Saturday CoronaBuzz, January 1, 2022: 73 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

I’m testing some new workflows to get more articles indexed. They’re working. Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


Washington Post: ‘Crazy’ omicron surge could peak soon, but the virus is unpredictable as the pandemic enters its third year. “The idea of a rapid peak and swift decline has a precedent in South Africa, the country that revealed the presence of omicron in late November. Cases there spiked quickly and then dropped with unexpected speed after only a modest rise in hospitalizations. An especially transmissible virus tends to run out of human fuel — the susceptible portion of the population — quickly. Some forecasts suggest coronavirus infections could peak by mid-January.”


CNN: House GOP committee deletes tweet spreading disinformation about Covid-19 booster shots. “The false tweet from the House Judiciary Committee Republicans’ official account, which was posted Thursday afternoon, read: ‘If the booster shots work, why don’t they work?’ The tweet received a wave of backlash before it was taken down and came at a time when Covid cases are spiking across the US following the Omicron variant’s emergence, and public health experts are encouraging people to get boosted to protect themselves and others.”

The Guardian: I’ve been lied about and others get death threats. Covid has shown the power of misinformation. “One of the most unpredictable aspects of the past two years, and one of the most disheartening, has been the rise of widespread misinformation. The line between facts and lies has disintegrated. Years of experience in infectious disease control and a doctorate or medical degree quickly became equivalent to the influencer on YouTube or Facebook who has garnered hundreds of thousands of followers by promoting exciting-but-untrue ‘facts’.”


CNN: The Covid-19 case surge is altering daily life across the US. Things will likely get worse, experts warn. “The US is ringing in the new year amid a Covid-19 surge that experts warn is exploding at unprecedented speed and could alter daily life for many Americans during the first month of 2022.”

Associated Press: In nation at war with itself, one town tries cup of civility. “That’s the warring America. It plays out in Washington, in decidedly uncivil town meetings across the country and over the airwaves. It infects social media, where people, by their own admission, lose their minds. There’s another, quieter, America, too. It asks about the family. It commiserates about the water bill and shoots the breeze. It’s a place where people who can be Facebook-nasty are face-to-face polite. Often it meets over coffee.”


Salon: As omicron explodes in New York, hospitals aren’t seeing a corresponding rise in patients. “In New York, COVID-19 is spreading across at a faster rate than at any other point during the pandemic, including during the deadly first wave in spring 2020. More than 110,000 people have tested positive just since Christmas Day in New York City, according to the New York Times. However, unlike previous surges, hospitalizations have not climbed as fast as positive cases. That might seem like good news on paper — and may suggest that the pandemic is on to a less deadly phase.”


KOLD: Oro Valley Hospital temporarily suspends admission of cardiac arrest patients. “Oro Valley Hospital is temporarily not accepting cardiac arrest patients due to staffing issues. Those experiencing a heart attack or chest pain will have to be taken to other area hospitals.”

WJHL: Ballad Health COVID-19 hospitalizations highest since October 7. “Ballad Health reported Friday that its COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are nearing those seen during the Delta surge. Friday’s COVID-19 hospitalizations at Ballad facilities stand at 270 — marking the highest since Oct. 7.”


Deadline: CES Shortened By One Day Amid Covid Case Records Across The U.S.. “The Consumer Technology Association announced late today that its CES trade show next week in Las Vegas will end one day early. The move comes amid record-setting Covid counts in many states across America.”


Patch Virginia: Librarians To The Rescue: Scheduling Vaccines, Providing Tests. “In many jurisdictions, libraries shuttered their doors at the onset of the pandemic. Since March 2020, libraries have adjusted and employees have operated COVID-19 call centers, provided at-home test kits, provided free mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, and offered curbside pick-up for traditional library services like book distribution.”

Art Newspaper: Museums plan for a busy year despite Covid-19 uncertainty. “Will 2022 see a return to normal for exhibition schedules? Or will surging cases mean plans have to be torn up again? We asked museum directors and head curators how confident they are for the year ahead.”

Associated Press: New Year’s Rose Parade proceeds despite COVID-19 surge. ” A year after New Year’s Day passed without a Rose Parade due to the coronavirus pandemic, the floral spectacle celebrating the arrival of 2022 proceeded Saturday despite a new surge of infections due to the omicron variant. The 133rd edition of the Pasadena, California, tradition featured actor LeVar Burton as grand marshal, 20 marching bands, 18 equestrian units and dozens of floats reflecting the theme of ‘Dream. Believe. Achieve.'”


