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Pandemic

Cases Surge in Upper Midwest, Vaccine Mandate Row Flares up at Google

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A new wave of COVID cases in the upper Midwest is spreading to other regions as northeastern states report spikes in infections and hospital stays.

Michigan hospitals are now on alert as the state has nearly 4,000 people hospitalized with the virus – just off a record number. The latest figures show that 83 percent of intensive care beds are now occupied and nine hospitals are fully occupied.

Northeast states, including New England and Vermont, are also reporting an increase in new infections. In New York, the daily case numbers are almost twice as high as at the beginning of this month. Meanwhile, disputes over corporate vaccine mandates have flared up when hundreds of Google employees sign a manifest opposing a corporate mandate.

Follow Newsweek’s live blog for the latest updates …

Biden’s government is calling on federal court to lift ban on COVID vaccine mandates

The White House is calling on the federal appeals court to end a court-ordered suspension of the company’s vaccine mandate to avoid “tremendous” damage to public health, a court filing said.

Officials claim that delaying the OSHA-enforced rule would result in thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Almost 3 in 4 Americans believe their lives have returned to normal – poll

A Yahoo News / YouGov poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe their lives are now back to normal.

That includes 21 percent who said their life was “very normal,” along with 53 percent who said their life was “fairly normal” when you factor in the effects of the virus, according to the survey.

The outlook is optimistic, however, as COVID cases are on the rise again in large parts of the country. In the hardest hit regions like the Northeast and Midwest, hospital admissions are also rising and intensive care beds running out, threatening the sense of a return to normal.

WHOLE STORY: 74 percent of Americans believe their lives have returned to normal amid the pandemic

Amazon Helps New Hampshire Provide One Million Rapid Tests

Hundreds of thousands of people will be asked to test for COVID with lateral flow devices supplied by Amazon over the next few weeks, Governor Chris Sununu announced.

🚨1 MILLION home rapid tests are on the way to the Granite State in the next few weeks.

You can order them online and have them delivered directly to your home free of charge by @amazon. Stay tuned for more information! Https: //t.co/HugOUlwNxE

– Chris Sununu (@GovChrisSununu) November 23, 2021

New Hampshire will set up “surge centers” when cases increase

The state has been running an average of around 1,000 new positive tests per day over the past few weeks, with 350 people hospitalized on Tuesday, which has contributed to long hospital emergency room delays and delays in other treatments, according to The Associated Press.

The new executive order, signed by Governor Chris Sununu, will set up “surge centers” in spaces not normally used for inpatient care, such as outpatient surgical centers and outpatient clinics. It also makes it easier to add beds in rehabilitation facilities and simplifies the approval process to strengthen government health workers.

WHOLE STORY: Record number of COVID hospital stays calls on the NH government to order the establishment of “surge centers”

The Mayor of Detroit has asked residents to “keep their meetings small” on Thanksgiving.

Mike Duggan urged people in the city – and across Michigan – to take steps to “reduce the risk” of contracting the virus as hospitals across the state struggle to cope with near-record inpatients with viruses will.

With Thanksgiving only days away, you can reduce your risk of contracting Covid-19 by keeping your gatherings small, wearing masks indoors, and getting tested beforehand. If you are uncomfortable, stay home to prevent others from getting sick.

– Mayor Mike Duggan (@MayorMikeDuggan) November 23, 2021

Michigan health care provider restricts visits from hospital patients

Michigan-based Spectrum Health has warned that hospitals in the west of the state are at full or near-full because the number of people who can visit patients is limited, Michigan Radio reports.

In Kent County, where many Spectrum Health hospitals are located, infections have increased 94 percent in the past two weeks and hospital admissions increased nearly 40 percent over the same period.

Germany will experience 100,000 deaths from COVID this week

The dire milestone the US reached in less than four months in May 2020 is likely to be reached in the European country amid a surge in cases in recent weeks.

The country has far exceeded its daily record infections, with the numbers spiraling out of control and a government minister suggesting that most people will be “vaccinated, cured or dead” in the months ahead.

Large candle memorials (pictured) were erected by 60-year-old Gertrud Schop to mark various milestones in the pandemic, with a candle dedicated to each virus victim. It is not yet known whether she will create another work of art for the 100,000 milestone.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of getting vaccinated”: Detroit mayor warns of a ticking time bomb in the city

Mike Duggan said a surge in his city “makes our state a national hotspot” as Michigan suffers a near-record high number of hospitalizations.

The mayor tweeted a heat map showing Michigan suffering badly from a new wave of infections in the upper Midwest that is now spreading to the northeast and southwest of the states.

