Africa. In South Africa, they quarantined for ten days and took another PCR test. A further test was needed when leaving Cape Town for Antarctica and a final one five days after that. One person tested positive seven days after arriving at the station on December 14. The person was isolated but tests revealed two others had caught the virus. The three were evacuated on December 23 but the...
    Joseph Cheek – a project manager for the International Polar Foundation – told the BBC, "The situation isn't dramatic." "While it has been an inconvenience to have to quarantine certain members of the staff who caught the virus, it hasn't significantly affected our work at the station overall," Cheek noted. "All residents of the station were offered the opportunity to leave on a scheduled flight on 12 January," he added. "However, they all expressed their wish to stay and continue their work." The base has halted all new arrivals until the outbreak ends. The Princess Elisabeth Polar Station – the world’s first zero-emission polar research station that went into service in 2009 – is located in one of the planet's most remote regions and miles from civilization. Antarctica was the last continent to not have any cases of COVID-19 up until December 2020, when 36 people caught COVID-19 at the Chilean research base General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme in Antarctica.
    President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and recommended that fully vaccinated Americans avoid dining indoors amid the surge of Omicron variant cases of COVID-19. CNN host Dana Bash asked, “How should vaccinated and boosted people behave? Can they go into a restaurant, eat safely indoors right now?” (RELATED: Michigan To Defy Biden Administration’s Latest Guidance On COVID) “You know, when you’re having such a — I call it a tsunami of infections, Dana, we are seeing people who are vaccinated and boosted who are getting breakthrough infections,” Fauci explained. “So when you’re in a situation where you have so many infections going out, the thing that you want to say is that, if you want to do things like that, better do them in a setting where you know the people around you are vaccinated and boosted.” “That’s the reason why I’ve been saying when asked about the holiday season,” Fauci continued, “the safest thing to do is to be in a home setting, friends, relatives who...
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would not recommend the fully vaccinated go to restaurants during the Omicron surge of COVID. Anchor Dana Bash asked, “How should vaccinated and boosted people behave? Can they go into a restaurant, eat safely indoors right now?” Fauci said, “You know, when you’re having such a — I call it a tsunami of infections, Dana, we are seeing people who are vaccinated and boosted who are getting breakthrough infections. So when you’re in a situation where you have so many infections going out, the thing that you want to say is that, if you want to do things like that, better do them in a setting where you know the people around you are vaccinated and boosted.” “That’s the reason why I’ve been saying when asked about the holiday season, the safest thing to do is to be in a home setting, friends, relatives who you know are vaccinated and boosted,” he continued. “If you want to go the...
    Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) announced on New Year’s Eve that she tested positive for coronavirus, despite being fully vaccinated and boosted. “Today, I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result. Thankfully, my symptoms are mild & I’m grateful to be fully vaccinated & boosted,” the congresswoman and “squad” member tweeted. “I’m currently isolating & following all health protocols.” Today, I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result. Thankfully, my symptoms are mild & Im grateful to be fully vaccinated & boosted. Im currently isolating & following all health protocols. My full statement: https://t.co/FOhQ2i68VN pic.twitter.com/7p6z1tazRR — Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) December 31, 2021 In her statement, Pressley touted the vaccines as life-saving and encouraged her followers to “do their part by getting vaccinated, boosted and masking up.” “Vaccines save lives. With this unprecedented pandemic continuing to rage, I am deeply grateful for the scientists, researchers, and frontline healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines that are safe and effective, and ensure that our communities are protected,” she wrote. Pressley is the latest in a string of vaccinated politicians to...
    BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley announced Friday that she has tested positive for COVID-19. “After experiencing COVID-like symptoms, this morning I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result,” the Congresswoman who represents parts of Boston said in a statement. “Thankfully, my symptoms are relatively mild, and I am grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted.” Pressley said she is isolating “and falling all health protocols.” The 7th district representative said “vaccine lives” and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated or boosted, and to wear a face mask. Today, I received a positive, breakthrough COVID-19 test result. Thankfully, my symptoms are mild & Im grateful to be fully vaccinated & boosted. Im currently isolating & following all health protocols. My full statement: https://t.co/FOhQ2i68VN pic.twitter.com/7p6z1tazRR — Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) December 31, 2021 Massachusetts on Thursday recorded a new single-day record of more than 21,000 COVID cases.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) today updated the COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level from Level 3 to Level 4, which is the highest level. According to CDC, the change reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant. The 4-level system categorizes international destinations. Level 4 is described as a “Very high level of COVID-19”, and the CDC’s recommendation is to “Avoid travel to this destination”. CDC raises a destination’s Travel Health Notice(THN) level when the incidence rate (or case count) and testing metrics meet the THN threshold for a higher level and remain at that level for 14 consecutive days. The THN level may be raised before 14 days if there is a large increase in COVID-19 cases reported. Key Information for Cruise Ship Travelers from CDC: Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status. Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the...
    Since the early days of the pandemic, mask mandates have prompted tense and sometimes violent altercations. The messaging around the efficacy of masks has been muddled, causing many to decide they are not worth wearing. Some have made mask-wearing an issue of rights and have questioned the government's authority to enforce masks in public spaces. WATCH: MICROCHIP EMBEDDED UNDER SKIN CAN BE SCANNED FOR COVID VACCINE STATUS Others have dutifully worn masks since they were broadly recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grocery stores, airplanes, and public transit have been the setting of some jaw-dropping brawls and verbal showdowns about masks. We rounded up some of the most shocking fights and public freakouts caused by disputes over mask-wearing. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER The CDC's advice on mask-wearing says that "people, including children older than 2, should wear a mask in indoor public places" if they are "not fully vaccinated," "fully vaccinated and in an area with substantial or high...
    Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton (D) announced on Thursday that she tested positive for COVID-19 in a breakthrough case of the virus. “I have tested positive for COVID-19. I have mild symptoms and will isolate as I recover,” Stratton tweeted. “I’m so relieved to be fully vaccinated and boosted. If you have yet to do so, please get vaccinated, your booster and wear a mask. I appreciate your prayers and good vibes!” I have tested positive for COVID-19. I have mild symptoms and will isolate as I recover. I’m so relieved to be fully vaccinated and boosted. If you have yet to do so, please get vaccinated, your booster and wear a mask. I appreciate your prayers and good vibes!— Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton (@LtGovStratton) December 30, 2021 On Tuesday, Illinois reported over new 20,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 34,000 the day prior. Cases were in the thousands for much of November, comparatively. Roughly 77 percent of eligible Illinois residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine while 68 percent are fully vaccinated. And about 42 percent of people...