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Missouri University Agrees to $1.65 Million Settlement in COVID Lawsuit From Students

FOX Business reported:

Lindenwood University agreed to a $1.65 million settlement on Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by a group of students who felt that the switch to online learning during COVID-19 was “subpar.”

Under the settlement, the students’ attorneys will receive $550,000 and the nearly 6,000 Lindenwood University students will receive about $185 each, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The students filed the lawsuit in August 2020 and claimed that Lindenwood University breached its contract with them when the switch to online learning was made at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When compared to in-person learning, the students claimed that online learning was “subpar in practically every aspect,” adding that they overpaid for tuition since online instruction was cheaper, according to the report.

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Protection Against Omicron Fades Just Weeks After Second and Third Doses, Study Finds

Forbes reported:

Immunity against the Omicron coronavirus variant fades rapidly after a second and third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to peer-reviewed research published in JAMA Network Open on Friday, a finding that could support rolling out additional booster shots to vulnerable people as the variant drives an uptick in new cases across the country.

Levels of Omicron-specific “neutralizing” antibodies — which can target the virus and stop it from replicating — decline rapidly after a second and third dose of Pfizer’s shot, according to the Danish study of 128 people who had received two or three doses.

Antibody levels, which are associated with protection against infection and disease, fell within weeks of getting the shots and were much lower than the level of antibodies specific to the original and Delta coronavirus variants, the researchers said.

Novavax Confident COVID Vaccine Will Receive FDA Authorization in June After Delays

CNBC reported:

Novavax is confident its COVID-19 vaccine will receive the endorsement of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee early this summer, executives said this week.

The FDA committee is scheduled to meet on June 7 to review Novavax’s submission. An endorsement from the committee, which is made up of independent experts, would mean the drug regulator is almost certain to quickly authorize the two-dose vaccine for use in the U.S.

If Novavax’s vaccine is authorized by the FDA, it will be the first new shot to hit the market in the U.S. in more than a year. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are the three vaccines currently used in the U.S., and the FDA last week limited the use of J&J’s shots.

Democrats Silent as Republicans Rip Into Secret Royalty Checks to Fauci, Hundreds of NIH Scientists

The Epoch Times reported:

Top Democratic leaders with oversight of the National Institutes for Health (NIH) are keeping quiet about the $350 million in secret payments to agency leaders like Dr. Anthony Fauci and hundreds of its scientists.

The Epoch Times received no responses from multiple requests to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) for comment on a report by a non-profit government watchdog estimating that Fauci, former NIH director Francis Collins, and hundreds of NIH scientists got as much as $350 million in undisclosed royalty payments from pharmaceutical and other private firms between 2010 and 2020.

Mayors Tackle Mental Health

Axios reported:

New programs in cities like New York, Chicago and London aim to combat the rising loneliness, anxiety and unhappiness that COVID-19 has caused.

Pandemic-related emotional problems have been linked to everything from higher crime to a rising teen suicide rate. While it’s not clear how much a municipal mental health program can move the needle, a growing number of mayors — flush with pandemic relief funds — are willing to try.

Alarmed by what they see from their front-row seats, “mayors are making investments and working with local nonprofits, businesses and community groups to create new initiatives that will help residents access mental health services and reduce the stigma,” Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, writes in Medium.

White House Prepares to Ration Vaccines as COVID Funding Impasse Looms

Politico reported:

A painful and foreboding reality is setting in for the White House as it enters a potentially dangerous stretch of the COVID fight: It may soon need to run its sprawling pandemic response on a shoestring budget.

Just two months after the administration unveiled a nearly 100-page roadmap out of the crisis, doubts are growing about Congress’ willingness to fund the nation’s fight. It has forced Biden officials to debate deep cuts to their COVID operation and game out ways to keep the federal effort afloat on a month-by-month basis.

Among the sacrifices being weighed are limiting access to its next generation of vaccines to only the highest-risk Americans — rationing that would have been unthinkable just a year ago, when the White House touted the development and widespread availability of vaccines as the clearest way out of the pandemic.

Switzerland Authorizes Moderna’s COVID Vaccine for 6- to 11-Year-Olds

Reuters reported:

Moderna Inc. (MRNA.O) said on Friday that Swiss drugs regulator Swissmedic had authorized the use of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 to 11 years.

The approval is for the vaccine’s two-dose series of 50 micrograms per dose, Moderna added.

U.S. and World Leaders Pledge More Than $3 Billion to Fight Pandemic Globally

Axios reported:

The U.S. and other world leaders pledged Thursday more than $3 billion in new funding to fight the pandemic globally at the Biden administration’s second Global COVID-19 Summit.

“This includes over $2 billion for immediate COVID-19 response and $962 million in commitments toward a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank,” the White House said.

The U.S. on Thursday also committed an additional $200 million to the financial intermediary fund at the World Bank, a fund designed to prepare for the next pandemic, according to the White House.

COVID Cases Show Rise in New Mexico, but Doctors See a New Ballgame

Sante Fe New Mexican reported:

The new coronavirus is becoming a different beast from the menace it once was, New Mexico physicians said Wednesday.

The numbers remain disconcerting. State COVID-19 cases and deaths have edged up recently, and hospitalizations at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe also have ticked upward this week.

Regardless, doctors said Wednesday, the disease is transforming into an “endemic,” or a more regular, part of life — troublesome, but more like the flu than the terror that has afflicted the world.

Gonzales said learning how COVID-19 behaves as an endemic disease will take a few years. For instance, she said, will it be seasonal or year-round?

Danish Farmers Turn Their Backs on Mink After COVID Mutation Cull

The Guardian reported:

Danish mink breeders have turned their backs on the industry en masse after being forced to cull their animals over fears a COVID-19 mutation could pose a risk to human health.

In November 2020, Denmark, at that point the world’s largest mink producer, controversially announced it would cull approximately 15 million animals due to fears a COVID-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardize future vaccines.

The Danish government temporarily banned mink farming and the breeding of animals for their fur, later extending the ban until 2023.