CNN: Stocks surged in 2021, as Wall Street rolled its eyes at Covid. “The Dow fell about 65 points in late morning trading Friday, or 0.2%. It is up 19% this year. The Nasdaq was down 0.3% Friday and has gained 22% in 2021 while the S&P 500, which fell 0.2%, is up more than 27% this year. It’s the third straight year of gains for all three major indexes, which are each not far from record highs. In fact, the S&P 500 has closed at an all-time high 70 times this year.”

Hawaii News Now: Hawaiian Airlines cancels dozens of flights amid COVID staffing shortages. “As the highly transmissible Omicron variant infects workers and causes staffing shortages across the country, Hawaiian Airlines is also feeling the impact, already canceling dozens of flights. The airline said a total of 11 flights were canceled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day combined, and 10 interisland flights were canceled on Wednesday.”

New York Times: Want a Covid Test With Your Viagra?. “A health care company known for selling hair loss and erectile dysfunction treatments diversifies its product line, and earns new fans along the way.”

CBS Miami: Walmart Temporarily Closes Miami Store For COVID Cleaning. “Walmart has temporarily closed a store in Miami. The chain said their store, at 3200 NW 79th St., would close Saturday starting at 2 p.m. as part of a company-initiated program to allow thoroughly clean and sanitize the building. They said the store would be closed through Sunday and would reopen Monday at 6 a.m.”

Associated Press: Cruise Ship Carrying Over 4,000 Passengers Held in Lisbon Amid Covid-19 Outbreak. “A cruise ship carrying over 4,000 people has been held in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon after a COVID-19 outbreak infected crew members, the German news agency dpa reported Saturday.”

CBS 17: Raleigh restaurants impacted by worker shortages, again, due to COVID-19, some as much as 50 percent. “Long wait times, customer notices and workers calling out sick because of COVID-19 exposure. ‘Normally, we would see about 500-600 guests on a Saturday morning,’ Abby Dearlove said, the manager of Tupelo Honey Cafe. But not on this New Year’s Day.”

Business Insider: United and Spirit Airlines announce temporary pay bumps for pilots and flight attendants in effort to alleviate labor shortages. “After a chaotic holiday travel week plagued by mass cancellations and delays, some airlines are turning to temporary salary bumps in an effort to incentivize workers and alleviate labor shortages. United Airlines and Spirit Airlines both announced pay increases for select staffers on Friday, which include tripling pay for United pilots who take extra flights through January 29 and doubling pay for Spirit flight attendants for shifts through January 4.”


CNN: FAA warns it may be forced to delay flights because of Covid. “The Federal Aviation Administration is warning more air travel headaches may be in store, even as airlines cancel thousands of flights because of coronavirus crew shortages and other issues. The FAA said Friday an ‘increased number’ of its own employees are testing positive for the virus. That could force it to implement health and cleaning procedures that reduce the number of flights the system can handle.”

Business Insider: The US Postal Service is getting hit by Omicron after it survived the holiday season by enlisting tens of thousands of workers. “The American Postal Workers Union said in December 2020 that 19,000 of the Postal Service’s 644,000 workers were sick or in isolation due to the coronavirus. Now, as the Omicron variant spreads throughout the US, Postal Service workers are once again getting sick, the union told the Associated Press’ David Sharp on Friday. Roughly 6,500 postal workers were quarantined due to COVID-19 as of Christmas Eve.”


Sky News: New Year’s Eve around the world: How countries celebrated with widespread COVID restrictions. “New Year’s Eve plans have largely been muted or cancelled for the second straight year due to a surge in coronavirus infections – this time driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. However, many nations made the best of it and went ahead with extravagant fireworks displays and celebrations. Here’s a snapshot from around the world.”

BBC: Covid-19: WHO chief optimistic disease will be beaten in 2022 . “The World Health Organization (WHO) chief says he is optimistic that the coronavirus pandemic will be defeated in 2022, provided countries work together to contain its spread. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu warned against ‘narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding’ in a new year statement.”

Reuters: Italy reports record 144,243 coronavirus cases, 155 deaths. “Italy reported a record 144,243 COVID-19 related cases on Friday, following 126,888 the day before, the health ministry said, while the number of deaths fell slightly to 155 from 156.”

