Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
Over One-Third of Vaccinated Americans Became Infected With COVID After the Jab: Poll
Over one-third of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 now say they became infected with the virus after being fully inoculated, signifying how the highly contagious Omicron variant has driven an increase in breakthrough cases.
In a new poll released by Axios/Ispos on Tuesday, 36% of respondents said they either recently tested positive or believe they had COVID after being fully vaccinated. That compares to just 22% of respondents in mid-December, and only 6% from last summer, according to the poll.
COVID Deaths in U.S. Military Spike in Last Four Months Despite 96% Being Vaccinated
Over the 18 months between March 2020 to August 2021, America’s armed forces experienced 43 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Over the past four months, from September through December, the military has seen the same number of deaths, according to a report from the Pentagon reviewed by Newsweek.
This increase in military deaths comes despite the fact that 96% of active-duty soldiers being fully vaccinated, a memo by the Pentagon states.
Dr. Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Walensky and Other Health Leaders Testify Before Senate on U.S. Omicron Response
The Senate health committee will hear testimony from White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
Fauci Thought COVID Lab Leak Theory Was ‘Shiny Object’ That Would Go Away in Time
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advised against squelching the theory that the coronavirus originated in a lab because he believed the hypothesis would eventually go away.
House Republicans are requesting an interview with Fauci regarding the origin of the virus, a contentious topic between GOP members and the nation’s top infectious disease expert. Republican Representatives James Comer and Jim Jordan accused the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of “hiding information” about the pandemic’s origin, and top public health officials have dismissed the lab theory as the least likely scenario.
House Republicans Release Damning Fauci Emails Suggesting Concealed Knowledge of Lab Leak
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have released several emails which suggest Dr. Anthony Fauci may have known that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak, and that it may have been “intentionally genetically manipulated.”
“We write to request a transcribed interview of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Excerpts of emails we are making public today (see enclosed Appendix I) reveal that Dr. Fauci was warned of two things: (1) the potential that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute Virology (WIV) and (2) the possibility that the virus was intentionally genetically manipulated.
It is imperative we investigate if this information was conveyed to the rest of the government and whether this information would have changed the U.S. response to the pandemic,” reads the letter from Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
‘Comorbidities’ Meaning Explained as CDC Director’s COVID Comments Go Viral
A comment about “comorbidities” in relation to COVID-19 deaths made by Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during a recent interview sparked backlash after a clip of the interview went viral.
During an interview Friday with ABC‘s Good Morning America (GMA) show, Walensky said: “The overwhelming number of [COVID-19] death, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities,” during her answer to GMA co-host Cecilia Vega’s question about whether it’s time to “start rethinking how we’re living with this virus.”
Jake Tapper Rails Against ‘Misleading’ CDC COVID Hospitalization Numbers
CNN anchor Jake Tapper has criticized as “misleading” the admission by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it counted COVID patients who had been admitted to hospitals for something else.
Tapper was reacting to comments CDC director Rochelle Walensky made on Fox News on Sunday that “up to 40%” of patients had been admitted to hospitals with another medical emergency but had been later detected as having COVID.
Tapper said if up to 40% of patients in hospital “don’t necessarily have problematic COVID” and are there if “they bumped their head, and they’re being included as [being] in the hospital with COVID. That number seems kind of misleading.”
United Cuts Flights as About 3,000 Workers Call out Sick From COVID
United Airlines is trimming its schedule to address a surge in sick calls among employees, CEO Scott Kirby told employees.
U.S. airlines canceled thousands of flights over the year-end holidays through early this year due to COVID infections among crews and a series of winter storms. United first cut some flights before Christmas.
United has about 3,000 workers who are currently positive for COVID, Kirby said in the staff memo. That is about 4% of its U.S. workforce.
3,700 TSA Screeners Have Active COVID Infections, a 1,243% Jump Since Thanksgiving
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reporting 3,694 employees with active COVID-19 infections, according to agency data, roughly 7% of the agency’s screeners. For context, the week before the Omicron variant was first identified in the United States, there were 275 positive COVID-19 cases among the TSA’s ranks.
Over 96% of TSA employees are currently fully vaccinated, a statistic that has likely saved many from serious illness and hospitalization. “The chief objective remains full compliance with the vaccination requirement and a workforce protected against hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” Langston said.
Free Families From Closed Schools
Closed schools harm children. Children are COVID‘s lowest-risk demographic, but our nation’s elementary and high-school students have suffered the most throughout the pandemic thanks to negligent and callous policymakers.
COVID-era school closures and abysmal remote learning endanger children academically, emotionally and physically. Closing schools leads to devastating learning loss, significant mental health issues, and higher rates of suicide and obesity. As David Leonhardt wrote in The New York Times, “American children are starting 2022 in crisis.”
Even in areas with open schools, parents and students are subjected to complicated and excessive COVID testing and quarantine requirements, which keep students out of classrooms and extracurricular activities.
Chicago Teachers Union Leaders Strike Deal to Resume In-Person Classes
Chicago Public Schools could resume in-person classes this week after Chicago Teachers Union leaders agreed to a new set of COVID-19 protocols. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday that teachers would return to campuses on Tuesday with in-person instruction restarting Wednesday.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the full union, but the Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates voted to suspend the online learning plan they launched last week as rank-and-file membership votes. The tentative agreement comes after four days of canceled classes.
Last week’s attempt by CTU to swtich to remote learning amid a surge in COVID-19 cases prompted Chicago Public Schools to cancel all classes. The district, the third largest in the country, locked teachers out of their online teaching programs and withheld pay for the days they did not report for in-person instruction.
Home COVID Tests to Be Covered by Insurers Starting Saturday
Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations.
Under the new policy, first detailed to the AP, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit.
A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.
Later this month, the federal government will launch a website to begin making 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests available via mail.
U.S. Secures 600,000 More Doses of GSK-Vir’s COVID Therapy
The United States has agreed to buy 600,000 more doses of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and Vir Biotechnology’s (VIR.O) COVID-19 antibody therapy for an undisclosed sum, as the country bolsters its arsenal of treatments against the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The U.S. government in November had signed contracts worth about $1 billion for an unknown number of doses of the treatment, after saying it would control the distribution of sotrovimab in the country.
The drug belongs to a class of medicines called monoclonal antibodies which are lab-generated compounds that mimic the body’s natural defences. Tests have indicated sotrovimab works against the fast-spreading Omicron variant.