Though a federal web site providing free COVID-19 at-home testing kits doesn’t formally launch till Wednesday, covidtests.gov was working at restricted capability Tuesday, permitting some individuals to order assessments.
White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the location is in its beta section to permit troubleshooting.
“We will’t assure there gained’t be a bug or two,” Psaki mentioned, “however the perfect tech groups throughout the administration and the postal service are working exhausting to make this successful.”
Some customers instantly recognized no less than one downside: Orders made by completely different individuals residing in the identical condominium constructing however in numerous items have been rejected as duplicate, in accordance with some tweets. Individuals are supposed to have the ability to order as much as 4 kits per deal with. As soon as ordered, assessments are to be mailed inside 7-12 days.
The web site is anticipated to formally launch mid-morning Wednesday.
The Biden administration is shopping for 1 billion assessments to distribute by the web site and a cellphone line. Some assessments are being reserved to prioritize households within the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.
The White Home is ramping up efforts to make testing extra accessible and inexpensive after dealing with criticism from each Republicans and Democrats over an absence of assessments amid surging coronavirus charges.
— Maureen Groppe
Additionally within the information:
►New York is the third state to report extra COVID-19 circumstances already in 2022 than in all of 2020, a USA TODAY evaluation of Johns Hopkins College knowledge reveals. Hawaii and Vermont have additionally surpassed their 2020 counts.
►Tickets to the upcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing will not be offered due to the “present grave and complex state of affairs of the COVID-19 pandemic,” mentioned officials in China, the place the invention of the primary omicron variant an infection Saturday has led to elevated efforts to stop the virus from spreading.
►Authorities in Hong Kong plan to kill some 2,000 small animals after a number of examined constructive for the coronavirus at a pet retailer the place an worker additionally examined constructive. Hong Kong will even cease the sale of hamsters and the import of small mammals.
►Canada accepted use of the antiviral capsule Paxlovid, created by Pfizer, to deal with individuals with COVID-19. The U.S. approved its use in December.
►Superstar Cruises and Royal Caribbean Worldwide, each subsidiaries of Royal Caribbean Group, have canceled cruises as COVID-19 continues to unfold.
📈 Right now’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 66 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and greater than 851,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. International totals: Greater than 330 million circumstances and over 5.5 million deaths. Greater than 208 million Individuals – 62.9% – are absolutely vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re studying: Many dad and mom are “simply attempting to remain afloat” as omicron is forcing day care facilities to shut in droves throughout the nation. Read the full story.
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‘Open query’ whether or not omicron is closing wave, Fauci says
It is too quickly to know whether or not the omicron variant would be the closing section of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses, mentioned Monday.
“It’s an open query as as to if or not omicron goes to be the dwell virus vaccination that everybody is hoping for,” Fauci mentioned, placing air quotes across the phrase “dwell virus vaccination.”
There are two methods for a pandemic to finish: the infectious illness is eradicated, like measles, or it turns into endemic, which suggests it nonetheless exists with out main disruption to society, very like the flu.
“Should you have a look at the historical past of infectious illnesses, we’d solely eradicated one infectious illness in man and that’s smallpox,” Fauci mentioned on the World Economic Forum. “That’s not going to occur with this virus.”
Which means COVID-19 should evolve right into a much less harmful illness for the pandemic to formally finish. Though the extremely contagious omicron variant is spreading shortly — infecting about 782,000 Individuals per day, according to the CDC — some level to its low mortality charge as an indication that the virus could also be changing into much less extreme.
It is attainable that omicron might sign that the pandemic is ending, “however that might solely be the case if we don’t get one other variant that eludes the immune response,” Fauci mentioned.
New York Metropolis’s public colleges are “exploring” a distant studying choice amid the omicron surge as roughly a quarter of students in the district weren’t at school final Friday, Chancellor David C. Banks mentioned at a information convention Tuesday.
Native information shops Gothamist and CBS New York reported town had modified its attendance coverage to permit extra college students to be taught remotely in the course of the surge. Banks mentioned no change in distant studying coverage was set to be introduced, however mentioned town’s colleges have been offering an “on ramp” to the classroom by permitting extra college students to be marked as current whereas receiving instruction on-line.
Mayor Eric Adams, who has vowed to maintain colleges open whereas different faculty programs face closures, mentioned any distant studying choice is meant for college students who’ve examined constructive and can’t attend faculty in individual, “not for the overall inhabitants.”
Round 75% of the varsity district’s greater than 1 million college students have been at school Friday, in accordance with Division of Schooling attendance knowledge. Banks mentioned conferences with the United Federation of Lecturers, which represents a lot of the district’s academics, stay ongoing.
A record-high 74 individuals died on account of COVID-19 in Australia on Tuesday, the biggest single-day tally within the nation because the begin of the pandemic, as hospitals are dealing with a surge of sufferers and staffing shortages.
“We’ve reached some extent in our healthcare system the place it’s juggling excessive workforce shortages … alongside an enormous variety of sufferers with COVID-19 who require hospitalization, alongside that a unprecedented workforce which might be completely exhausted,” mentioned James Merlino, the appearing well being minister in Victoria, the place the federal government final week declared an emergency for a few of its hospitals.
Federal Well being Minister Greg Hunt mentioned there have been indicators that New South Wales’ an infection charge was peaking and Victoria was close to a plateau. The New South Wales authorities has mentioned it has dominated out a return to lockdown.
Analysis from New Mexico State College discovered pandemic-fueled, stress-related unhealthy consuming habits in Individuals. Now, a examine co-authored by a researcher from the NMSU Division of Public Well being Sciences reveals practically half of all adults in america gained weight during the first year of the pandemic.
The brand new findings have been a part of a nationwide evaluation on weight acquire in America carried out by a analysis staff that included Jagdish Khubchandani, a public well being professor at NMSU.
“Weight problems was an epidemic earlier than the pandemic, and little was recognized on physique weight modifications prior to now 12 months for grownup Individuals,” Khubchandani mentioned. “We wished to estimate weight modifications within the U.S. inhabitants and its determinants after the primary 12 months of the pandemic.”
The examine, revealed in “Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews,” included 3,473 grownup members. The outcomes present 48% of the examine group reported gaining weight in the course of the first 12 months of the pandemic, from March 2020 to April 2021.
Individuals who reported weight acquire have been extra prone to be males, white or Hispanic, married, 45 years outdated or older, working full time, have lower than a university schooling, or residing in southern and western states or rural areas of the U.S., in accordance with the examine.
— Carlos Andres López, Las Cruces Sun News
COVID-19 infections are hovering once more at U.S. nursing properties due to the omicron wave, and deaths are climbing too, resulting in new restrictions on household visits and a renewed push to get extra residents and workers members vaccinated and boosted.
Nursing properties have been the deadly epicenter of the pandemic early on, earlier than vaccines allowed a lot of them to reopen to guests final 12 months. However the wildly contagious variant has dealt them a setback.
Nursing properties reported a near-record of about 32,000 COVID-19 circumstances amongst residents within the week ending Jan. 9, an nearly sevenfold improve from a month earlier, in accordance with the CDC.
A complete of 645 COVID-19-related deaths amongst residents have been recorded throughout the identical week, a 47% improve from the ancient times. And there are fears that deaths might go a lot increased earlier than omicron is thru.
Regardless of the rising numbers, the state of affairs shouldn’t be as dire because it was in December 2020, when nursing dwelling deaths per week topped out at about 6,200. Specialists credit score the excessive vaccination charges now amongst nursing dwelling residents: About 87% are absolutely vaccinated, in accordance with CDC knowledge.
— Related Press
Contributing: The Related Press