Reuters: Cyprus COVID-19 cases hit record on Omicron. ” Cyprus registered a record high 5,048 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday in a surge largely blamed on the Omicron variant spreading throughout Europe. The island reported 3,851 new cases on Thursday, up from fewer than 2,000 cases at the start of the week.”

CGTN Africa: Uganda eases COVID-19 restrictions including re-opening of schools and bars. “In a televised speech late on Friday, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools would be reopened on January 10. The East African nation had imposed some of Africa’s toughest restrictions. In September, some measures were eased, including allowing the resumption of education for universities and other post-secondary institutions.”

NationNews: Bahamas announces new measures for rising COVID cases. “The Bahamas government has outlined a series of new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that the authorities here said is causing a fourth surge in the country. Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Michael Darville said that among the new measures include the hiring of additional medical personnel; sourcing of new COVID-19 drugs; acquisition of Grosvenor Close Nursing Building for an Infectious Diseases and entering into a partnership with private sector labs.”

BBC: Covid: Next few days crucial as admissions rise, says health boss. “The next few days are “crucial” for the NHS as Covid hospital admissions rise across England, a health boss has said. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health trusts, said staff were working ‘flat out’ and under ‘arguably more pressure’ than this time last year.”

BBC: Covid: UAE bans foreign travel for citizens without booster jab. “The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will ban citizens who have not had three doses of a vaccine against Covid-19 from travelling abroad. Officials said the exit ban, which comes into force on 10 January, would not apply to those who are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine.”

Haartez: New COVID Cases in Israel Triple Within Days, Infection Rate Hits Six-month High. “Coronavirus cases in Israel have tripled over the past week, from 1,806 on Sunday – the highest figure since mid-October – to 5,466 new cases confirmed on Friday.”

Al Jazeera: French burn fewer cars on New Year’s Eve due to pandemic. “Hundreds of empty, parked cars go up in flames in France each New Year’s Eve, set afire by young revellers, a much-lamented tradition that appeared in decline this year, which saw only 874 vehicles burned. The number of cars burned overnight has declined compared with New Year’s Eve in 2019 when 1,316 vehicles went up in flames, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted on Saturday.”


NBC DFW: Gov. Abbott Asks Biden for Help With COVID Testing, Antibody Treatments, Hospital Staff. “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is asking the Biden Administration for help managing the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in Texas after the state health department says they’ve run out of an antibody treatment proven to be the most effective against the omicron variant.”

WHDH: Mass. jury trials paused until Jan. 31 due to increase in COVID-19 cases. “The Supreme Judicial Court ordered all jury trials in Massachusetts paused on Friday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.”

NBC New York: Hochul Extends Mask Mandate, Debuts New Surge Plan as NY Smashes All-Time Case Record Again. “On the final day of 2021, the country’s first calendar year completely engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York delivered one last record-smashing COVID case high for a third straight day. The governor’s final update for the year included a record 76,555 new positives as the omicron surge stretches the state’s hospitals further. In her final address of 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul detailed a revamped winter surge plan with five keys targets to aid overwhelmed hospitals and protect the most vulnerable.”

WPSD: Medical leaders question decision to end state of emergency. “A medical group representing most hospitals in the St. Louis region says it is disappointed in Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s decision allowing a state of emergency to expire, saying it removes flexibility that helped hospitals treat the onslaught of COVID-19 patients.”

CBS Philly: Delaware Issues State Of Emergency As COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Hit Record Highs. “Delaware has issued a state of emergency to help alleviate the strain on crowded hospitals as COVID cases continue to surge. It takes effect Monday. One hundred National Guard troops will be deployed to assist health care workers.”

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Tennessee ending daily COVID-19 data reports in 2022 as omicron drives record case surge. “Starting in the new year, the Tennessee Department of Health will stop reporting COVID-19 data on a daily basis and move to weekly updates instead at a time when the omicron variant is fueling a record-breaking surge in new cases across the state. Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey announced the changes during a news briefing on Dec. 22, and department of health spokesperson Bill Christian confirmed in an email Thursday the state will move ahead with its plan.”

Associated Press: Arkansas Prisons Lockdown Amid Record Covid Case Count. ” Arkansas prisons are being locked down for at least two weeks because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases among staff and prisoners. The Arkansas Department of Corrections announced Friday that prisons are prohibiting visits and ‘limiting non-essential movement within and between facilities’ until Jan. 14.”

