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This week, Mary Holland, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) president, and Polly Tommey, co-producer of “Vaxxed,” cover the latest COVID headlines, including worldwide news about the new Omicron variant.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who first raised the alarm over the new super-mutant COVID variant, warned it may be more transmissible than other strains. Then Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel is “on the threshold of an emergency situation after authorities detected the first case of the new COVID variant.

Belgium said it detected Europe’s first confirmed case of the new variant and at the same time announced measures aimed at curbing a rapidly spreading fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Plus, the variant led the U.S., EU and other major destinations to block flights from several African countries.

Also on tap this week: Novavax Inc. has said it started working on a version of its COVID vaccine to target the Omicron variant and would have the shot ready for testing and manufacturing in the next few weeks.

Polly and Mary also discussed that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has issued a COVID “disaster emergency” declaration, citing increasing rates of infections and hospitalizations.

Here are more of this week’s highlights:

  • Americans should be prepared to fight the spread of the COVID variant Omicron, but it is too soon to say what actions are needed, including possible mandates or lockdowns, top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said
  • A large number of mutations are present in the Omicron variant, many of them new. Several of them affect the spike protein which was the primary target of the vaccine at the time of discovery. “I found this really fascinating,” said Polly. “It’s troubling.”
  • The UK confirmed two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
  • Fauci said the new, “severe” Omicron variant will “inevitably” arrive in the U.S., although it has yet to be detected.
  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he has a “very high level of confidence” the company’s COVID treatment pill is effective against the Omicron variant. “Clearly this is coordinated media,” said Mary. “It’s quite unbelievable.”
  • New York City reinstated its mask advisory but has not identified any cases of Omicron so far, according to outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.
  • President Joe Biden called the Omicron a cause for concern but “not a cause for panic” and said he was not considering any widespreadU.S. lockdown. He did urge people to get vaccinated. “This is basically a made-up story,” said Mary. “This variant has been around for a year.”
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said it believes Omicron poses a “very high” risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus. “Not making much sense here,” said Polly.
  • Genomic testing has confirmed two more overseas travelers, who recently arrived in Australia, have been infected with Omicron.
  • Barry Schoub, chair of South Africa’s ministerial advisory committee on COVID vaccines, said the mutation of the Omicron variant could be down to “reservoirs” of the virus lurking in the unvaccinated and immunosuppressed.
  • Greece made the COVID vaccine mandatory for all people over age 60. “This is a new escalation,” said Mary. “This is absolutely wrong.”
  • Japan confirmed its first case of the new Omicron variant, a Namibian diplomat who recently arrived from his country, officials said.
  • According to an article on The Defender, while the WHO is warning Omicron can spread more quickly than other variants, based on science, that doesn’t mean the variant is more lethal than Delta or others — in fact, it’s probably more mild. “You really need to go and read this,” said Polly.
  • In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Amy Bolin said in order to be approved for a double-lung transplant, her husband had to be fully vaccinated for COVID even though he’d had the virus and recovered. After his second Moderna shot, he developed a pulmonary embolism and heart condition and died before he could get new lungs. “This is terribly sad,” said Polly.
  • The WHO is convening a special session of its governing body, the World Health Assembly, to start talks on a new global treaty covering pandemics. Representatives of WHO’s 194 member states will meet virtually for three days  to consider new international rules for handling future outbreaks. “This is not brand new,” said Mary. “It’s absolutely typical.”
  • On the latest episode of The Hill’s “Rising,” journalist and political commentator Kim Iversen discussed Austria’s strict vaccine mandate, and how the government gave people the “illusion of choice” before cracking down on unvaccinated.
  • German public transport controllers will start to check passengers’ proof of vaccination.
  • All essential, nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers, government and emergency response officials, will be required to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22.
  • The federal government will not suspend or terminate employees for violating its COVID vaccine mandate until January, the Biden Administration said. The vaccination rate for federal workers hovers at 92% — well above the national average. “This is putting a pretty face on the fact that they failed,” said Mary.
  • On Nov. 2, members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine advisory committee voted 14-0 to recommend Pfizer’s pediatric COVID shot for children 5-11 years old. Were their decisions driven by science and conscience — or their ties to drugmakers? This article on The Defender dives in. “This is a very important article,” said Polly. “This is a fantastic article,” said Mary.
  • In an exclusive interview with The Defender, Dr. Paul Marik said patients are dying “unnecessarily and unlawfully” because the hospital where he is director of the ICU prioritizes expensive drugs like Remdesivir while banning more effective and less costly treatments. “This is also a really important article,” said Mary. “This is a crucial battle.”
  • As cases of corporate violence increase, company executives escape fines, admissions and often are promoted or let go with huge multi-million-dollar severance payments.
  • Censorship is being coordinated on a global level. The International Grand Committee on Disinformation consists of “an international array of legislators, policy advisers and other experts” who work together “to forge international alliances that bring shared, effective strategies into the battle against online disinformation.”
  • A Missouri court ruled COVID restrictions and mandates imposed by public health officials are illegal.
  • Thousands of American service members are facing disciplinary action — up to dismissal — if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID by the upcoming deadline. “It’s actually tragic,” said Polly. “The bullying is severe for our service members.”
  • New York City educators who were denied a religious exemption to vaccination were back in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in the cases Kane v. De Blasio and Keil v. The City of New York to argue the policy adopted by the city to determine religious exemptions blatantly violates the Constitution and discriminates against minority faiths. “This is a really important case,” said Mary. “This is a partial victory.”
  • University of Washington researchers found one dose of the HPV vaccine might be all that is needed to prevent the virus that causes many cervical cancer cases. “This is really interesting,” said Mary. “It may well have to do with side effects.” Watch Vaxxed II to learn more about the devastating side effects of the HPV vaccine.
  • At least 600 Google employees have signed a manifesto calling on co-workers to resist a company vaccine mandate and for management to implement a new one that is “inclusive of all Googlers,” telling them to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle,”
  • Join people around the world in support of Australia and go to the Australian embassy on Dec. 4 at 12 p.m. for the SOS event by Reignite Democracy Australia. The group requests you ask for no more lockdowns, mandated vaccinations or international travel restrictions.
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s book — “The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health” — released Nov. 16, is #1 on Amazon. Order your book today.
  • Apply to our new fellowship program! CHD is accepting applications for full-time or part-time fellowships across many of its program areas, including legal, science, 5G, online news, social media, CHD.TV and advocacy.

Watch “This Week” with Mary + Polly: