This is an ongoing weekly update of news headlines, new studies, and data related to the coronavirus outbreak. The newest information is at the top. If you have a question or want to discuss this issue in-depth, we have been discussing this issue in our chat system. Covid blog Information is updated once a week.
Last week’s blog post from 11.23.21 can be found here
We have moved older live blog posts to an archive that can be found in the right-side navigation.
The discovery of the Omicron variant dominated the news this week. Below are graphs for deaths and cases in South Africa. The case rate jumped rapidly while the death rate did not. These will be two factors along with hospitalizations that will determine how big of a deal this new variant truly is.
Vaccine Related Information:
Greece makes vaccines mandatory for over-60s
China Pledges 1 Billion Vaccine Doses for Africa
Covax sets aside vaccine doses for North Korea.
U.K. to offer boosters for all adults 3 months after second shot
China’s Sinovac says it could develop and mass-produce a vaccine for omicron
Pfizer poised to request authorization for coronavirus booster for 16 and 17 year olds
The companies are expected to seek clearance soon from federal regulators, who are said to be reassured by Israeli safety data. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/11/29/covid-vaccine-16-17-year-olds/
Frustrated by vaccine inequity, a South African lab is on the cusp of replicating Moderna’s shot
Moderna says an omicron variant vaccine could be ready in early 2022
Omicron COVID-19 variant: Pfizer, BioNTech say vaccine could be reworked in 100 days to counter strain –
Johnson & Johnson said it was also testing the effectiveness of its vaccine against the variant
Scientific Research & Variants:
Two Israeli doctors confirmed with Omicron variant, including first case of community spread
“It is not yet clear whether these people had also visited southern Africa,” the statement added.
“The GGD [Municipal Public Health Service] will notify the people involved and start source and contact tracing.”
Two cases of Omicron Covid variant identified in UK The B.1.1.529 variant, described in Britain
as ‘the most worrying we’ve seen’, was first found in southern Africa
Omicron infections: eight further cases found in England
The number includes nine cases in Scotland and five in England, according to government figures.
UK: School staff and pupils in Essex tested for Omicron Covid variant Contact tracers establish
link to primary school after identifying cases in nearby church and KFC
Scotland finds 6 cases of Omicron, but no sign its spread is ‘sustained.’
There are 5 cases of Omicron in England and 6 in Scotland with more expected, UK health official says
Omicron community transmission possible in Scotland, England –
Cases identified in people who have not traveled to southern Africa.
Australia confirms sixth case of Omicron variant
NSW records two further Omicron cases
Coronavirus news Australia: Concern new Covid-19 variant is in Sydney
Omicron variant detected in Australia, Europe
Two people on a flight from South Africa to Australia test positive for covid
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said Sunday that eight possible Omicron cases had been identified in France,
adding it was possible the variant was already circulating in the country.
France detects eight possible Omicron cases – Health Ministry
At least 17 countries and territories have confirmed cases of the Omicron variant
Italy confirms 5 new Omicron variant cases
Italy confirms first case of Omicron Covid-19 variant in a traveler coming from Mozambique
The new variant raises alarm in India, which remains vulnerable to another virus wave.
European Union says it detected 42 omicron cases — and they’re mild
Regeneron’s antibody cocktail could be less effective against omicron, says maker
“Existing vaccines might not be effective against omicron variant right away, Moderna CEO says”
Doctors hope Omicron causes milder cases of Covid — but it’s still too early to say
Dutch officials found two omicron cases before South Africa alarm was raised: Latest COVID-19 updates
Netherlands says Omicron variant now found in 14 of Friday’s passengers from South Africa
Dutch test for new variant after finding 61 COVID cases among South Africa passengers
61 COVID-19 cases found on flight from South Africa to Netherlands amid screening for new variant
Netherlands confirms 13 cases of Omicron variant
“Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in
a statement published Sunday that the variant had been detected through the sequencing of the 61
positive Covid-19 results obtained by local health authorities at the airport on Friday. It added that
the sequencing “had not been entirely completed” and that it was “possible that the new variant will
be found in more test samples.”
Suspected Omicron Covid cases found in Germany and Czech Republic
Coronavirus digest: Germany confirms third case of omicron variant – A person who arrived in the western
state of Hesse from South Africa has been infected with the new variant. Denmark and Italy are the latest
EU countries to announce omicron cases. Follow DW for the latest.
