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posted by Guy M Wong alias guywong on Tuesday 28th of December 2021 05:06:25 AM The latest on coronavirus pandemic and Omicron variant The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened its recommended isolation time for those who test positive to Covid-19 from 10 days to 5 days if they don't have symptoms. More than 2,000 flights have been canceled globally today as more airline staff and crew are calling out sick as the Omicron variant spreads. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities are disinfecting an entire city of 13 million people as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. US flight attendant union criticizes new CDC isolation requirements The Association of Flight Attendants is criticizing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new isolation guidelines for those who test positive for Covid-19, saying it will be on the lookout for employees being pressured to return to work prematurely. The association notes that the five-day period only applies to those who are asymptomatic. “The CDC gave a medical explanation about why the agency has decided to reduce the quarantine requirements from 10 to five days, but the fact that it aligns with the number of days pushed by corporate America is less than reassuring," the association says in a statement. Earlier Monday, the CDC shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they've tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don't have symptoms – and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. Fauci calls CDC's decision to shorten Covid-19 isolation guidelines "very prudent" Dr. Anthony Fauci said the changes the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made to its isolation guidelines for Covid-19 are a good idea. The CDC shortened the recommended times that people should isolate when they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 from 10 days to five days if they don’t have symptoms – and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. The CDC also shortened the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days if they are vaccinated and often to no time if they are boosted. "With the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with Omicron, one of the things that we want to be careful of is that we don't have so many people out," Fauci told CNN's Jim Acosta. "We want to get people back to the jobs, particularly the essential jobs, to keep society running smoothly," Fauci added. One way to help slow the spread of Covid-19 is more testing, but tests are still hard to come by in the US, Fauci said, although the situation will get better soon. “We don't have enough tests at this particular point in time to get everybody uniformly, have the availability of testing – that will change considerably as we get into January,” Fauci said. The Biden administration has promised it will make 500 million tests available in the first couple of weeks of January with 200 to 500 million tests per month in the succeeding months. “It would be great if we had it right now, but unfortunately, we don’t,” Fauci said. What the country does have right now is vaccines, Fauci said as he encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, including children. Fauci has said vaccine mandates are a good idea, including for people who fly domestically, but don’t expect that mandate to happen any time soon. “But we never take anything off the table. We always keep things open for consideration,” Fauci said. Fauci said public health leaders will be watching the Covid-19 numbers closely. The number he will be particularly focused on is hospitalizations. When there are so many infections, he explained, some can be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. “What really counts is making sure people don't get sick,” Fauci said. “So, what we were saying as we go on further and we may be get more cases but less hospitalizations, it's important to focus on how well we're doing about keeping people well, if they're in the hospital taking good care of them, but trying to keep them out of the hospital by whatever means possible.” Nearly 100 NFL players test positive for Covid-19 on Monday The National Football League had 96 of its players test positive for Covid-19 on Monday, the league announced today. With an additional 10 positive tests among players over the weekend, a total of 106 players have been placed on the league’s Reserve/Covid-19 list since Christmas. The NFL postponed three games last week but has yet to cancel a game so far this season. NBA shortens quarantine time for vaccinated players who test positive for Covid-19 The National Basketball Association (NBA) will now allow vaccinated players and coaches to clear quarantine after six days – if Covid-19 testing determines the individual is no longer infectious, according to a league memo obtained by CNN. The updated NBA protocols were first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The adjustment to six days is a reduction from the previously instituted waiting period of 10 days to clear quarantine. The changes to the health and safety protocols were made on the same day the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the recommended time that people should isolate after they’ve tested positive for Covid-19, from 10 days to five days if they don’t have symptoms – and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. In an interview last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said 97% of NBA players are fully vaccinated and 65% have received a booster shot. Apple makes all NYC stores pickup only as Covid-19 cases rise Apple has closed all of its New York City store locations to in-person shoppers due to Covid-19, Monica Fernandez, a spokesperson for the company, said in a statement. All of the stores are still open for customers to buy a product online and pick it up at the store, Fernandez said. Hospitalizations of kids at one hospital in Chicago have quadrupled, doctor says The number of children testing positive for Covid-19 at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is “incredibly high,” Dr. Larry Kociolek, an attending physician and infectious disease specialist there, told CNN Monday. Case numbers are three times as high as the hospital’s previous peak in December of 2020, Kociolek said. Half of the hospitalizations were in children under the age of five, Kociolek said. Those children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. “I think we’re definitely seeing the impact of vaccines in kids older than 5. The kids that are hospitalized are essentially all unvaccinated,” Kociolek said. Kociolek said about 7% of the kids who test positive don’t have any symptoms at all. The sharp rise in cases shows how contagious the Omicron variant is. “Our community activity just shut up very, very quickly,” Kociolek said. Kociolek said the hospital is also concerned about a surge in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, known as MIS-C, in the near future. MIS-C is a rare, but serious Covid-19 related condition that can affect kids. The condition typically occurs after there has been a surge of Covid-19 cases. Even children who have had mild Covid-19 cases can develop MIS-C, usually several weeks after infection. Kociolek said it is also important for parents to keep in mind that even mild Covid-19 cases can be contagious. To keep schools open, parents have to remember to keep their sick children home from school or any other activity. He also suggested parents may want to get their children tested or use a home test before they return to school. “That way you can ensure that they’re not carrying Covid-19 back to the classroom,” Kociolek said. Nearly a third of fully vaccinated people have received a booster dose, CDC data shows Here's what the latest data on vaccination efforts in the United States, published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows: Fully vaccinated: 61.8% of the total US population (all ages) – more than 205 million people. Not vaccinated: 22.4% of the eligible population (age 5+) have not received any dose of Covid-19 vaccine – at least 66 million people. Current pace of vaccinations (seven-day average): 1,034,442 doses are being administered each day. An average of 793,160 million booster doses are being administered each day. About 66 million people have received an additional dose, or booster 35.2% of fully vaccinated adults (18+) have received a booster. 47.1% of fully vaccinated people age 50 and older have received a booster. 57.3% of fully vaccinated seniors (65+) have received a booster. 32.3% of the fully vaccinated population is boosted. Note: CDC data on Covid-19 vaccinations are estimates. The agency notes that data on people who are fully vaccinated and those with a booster dose may be underestimated, while data on people with at least one dose may be overestimated. This surge of Covid-19 patients is different from the others, health expert says The latest surge of Covid-19 patients is different from previous surges, an emergency department expert on Long Island said Monday. “During the first surge we saw majority of the patients were Covid. This surge, we're seeing a lot of sicker patients that had delayed care because of the different surges that went on,” Dr. Fred Davis, emergency department co-chair at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center Northwell Health, told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “And now we're also starting to see a number of patients presenting with very low acuity, or very minimal symptoms that are also coming into the emergency department to get tested.” The majority of the more serious Covid-19 cases are unvaccinated, Davis said. There are some breakthrough cases, but those patients don’t tend to be as sick. While the staff is tired after two years of managing patients in a pandemic, Davis said they have learned a lot through each wave in cases. “While we fear that this is something that's just starting, we also know that we can get through it because we got through something just as bad, if not worse,” Davis said.

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