KOCO: Federal grant funds COVID-19 vaccine program for homebound Oklahomans. “The vaccine is being issued to the most vulnerable and unable to get the shot on their own. The partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the State Department of Health and Native American tribes in our state is helping with vaccine access. Until August, homebound individuals had no pathway to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the most compromised can get vaccinated from the safety of their home.”


WPVI: Philadelphia’s new COVID-19 vaccination requirement for indoor dining begins Monday. “Beginning Monday, January 3, as part of a phased rollout, patrons will have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to eat inside a restaurant or food establishment in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said the mandate is meant to help prevent another shutdown of indoor dining.”

EssexLive: Essex Covid: Chelmsford City Council cancels three days’ worth of food waste collections due to staff shortages. “Food waste collections in an Essex city have been cancelled for three days due to a staff shortage caused by Covid-19 sickness and isolation. Chelmsford City Council has said it did not wish to cancel the green food waste bin collections from December 29 to 31 (Wednesday to today), but it was left with no other choice. 23 members of staff are currently off work due to Covid illness and isolation.”

NBC Bay Area: San Francisco Fire Chief Tests Positive for COVID-19. “The San Francisco Fire Department Chief, Jeanine Nicholson, tested positive for COVID-19. Nicholson got the positive result Monday, the department said, adding that her symptoms have been mild so far and she’s working from home.”

Associated Press: Louisville halts yard waste collection due to COVID. “Louisville Metro Public Works is suspending yard waste collection after COVID-19 infections caused a drastic staffing shortage. The department announced the change this week. The suspension starts on Monday and will go on ‘until further notice,’ the department said in a statement.”

Wired: The Pandemic Might Have Redesigned Cities Forever. “IT WAS EASY to find tragedy in the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Vaccines became widely available and proved to be remarkably effective at keeping people out of hospitals, but some people wouldn’t get their shots—mostly Republicans. Broader uptake of vaccines could have averted 163,000 deaths between June and November alone. That’s tragedy. But you could find hope in 2021, too. It was literally in the air. The virus—and specifically the understanding that as an aerosol it spread more easily in poorly ventilated spaces—changed something fundamental about urban life.”


WJHL: Leader of Washington’s Catholic Archdiocese has COVID-19. “The cardinal who leads the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has tested positive for the coronavirus. The archdiocese said in a statement Friday that Cardinal Wilton Gregory is canceling his appearances at this weekend’s services.”

Uproxx: Omarion Has Heard All The Omicron Jokes But Says You Don’t Need ‘A Negative Test’ To Dance To His Music. “The arrival of the omicron COVID-19 variant is the reason why many musicians are canceling their events and performances all across the country. But when the coronavirus strain first broke out in the US, R&B fans flocked to Twitter to decide that dubbing the new variant the Omarion variant was a much catchier term. After a wave of memes, the ‘Touch’ singer has finally addressed the jokes and assured fans they don’t need to ‘have a negative test result’ in order to dance to his music.”


CNN: Rep. Ayanna Pressley tests positive for Covid-19. “‘After experiencing Covid-like symptoms, this morning I received a positive, breakthrough Covid-19 test result,’ Pressley said in a statement. ‘Thankfully, my symptoms are relatively mild, and I am grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted. I am currently isolating and following all health protocols in order to mitigate further spread and keep my loved ones and community safe.'”


Crooks & Liars: Anti-vax Mom Who Said ‘COVID Is Not Your Enemy, Fear Is’ Dies From COVID. “Bridget Jackson, from Port Huron, had frequently promoted her anti-mask, anti-vaccine stance on Facebook, sharing memes and posts including one in which she said she ‘understands the risk’ of the disease but ‘doesn’t prioritize fear over life.'”

Newsweek: Economist Robin Fransman, a Prominent Coronavirus Vaccine Skeptic, Has Died From COVID. “Robin Fransman, a political economist, passed away due to the consequences of infection with the SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, on December 28 at a hospital in Amsterdam, Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool reported.”


Associated Press: Georgia schools going virtual due to COVID spike. “One of Georgia’s largest school districts will start the second semester virtually amid the state’s surge in COVID cases. Clayton County Public Schools south of Atlanta said Thursday students will learn remotely from Jan. 5 through Jan. 7 and then return to school on Jan. 10. Superintendent Morcease Beasley said the additional time away from the classroom will allow students and employees who test positive for the virus to complete recommended quarantine periods.”

