Friday CoronaBuzz, December 17, 2021: 72 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Getting busy. Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


CNN: Flu and Covid-19 cases rising in much of the US. “US health officials are bracing for a trio of public health concerns this winter: more infections from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, surging infections with the Delta variant, and a ‘slow but steady’ comeback of the flu.”

CBS 12: Omicron is dominant in wastewater samples in Florida county. “Even though there have been no cases of clinical infection, the new omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the Florida county that is home to the nation’s largest theme park resorts. That’s based on wastewater samples.”

Local 10 News: ‘This is unprecedented’: Omicron causes 80% of coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade in 2 weeks. “The coronavirus’ omicron variant is rapidly replacing the delta variant, so public health officials at the federal and local levels are urging people to readopt preventive measures and get the booster shot. Dr. David Andrews, a University of Miami Health pathologist, reported omicron infected over 80% of the patients who recently tested positive for the coronavirus in Miami-Dade County. There was also evidence of omicron confirmed through wastewater epidemiology research.”


Medical Xpress: Social media analysis reveals new insights into antivax movement. “Analysis of social media posts in November and December 2021 shows the antivax movement is diverse and complex, with conflicting concepts and interpretations of freedom and human rights. The TIGER C19 project, run collaboratively between Burnet Institute and the University of Melbourne, has combined big data analytics of selected keywords and themes from Reddit and Twitter since the onset of COVID-19.”

Daily Beast: Anti-Vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s House Party Guests Told to Get Vaccinated Before Coming. “An invitation for a holiday party at the home of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—one of America’s most notorious anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists—reportedly urged guests to get tested or vaccinated for coronavirus before they came inside his house.”

Associated Press: Far-right using COVID-19 theories to grow reach, study shows. “The post is one of many that white supremacists and far-right extremists are using to expand their reach and recruit followers on the social media platform Telegram, according to the findings of researchers who sifted through nearly half a million comments on pages — called channels on Telegram — that they categorized as far-right from January 2020 to June 2021. The tactic has been successful: Nine of the 10 most viewed posts in the sample examined by the researchers contained misleading claims about the safety of vaccines or the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing them.”


Washington Post: Court orders Virginia hospital to allow outside physician to provide ivermectin to covid-19 patient. “Christopher Davies said he was desperate to help his mother, who is critically ill with covid-19 and on a ventilator, when he read an article in late November about an Illinois family that turned to a treatment the Food and Drug Administration has strongly recommended against: ivermectin. Davies found a doctor to administer the anti-parasitic drug that has not been shown to be effective against the coronavirus. But the Virginia hospital where Kathleen Davies, 63, was being treated rejected the idea.”


BBC: Kenyans find rural lifeline after Covid city exodus. “If the coronavirus pandemic had not happened, it is likely Jack Onyango would still be living alone, working in Kenya’s capital and sending money back to his wife and children in his faraway rural home.”

New York Times: We Asked 1,320 Therapists What They’re Hearing From Patients. “The New York Times asked 1,320 mental health professionals to tell us how their patients were coping as pandemic restrictions eased. General anxiety and depression are the most common reasons patients seek support, but family and relationship issues also dominate therapy conversations. One in four providers said suicidal thoughts were among the top reasons clients were seeking therapy.”

My News 13: Rising rent: Floridians face pricey dilemma. “Albert Harris-Russell and his partner Logan rent a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Orlando. The professional photographer said their rent is going up so much they now have to consider if they can stay, or if they’re being priced out. ‘Six months ago this apartment was going for $1,500 to $1,600,’ Harris-Russell said. ‘Now it’s jumped to almost $2,000.'”


The Daily Times: Inside these walls: An ICU doctor describes the enormity of challenges faced amid pandemic. “There has been an exodus of healthcare workers from our hospital. Like everywhere, we are sad, exhausted, disenchanted, angry, and burned-out. Many are seeking new professions, retiring, or are lured by travel wages and crisis pay. The healthcare sector has lost nearly half a million workers since 2020 and as many as 66% of critical care nurses have considered leaving the profession entirely. Paradoxically, the number of patients has grown significantly and they are sicker than ever. For those of us who remain, our arms and legs shake under the heavy weight of a healthcare system in duress.”

