– Covid-19 cases up 79 percent across the United States
– FDA approves booster shot for children between 12 and 15 years old.
– US is "going to get a lot of hospitalizations", Anthony Fauci warns
– Dr Fauci and other experts: hospitalizations, not cases, the key Omicron indicator
– Unvaccinated children raise concerns with new Omicron variant now prevalent in most of the world
– Nearly 3,000 flights within, to or from US cancelled on Sunday; just under 4,500cancelled worldwide
– What's the incubation period for the Omicron variant?
– Can I found out which variant I have with a PCR test?
– What are the symptoms of Omicron in children?
– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
– The World Health Organization
– The Lancet
Coronavirus US: what are the experts' recommendations for a safe trip?
A 2021 timeline from Alpha to Omicron
How many flights have been canceled due to weather and the Omicron covid variant this holiday season?
How long is the covid-19 Omicron variant incubation period? How long does it last?
What are the symptoms of Omicron in children?
Coronavirus US: Does Omicron evade the vaccine?
What is the Omicron incubation period?
One scientists spoke with MSNBC about how her covid-19 rapid test could have helped to avoid the testing shortage being seen around the country.
Booster for teens younger than sixteen approved
The Food and Drug Adminstration has approved the use of a booster shot in children between the ages of 12 and 15. As cases in children rise rapidly, this is welcomed news from many parents hoping to protect their children from the virus.
The move is especially critical as many children and teens will head back to school during the Omicron surge after many have spent time with people who have tested positive.
Ohio's high covid deaths in 2021
One in every 400.7 Ohioans, or 29,447 of the state's 11.8 million residents, have now died as a result of the evolving respiratory illness discovered two years ago, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
The virus' more lethal delta variant, which ushered a surge in hospitalizations and deaths in September, has been pushed aside by the more contagious — and, according to early scientific studies, less severe — omicron variant.
Cases are on the rise again, as Doug Livingston reports.
I just always want to be honest with New Yorkers about how bad this is.
Yes, the sheer numbers of people infected are high, but I want to see if hospitalizations are correlated to that.
Omicron trends known thus far
As much of the world returns to work this week, several trends are becoming clearer, as explained in the NYT:
Omicron seems milder: A large British study determined that people who contract Omicron are far less likely to be hospitalizedthan those infected with the Delta variant. Other studies found that Omicron may not spread as easily to the lungs, a possible explanation of why its effects appear less severe.
Vaccines, especially boosters, help: The British study also underlined that the risk of hospitalization was significantly lower for people who had received two or three vaccine doses, compared with unvaccinated people. Among Covid cases who developed symptoms, people who had three doses were 88 percent less likely to be hospitalized than those who had not had any shots.
Delta remains a threat: The earlier variant still accounts for a large share of new infections in many countries — including more than 41 percent in the United States, according to federal data from the week ending on Christmas Day — and is significantly more virulent.
How Omicron is challenging testing methods
Covid-19 testing has become a routine part of our daily lives as we continue to navigate a world that is stricken by the virus. Adding to the stress is in the most recent variant of concern – Omicron – the number of mutations in the virus may have outpaced current testing measures.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a list of covid PCR tests that may not accurately detect the Omicron variant, presenting people with a false negative result.
Verywell spoke to Adrianna Bravo, MD, FAAP, pediatrician, and senior medical advisor for Inspire Diagnostics, about the science behind why Omicron is slipping through the testing cracks.
Rachel Murphy reports.
Starbucks demand covid vaccine/tests for employees
Starbucks Corp will require its US workers to be fully vaccinated against covid-19 or undergo weekly testing in order to comply with new federal mandates, the company said in an update sent to employees today.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set a new date of 9 February for large employers to require either full vaccination or weekly testing as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads quickly throughout the United States.
The explosion of new cases has sidelined workers across the country, delaying the start of some schools, closing some restaurants and causing major disruptions at airlines.
Hilary Russ reports for Reuters.
Covid isolation guidelines from CDC
The CDC confirmed earlier today that people who are positive for covid should stay home for five days, changing guidance from the previously recommended 10 days.
At the end of the period, if you have no symptoms, you can return to normal activities but must wear a mask everywhere — even at home around others — for at least five more days. If you still have symptoms after isolating for five days, stay home until you feel better and then start your five days of wearing a mask at all times.
According to the CDC, "day 0 is your first day of symptoms." That means that Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.
For those who test positive for covid but have no symptoms, day 0 is the day of the positive test. Those who develop symptoms after testing positive must start their calculations over, however, with day 0 then becoming the first day of symptoms.