Click on Detroit: Detroit public schools cancel classes Monday-Wednesday to configure COVID plan. “The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has canceled all classes on Monday, Jan. 3 through Wednesday, Jan. 5 in an effort to test all employees for COVID-19 before students return to school. The announcement comes as Detroit, along with the rest of the state of Michigan, sees a surge in virus cases, likely partly driven by the new omicron variant.”

CP 24: Ontario to stop collecting COVID-19 numbers from school boards, suspend reporting of cases in schools. “The Ontario government will stop collecting COVID-19 numbers from school boards and suspend reporting of new coronavirus infections among students and staff starting next week. The change was detailed in a memo from the Ministry of Education sent to school board officials on Thursday, the same day the province announced that it was delaying the opening of schools for two days – from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5.”

WIVB: Western New York schools to distribute free COVID test kits, Lancaster announces distribution plan. “Erie 1 BOCES is scheduled to receive COVID-19 test kits Saturday evening. Several schools in the area have announced distribution plans for the kits. Maryvale announced its plan via Twitter Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon, Lancaster also announced a distribution plan for Sunday, as local schools try to have as many students as possible tested for the virus prior to returning to the classroom in an effort to maintain in-person instruction.”

Bronx Times: NY cancels January Regents exams as COVID cases surge. “New York students won’t take Regents exams this January. New York education Commissioner Betty Rosa canceled the winter tests on Tuesday, citing a ‘daunting’ spike in coronavirus cases across the state. No decisions have been made yet regarding the June and August exams, which far more students take. Officials previously said they planned to move forward with spring testing.”


News 5 Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University turning Delta Gamma sorority house into COVID-19 isolation space. ” Members of the Delta Gamma sorority at Case Western Reserve University are being relocated so the school can create an ‘isolation space’ to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The school said it selected the sorority house to use after reviewing occupancy rates for university-owned fraternity and sorority residences.”

WAFB: LSU requires masks indoors for spring semester; other COVID protocols announced. “Our student vaccination rate of over 84 percent represents the best in the state for public universities and is among the highest vaccination percentages in the SEC. Consequently, our positivity rate in the fall was extremely low and we were able to successfully complete our semester. In consultation with our faculty Health and Medical Advisory Committee, and looking carefully at the nationwide surge of the Omicron variant, we are building on our successful approach from the fall and providing you with our protocols for the spring 2022 semester.”


WBNS: ‘Decoupling’: The COVID-19 trend doctors hope to see in 2022. “Over 2020 and 2021, we’ve seen the pattern of waves. When cases increase, we see the number of hospitalizations go up as well. Unfortunately, when there’s an increase in hospitalizations, the number of deaths has gone up. Eventually the waves peak, crest, and the numbers decrease again. With omicron, we are going to see more cases. However, as more people get vaccines and boosters, will that be enough to ease the hospitalizations and deaths?”


FOSS Force: Will Anyone Actually Show Up at CES on Wednesday?. “I’ve wondered how Omicron and the current spike in new cases would affect this year’s show, but I didn’t bother to look into it. CES is generally off my radar (I’m mainly interested in conferences that focus on open source software), although my inbox at this time of year is filled with invites from PR folks looking to set up interviews with the press at the event.”

Washington Post: As omicron washes over America, much of the country still isn’t using exposure notification apps. “The highly anticipated tool has failed to fully live up to its promise of slowing the virus′s spread, just as a burdened public health system is in sore need of new techniques. The seven-day average of new daily cases on Tuesday afternoon hit 253,245, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Traditional contact-tracing systems, requiring human workers to individually call potentially infected people, have been overwhelmed. People who test positive with at-home tests, which are becoming more popular as people avoid massive lines outside government and private testing centers, still can’t upload their results to the system in most of the states that use it.”

BBC: NHS Covid app sends record number of ‘pings’ . “The NHS Covid app has sent a record number of contact-tracing alerts, informing people of their exposure to someone who has tested positive for the virus. A total of 698,646 ‘pings’ were sent to people in England and Wales between 16 December and 22 December. That is nearly 8,000 more than the previous record of 690,711 sent during a seven-day period in July.”