Houston Public Media: Houston hospitals are seeing a COVID-19 uptick fueled by the omicron variant. “Methodist confirmed a total of 307 positive COVID-19 tests on Monday and Tuesday of this week, according to the hospital. That’s up from 76 positive tests reported last Monday and Tuesday. Additionally, the hospital confirmed on Wednesday that 54 cases of the omicron variant have been identified by Methodist’s sequencing lab since early December. The seven-day rolling average last week was around 40 new cases a day, according to Dr. Marc Boom, Methodist president and CEO.”

MedPage Today: Medical Examiners Report Demands to Remove COVID From Death Certificates. “Medical examiners and coroners across the country have reported receiving requests to remove COVID-19 as the cause of death on death certificates, usually by a victim’s family members. In an interview with MedPage Today, James Gill, MD, chief medical examiner for the state of Connecticut, said he’s been asked to make that change a handful of times for a variety of reasons, and each time he’s declined.”


New York Times: Doctors and Nurses Are ‘Living in a Constant Crisis’ as Covid Fills Hospitals and Omicron Looms. “‘Living in a constant crisis for 20 months-plus is a little overwhelming,’ said Dr. Matthew Deibel, the medical director for emergency care at Covenant, where patients must sometimes wait hours to be seen because of a shortage of beds and staff. With coronavirus hospitalizations increasing 20 percent nationally over the last two weeks, to 68,000 people, doctors and nurses are speaking with renewed alarm about conditions and pleading with people to get vaccinated.”


CNN: Miss World 2021 postponed hours before finale amid Covid-19 outbreak. “This year’s Miss World competition, scheduled to take place Thursday in Puerto Rico, has been postponed after multiple people linked to the event — including 23 of the 97 contestants — tested positive for Covid-19.”

New York Times: When the Show Doesn’t Go On: Broadway Is Rattled by Covid Cancellations. “Broadway, where cancellations were once vanishingly rare, has seen a raft of them as positive coronavirus tests among cast and crew members have upended productions.”


New York Times: Met Opera to Mandate Booster Shots for Staff and Audiences. “It is the first major performing arts institution to require boosters, as concern mounts over rising coronavirus cases and the spread of the Omicron variant. The rule will take effect Jan. 17.”


New York Times: Offices Shut and Holiday Parties Dim as a Familiar Feeling Sinks In. “The United States is reporting an average of more than 120,000 new Covid cases each day, up 40 percent from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. New York City is experiencing a spike in cases larger than any since last winter. Employers that had been growing bolder in their plans — reopening offices, mandating or strongly suggesting that workers report back, promising holiday blowouts — are now scaling back their ambitions for in-person business and socializing.”

Bloomberg: Apple Scraps Office-Return Deadline Without Setting New Date. “Apple Inc., facing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and a fast-spreading new variant, is delaying its corporate return-to-office deadline from Feb. 1 to a ‘date yet to be determined.’ ”

Bloomberg Quint: ‘I Was Wrong’: Omicron Wrecks CEOs’ Plans for Office Return. “Just as it seemed like corporate America was on a path toward normalcy, a new wave of Covid uncertainty is upending business plans from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Manhattan holiday parties are being canceled and banks are contending with fresh outbreaks as the omicron variant spreads. Citigroup Inc. said staffers in the New York City metropolitan area can work from home through the holidays,”

Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Vaccine Issues Create ‘General Hospital’ Drama and Increased Costs on Movie Sets. “In Hollywood, soap opera characters portrayed by vaccine skeptics are being killed off or shipped away, set crews for Walt Disney Co. ’s ‘Black Panther’ sequel and other projects are being reprimanded or reassigned, and some A-list stars won’t work with colleagues who haven’t gotten a jab.”

CNBC: Southwest CEO tests positive for Covid after unmasked Senate hearing with other airline chiefs. “Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly has tested positive for Covid-19, the company said Friday, according to Reuters. The results came after a Senate hearing in which he and other airline chiefs and lawmakers weren’t wearing masks.”