First Latin American cases of omicron variant reported in Brazil
Hospitalizations up sharply in South African province where omicron variant detected
Omicron may already be in US – what are the ‘unusual’ symptoms to look out for? ‘
Some of these, such as confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, are not widely
known as Covid-19 symptoms, yet are hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease’
Portugal detects 13 cases of Omicron tied to a soccer team.
Scientists are studying whether Omicron leads to severe illness.
Spain confirms its first case of Omicron variant
How Big a Genetic Jump Omicron is Compared to Other Variants
“Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus – Africa-focused subsampling”
What Doctors Need to Know About Omicron — Picture to become clearer in 2 weeks, but here’s what we know now
These countries and territories have confirmed Omicron infections:
It’s the fourth Omicron case to be discovered in Germany. Two previous infections were
detected in Munich and a third case was found in the state of Hesse.
Japan confirms first Omicron case
Singapore says two travellers to Sydney with Omicron transited at Changi
“A Scared Nu World: Here’s What We Know About The COVID “Omicron” Strain”
BBC radio interview with a journalist that was on the flight from South Africa to Netherlands.
The new variant, expected to be designated ‘Nu’, has been found to have 32 spike protein
mutations, compared with the 13 to 17 seen in the Delta variant
Denmark confirms 2 cases of Omicron coronavirus variant
The Omicron variant has worrisome mutations, but scientists say vaccines seem likely to work against it.
The Omicron variant has worrisome mutations, but scientists say vaccines seem likely to work against it.
Omicron variant symptoms ‘unusual but mild’, says South African doctor
“South African doctor who raised alarm about omicron variant says symptoms are ‘unusual but mild’ –
Dr Angelique Coetzee noticed otherwise healthy patients showing unusual symptoms and worries
how the new variant might hurt the elderly”
youtube video link: “COVID-19 I Dr Angelique Coetzee on fears of looming harsher lockdown measures”
BBC video link: “Omicron symptoms mild so far, says South African doctor who spotted it
Covid live news: Third Omicron case found in UK; Netherlands confirms at least 13 cases of new variant
Austria detects its first case of Omicron
Doctor who discovered Omicron variant says UK ‘panicking unnecessarily’ and that symptoms ‘extremely mild’
The doctor who discovered the Omicron variant said the UK was “panicking unnecessarily” and that the symptoms are “extremely mild”.
Nov 26: “What’s known and unknown about Omicron, the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa”
Nov 28: “Scientists rapidly identified the Omicron variant. But firm answers about its impact could take weeks”
Omicron raises concerns about global vaccine equity and hesitancy – African Union officials have complained
about the lack of vaccines since the U.S., U.K. and EU pre-purchased the bulk of available supplies at the end of 2020.
Omicron: Why Did WHO Skip Over Two Letters in Greek Alphabet to Name Latest Variant?
Canada’s first cases of the omicron coronavirus variant confirmed in Ottawa
Canadian health officials also confirmed the country’s first two Omicron cases in Ottawa on Sunday.
Both individuals carrying the variant had recently traveled from Nigeria
Scientists warn of new Covid variant with high number of mutations
The B.1.1.529 variant was first spotted in Botswana and six cases have been found in South Africa
WHO calls special meeting to discuss new Covid variant found in South Africa with ‘a large number of mutations’
What we know so far about the B.1.1.529 COVID variant causing concern in South Africa
What do we know about the new ‘worst ever’ Covid variant?
“Probable Vaccine-Escaping Covid Variant Sequenced in Gauteng, South Africa and Spreading Rapidly;
Press Underplaying Downside Risk”
Vaccine scientists are already testing the new coronavirus variant
The Belgian government has said that one individual has tested positive for the B.1.1.529 variant,
the new strain of the coronavirus that was just detected in South Africa.
W.H.O. says new variant in South Africa is ‘of concern’ as countries impose travel restrictions.
Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern
What’s known and unknown about Omicron, the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa
Heavily mutated coronavirus variant puts scientists on alert – Researchers are racing to determine whether a fast-spreading
variant in South Africa poses a threat to COVID vaccines’ effectiveness.
How will the Omicron coronavirus variant affect Europe this winter? – Scientists are concerned that the B.1.1.529
mutation could bypass immunization from both vaccination or prior infection.
