omicron variant

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COVID Vaccines Likely Getting a Big Update

FDA advisers endorse updating the shots

(Newser) - The COVID-19 vaccines are on track for a big recipe change this fall, the AP reports. Today’s vaccines still contain the original coronavirus strain, the one that started the pandemic—even though that was long ago supplanted by mutated versions as the virus rapidly evolves. Thursday, the Food and...

University's COVID Study Causes a Ruckus

Boston University makes hybrid version in lab, and federal agency is surprised to learn of it

(Newser) - Researchers at Boston University have a COVID controversy on their hands. As Mass Live reports, scientists there created a hybrid version of the virus in the lab in order to better understand the omicron variant. The experiment resulted in what the university calls inaccurate and sensationalized media coverage—particularly at...

Coming Soon to Americans' Arms: a New Bivalent Booster

This one also targets omicron versions BA.4 and BA.5

(Newser) - The US on Wednesday authorized its first update to COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses that target today's most common omicron strain. Shots could begin within days. The move by the FDA tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna. Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original...

COVID Finally Reaches This Isolated Nation

Micronesia has reported dozens of cases

(Newser) - Micronesia has likely become the final nation in the world with a population of more than 100,000 to experience an outbreak of COVID-19. For more than two-and-a-half years, the Pacific archipelago managed to avoid any outbreaks thanks to its geographic isolation and border controls. Those people who flew into...

'Centaurus' Omicron Variant Is Raising Concerns

India experiencing 'exponential increase' with BA.2.75

(Newser) - Another super contagious omicron variant has been detected in the US. Dubbed "Centaurus," the BA.2.75 variant was first detected in India in early May and is now spreading rapidly there. "It's still really early on for us to draw too many conclusions" but "...

Most Contagious Variants Yet Now Dominating US
These 2 New Variants
Are Extra-Contagious

These 2 New Variants Are Extra-Contagious

BA.4 and BA.5 are great at evading protections, including from past omicron infections

(Newser) - Two new extra-contagious variants of omicron with transmissibility similar to measles are together dominating COVID-19 cases in the US, leading to talk of new indoor mask mandates. Here's what you need to know:
  • Background: BA.4 was first detected in South Africa in January, while BA.5 was first

You Can Get 8 More Free COVID Tests
You Can Get 8 More
Free COVID Tests

You Can Get 8 More Free COVID Tests

Government announces kits are again available

(Newser) - The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a third round of free at-home COVID tests. This time, US households can get eight test kits, as opposed to four in prior rounds, per CNN . Tests can be ordered at . The White House says the government has delivered about 350 million...

CDC: Majority of American Adults Have Had COVID

Number is even higher for kids: 75% of children 11 and younger have antibodies for virus

(Newser) - Nearly 60% of Americans show infection-related antibodies—meaning not antibodies produced by a vaccine—in their blood, per a survey by the CDC released Tuesday. That reflects the time period from December to February, reports the New York Times . But for children ages 11 and younger, that figure is even...

31-Year-Old Woman Sets Record for COVID Reinfection

Health-care worker in Spain picked up 2 strains in 20 days

(Newser) - A Spanish health-care worker can now lay claim to a rather unwelcome record as the person fastest to be reinfected with COVID-19. The 31-year-old woman contracted the virus twice within 20 days, according to researchers, who will present their findings this weekend at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology &...

Pfizer Wants FDA to OK Boosters for 5- to 11-Year-Olds

3rd dose among this set appears to offer significant antibody boost, even against omicron

(Newser) - Pfizer said Thursday it wants to expand its COVID-19 booster shots to healthy elementary-age kids. US health authorities already urge everyone 12 and older to get one booster dose for the best protection against the newest variants—and recently gave the option of a second booster to those 50 and...

Extra-Contagious COVID Strain Is Taking Over

BA2 is now dominant in 68 countries, including the US

(Newser) - In the latest battle of the coronavirus mutants, an extra-contagious version of omicron has taken over the world. The coronavirus version known as BA2 is now dominant in at least 68 countries, including the United States.The World Health Organization says it makes up about 94% of sequenced omicron cases...

Omicron Subvariant Expected to Cause 'Uptick' in Cases

Genomics company says BA2 now accounts for 70% of new cases in some areas

(Newser) - With restrictions being lifted across the country, America is doing its best to move on from the pandemic—but researchers warn that COVID hasn't moved on from America yet. BA2—a subvariant of omicron considered as different from the original omicron as the delta variant was from alpha—is...

Hong Kong Faces Grim COVID Dilemma
Hong Kong Faces
Grim COVID Dilemma

Hong Kong Faces Grim COVID Dilemma

Cases have surged out of control, but living with COVID is not an option

(Newser) - Before the pandemic and a harsh crackdown on dissent upended life in Hong Kong, the territory was often considered China's "window on the world." But now, with omicron infections raging out of control, Hong Kong finds itself trapped between two worlds: The West, where countries are loosening...

Omicron Found in Wild NYC Deer
Omicron Found
in Wild NYC Deer

Omicron Found in Wild NYC Deer

This is the first time variant has been found in wildlife, researchers say

(Newser) - An unwelcome first in Staten Island: Deer in the New York City borough are the first wild animals known to be infected with the omicron variant, researchers say. Scientists tested blood samples from deer captured during a sterilization program and found that 14.5% out of 131 deer had antibodies...

In Return to Jobs, a Huge Gender Gap

BLS stats show 1M-plus men went back to job market in Jan. amid pandemic; only 39K women did

(Newser) - The pandemic struck a huge blow to the American workforce, but January's jobs report brought some hopeful news, with employers adding 467,000 jobs last month. But the news appears to be better for men than for women, per Axios , which cites a "jaw-dropping" gender disparity in labor...

900K Americans Have Died of COVID
US COVID Death Toll
Approaches 1M

US COVID Death Toll Approaches 1M

900,000 people have died, officials say

(Newser) - The US death toll from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is inching closer to 1 million as the Omicron variant rages throughout the world, the AP reports. More than 10% of the 900,000 Americans lost to the virus died after Dec. 12, per Reuters . “If you had told most...

Romney Latest Senator to Test Positive

Utah senator, 74, says he's asymptomatic

(Newser) - Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, 74, has tested positive for COVID-19, per CBS News . The former presidential candidate, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, says he doesn’t have any symptoms and will work from home and isolate himself until doctors say he’s unlikely to infect others, the New York ...

This Nation Kept COVID Out. Now, a 'State of Disaster'

Pacific archipelago of Kiribati sees an outbreak after allowing citizen missionaries to come home

(Newser) - When the coronavirus began spreading around the world, the remote Pacific archipelago of Kiribati closed its borders, ensuring the disease didn't reach its shores for nearly two full years. Kiribati finally began reopening this month, allowing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to charter a plane to...

Bounce Back for US Economy in 2021 Was a Major One

Nation's GDP saw strongest calendar-year growth since the Reagan years

(Newser) - The US economy grew last year at the fastest pace since Ronald Reagan's presidency, bouncing back with resilience from 2020's brief but devastating coronavirus recession. The nation's gross domestic product—its total output of goods and services—expanded 5.7% in 2021. It was the strongest calendar-year...

Omicron-Specific Booster Trials Are Now Underway

Moderna cites 'long-term threat demonstrated by omicron's immune escape'

(Newser) - The first participant has received a shot in Moderna's Phase 2 clinical trial of an omicron-specific vaccine booster. Moderna, which made the announcement Wednesday, expects to enroll 600 adults in the US study, including some who have already received a booster shot, per Reuters . "We are reassured by...

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