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 12.14.21 can be found here
We have moved older live blog posts to an archive that can be found in the right-side navigation.
Vaccine Related Information:
Moderna says preliminary data suggests a larger dose of booster increases antibody levels against Omicron
Novavax’s Covid Vaccine Is Authorized in Europe The vaccine will be the fifth to become available in the E.U., which already has ample supplies. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/20/health/covid-novavax-europe.html
CDC vaccine advisers to meet Thursday on Johnson & Johnson vaccine recommendation
NIH data on vaccine efficacy against Omicron expected Wednesday, Fauci says
Hong Kong researchers find that two doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine are inadequate against Omicron.
Sanofi’s long-delayed vaccine showed promise as a booster.
Germany risks COVID-19 vaccine shortage in first quarter of 2022, health minister says –
‘The quantities are not enough to drive the booster vaccination campaign,’ in January, said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.
mRNA Vaccine Efficacy Against Delta Plummeted in Veterans — Large cohort of older veterans shows potential
waning efficacy, less protection against infection
Facing a cold-storage shortage, Nepal asks for a slowdown of vaccine shipments.
Pfizer will test third Covid-19 vaccine dose in children under 16
EU to order 180 million doses of Pfizer vaccine adapted to Omicron
Pfizer to test a third dose of coronavirus vaccine in young children after two-dose regimen falls short
Results from the modified trials in children as young as 6 months old are expected in the first half of 2022
WHO adds ninth vaccine to Covax repertoire
Pfizer-BioNTech seeks full approval of coronavirus vaccine for 12-15 age group
Moderna halts patent fight over coronavirus vaccine with federal government mRNA vaccine maker
says it wants to ‘avoid any distraction’ in fight against omicron
Scientific Research & Variants:
COVID super-immunity: one of the pandemic’s great puzzles People who have previously recovered from
COVID-19 have a stronger immune response after being vaccinated than those who have never been infected.
Scientists are trying to find out why. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02795-x
“7 Deaths From Omicron Covid-19 Coronavirus Variant In UK, Showing It’s Not The ‘Omicold’
Ireland says more than half of cases are Omicron
Is there any good news at all on Omicron? Yes, there are small signs of hope
Analysis: scientists are only starting to understand new Covid mutation but there is encouraging news from the laboratory, South Africa and on antiviral drugs
Moderna booster shot should provide ‘good level of protection’ against omicron, vaccine maker says
Moderna’s Omicron-specific booster could start clinical trials early next year
Here’s why you should be cautious in using South Africa’s Omicron trajectory as a model for the US
Omicron largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses
Omicron now accounts for 73% of coronavirus cases in the US, according to the CDC
1st omicron-related death reported in Harris County, Judge Lina Hidalgo says
WHO: Omicron is spreading faster than Delta
Time is too short for “vaccination alone” to halt Omicron, EU health agency says
Omicron spread may be helped by lowered infection ability of Delta, epidemiologist says
Omicron Thrives in Airways, Not Lungs; New Data on Asymptomatic Cases
HKUMed finds Omicron SARS-CoV-2 can infect faster and better than Delta in human bronchus but with less severe infection in lung https://www.med.hku.hk/en/news/press/20211215-omicron-sars-cov-2-infection
Omicron found to grow 70 times faster than Delta in bronchial tissue Study of tubes between windpipe
and lungs could help explain Covid variant’s rapid transmission
Expecting a Surge We look at the latest on Omicron.
“Omicron: Fog of Information and Definitions”
Each person who catches Omicron may infect up to 5 others, says UK adviser – ‘I think the earliest
that we will have reliable data is the week between Christmas and New Year and probably early January,’ says Susan Hopkins.
CDC director: We expect Omicron to become dominant variant in the coming weeks
Hospitalization rates still ‘much lower’ in South Africa despite Omicron wave
“Preliminary laboratory data hint at what makes Omicron the most superspreading variant yet”
“How severe are Omicron infections? – As cases spread and countries plan their response,
researchers await crucial data on the severity of the disease caused by the coronavirus variant.”
“Report 49 – Growth, population distribution and immune escape of Omicron in England”
“Omicron largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses”
Outbreaks & Restrictions:
Highly vaccinated countries thought they were over the worst. Denmark says the pandemic’s toughest month is just beginning. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/12/18/omicron-variant-denmark/
UK reports 10,000 jump in Omicron cases, deaths rise to 7
England’s restaurants plead for help as Omicron wipes out bookings
Israel to add US, Canada, and Germany to no-fly list
London mayor says further Covid-19 restrictions are “inevitable”
Netherlands imposes weeks-long nationwide lockdown amid omicron-fueled case surge
How Maine lost control of coronavirus and became a national hot spot – With the virus raging across interior parts of the state,
hospitals are already under stress as holidays, winter and the omicron variant lie ahead.