Washington Post: Life after quitting: What happened next to the workers who left their jobs. “Stubborn inflation is threatening to eviscerate the value of raises, while workers’ savings, in part from sizable government checks during the pandemic, are evaporating. With yet another coronavirus wave now bearing down, the physical and mental health stresses of service-sector work are unyielding. While data on what happened next to those who quit is scant, recent analysis suggests that many workers who have left the fields of restaurant and hotel work — the two sectors with the most resignations — end up back in those industries or in similarly low-wage work in retail, according to the California Policy Lab at the University of California.”


CNN: House oversight committee releases report detailing efforts of Trump administration officials to ‘undermine’ Covid-19 efforts in US. “The committee, which spent months working to interview former Trump officials, said the administration worked to undermine the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic by blocking officials from speaking publicly, watering down testing guidance and attempting to interfere with other public health guidance.”

Politico: HHS forecast shows Omicron stretching U.S. Covid testing supply. “Internal modeling developed by the Health and Human Services Department’s Testing and Diagnostic Working Group projects that the nation’s supply could be stretched by the need to conduct 3 to 5 million tests per day by late January or early February — a sharp increase from current daily levels of more than 1.6 million.”

Washington Post: As the omicron variant threatens to wipe out monoclonal antibodies, the U.S. is saving up one that will still work. “With the omicron variant of the coronavirus poised to thwart most covid-19 treatments, U.S. public health officials are stockpiling the one monoclonal antibody that remains effective so that it can be deployed when the variant becomes more prevalent.”

Politico: Biden’s Twitter doc army turns on him. “Administration officials have questioned whether being thrust into the Twitter and cable spotlight has compelled some health experts to embrace sharper, less nuanced positions on the pandemic fight. ‘Some of them get paid to have takes. We get paid to end this pandemic,’ one official quipped, drawing a bright line between the administration personnel working on the pandemic and those in its orbit who were engaging in Monday morning quarterbacking. Administration officials also downplayed the influence medical Twitter commentary had in shaping administration policy.”

NPR: Inflation is still red hot, and it’s forcing the Federal Reserve into a new game plan. “The Federal Reserve is paving the way for possible interest rate hikes next year, in an effort to contain stubbornly high inflation. At the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the central bank announced plans to phase out its large-scale bond-buying program faster than initially planned. The Fed started purchasing bonds during the pandemic as a way to keep borrowing costs across the economy low and to prevent any market disruptions.”

NBC News: CDC recommends people not get J&J vaccine if Pfizer, Moderna are available. “People shouldn’t get the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine when the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots are available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The recommendation, from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, came hours after members of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in favor of the guidance.”

Politico: More than 100 Marines kicked out of the service for refusing Covid vaccine. “The vast majorities of each service have received their shots. The Army and Navy are each at about 98 percent, while the Air Force stands at 97.5 percent and the Marine Corps at 95 percent.”


BBC: Covid: France to drastically restrict travel from UK. “France is tightening Covid restrictions for travellers arriving from the UK, as the government in Paris tries to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. The French prime minister’s office said that from Saturday all non-residents would have to give a compelling reason for travelling to France.”

BBC: Covid: People urged to socialise carefully as cases hit new record. “The prime minister and England’s chief medical officer have urged the public to be cautious if they socialise before Christmas, amid record UK Covid cases. At Wednesday’s news conference, Boris Johnson said he was not shutting pubs and restaurants but advised people to ‘think carefully before you go’.”

BBC: Dutch MP ordered to delete Covid Holocaust social media posts. “A right-wing Dutch MP has been ordered to delete social media posts comparing Covid restrictions to the Holocaust. Thierry Baudet, leader of the Forum for Democracy party, had said on Twitter that unvaccinated people were ‘the new Jews’ and ‘those who look away from the exclusions’ were ‘the new Nazis’.”

BBC: Queen cancels pre-Christmas family lunch as Omicron surges. “The Queen has cancelled her traditional pre-Christmas lunch for extended family as a precautionary measure following the UK’s surge in Omicron cases. A source said it was felt the annual event could put too many people’s Christmas plans at risk.”

AFP: Brazil regulator approves Covid vaccine for children. “Brazil’s health regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine Thursday for use in children aged five to 11, joining a growing list of countries green-lighting vaccination for kids. However, it is not clear when the hard-hit South American country will begin vaccinating children, if at all.”