As we've seen these new variants develop – delta, now omicron – what we're seeing is everything gets sped up from a covid perspective.
It is taking less time from when someone is exposed to covid to potentially develop infection. It is taking less time to develop symptoms, it is taking less time that someone may be infectious and it is, for many people, taking less time to recover.
A lot of that is because many more people are vaccinated.
Do you know what to look for and what to do next? As cases of the coronavirus surge with the new omicron variant continuing to spread following the holidays, your chances of being exposed to someone with the virus have likely increased. But when might symptoms first appear following a potential exposure?
Some experts say the omicron variant has "sped up" timing for what many have come to know with covid, including the incubation period, or the time between exposure and the start of symptoms.
Covid outlook for 2022
Dr. Andrew Pekosz, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, discusses the spread of the Omicron variant and gives his outlook for covid-19 in 2022.
Hosted by Paul Sweeney and Taylor Riggs, you can listen to it here.
Takes steps, end covid surge
As Dr. Aditi Nerurkar reminds us, there is no silver bullet to get us through the current surge.
Although cloth face masks proved effective with the Delta variant, they are less so with the more transmissible Omicron threat, so upgrade. Then there is ventilation and avoiding crowds. Without a nearby host, the virus cannot spread.
The doctor calls for a 'vaccine-plus' strategy.
Covid spread halts Ottawa events
In late December the City of Ottawa announced that they would be delaying the start of their winter registered programming for at least two weeks due to the escalating covid-19 Omicron situation.
Any registered programs planned for the first two weeks of January were to be postponed with updates about revised start dates and capacity limits to come.
These are becoming more familiar across the country.
Maryland mask mandate
With Maryland trying to get a handle on rising covid-19 hospitalizations and infections, Gov. Larry Hogan announced today that masks will be mandatory inside state buildings.
With immediate effect, visitors and employees will be required to wear masks or face coverings in all state buildings, along with any space the state leases in public buildings, the governor’s office said.
“Today we are taking another series of actions to address the current surge of covid-19 hospitalizations, and we will continue to take every action necessary to help our hospitals and keep people safe,” Hogan said.
The measure comes after several local jurisdictions, including Baltimore and Howard counties, have introduced indoor mask mandates in an effort to stop the spread of covid-19.
Additionally, the state is offering an incentive for employees to get boosted. Employees who have gotten or get the shot will receive two hours of paid leave.
Fast-spreading Omicron to test Beijing Winter Games bubble
China's meticulous plans to prevent an Olympics-seeded covid-19 outbreak by sealing all participants inside a "closed loop" for the upcoming Winter Games will be tested by the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
The country has reported only a handful of Omicron cases and has largely succeeded in containing covid-19 since it first emerged in the central city of Wuhan two years ago, thanks to a zero-tolerance policy that includes rigorous contact tracing, strict targeted lockdowns, and travel curbs that have drastically cut international arrivals.
Omicron evades immunity better than Delta, Danish study finds
The Omicron coronavirus variant is better at circumventing vaccinated peoples' immunity than the Delta variant, according to a Danish study published last week, helping explain why Omicron is spreading more rapidly.
Since the discovery of the heavily mutated Omicron variant in November, scientists have been racing to find out whether it causes less serious disease and why it appears more contagious than the previously dominating Delta variant.
A virus can be more transmissible due to a number of reasons, such as the time it lingers in the air, its ability to latch onto cells, or its evasion of the body's immune system.
Investigating nearly 12,000 Danish households in mid-December, the scientists found that Omicron was 2.7 to 3.7 times more infectious than the Delta variant among vaccinated Danes.
FDA clears Pfizer's covid-19 booster shot for 12- to 15-year-olds
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized the use of a third dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech covid-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15 years, and narrowed the time for all booster shots to 5 months from 6 months after primary doses.
The agency also authorized a third shot in children aged 5 through 11 years who are immunocompromised.
The FDA said it reviewed published data and real world evidence on the safety of booster doses provided by the Israeli Ministry of Health including data from over 6,300 individuals 12-to-15 years of age who received a Pfizer shot.
Global covid-19 cases are surging due to the Omicron variant and health authorities have warned that its extremely high transmissibility could overwhelm many health systems.
Laboratory tests have shown that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines generate low immune responses against Omicron, while boosters appear to be protective against the highly-mutated variant.
Dutch to reopen schools despite high infection rates
The Netherlands, under a strict covid-19 lockdown for the past two weeks, will reopen primary and secondary schools on Jan. 10 despite coronavirus infections remaining high, the government announced on Monday.
