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New Data on the Link Between COVID Vaccines and Myopericarditis

Cardiovascular Business reported:

COVID-19 vaccines may be associated with a heightened risk of myopericarditis among men, according to a new analysis published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

“A number of case reports and series have recently been published describing patients who experienced myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination,” wrote first author Rosemary Farahmand, MD, of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues.

Hoping to gain a better understanding of these relationships, Farahmand et al. tracked data from more than 268,000 adults who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the state of Massachusetts from August 2020 to May 2021. The study’s control group was made up of 235,000 of the same patients — from 2018 and 2019, well before they had received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Omicron Variant Identified in U.S.: First Case of COVID Linked to New Variant Found in California

The Washington Post reported:

The first U.S. case of COVID-19 linked to the new Omicron variant has been identified in California in a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The patient, who was fully vaccinated, tested positive on Nov. 29, officials said. The individual has mild symptoms that are improving and is in self-quarantine. Genetic sequencing was performed by the University of California at San Francisco and confirmed by the CDC.

One of the Biggest Questions About Omicron Was Just Answered. It’s Bad News for Stocks.

Barrons’s reported:

One of investors’ most pressing questions on Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant, got a preliminary answer on Tuesday. It’s a scary development for stocks. The emergence of Omicron, a heavily mutated version of the virus that is expected to be more contagious than other variants, has roiled the stock market.

The S&P 500 has fallen more than 2% from the record high it hit in late November, just before Friday’s news that the variant was found in South Africa. This could be just the beginning of the selling, as investors now have key information they were hungry for.

An RBC survey published Monday found that investors were most concerned about how severe, or mild, infections caused by the Omicron variant might be. That isn’t known yet, but data on the question that ranks second — how effective vaccines and antiviral drugs will be against the variant — has begun to emerge.

Massachusetts Coronavirus Breakthrough Cases Spike 6,610 During Thanksgiving Week

Boston Herald reported:

More than 6,600 fully vaccinated people in the Bay State tested positive for coronavirus during the week of Thanksgiving, a daily average of about 944 people as breakthrough infections continue to surge.

The count of 6,610 breakthrough cases last week was a bit down from the tally of 6,917 breakthrough infections in the prior week. Testing during Thanksgiving week was significantly lower.

Young Americans Are Really Down on Democracy and Reeling From the Pandemic

The Washington Post reported:

Young Americans are down on democracy, reeling from the impact of the pandemic and not particularly happy with President Biden.

Those are the takeaways from a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll released this morning. The Early 202 has a sneak peek at the fresh numbers, which reveal some startling data about the mental health of young Americans as COVID-19 threatens to upend our winter once again.

Fifty percent of young Americans say the coronavirus has changed them, with 61% of women saying they have changed versus 40% of men. Overall, 51% say the pandemic has negatively impacted their lives.

Southern Africa Is Not a Hotbed of Variants — It’s Just Very Good at Sequencing and Spotting Them

Business Insider reported:

Last week, scientists in South Africa put the world on notice. Omicron is here.

The variant, B.1.1.529, was identified first on Nov. 11, among foreign diplomats who had traveled to Botswana. Then, it was found again by a team of scientists in South Africa on Nov. 14, and they alerted world health leaders.

The reality is that southern Africa is a top international powerhouse of COVID-19 surveillance in large part because the continent stood up innovative systems for tracking viral diseases and genetic mutations well before the coronavirus hit, tracing and surveilling diseases including HIV, Ebola, and tuberculosis.

FDA Panel Narrowly Backs Merck’s COVID Pill — Questions About Efficacy, Safety Were Chief Among Concerns, Regardless of How Members Voted

MedPage Today reported:

A divided FDA advisory panel voted 13-10 to recommend the oral antiviral molnupiravir for emergency use authorization (EUA) for adults at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 on Tuesday.

While votes at the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee (AMDAC) were largely split, similar questions were raised on both sides of the vote about modest efficacy, especially in light of other available treatments.

Very few committee members offered strong “yes” or “no” votes, as most were in the middle. Ultimately, the positive votes felt that despite a number of questions, the benefits of the drug outweighed the risk.

How HIV Research Paved the Way for the COVID mRNA Vaccines

CNBC reported:

Every Dec. 1, the world commemorates those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Known as World AIDS Day, it serves as a reminder that there has been an ongoing pandemic for the past 40 years, pre-dating COVID.

The COVID vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

Massachusetts Deploying COVID Antibody Treatment Units

Associated Press reported:

Massachusetts is deploying three mobile units to administer monoclonal antibody treatment to high-risk individuals who have been exposed to or have COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.

The clinics have the capacity to treat up to 500 patients per week with therapies that can help reduce the severity of the disease and keep COVID-19-positive individuals from being hospitalized.

1,500 Unhoused LA Residents Died on the Streets During Pandemic, Report Reveals

The Guardian reported:

Nearly 1,500 unhoused people are estimated to have died on the streets of Los Angeles during the pandemic, according to a new report that raises alarms about authorities’ handling of a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Ananya Roy, director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, which produced the report, said the young age of death was particularly disturbing.

“When people are passing away outdoors and on the sidewalks, that is a failure of the state,” said Chloe Rosenstock, co-author of the report and an organizer with Street Watch LA, an advocacy group for the unhoused.

From Books to Boots, Supply Chain Issues Are Hitting Local Retailers This Holiday Season

The Ticker reported:

What’s on your shopping list this holiday season? If it’s a pair of winter boots, the latest bestselling book, or a bottle of expensive champagne, you might be out of luck.

Global supply chain issues have officially hit home here in Traverse City. Here’s what The Ticker is hearing from four local retailers about how they’re navigating it all, their hardest-to-get products right now, and what advice they have for shoppers.

COVID Has ‘Radically Altered’ Mobility

Associated Press reported:

The U.N. migration agency says the coronavirus pandemic appears to have accelerated “hostile rhetoric” against migrants in the world and “radically altered” mobility, projecting in a new report that travel and other COVID-19-fighting restrictions could dampen migration worldwide as long as they remain.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered immobility worldwide to an extent unseen in recent history, slowing the pace of human mobility and migration,” said Ugochi Daniels, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) deputy director-general for operations, at a meeting of its member states.

“The pandemic is estimated to have negatively impacted the total growth of international migrants by 2 million.”

World Agrees to Negotiate a Global ‘Pandemic Treaty’ to Fight the Next Outbreak

The Washington Post reported:

Less than a week after the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was reported to the World Health Organization, global leaders on Wednesday agreed to start negotiations to create an international agreement to prevent and deal with future pandemics — which some have dubbed a “pandemic treaty.”

“I welcome the decision you have adopted today, to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Mexico to Reverse Course, Give COVID Booster Shots

Associated Press reported:

Mexican officials have reversed their previous position against giving coronavirus booster shots and said Tuesday they are studying a plan to administer third doses to people over 60.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration has long resisted adopting measures like mandatory face masks, mass testing and travel restrictions that have been used in many other countries.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell had said as recently as August that there was no scientific evidence to justify giving booster shots, and suggested they were part of a campaign by vaccine manufacturers to increase sales. The government also long resisted vaccinating minors, but recently relented and began administering shots to youths between 15 and 17 years of age.