CNN: Canadians told to avoid nonessential international travel as Omicron spreads. “While Canadian government officials indicated that other restrictions may be announced in the coming days, the US-Canada border remains open and those traveling by land do not need to provide a negative Covid-19 test if their trip is shorter than 72 hours and they are fully vaccinated.”


CNY Central: State to partner with Syracuse University to expand COVID-19 wastewater testing program. “New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new partnership between the New York State Health Department and Syracuse University to continue its groundbreaking and innovative study to analyze wastewater for COVID-19.”

Baltimore Sun: Maryland audit follows up on flaws in COVID-19 procurements, finds ‘lack of compliance’ and ‘ineffective monitoring’. “A review of emergency procurements for supplies in Maryland during the COVID-19 pandemic found ‘a lack of compliance’ in general with state regulations and ‘ineffective monitoring’ of payments, according to a report released Thursday by the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits.”

CNN: Abbott joins 6 other GOP governors in asserting Pentagon has no authority to punish unvaccinated National Guardsmen. “Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott asserted the Pentagon has no authority to punish unvaccinated members of the state National Guard, joining other Republican governors who have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to withdraw or otherwise nullify the military’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Are California’s strict COVID mandates working? Here’s what the data shows. “With California approaching an unfathomable milestone of 75,000 coronavirus deaths and 5 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, many are wondering if the state’s many mitigation measures — some of the most stringent in the nation — have made a tangible difference in reducing the toll of the virus.”


Associated Press: Chicago firefighters ordered to comply with vaccine mandate. ” An arbitrator has ruled that several unions representing Chicago firefighters and other city employees must follow Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. ”

New York Post: High-ranking NYPD cops busted for submitting fake COVID vax cards. “Two high-ranking NYPD officers have been busted for allegedly submitting fake COVID-19 vaccination cards — and ‘numerous’ others are being probed in what could be a widespread department scam, The Post has learned.”


Essence: Bridal Bliss: After Meeting Online During Quarantine, Cheri And Tracey Said ‘I Do’ In A Museum A Year Later. “Thinking back to how Cheri met Tracey, she looks at is as “luck” — beginner’s luck, specifically. She was dipping her toe in the online dating pool for the first time. The pandemic had just taken a hold of everyday life and she knew that quarantining in her new home of Philadelphia (where she’d relocated for work) without any handsome prospects to interact with for an unidentified period of time would be unpleasant. Soon after creating a profile on, she connected with New Jersey-based Tracey and life changed — not just because of the virus.”

MarketWatch: Ex-Olympic speed skating medalist charged with stealing $10M in COVID-19 aid to help finance Elijah Wood movie. “A former U.S. Olympic speed skating champion has been indicted on charges that she fraudulently obtained $10 million in COVID-19 relief aid and used part of the money to help finance a film made by ‘Lord of the Rings’ star Elijah Wood.”

Local 10: Passenger wearing ladies’ thong as mask can’t fly United Airlines ever again . ” It was one passenger’s way of protesting the federal mask mandate by wearing a red thong on his face. The flight was leaving from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but he didn’t take off. He was eventually kicked off the plane and is now banned from flying United Airlines. Adam Jenne said he is not crazy and he has a good reason for masking up with a thong.”

Detroit Metro Times: Trump-supporting Michigan sheriff wants charges filed against woman who criticized anti-maskers. “A Trump-adoring sheriff in Michigan is pursuing criminal charges against a Howell woman who called out anti-maskers on Twitter, drawing sharp criticism from legal experts. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy investigated the tweets and handed the case over to prosecutors in hopes of initiating charges against Kasey Helton.”


SB Nation: Report: NFL could change COVID guidelines after Rams, Browns suffer outbreaks. “Multiple reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that suggest the NFL plans to revisit its COVID-19 guidelines after 25 players were added to the reserve list in a single day.”


CNN: ‘I’m hanging by a thread’. “The deadly shooting last month at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, is yet another reminder of the many stresses facing America’s educators, who are still struggling with the overwhelming challenges of teaching in a pandemic. Another surge in coronavirus infections — and the looming specter of a return to virtual or hybrid learning — is only adding to teachers’ anxiety.”