Highly vaccinated countries thought they were over the worst. Denmark says the pandemic’s toughest month is just beginning.
COVID News: New York reports record number of new cases as holiday travel ramps up
4 NYC schools closed amid COVID outbreaks, 25 more could also shutter: DOE data
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike in D.C. region, stirring holiday travel angst
A Taylor Swift fan party in Australia became a coronavirus superspreader event
New York cases hit record high for third straight day
Cases are rising “sharply” in New York City but hospitalizations are not, health commissioner says
Nearly 80% of ICU beds are full across the US. Here’s what you need to know about the pandemic today.
China reports 37 locally transmitted Covid cases, mostly in Xi’an
Florida COVID surge: 18,000+ new cases from weekend as omicron spreads
CDC warns daily COVID-19 cases ‘could exceed previous peaks’ due to omicron – “Current increases in Omicron cases are
likely to lead to a national surge in the coming weeks with peak daily numbers of new infections that could exceed previous
peaks,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
UK records highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic
5 Bay Area counties granted some exemptions to new California mask mandate
Covid: New UK cases record as Whitty warns worse to come
Rhode Island governor announces new indoor mask mandates as state’s Covid-19 cases rise
These US colleges are shifting classes and holding finals online due to Covid-19 increases
Danish leader warns “new measures will be needed” to curb Covid-19
France will limit UK tourists due to Omicron, official says
Maryland hospitals are coming close to capacity as covid spread accelerates
Colorado Hospitals in ‘Critical Condition’ as State Weathers Another Surge
‘We’ve Never Seen This Before in NYC’: COVID Positivity Rate Doubles in 3 Days on Omicron Spread –
Dr. Jay Varma, a top advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted that the latest positivity data was a sign
the omicron variant is evading immunity ‘unlike any variant before’
Three rural Maine counties now among nation’s worst for spread of COVID-19 – Franklin, Aroostook and Piscataquis,
where vaccination rates are low, currently have the 4th, 5th, and 6th highest per capita new case rates in the U.S.
UK breaks Covid-19 daily case record for third day
France reports “very high” Covid-19 infection rate in children
Germany expecting fifth Covid-19 wave to be “massive challenge,” health minister says
Stanford to begin winter term online as more schools adjust plans amid rising infections
“COVID News: New York sets new pandemic case record as testing demand soars”
‘This is unprecedented’: Omicron causes 80% of coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade in 2 weeks
Omicron surge predicted to peak higher than delta wave in King County: ‘It’s here and it’s moving fast’
London mayor declares ‘major incident’ to help Covid-hit hospitals Sadiq Khan takes step after UK recorded its largest 24-hour increase in new cases since pandemic began https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/18/london-declares-major-incident-to-help-covid-hit-hospitals
Watch now: Rural Wisconsin hospitals ‘burning on the inside’ with COVID-19 surge
NHS hospitals in England 94% full before start of Omicron surge Four in five critical care beds
are full and one in four ambulance handovers are taking more than 30 minutes
Hundreds off work ill at leading London hospital as Omicron cases surge Non-essential services cancelled
and staff redeployed to intensive care to treat influx of Covid admissions
All Other Covid News:
Kamala Harris concedes White House ‘didn’t see’ Delta and Omicron coming Vice-president’s candid admission
on Covid variants came in wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times
Flu shot may be a ‘bad match’ for dominant strain – The shots should still help prevent severe disease.
Rising number of blood cancer patients dying of Covid in England and Wales Charities ask for more government help
and blame confusion over access to care, shortage of boosters and lack of shielding support
There is a “tsunami” coming for unvaccinated Americans, CNN medical analyst says
US official: There will be “stark difference” between vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s Omicron experience
Sen. Warren tests positive for Covid-19
4 NYC schools closed amid COVID outbreaks, 25 more could also shutter: DOE data
44 people test positive for COVID on Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas ship
Outgoing NIH director says Trump and other Republicans pressured him to endorse unproven Covid-19 remedies and to fire Fauci https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/19/politics/francis-collins-trump-political-pressure-republicans/index.html
Sajid Javid hits out at unvaccinated for ‘taking up hospital beds’Minister says the 10% of population
unjabbed ‘must think about the damage they are doing to society’
Omicron is coming for Red America, but it’s too late for many of them to do anything about it
Police suffer minor injuries in London scuffles with anti-vax protesters – Shoving broke out between
police and demonstrators as thousands marched against Covid restrictions
Lawmakers, business leaders begin to raise alarms about dwindling federal aid
World Economic Forum in Davos deferred due to Omicron outbreak
Trump met with boos after revealing he received Covid-19 booster
Sarah Palin gave a speech opposing vaccination, and said she would get a shot ‘over my dead body’
Nov 29, before Omicron hit: “New pandemic wave strikes hardest at people with pre-existing conditions –
Overcrowded hospitals, delayed treatment and missed diagnoses put the most sick at greater risk.”