The government stressed that hospital admissions were down considerably since the country went into a lockdown in December, which included schools closing a week earlier than planned for winter holidays.
"This is good news for students and it's important for their development and their mental well-being that they can go to school," Education Minister Arie Slob said at a press conference.
Jefferies asks employees to work remotely until end of January – CEO
U.S. investment bank Jefferies Financial Group has asked staff to work remotely until Jan. 31, according to an Instagram post on Monday from Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler.
The bank had called its staff back to offices in October, but was forced to return to work-from-home in December due to a spike in covid-19 cases. It had also re-imposed a mask mandate in its offices, irrespective of vaccination status.
Handler also said the bank will not host indoor group events or other functions, and that it believes only "the most critical business travel" should occur.
As concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus grow, Wall Street banks, which have been aggressive in bringing employees back to offices, have been forced to rethink their plans.
Omicron 'plainly milder'; new measures not needed, UK's Johnson says
New measures are not needed now in Britain to fight the Omicron variant, which is "plainly milder" than earlier forms of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
"The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue with the path that we are on," he told broadcasters. "Of course we will keep all measures under review, but the mixture of things that we are doing at the moment is I think the right one."
Despite a huge surge in infections, Johnson has so far mainly resisted imposing new restrictions in England, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the UK population.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which control their own rules, have imposed some new measures.
Which people will be able to get the third dose in early 2022?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging everyone over the age of 18 to get a booster amid the spread of the Omicron covid-19 variant in the US.
US flight cancellations up to nearly 1,900
As of 8:15am ET, 1,861 flights to, from or within the United States had been cancelled today, according to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware. SkyWest is again the US airline that’s been worst affected, with 219 cancellations so far.
Worldwide, 3,278 flights have been scrapped today, per Flight Aware.
Which states are offering unemployment benefits to workers who refuse vaccines?
Five states in the US have enacted laws to provide unemployment compensation to workers who refuse to comply with employer vaccine requirements.
Shortening of isolation periods a “balancing act” – Imperial College London expert
An infectious disease expert has described countries’ shortening of isolation periods for covid-19 sufferers is a “very tough balancing act” and a "tough gamble".
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week halved its recommended isolation time from 10 to five days for people are asymptomatic or whose “symptoms are resolving”.
Talking to CNBC, Danny Altmann of Imperial College London said: “I look at this from my side of the fence, from immunology and virology, from where it looks like quite a tough balancing act, quite a tough gamble, because you need to look at the hard data about the proportion of people who will still be positive beyond seven or eight or nine or ten days, and still be symptomatic beyond that period.
“And so it’s a very, very tough balancing act, and not without risk.”
Coronavirus US: what are the experts' recommendations for a safe trip?
As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads across the US and the world, AS USA's Maite Knorr-Evans takes a look at how people can reduce the risk of catching covid-19 while travelling.
Nearly 2,000 US flights cancelled so far today
According to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware, just over 1,700 flights to, from or within the United States have been cancelled so far today. As of 6:20am ET, 1,764 such flights had been scrapped.
Worldwide, the number of flights cancelled today stood at 3,139.
Take a look at the Flight Aware flight-cancellations tracker
"We can't be complacent" – Dr Fauci
Dr Anthony Fauci, the US top infectious disease expert and President Biden's chief medical adviser, says there is no room for complacency over the Omicron variant, despite growing evidence that it usually leads to milder symptoms than other strains of covid-19.
Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Dr Fauci said: “There are certainly going to be a lot more cases, because this is a much more transmissible virus than Delta is, so quantitatively alone, even if you have a virus that looks in fact like it might be less severe […], the only difficulty is that we have so many, many cases that even if the rate of hospitalizations is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there’s still the danger that you’re going to have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system.”
He added: “You have a virus that might actually be less severe in its pathogenicity, but so many people are getting infected that the total amount of people that will require hospitalization might be up. So we can’t be complacent […]. We’re still going to get a lot of hospitalizations.”
Live updates on the Omicron covid-19 variant: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily live blog for Monday 3 January 2021, covering the latest developments in the spread of the Omicron covid-19 variant.
The highly contagious strain has led to surging case numbers – with new daily infections reaching around 500,000 in the United States – albeit it generally appears to cause milder symptoms than other variants of covid-19.
The rise in infections associated with the emergence of Omicron has also led to major disruption at airports around the globe, as covid-19 hits airline crews and, together with adverse weather, forces the cancellation of thousands of flights. We’ll keep you updated with news on how Omicron is affecting the travel industry.
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