New York Post: NYC schools see record number of new COVID cases. “City schools set a new record for COVID cases Wednesday as the Department of Education knocked down talk of a systemwide shutdown. The DOE logged a total of 546 new positive coronavirus cases — 384 students and 162 teachers.”

Washington Post: CDC finds coronavirus testing of exposed children in schools can safely replace quarantine. “The CDC released two studies that show the effectiveness of what’s known as ‘test-to-stay.’ School districts across the country have tried this strategy, though it is not widely used….Typically, students who are deemed close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus are sent home to quarantine, to make sure that people who may be carrying the virus, even without symptoms, do not infect others. The CDC studied test-to-stay alternative programs in Lake County, Ill., and Los Angeles County.

Fox 5 DC: 3 Prince George’s County schools close amid surge in COVID-19 cases. “Three schools in Prince George’s County are closing due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases locally, according to a letter sent to the community.”


CBS Philly: Princeton University Limits Indoor Gatherings, Shifts Finals To Remote As COVID-19 Cases Rise. “Princeton University has made several changes to its COVID-19 protocols due to a recent increase in cases amongst undergraduates on campus. On Wednesday, the Ivy League school announced the entire Princeton community must cancel or postpone all indoor gatherings with food and beverages where face coverings can’t be worn.”

Baltimore Sun: University of Maryland cancels winter commencement amid ‘highest case counts we’ve seen this fall semester’. “The University of Maryland, College Park is canceling its winter commencement and other events through Wednesday amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, according to a message sent to the community late Thursday.”

New York Times: New York University is the latest college to cancel events over a coronavirus surge.. “New York University announced Wednesday that it was immediately canceling all ‘nonessential’ gatherings and events both on and off campus, including graduations, holiday parties, study groups and athletic competitions, because of surging rates of new coronavirus cases in the community.”


New York Intelligencer: Omicron Is About to Overwhelm Us. “The relative virulence of the new variant is still clouded by enormous amounts of uncertainty. Only one patient has died with Omicron, thus far, and it is not entirely clear if the coronavirus was even the true cause of death. But in part this lack of severe outcomes reflects just how early in the wave we still are, even in South Africa; the variant was first identified there just three weeks ago, which means many of the early cases are still running their clinical course, and we don’t yet know what the outcomes will be.”

Bloomberg: Long Covid Patients Face Fatigue, Poor Sleep Even After One Year. “About seven in 10 Covid long haulers continued to face symptoms like fatigue, muscle pain, lack of sleep and breathing difficulties 12 months after hospital discharge, a study led by the U.K.’s National Institute of Health Research found. There was no or very little improvement compared with seven months earlier.”

CNN: Preparing for a Delta/Omicron double surge. “The persistence of the Delta coronavirus variant, along with fear of the Omicron variant — which vaccines are not as effective at stopping — is complicating the US effort to emerge from the pandemic. The main piece of advice from the government on Omicron: get a vaccine booster.”

New York Times: Scientists Are Racing to Gauge the Threat of Omicron. “In South Africa, Omicron spread twice as fast as the highly infectious Delta variant. In Britain, officials have estimated that 200,000 people are becoming infected with Omicron every day. In Denmark, Omicron cases are doubling roughly every two days. And early data from the United States suggest that Americans will not be spared. ‘No part of the country will be safe from Omicron,’ said Shweta Bansal, a disease ecologist at Georgetown University.”

Bloomberg: New York Area Bears the Brunt of Omicron on Top of Delta. “We might get lucky and find omicron doesn’t lead to widespread severe sickness and death. Scientists have done laboratory studies showing that the standard two-dose mRNA vaccines are unlikely to offer much protection against omicron infection, though they might protect against serious disease. And those same experiments suggested that people who get a booster will get about 70% or 75% protection against symptomatic infection. But the Harvard Medical School scientists are alarmed at what’s happened since Thanksgiving, when the variant first came to people’s attention.”

New York Intelligencer: Well, Guess It’s About Time to Get COVID. “Suddenly this exceedingly transmissible variant (in combination with its forebear Delta) has arrived at our door with a pistol in its hand to inform us that the jig is finally up. And right now, the only reasonable response seems to be a sheepish, ‘What took you so long?'”