Biden tests negative for Covid after having close contact with aide who contracted virus
We’ll Never Be Rid of COVID, Fauci Says — The new endgame is control, NIAID director said at a briefing
‘We’re Losing The War’: As Pandemic Surges, Healthcare Workers Call On Top Management To Make A Change
NYPD sees increase in officers out sick and issues mask mandate as Covid-19 surges in New York
Africa might not reach 70% vaccination until 2024, WHO official says
“Will we always need Covid-19 boosters? Experts have theories”
Los Angeles schools put off a student vaccine mandate until fall 2022.
The U.S. secretary of state cuts his Asia trip short after a journalist on his plane tests positive.
Vaccine Opponents in Germany Investigated Over Plot to Kill State Governor
The authorities in Dresden raided the homes of a group of people who they said were
targeting the leader of the state of Saxony. A number of weapons were seized.
‘They’re sick of masks’: Democratic governors fight Covid fatigue – The party’s defeat last month in Virginia —
and closer-than-expected victory in New Jersey — has many Democrats searching for an off-ramp to the
pandemic that allows them to sell a brighter future to voters next November.
The pandemic could end in 2022 — here’s what ‘normal’ life might look like soon, according to medical experts
Google tells US staff to get vaccinated or face losing job Those who fail to comply without valid exemption
will initially be placed on leave and could later be sacked
C.D.C. Virus Tests Were Contaminated and Poorly Designed, Agency Says
An internal review documented two serious flaws in the test kits, which were distributed to public health laboratories in early 2020.
Dave Ramsey Fired Employee for Taking Covid Precautions, Suit Says In his complaint,
a former employee says the Tennessee radio broadcaster, an evangelical Christian who
has built a personal finance empire, violated his religious rights.
Here’s Where COVID Hospitalizations Were Most Expensive
Poll: Omicron is forcing Americans to rethink some — but not all — of their holiday plans
What Broadway Shows Have Canceled Shows Due to COVID Outbreaks?
NDTV = New Delhi TV, India: “Wuhan Lab Leak “More Likely” Origin Of COVID-19, Says Researcher –
Asked by the panel about the probability of a lab leak as the origin of the pandemic, Canadian molecular
biologist said a “lab origin is more likely than natural origin at this point”.
NFL reexamining COVID-19 protocols after sudden wave of positive cases late in 2021 season
75 NFL Players (and Counting) Have COVID-19—and the NBA Isn’t Far Behind
NFL’s new COVID-19 rules include changes to return-to-play protocols, return of intensive restrictions
Radio City Music Hall cancels 4 holiday performances due to “breakthrough” Covid-19 cases
U.S. stockpiles monoclonal antibody for when omicron variant becomes dominant
Trump White House made ‘deliberate efforts’ to undermine Covid response, report says
The White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance from the nation’s
top infectious disease experts and silenced officials, the report found.
The report, prepared by the House select subcommittee investigating the nation’s Covid response, says the
White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance by the nation’s top infectious disease
experts and silenced officials in order to promote then-President Donald Trump’s political agenda.
“COVID-19 carousel: Raiders-Browns NFL game moved to Monday; Tuesday for Rams-Seahawks, WFT-Eagles”
Biden’s vaccine-or-test rule for 84 million workers is back after court lifts stay
How Bad Is It to Get a Booster While You Have COVID? — Some people may not know they are infected when they get boosted
5 omicron variant symptoms you shouldn’t ignore – What are the COVID-19 symptoms for the omicron variant?
Trump White House made ‘deliberate efforts’ to undermine Covid response, report says The White House repeatedly
overruled public health and testing guidance from the nation’s top infectious disease experts and silenced officials, the report found.
In Italy’s Alps, Traditional Medicine Flourishes, as Does Covid The province of Bolzano has the country’s highest level of
coronavirus infection and lowest vaccination rate, as many people there prefer to rely on the pure air and herbal remedies. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/16/world/europe/italy-alps-bolzano-covid-vaccination.html
Across services, troops face discipline for refusing vaccine
Vaccine Holdouts in Army and Navy Will Be Dismissed, Military Says Several governors are seeking exemptions for their National Guard troops. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/16/us/politics/military-vaccine-mandate.html
“5 Ways to Understand the U.S. Climb to 800,000 COVID Deaths Grappling with another
horrifying milestone as Omicron looms.”
Omicron is forcing Americans to rethink some — but not all — of their holiday plans
We May Be Tired of COVID, but COVID’s Not Tired of Us
Appeals court lifts stay on administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate for large businesses –
Business groups quickly filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Biden delays enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine-or-test rules for businesses as courts hear legal challenges
Report: CDC overcounts millions of vaccinations
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