Fetal Brains Appear Unaffected by Mom’s Milder COVID —
Small MRI study involving pregnant women with mild to moderate infection revealed no problems
New Mayo Clinic study finds more women are COVID ‘long haulers’ –
Researchers suspect the findings are due to differences in immune response between men and women.
A Breath of Virus-Free Air — Advanced air purification can reduce hospital-acquired infections
Healthcare-associated infection impact with bioaerosol treatment and COVID-19 mitigation measures
Bats from Cambodia identified as having coronaviruses related to SARS-COV-2
Scientists uncover coronavirus-related SARS-CoV-2 in Cambodian bats sampled more than 10 years ago
A novel SARS-CoV-2 related coronavirus in bats from Cambodia
Outbreaks & Restrictions:
China locks down cities near Mongolia border amid Covid-19 outbreak
Federal strike team starts at St. Cloud Hospital amid COVID surge, staffing shortage
“We’re seeing numbers now that we haven’t seen since the last surge in November [and] December of 2020.”
COVID In Minnesota: State Tallies More Than 10,000 Reinfections Since Pandemic’s Start
Stricter coronavirus testing being weighed for all travelers to U.S. Biden administration
also considering measures such as a 7-day self-quarantine and retesting several days after arrival.
Britain tightens COVID rules as world on alert over omicron variant
COVID-19 spike sending Minnesota students home, closing schools
Some schools are changing mask and safety policies to thwart a rise in infections.
More countries restrict travel from southern Africa.
“Among the eight countries that have been targeted with travel restrictions, none has vaccinated even one-third of
its population — and in Malawi, the immunization rate is in the single digits, according to Our World in Data.”
France to announce new Covid measures as infections surge
Netherlands records highest number of daily Covid cases since start of pandemic
Italy poised to tighten Covid rules for unvaccinated with ‘super green pass’
COVID in Israel: Cases highest in month, immunity declining, expert warns – Over 50% of new virus carriers are
younger than 12. PM Bennett called on parents to get kids vaccinated and ordered antigen tests for
students before they return to school after the Hanukkah break.
Experts: Vaccine Immunity Waning, Signs Israel Facing Fifth COVID Wave – The expert cabinet advising the
Israel’s government said that the children’s vaccination drive would not be enough by itself to halt the spread of COVID
COVID cases break records in Europe, prompting booster shot rethink
Europe is facing 700,000 more Covid deaths — but masks could prevent many of them, WHO says
Massachusetts governor orders some hospitals to delay nonessential procedures
NT State north of Albany: “Glens Falls Hospital, amid COVID-19 surge, ‘past capacity’ –
‘Let me be blunt’ leader of hospital says, ‘get the vaccine immediately’
Coronavirus latest: Dutch hospitals postpone chemotherapy amid COVID surge Germany’s death toll tops 100,000;
South Korea’s serious patients at record high
South Africa to be put on England’s travel red list over new Covid variant Flights from six countries will
be banned as officials review travel measures after scientists voice concern over variant
European Commission proposes activating “emergency brake” on travel from certain countries
Delta says its travel partner Virgin Atlantic has now canceled its service between Johannesburg and London Heathrow.
These are the countries that have announced restrictions so far:
U.S. will begin new travel restrictions amid concerns over a new coronavirus variant
New COVID Variant Sparks U.S. Travel Ban for Southern Africa — Characterized as “red flag,”
but questions remain about immune escape, transmissibility
‘Worse than the worst-case scenario’: Belgium tightens coronavirus rules –
Vaccine booster rollout to be speeded up, says PM Alexander De Croo.
The Netherlands moves toward lockdown as coronavirus cases surge – From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m,
non-essential shops, restaurants, bars and cultural venues will have to close.
Coronavirus live news Australia: Australia preparing to tighten travel rules in response to Omicron Covid variant
30 Wisconsin counties now seeing critically high COVID-19 activity, DHS says
All Other Covid News:
A panel of F.D.A. advisers meeting about Merck’s Covid pill.