New Zealand begins easing strict border measures

The country will allow the return of displaced residents from January and tourists from April next year after borders have been almost completely closed since the beginning of the pandemic.

A ban on tourists and an obligation for returning residents to spend two weeks in a military-run quarantine hotel has caused a lot of frustration among travelers hoping to get home and / or return to their loved ones.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the government had made difficult compromises to keep New Zealanders safe during the pandemic, admitting that a zero-COVID policy had been “very tough”.

Families were separated. People had to seek refuge in places they did not expect to stay for long. We are aware of the impact of these restrictions on the life and livelihood of individuals.

New Zealand announces a travel deal that will allow travelers out of the country to visit New South Wales without being quarantined amid the coronavirus pandemic
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Hundreds of Google employees urge colleagues to oppose the vaccination order

At least 600 Google employees have signed a manifest calling on their colleagues to reject the measure and urging management to implement a new vaccine rule that “includes all Google employees” asking them to “abide by the mandate.” to oppose in principle “.

The manifest comes as the December 3 deadline for over 150,000 Google employees to upload their vaccination status and let the company know if they intend to return to the office.

WHOLE STORY: Hundreds of Google employees encourage coworkers to resist the company’s vaccination mandate

Detroit faces “Serious Problem” in Hospitals Amid Spike in COVID

City Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters last night that Detroit residents hospitalized with the virus had doubled from early November, with 256 residents hospitalized on Tuesday.

“If it doubles again in the next three weeks, we’ll see the worst problem we’ve had since spring 2020,” he said, adding that the increase in infections was not a surprise as people spend more time indoors because of colder conditions Weather.

Michigan’s largest city, Detroit, has had more than 67,500 confirmed COVID cases and 2,504 deaths since the pandemic began.

WHOLE STORY: Detroit Mayor warns of “serious problem” if COVID cases in the city continue to rise

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek’s live blog

Michigan hospital stays hit near record highs as a surge in cases spreads to the northeast and southwest.

Follow Newsweek’s live blog throughout Wednesday for the latest COVID news from the US and around the world.

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Pandemic

Judge blocks U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rule for health workers in 10 states

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Nov. 29 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Monday blocked a Biden government vaccine request in 10 states, ruling that the agency that made the rule requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus was likely theirs Has exceeded powers.

The St. Louis District Judge Matthew Schelp’s ruling prevents the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing their medical personnel vaccination mandate until the court can hear legal challenges from the 10 states.

CMS said in a statement that it was reviewing the ruling, adding that unvaccinated health workers pose a threat to patient safety.

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The ruling marks the second legal setback for President Joe Biden, who has focused on vaccines to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, a point he emphasized on Monday amid concerns over the spread of the new variant of COVID-19 Omicron . Continue reading

A federal appeals court in New Orleans blocked a comprehensive workplace mandate earlier this month requiring companies with at least 100 employees to vaccinate or test their employees weekly. Continue reading

Republican attorneys general sued the government in early November over the CMS rule and tried to block the request on the grounds that it would worsen health staffing shortages.

Schelp, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said CMS underestimated the “overwhelming” cost of its mandate and, by refusing to comment publicly on the rule, the agency fueled vaccine reluctance the rule is designed to counter.

Schelp also said the CMS rule changed the balance of power between the federal and state governments.

“Congress has not given clear authority to CMS to issue this politically and economically large, federalism-changing, and cross-border mandate that the Supreme Court precedent requires,” he wrote.

Schelp’s verdict was in the 10 states pending: Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

On November 4th, CMS issued the preliminary final rule, which includes over 10 million people and applies to approximately 76,000 healthcare providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers.

The regulation requires healthcare facilities that all employees, volunteers, and contractors receive an initial dose of vaccine by December 6th and be fully vaccinated by January 4th. Providers who fail to comply could lose access to Medicare and Medicaid funds.

Medicare serves people 65 and over and the disabled. Medicaid serves the poor.

In addition to the CMS rule and workplace vaccine requirement, the Biden government has placed coronavirus vaccine regulations on government contractors, military personnel and federal employees, all of which will be challenged in court.

Courts have upheld mandates from private employers and state governments, which has helped increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States.

On Wednesday, the Biden government announced that a total of 92% of US federal employees have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; additional reporting from Ahmed Aboulenein in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Pandemic

Andrew Cuomo uses old briefing to push COVID-19 precautions

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Like in the old days!

Disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo shamelessly tried to resume his role as the man in charge on Sunday, using one of his famous COVID-19 press conferences to remind New Yorkers to remain vigilant amid the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

“Let’s take to heart the lessons we learned in the early, terrible days of this pandemic and not go backwards,” he said in a tweet that included a slide used during one of his pandemic briefings.

The presentation reads: “Lesson to be learned: an outbreak everywhere is an outbreak everywhere.”

“Enter [mask] in public indoor spaces, get yourself vaccinated AND your booster, take care of each other, ”added the former governor, who resigned in August amid scandals. “And be #NYTough.”

During the pandemic, Cuomo delivered daily briefings that revealed the Empire State’s COVID-19 metrics – along with meandering comments and show-off stunts.

In June 2020, Cuomo revealed a $ 415 mountain of COVID-19 that allegedly represented New York’s battle against the virus. Along with Anthony Fauci, the nation’s best infectious disease doctor, he compared the Italian compatriot and himself in a bizarre way to actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

His younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, also dialed into the briefings to describe his symptoms of being infected with the virus.

“Let’s take heed of the lessons we learned in the terrible early days of this pandemic,” tweeted former Governor Andrew Cuomo.Twitter / @andrewcuomo

Andrew Cuomo.During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was then Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been recognized and recognized for his daily briefings.David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

The governor received a temporary Emmy for “Using Television Effectively During the Pandemic” in November 2020 – but the Academy quickly withdrew the award after Attorney General Letitia James discovered that Cuomo had sexually molested several women.

Cuomo’s tweet on Sunday morning came after former top aide Melissa DeRosa boldly shot her boss’s successor, Governor Kathy Hochul.

“Time to move with the times – cutting tapes and photo ops drinking maskless beer in UES bars won’t do this job,” said the former governor’s secretary on Friday night in a since-deleted tweet, referring to the current CEO’s October visit to the Manhattan Sports Bar.

Andrew Cuomo.Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo was awarded an Emmy for “Using Television Effectively During the Pandemic” in November 2020, but the award was withdrawn when his harassment allegations came to light.Don Pollard

The scandal-ridden public service announcement of the ex-politician comes after the World Health Organization identified a new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, on Friday.

The discovery prompted Hochul to sign an executive order postponing unnecessary operations in hospitals with limited capacity.

The Omicron variant has yet to be identified in New York state, although two cases of the coronavirus variant were discovered in Canada on Sunday.

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Pandemic

US Covid-19: Omicron variant is a reminder that coronavirus ‘is still in control,’ medical professor says

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“But it’s pretty likely we’ll see cases,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“It should redouble our efforts to use the tools we have at our disposal, namely vaccinations and booster vaccinations – and to make sure we get them out to the rest of the world,” Collins told CNN on Sunday.

“It also means that we have to pay attention to the mitigation strategies that people are simply fed up with, such as wearing masks when you are indoors with other people who may not have been vaccinated, and to maintain this social distance,” he said.

“I know America – you are really tired of hearing these things. But we are not fed up with the virus. And it changes itself. ”

Why Omicron “looks different” than other variants

As the coronavirus continues to spread, new mutations – and new variants – are expected.

“We’ve seen a lot of variations in the last five or six months, and most of them haven’t done much. It looks different,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health.

The Omicron variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 mutations in the spike protein alone, South African genome scientists said last week. Spike proteins are the structures that a virus uses to enter the cells that it attacks.

And “10 or more” of the mutations are in the receptor binding domain, which “binds to the cells in your nasopharynx and in your lungs,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday opposite NBC.

“In other words, the profile of the mutations strongly suggests that it will have an advantage in communicability,” said the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

When experts looked at other variants, Jha said, it usually took several months for those strains to become dominant – in other words, the most common strain of the virus to spread to an area.

“In South Africa, this has established itself very quickly in the regions where it was found – within days to weeks instead of months,” said Jha.

“Now the number of cases in South Africa is pretty low, so there could be other reasons as well – not just because it’s more easily transferable.”

The new Omicron variant is a pandemic bowel check

Collins said it was not yet clear whether the Omicron variant was more contagious than the Delta variant.

“It certainly shows the signs that it can spread quickly,” he said. “What we don’t know is whether it can compete with Delta.”

It’s also too early to tell if the Omicron variant causes more severe illness, Collins said.

In short, “There is still a lot we don’t know about Omicron,” said epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Dr. Celine Gounder.

