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Confessions of a ‘Human Guinea Pig’: Why I’m Resigning From Moderna Vaccine Trials

STAT News reported:

In July 2020, I volunteered to be in Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. If I knew then what I know now about the company’s quest for profits, I wouldn’t have done that.

As one of about 30,000 “human guinea pigs,” I permitted Moderna to test its experimental vaccine on me to see if it would provide protection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Letting a company that had never brought a vaccine to market use my body as a test subject was scary, painful and exhausting.

I have come to understand that the noble enterprise of science-making I had imagined I was a part of is actually, first and foremost, an exercise in ruthless corporate profit-making.

Florida Hospital System Says 50% of Its COVID Patients Are Mainly There for Other Reasons

Business Insider reported:

About half of the patients listed as being in the hospital with COVID-19 were admitted for “non-COVID reasons,” a health authority in Florida said.

“Jackson Health System hospitals currently have 439 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19,” the Jackson Health System said in a tweet on Monday. “Of those, 220 patients — or 50% — are admitted to the hospital primarily for non-COVID reasons.”

The post was a relatively rare snapshot of the prevalence of so-called incidental COVID in the U.S.

Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, recently warned that COVID-19 hospitalization data should be taken with a grain of salt, Insider previously reported.

U.S. CDC Recommends Five-Month Gap for Pfizer COVID Booster Dose

Reuters reported:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday recommended shortening the interval between Pfizer-BioNTech’s (PFE.N), (22UAy.DE) second COVID-19 vaccine dose and the booster shot to five months from six.

The move follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Monday to reduce the interval for the booster dose and authorize the use of a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years.

The CDC has also recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised children aged five to 11 years receive an additional dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.

Have COVID? You Can’t Get Unemployment Benefits

CNBC reported:

COVID-19 infections are ballooning, and sick Americans who miss work due to the virus may wonder if they qualify for unemployment benefits. The short answer: They don’t.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and stay home to recover and isolate from others aren’t eligible for jobless benefits, according to Michele Evermore, a senior policy advisor for unemployment insurance at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Unemployment benefits are a type of social insurance paid on a weekly basis. The law requires Americans to be “able and available” for work to qualify for assistance. An individual who has COVID-19 doesn’t meet this core requirement, Evermore said.

The Omicron Variant Now Makes up 95% of Recent COVID Cases in the U.S., According to the CDC

Business Insider reported:

The highly transmissible Omicron variant is now estimated to make up a staggering 95% of recent COVID-19 cases in the US, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC projects that 95.4% of COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 1 are fueled by the Omicron variant, compared to just 4.6% of Delta variant cases.

Aaron Rodgers and the Public Health Credibility Crisis

Newsweek reported:

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers outraged many when, after contracting COVID in November, he revealed that his pre-season comments about being “immunized” referred to an unsanctioned treatment regimen rather than vaccination.

This past week, appearing on his favorite platform, Pat McAfee’s SiriusXM show, Rodgers threw down the gauntlet to his critics by pointing out that, “if science can’t be questioned, it’s not science anymore; it’s propaganda.” That remark unleashed yet another deluge of scorn.

Though Rodgers has complained about being the victim of woke mobs and cancel culture, he is in little danger of losing his job. But Rodgers is also right about the foundational principles of science.

Short-Staffed NYC Schools Are Asking Teachers With Mild COVID Symptoms to Return to the Classroom

Business Insider reported:

As students return to school amid a record-breaking spike of COVID-19 cases in New York City, some might be taught by teachers who tested positive just five days earlier.

The latest protocols now say that teachers and school-based staff who have tested positive but are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms can return after five days instead of 10, according to an email from the Department of Education to teachers, which was viewed by Insider.

For teachers who test positive, symptoms that would allow them to return include a “minimal cough” — they can’t be “coughing up phlegm” — and symptoms have to be mild or improving.

They also must “must continue to stay at home outside of work” and “observe” other elements of isolation until 10 days pass. They will not need a negative test to return to school.

Governors Demand Schools Stay Open but Districts May Lack Enough Teachers

Politico reported:

President Joe Biden’s plea to keep schools open in the face of the fast-spreading Omicron variant is confronting major challenges this week as staff shortages, illnesses and labor unrest grip some of the nation’s biggest school systems just as students are supposed to return from winter break.

Schools in Atlanta, Milwaukee and Detroit closed classrooms this week. The Chicago Teachers Union is considering a unilateral move to remote learning in defiance of Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city school officials.

And some California districts face woeful staff shortages that are forcing them into any number of contingency plans — except for Zoom.

Why Are so Many Vaccinated People Getting COVID Lately?

Associated Press reported:

Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?

A couple of factors are at play, starting with the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Omicron is more likely to infect people, even if it doesn’t make them very sick, and its surge coincided with the holiday travel season in many places.

People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota.

Vaccine Stocks Tumble Even Though COVID Cases Are Soaring

Barron’s reported:

Shares of COVID-19 vaccine makers plunged on the first trading day of the year, even as cases of the virus surge and governments ratchet up their use of the shots to combat the Omicron variant.

The selloff, which comes after a 2021 that brought spectacular gains for the stocks, could signal growing uncertainty around the long-term market for the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the valuations of the manufacturers.

Each of the three developers of the leading two COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. saw substantial share-price declines on Monday, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.6%

Israel Embarks on Fourth COVID Vaccination Campaign

The Guardian reported:

Israel has become the first country in the world to embark on a fourth COVID-19 vaccination campaign as part of efforts to stem rapidly rising infection rates caused by the Omicron variant.

Officials had previously said they would wait for more data on the efficacy of a fourth shot before making it more widely available. The Israeli health ministry said on Tuesday, however, that even though it believes the threat posed by Omicron is minimal, it had been forced to act more quickly in the face of skyrocketing infection rates.