On Friday, Supreme Court justices were set to hear oral arguments on two significant rules established by President Joe Biden, which require COVID-19 immunizations for large-scale employers and the majority of healthcare employees.
The two vaccine requirements, which affect more than 80 million people, are in jeopardy due to challenges by Republican-led states and industries. For organizations with 100 or more employees, one rule imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires vaccination or weekly testing. The other mandates vaccination for healthcare employees who operate in facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid financing.
Businesses were due to be subject to the rule on Monday, but OSHA stated fines would not be issued until late February. About half of the states had blocked the healthcare rule.
The high court justices will hear issues involving the administration’s immunization policies for the first time during the arguments. It had earlier lifted the pandemic-related government eviction moratorium.
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The Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that the time between finishing the initial doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination and receiving a third, booster dose can be cut in half. Pfizer’s vaccine received a similar update earlier this week.
According to a USA TODAY study of Johns Hopkins data, the United States is averaging more than 600,000 newly reported COVID-19 cases per day. The average day now has more than double the number of cases as the peak week of prior coronavirus waves.
Chicago Public Schools were closed for a third day on Friday due to a standoff between the city’s teachers union and the district over COVID-19 safety requirements.
Depending on how many personnel reports to work, a small number of schools may offer some in-person learning and activities, the school district said in a message to parents on Thursday.
After three weeks of steady reductions, COVID-19 indicators for New Hampshire have surged dramatically in the previous week. The number of new cases per day has roughly doubled since the first wave peaked at the end of 2020.
As a result of COVID-19-related employee shortages and recent extreme weather, Alaska Airlines is reducing 10% of its remaining January flight schedule.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United States has documented more than 58 million verified COVID-19 infections and more than 833,000 deaths. More than 300 million cases have been reported worldwide, with 5.4 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 207 million Americans (62.4 percent) are completely immunized.
What we’re reading right now: According to a new study, the technology employed in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccinations could also be utilized to treat heart disease, giving millions of people hope.
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What you need to know about co-infection after a ‘flurona‘ death in Peru
According to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, death has been reported from “flurona,” a co-infection of the coronavirus and influenza. According to the publication, the mortality occurred in an 87-year-old man with co-morbidities who had not been vaccinated against the flu or COVID-19.
Although it’s uncertain whether “flurona” causes more severe sickness, health experts suggest that immunization against both viruses can assist provide protection. Co-infections are more likely in immunocompromised adults and young children, whose immune systems are inexperienced with many common viruses.
COVID-19, a vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, will not be available for children under the age of five any time soon.
A Pfizer scientist told at a federal advisory committee meeting Wednesday that the lower dose is given to 2- to 5-year-olds didn’t provide as much immune protection as shots given to other age groups in early testing.
Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, vice president of vaccine clinical research and development for Pfizer, said at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that the company thinks the third dosage of vaccine eight weeks after the initial two doses will deliver the necessary effectiveness.
But, she added, it means waiting until late March or early April for results, giving the youngsters in the trial time to get a third shot before having their immune responses assessed.
According to a study, boosters provide ‘potent’ protection against omicron.
The relevance of boosters against omicron has been highlighted by new research, with an mRNA vaccination booster providing the best protection against the fast-spreading variety.
A report published Thursday in the journal Cell indicated that people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series and then a booster obtained “potent” neutralization against omicron.
The researchers discovered that the initial two-dose vaccine does not develop antibodies capable of fully detecting and neutralizing the omicron form. They did find, however, that while omicron is better at getting past vaccine-induced immunity, breakthrough cases have a milder illness, which could be related to the long-term protection produced by the first vaccination.
“Even if antibodies can’t keep us from getting infected with omicron, other parts of the immune response may keep us from getting severely sick,” said Alejandro Balazs, senior author of the work and a researcher at the Ragon Institute who studies ways to engineer immunity against infectious diseases.
WHO has a weekly global case count that is at an all-time high, although there are fewer deaths.
According to the World Health Organization, the world recorded a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases in the preceding week, up 71 percent from the previous week.
Unlike the quickly growing case numbers, which the WHO compared to a “tsunami,” the number of reported deaths each week has decreased.
“Last week, the pandemic’s greatest number of COVID-19 cases were reported,” stated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He went on to say that the WHO was certain that was an underestimate due to a testing backlog around the holidays.