“We’re still learning,” said Gounder on Sunday. “As we said very early in the pandemic, pandemics are not about panic. It is about guidelines, protocols and practices. And in this case that means characterizing the virus. “

Do not be surprised by renewed Covid-19 restrictions, says the expert

A growing number of countries have confirmed cases of the Omicron variant. Canada joined that list on Sunday when health officials confirmed two cases in Ottawa, Ontario. The Omicron variant is spreading across EuropeBoth people recently traveled from Nigeria and are in isolation, Canadian health officials said.

If the Omicron variant isn’t available in the US yet, it will be “soon,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“It will go around the world. This is how it looks,” said Schaffner on Saturday.

And that could lead to a return to stricter Covid-19 containment efforts.

“I think we are indeed facing a phase with a lot more masks, a lot more social distancing and more restrictions and vaccination requirements,” said Schaffner.

News of the variant spread as Americans filled airports near pre-pandemic levels for Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season: The Transportation Security Administration said it screened about 2.3 million people at airports across the country on Wednesday which makes it the busiest day to see security checkpoints since March 2020.

All the more reason to get vaccinated or boosted

About 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and about 19% of those fully vaccinated have received a booster dose, according to CDC data. NIH Director: New Variation

As vaccine manufacturers test their vaccinations against the new Omicron variant, health experts said it is important for everyone to get a Covid-19 vaccine or a booster vaccine now.

“The most important thing people can do now to protect themselves is to get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated,” said Gounder. “If it turns out to be an immune defense variant, it may also be beneficial to receive an additional dose or a booster vaccination.”

Fauci gave similar advice: “If there was ever a reason to be vaccinated who were vaccinated and those who weren’t vaccinated, it is now,” he told NBC.

“When you’re six months or more away from your second dose of an mRNA (vaccine) – either the Pfizer or the Moderna – you get a boost. “

Fauci said he believes the current vaccines – and the booster doses in particular – will at least help something against the Omicron variant.

“When you get a boost, your antibody levels go way above the maximum after the second dose,” Fauci told NBC.

“And that’s why, even with variants like Omicron, we feel that when you get boosted, you’re getting antibody levels high enough that you can probably reach at least a certain level – and maybe a lot – Protection from it. “

Moderna said it is testing its Covid-19 vaccine’s ability to neutralize Omicron and data is expected in the coming weeks.

The company said it is also testing a larger dose booster and an Omicron-specific booster in case the current vaccine and booster don’t work well enough against the new variant.

When scientists determine that an Omicron-specific vaccine dose is required, “we think we could have an Omicron-specific vaccine booster available for testing within weeks to maybe two to three months,” said Dr. Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer of Moderna Sunday.

BioNTech, the German company that has partnered with Pfizer to make a Covid-19 vaccine, is also studying the effects of Omicron on its vaccine. The dates are expected in the coming weeks.

Johnson & Johnson is also testing the effectiveness of its vaccine against Omicron.

Moderna said the Omicron variant could be challenging.

“The combination of mutations presents a significant potential risk of accelerating the decline in natural and vaccine-induced immunity,” the company said on Friday.

But Jha said he doesn’t think the new variant “makes vaccines unusable”.

“I think that’s extremely unlikely,” he said. “The question is, is there a tiny hit to vaccine effectiveness or is there a big hit?”

“A couple of weeks of uncertainty”

With the Omicron variant, the world is in a

Before scientists can say how well the current vaccines against Omicron might work, “we have to go through a few more weeks of uncertainty,” Burton said.

“There are three questions to which we really need answers: How transferable is this variant? How heavy is she? And will the antibodies produced in response to the current vaccines be effective? And we won’t know (answer to) the last question for a couple of weeks, “Burton told CNN on Sunday.

“But what we do know is that the best protection is to get vaccinated. If you stand on the fence when you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated. And now everyone over 18 in this country is entitled to at least one Refresher. So if you are eligible for a boost now, you will get a boost, too, ”he said.

“At least that way, we know you’re getting the first line of critical protection. And then of course there are other, simpler things you can do – hand washing, social distancing, possibly wearing masks.Two together, for now – until we know exactly what’s going on – will be crucial on our line of defense . ”

“The virus is still in control … tighten your seat belts”

With or without the Omicron tribe, the US is still struggling with the Delta variant.

Covid-19 hospital stays in 16 states increased more than 50% in the past week compared to the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Health.

“I think we just have to remember that the virus is still in control. I don’t care about your Covid fatigue, ”said Schaffner.

“We’re going to have to deal with this very, very seriously. … Tighten your seat belts.”

Contributors to this report are Dakin Andone, John Bonifield, Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Michael Nedelman, Christina Maxouris, and Kaitlan Collins of CNN.

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