BBC: Covid booster 88% effective against hospital treatment with Omicron. “A booster vaccine is 88% effective at preventing people ending up in hospital with Covid-19, new data from the UK Health Security Agency suggests. The new data confirms that two doses of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines offers little protection against being infected with Omicron.”

New York Times: Studies Suggest Why Omicron Is Less Severe: It Spares the Lungs. “In studies on mice and hamsters, Omicron produced less damaging infections, often limited largely to the upper airway: the nose, throat and windpipe. The variant did much less harm to the lungs, where previous variants would often cause scarring and serious breathing difficulty.”

Newswise: COVID-19 Can Trigger Self-Attacking Antibodies. “Infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 can trigger an immune response that lasts well beyond the initial infection and recovery—even among people who had mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to Cedars-Sinai investigators. The findings are published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.”


WRAL: For a 2nd day, NC reports highest single-day coronavirus case increase ever. “On Friday, North Carolina reported another all-time high of daily new COVID-19 cases, 19,174. That’s 3% higher than the record 18,571 cases reported Thursday. The state’s rate of positive cases also reached an all-time high of 22.9% on Friday, meaning almost 23% of all coronavirus tests in North Carolina are coming back positive.”

NBC Miami: Florida Continues Record-Shattering Week, Reports 75,962 New Covid Cases. “The 75,962 new cases reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again set a daily record for Florida and brought the state’s total to 4,165,962 since the pandemic began in March of 2020.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia sees another near-record day in COVID-19 cases amid omicron’s spread. “The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) on Friday reported 24,320 confirmed and probable coronavirus infections, the second-highest total of the pandemic. A day ago, Georgia reported more than 25,000 cases, nearly double the worst day Georgia reported before omicron. Thursday was the third day in a row of record-breaking daily infections, following reports of 13,670 cases Tuesday and 19,894 on Wednesday.”

Deadline: Los Angeles Records Highest Number Of New, Daily Covid Cases Ever; Count Nearly Doubles In 48 Hours Amid “Explosive” Transmission. “Los Angeles reported the highest number of new, daily Covid cases since the pandemic began on Friday. The previous record was set almost exactly one year ago, during the peak of the winter surge. On January 4, the county saw 21,849 new infections, according to its data dashboard. Today, the 24-hour count rose to 27,091, a new record and up about 35% from the 20,198 infections yesterday.”

Washington Post: D.C. had one of the lowest rates of coronavirus cases in the country. That has changed.. “In both Maryland and Virginia, the worst of the omicron wave is in the D.C. suburbs. Virginia is reporting record infection rates across the state, but the steepest increase is playing out in Northern Virginia as well as the state’s Northwest health district, which spans the Shenandoah Valley, including Charlottesville. The current wave seems to be spreading from north to south, following the initially high numbers in Maryland and D.C. into Virginia, state epidemiologist Lilian Peake said.”

EuroWeekly: Antarctica outbreak: Fully vaccinated staff catch Covid in one of the most remote places in the world. “DESPITE having to follow strict safety measures; being fully vaccinated, passing multiple PCR tests and quarantining before entering its Polar Station, two-thirds of the 25 staff based at Belgium’s Princess Elisabeth in Antarctica – one of the most remote places in the world – have caught Covid after an almost impossible outbreak.”


Arizona Public Radio: Arizona court upholds decision to not release COVID records. “An Arizona appellate court has upheld a lower court’s decision to deny a request for medical records related to COVID-19. J.D. Ball of Scottsdale represented himself in the case initially filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in 2020 against the Arizona Department of Health Services.”

AFP: Coronavirus: Dutch police raid rave party in breach of Covid-19 rules. “Dutch police on Saturday broke up a rave in breach of Covid-19 rules that was attended by hundreds in a disused factory, local media reported. Dozens of police officers entered the makeshift venue in the central town of Rijswijk with hundreds more officers mobilised to shepherd people away, NOS television said. Several partygoers were arrested but there was no violence, according to local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland.”


Ars Technica: TV Technica 2021: Our favorite shows and binges helped us combat pandemic fatigue. “Fortunately, while there were indeed some hiccups, we still had plenty of fantastic television on hand to take our minds off the grim daily reality, ranging from established franchises and quirky newcomers to imaginative adaptations and several foreign offerings that proved to be surprise breakout hits. With apologies to the many great series we just didn’t have room for on this year’s list, here are our favorite TV watches and binges for 2021, in no particular order.”

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