COVID Cases Surge in Five Most-Vaccinated States + More

COVID Cases Are Surging in the Five Most-Vaccinated States

Newsweek reported:

The five most-vaccinated states in the United States — Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts — are all experiencing surges in new COVID-19 cases, as the Biden administration urges people over 50 to get their booster jabs.

Vermont, which is the most-vaccinated state, with 73% of its population fully jabbed, saw an 18% rise in new daily COVID cases over the last 14 days before Nov. 24, according to New York Times data.

NY Awards First Round of Vax Scholarships for Kids 5 to 11

Associated Press reported:

Ten preteens from around New York have won the first round of state college scholarships for 5-to-11-year-olds who get vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday.

The youths’ names were drawn by lottery after their parents or guardians entered them in the “Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate” contest. It’s open to children 5 to 11 who get their first vaccine dose by Dec. 19. Weekly drawings will continue through Dec. 20.

Winners get tuition, room and board for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program at a New York State or New York City public university, plus money for books and supplies.

People With the Omicron Variant Have ‘Extremely Mild’ Symptoms and Haven’t Had to Be Hospitalized yet, Says the South African Doctor Who First Reported It

Business Insider reported:

The South African doctor who first reported the Omicron variant has said that symptoms were so far “extremely mild” and that nobody has been hospitalized with it yet.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of the South African Medical Association, told the BBC‘s “The Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday that the Omicron patients she had seen had reported feeling “extremely fatigued” with body aches and a headache.

She also said the patients did not have a cough or lose their smell or taste, which are typical symptoms of COVID-19. She hadn’t admitted anyone with the Omicron variant to the hospital yet.

‘It’s Coming’: NY Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Potential Omicron Spike

NBC 4 New York reported:

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency ahead of potential COVID-19 spikes this winter due to the already-circulating Delta and newly-identified Omicron variants of coronavirus.

The declaration, which goes into effect on Dec. 3, will allow the state to acquire pandemic-fighting supplies, increase hospital capacity and fight potential staffing shortages. It would also allow the state Health Department to limit non-essential and non-urgent procedures at hospitals.

Dr. Fauci Says the U.S. Could Experience a Fifth Wave in COVID Infections as Health Officials Warn About Spread of Omicron

Business Insider reported:

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the U.S. might enter a fifth COVID-19 wave as the threat of the new Omicron variant looms.

“We certainly have the potential to go into a fifth wave,” Fauci, the nation’s topmost COVID-19 expert, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

“And the fifth wave, or the magnitude of any increase, if you want to call it that it will turn into a wave, will really be dependent upon what we do in the next few weeks to a couple of months.”

Moderna CMO Says Omicron Variant May Elude Current Vaccines

Newsweek reported:

Moderna‘s chief medical officer has said he suspects the Omicron variant of the coronavirus may elude current vaccines.

If that is proven true, a reformulated vaccine could be available early in 2022, Paul Burton said during an appearance on the BBC‘s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

“We should know about the ability of the current vaccine to provide protection in the next couple of weeks, but the remarkable thing about the mRNA vaccines, Moderna platform is that we can move very fast,” he said.

Pfizer Testing Its Vaccine Against New COVID Strain

CBS News reported:

Pfizer said Friday that it can produce a COVID-19 vaccine for the new virus strain identified in South Africa in “approximately 100 days,” subject to government regulatory approval.

The pharmaceutical firm said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch that its researchers are now conducting tests to see if the company’s existing vaccine is effective against the variant, dubbed “Omicron” by the World Health Organization.

Amid Omicron Variant Concerns, Hochul Mandates Booster Availability at All NY Nursing Homes

Pix 11 New York reported:

New York nursing homes will be required to make booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine available to all residents, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday.

While the Omicron variant has not yet been identified in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday said he “would not be surprised” if the strain was already in the country.

Pfizer CEO Confident COVID Treatment Pill Will Be Effective Against Omicron Variant

CNBC reported:

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Monday that he expects the company’s COVID-19 treatment pill to be effective against the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The good news when it comes to our treatment, it was designed with that in mind, it was designed with the fact that most mutations are coming in the spikes,” Bourla told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Pfizer submitted its application earlier this month to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the pill, Paxlovid, for emergency use.

NIH Director Francis Collins Says There’s ‘Reason to Be Pretty Optimistic’ Vaccines Will Be Effective Against the Omicron Variant

Business Insider reported:

There is “reason to be pretty optimistic” that the available COVID-19 vaccines will be effective against the new Omicron variant of the virus, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said Monday.

“All of the other variants that have emerged during this COVID-19 pandemic have shown response to the vaccine, including Delta,” Collins said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.

Collins also said there’s “reason to be optimistic” that COVID-19 antiviral pills — which have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration — would work against Omicron.

Miss Universe Contestant in Israel Has COVID

Associated Press reported:

Organizers of next month’s Miss Universe pageant say one of the contestants has tested positive for COVID-19.

It was not immediately clear if she had tested positive for the newly detected Omicron variant. Israeli authorities have said they will go ahead with holding the pageant in the southern city of Eilat in December despite the rapidly spreading new variant.

It said she was fully vaccinated and tested prior to departure.

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