New York Times: Omicron Threatens Red America. “In the U.S., partisanship is the biggest factor determining vaccination rates. If Democratic voters made up their own country, it would be one of the world’s most vaccinated, with more than 91 percent of adults having received at least one shot. Only about 60 percent of Republican adults have done so. This vaccination gap has created a huge gap in death rates, one that has grown sharply during the second half of the year.”

Washington Post: There’s no mystery about what’s ‘broken’ in the country’s pandemic response. “What’s broken in the country is that there’s deep polarization in views of the pandemic between those who see it as a public-health crisis demanding precautionary measures and those who don’t. That polarization overlaps heavily with politics, a function in part of former president Donald Trump’s broader strategy related to the virus as he sought reelection: pretend it was not a big deal.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Does brand of vaccine booster matter for how well protected you’ll be against omicron?. “With the omicron coronavirus variant spreading at a rate that world health officials are calling unprecedented, a growing chorus of experts are saying that boosters are a must — and that people should get them as soon as possible. But does the type of vaccine you get for your booster matter to how protected you’ll be against omicron?”


FT: ‘No evidence’ Omicron is less severe than Delta, say UK researchers. “There is at present ‘no evidence’ that the Omicron coronavirus variant is any less severe than the Delta strain, according to early findings from researchers at Imperial College London, which also highlighted the elevated risk of reinfection posed by Omicron and the need for booster shots to combat it.”

Bloomberg: Sinopharm, J&J, Sputnik Vaccines Are Weaker Against Omicron in New Study. “Researchers at the University of Washington and Swiss drugmaker Humabs Biomed SA analyzed the efficacy of six vaccines against the highly-infectious and most-mutated Covid variant. Only three out of 13 people who has taken both doses of Sinopharm’s shot showed neutralizing antibodies against omicron. For J&J, this metric dropped to one out of 12 samples. None of the 11 people fully vaccinated with Sputnik generated such antibodies.”

New York Daily News: Columbia University study shows omicron ‘markedly resistant’ to COVID vaccines, booster shots. “The draft study was led by renowned researcher Dr. David Ho and early evidence suggests the lightning quick-spreading strain is likely to cause a massive wave of so-called breakthrough infections even among fully vaccinated people.”

Nature: Omicron blindspots: why it’s hard to track coronavirus variants. “Researchers are racing to detect Omicron, the latest SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, by sequencing the genomes of coronaviruses infecting people. But surveillance through genomic sequencing can be slow and patchy, complicating the picture of how and where Omicron spreads.”

New York Times: New Studies Raise Hopes That Vaccines Prevent Severe Disease From Omicron. “In the lab, immune cells put up a strong fight against Omicron, suggesting that vaccines will be able to prevent the worst outcomes of the virus variant.”

Business Insider: Is Omicron as infectious as it gets? Scientists lay out their best and worst scenarios for the virus’ future.. “Is Omicron as infectious as it gets? There’s no easy answer, but scientists have a few guesses about the virus’ future. In the best-case scenario, they say, the coronavirus will become endemic, which means cases will persist at low levels, and seasonal outbreaks of relatively mild disease may come as a result. In a middle-of-the-road scenario, the virus could get even better at resisting vaccines, and more vaccinated people could be exposed to severe illness. And in a frightening scenario, the virus could recombine with another coronavirus to form a more lethal hybrid variant.”

Sky News: COVID: Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in human airways, study finds. “The Omicron COVID variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in human airways, according to researchers. The study, by researchers in Hong Kong, also suggests the variant replicates less well in human lung tissue compared with the original strain of the virus – perhaps indicating a lower severity of disease.”


The Guardian: More Americans are shifting away from religious affiliation, new study finds. “In 2007, only 16% of American adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center identified themselves as religious ‘nones’ – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. That figure is now 29%, according to a new Pew research released on Tuesday.”


NBC News: Court revives health worker Covid-19 vaccine mandate in 26 states. “A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived in 26 U.S. states a COVID-19 mandate issued by President Joe Biden’s administration requiring millions of healthcare workers to get vaccinated if they work in facilities that receive federal dollars.”

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