Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
Israeli Vaccine Study Finds People Still Catching Omicron After 4 Doses
While the extra dose — of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — seemed to have some effect, rates of infection in the study were not substantially different to those who had three doses of Pfizer, the study official said.
Gili Regev-Yochay, a lead investigator on the study, told reporters that “the vaccine is excellent against the Alpha and Delta,” but the study found that “for Omicron, it’s not good enough,” The Times of Israel reported Monday evening.
Kaiser Says Thousands in San Francisco Area May Have Received Low Dose of COVID Vaccine
Kaiser Permanente says thousands in the San Francisco area may have received a low dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said around 3,900 people who visited Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center on both Oct. 25 and Dec. 10 may have received 0.01 ml to 0.04 ml less than the recommended dose of 0.30 ml, a discrepancy it said is “not considered significant,” KTVU reported.
Kaiser said it consulted experts and found the slightly lower dosage wouldn’t affect protection against the virus, but offered for those who received the wrong dosage to come in for another shot, according to the local outlet.
Wealth of 10 Richest Men Doubled in Pandemic as 99% of Incomes Dropped: Oxfam
The 10 richest men in the world doubled their fortunes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report published Monday by advocacy group Oxfam said, highlighting how the global health crisis has deepened the divide between the haves and have-nots as well as the need for policy intervention to address these “deadly” inequities.
While the wealth of the world’s 10 richest men more than doubled — increasing from approximately $700 billion to $1.5 trillion between March 2020 and November 2021 — the incomes of approximately 99% of people around the globe fell during that time, and more than 160 million people have been forced into poverty, the Oxfam report added.
The calculations also indicate that the wealth of the world’s billionaires has increased more since COVID-19 began than it has in the last 14 years.
Moderna Hopes to Market Combined COVID and Flu Booster in 2023
Bancel, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum, said the combination vaccine would enable people to get broad protection against illnesses caused by respiratory viruses ahead of the winter infectious season without having to obtain multiple jabs.
Bancel told investors last September that Moderna was working on a booster shot that would combine its mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, a vaccine it is developing against influenza and possibly a dose to treat respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
Fauci Says It’s Still an ‘Open Question’ Whether Omicron Spells COVID Endgame
“It is an open question whether it will be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for,” Fauci said via videoconference at The Davos Agenda virtual event.
The Omicron variant, while highly transmissible, has been found to be less severe than previous variants, sparking hope that it could hasten the end of the pandemic. Yet, Fauci said there is still no guarantee.
“I would hope that that’s the case. But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response of the prior variant,” he said.
‘They Used Us as an Experiment’: Arkansas Inmates Who Were Given Ivermectin to Treat COVID File Federal Lawsuit Against Jail
A group of men detained at Washington County Detention Center in Arkansas say that the jail’s medical staff gave them the anti-parasite drug ivermectin last year, without their consent, to treat COVID-19, while telling them the pills were “vitamins.” On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the inmates, filed a federal lawsuit against the jail and its doctor.
The lawsuit claims that medical staff at the jail gave the men ivermectin as early as November 2020, and that the men did not become aware of what the pill was until well after they received it. At a local finance and budget committee meeting last August, county sheriff Tim Helder confirmed that the facility’s doctor Dr. Robert Karas prescribed ivermectin.
Gary Sullivan, legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas, issued a statement saying that “no one — including incarcerated individuals — should be deceived and subject to medical experimentation.”
New York and Other Northeastern U.S. States See a Rapid Fall in COVID Cases
New York City and some northeastern U.S. states appear to be seeing rapid decreases in their numbers of COVID-19 cases in recent days, raising the possibility that the Omicron wave has now already peaked in some parts of America.
In New York City the rolling seven-day average of new cases was less than 28,000 a day on Jan. 16, down from an average of more than 40,000 on Jan. 9.
Similar patterns were being observed in the state as a whole and in other nearby regions.
Nets’ Star Irving Steadfast on Vaccine Despite Durant Injury
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving insists an injury to teammate Kevin Durant won’t change his stance on not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Irving, who only recently returned to action after a drawn-out stalemate over getting vaccinated, said Monday following a loss to the Cavaliers that he has no intention of getting the shot — and nothing will sway him.
With Durant potentially sidelined for six weeks with a knee injury suffered Saturday, Irving was asked if he’s feeling more pressure to get vaccinated. Irving made it clear he’s not been moved to act.
Passengers Stuck at Sea After Norwegian Cancels Caribbean Cruise Mid-Voyage Due to COVID
Norwegian Cruise Line canceled its Caribbean trip mid-voyage due to COVID-19, leaving travelers stuck at sea until the ship returns to New York.
The Norwegian Gem was on a 10-day sail but it was canceled and the ship docked in Philipsburg, St. Martin. It’s not clear what exactly led to the cancellation. The spokesperson said the ship would return to New York “shortly” but did not provide a date.
According to Cruise Industry News, all passengers on the Gem will receive a full refund.
Merck Signs Supply Deal With UNICEF for 3 Million Courses of COVID Pill
Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said on Tuesday they had signed an agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to supply up to 3 million courses of their COVID-19 antiviral pill.
Merck would supply the pill, molnupiravir, to UNICEF through the first half of 2022 for distribution in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries upon regulatory authorizations, the companies said.
The pill received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December and has also been authorized in several other countries including India, Mexico and the UK. Many countries have signed supply deals with Merck for the drug.
Hong Kong to Kill 2,000 Animals After Hamsters Get COVID
Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday that they will kill about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters, after several tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store where an employee was also infected.
The city will also stop the sale of hamsters and the import of small mammals, according to officials from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The pet shop employee tested positive for the Delta variant on Monday, and several hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the store tested positive as well.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus. But Hong Kong authorities said they are not ruling out transmission between animals and humans.
China Blames Packages From U.S., Canada, as Reason for COVID Spread
Chinese officials say Beijing’s first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant may be linked to a package received from Canada, however health experts are skeptical, the CBC reported.
Global health experts disagree with China’s reasoning for the COVID-19 infection. The World Health Organization said COVID-19 cannot multiply on surfaces like mail or food packages. The viruses “need a live animal or human host to multiply and survive,” the AP reported.
China Halts Winter Olympics Ticket Sales as Omicron Arrives in Beijing
China has announced that tickets to the Winter Olympics will no longer be sold to the general public, as the country’s capital recorded its first case of the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Last fall, Beijing had already limited tickets to the Games to domestic spectators. On Monday, Beijing’s Winter Olympics Organizing Committee said this would be further restricted: Only certain approved groups will be allowed to watch the Olympics in person, after undergoing strict measures to prevent transmission of the virus.