FDA Staff: Mediocre Efficacy for Merck’s Pill in High-Risk COVID —
Full analysis pours cold water on molnupiravir’s initially promising findings
Merck’s Covid Pill Recommended for High-Risk Adults by F.D.A. Panel
FDA: Merck COVID pill effective; experts will review safety
New data, analyses take some of the shine off Merck’s Covid pill
Vaccine Politics Not Working to Biden Administration Advantage
New York Islanders games postponed due to COVID cases
Massachusetts could soon have a digital vaccination passport, governor says
This year’s flu strain is particularly dangerous for older adults
Head Start imposes new mask rules for children, mandates vaccinations for adults
A federal judge blocks Biden’s vaccine mandate for U.S. health workers.
NYC officials highly recommend even the vaccinated wear masks inside in public due to Omicron concerns
“The Campaign to Protect Christmas Profits from Omicron”
Biden: Omicron coronavirus variant ’cause for concern, not a cause for panic’
Biden says ‘lockdowns’ not needed to curb coronavirus variant
DeSantis: COVID-19 lockdowns ‘not going to happen’ in Florida over omicron variant
A consortium of four labs have joined efforts to assist with sequencing to expand surveillance efforts,
an official from the New York State’s Dept. of Health Wadsworth Center said.
In July, the US donated 5.7 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine and another 2.2 million doses in August.
Maine lawmaker who flouted pandemic rules resigns after wife’s COVID-19 death –
State Rep. Chris Johansen, R-Monticello, contracted COVID-19 this summer along with his wife, Cindy, who later died from the virus. https://www.pressherald.com/2021/11/29/maine-lawmaker-who-flouted-pandemic-rules-resigns-after-wifes-covid-19-death/
New York declares covid state of emergency as Gov. Hochul warns that omicron variant ‘is coming’
Wisconsin children lead state with most COVID-19 cases overall
Peru has the world’s highest COVID death rate. Here’s why
The WHO is seeking a new treaty on handling future pandemics. It could be a hard sell
Swiss voters back law behind Covid vaccine certificate After tense campaign,
early results show about two-thirds in favour of law giving legal basis for Covid pass
South Africa mulling compulsory COVID-19 jabs for some places, activities
Dutch police arrest couple who fled from Covid hotel after traveling to South Africa
Dutch covid quarantine escapees boarded plane
COVID quarantine breacher who climbed down bedsheet rope pleads guilty
C.D.C. reports the largest revision of state vaccine numbers to date.
To wear or not to wear a mask? Experts answer your questions
A Hong Kong quarantine hotel guest went maskless and wore a ‘selfish’ valve mask. His neighbor got covid.
France’s Macron warns of ‘explosive’ situation as Guadeloupe is hit by unrest over vaccine mandates
US hospitals prepare for influx of Covid patients as millions travel for Thanksgiving
Despite vaccines, the U.S. has lost more lives to Covid this year than last.
The higher death toll is attributed to lower-than-needed vaccination rates
and the relaxation of everyday precautions amid a rise of the highly contagious Delta variant.
“Virus expert Trevor Bedford on annual Covid boosters and the inevitable next pandemic”
As vaccination efforts falter, the U.S. must get serious about Covid-19 testing and reporting
Doc Took ‘Miracle Drug’, Still Got COVID; St. Jude Has Billions as Families Go Broke —
This past week in healthcare investigations
In a long line of medical conspiracy theories, ivermectin is the latest to seduce many,
including Aaron Rodgers
Denver reinstates mask mandate with exemption for the vaccinated
Health agency warns European coronavirus surge could be ‘window into the future’ for the Americas
Vaccinated people must continue taking precautions, WHO says
Doctor Fighting to Use Ivermectin for COVID-19 Suspended by Hospital: Lawyer
Experimental chewing gum may reduce virus spread; Booster shot protection may be longer lasting
Omaha, NE Downtown drive-thru COVID vaccine clinic closed after ‘repeated vandalism’
No booze, no sunbathing, lots of Vegemite: Welcome to quarantine at Howard Springs, NT
How’s That Vaccine Mandate Working for the Federal Government? —
Agency-by-agency breakdown shows high levels of compliance with mandates
Supply-Chain Crisis Only Getting Worse With China’s 7-Week Port Quarantine
Dow futures plunge 400 points amid fears of new Covid variant found in South Africa
Coronavirus: Fact-check – did mutations or ivermectin help stamp out Delta in Japan?
Delta Variant May Have “Mutated Itself Into Extinction” In Japan, Suggest Researchers
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