The Defender’s COVID NewsWatch provides a roundup of the latest headlines related to the SARS CoV-2 virus, including its origins and COVID vaccines.
The Defender Staff
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COVID Outbreaks Reported on 92 Cruise Ships Operating in U.S.Newsweek reported:
COVID-19 has been confirmed on more than 90% of cruise ships operating in the U.S., data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. Of the 101 cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, or seeking to operate in U.S. waters, 92 have “reported cases of COVID-19.”
Six cruise ships have been ascribed an “Orange” status, meaning there have been reported cases of coronavirus below the threshold for CDC investigation, while another 86 have been designated “Yellow,” meaning cases have met the threshold.
The agency also urged anyone vacationing on a cruise ship to be fully vaccinated before traveling and to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if eligible. However, such strict measures do not appear to have prevented coronavirus cases from developing.
Omicron Spike in Most-Vaccinated German State Heralds Nationwide SurgeReuters reported:
The northern German maritime state of Bremen has the country’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rate by far, but it has become the hardest-hit by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, reporting the highest infection rate of any region in Germany.
“I assume that Bremen is just a little further ahead than other federal states,” said Hajo Zeeb of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Bremen. He said he expected many of Germany’s federal states to report infection rates similar to Bremen in the coming days.
The state’s government on Thursday introduced further restrictions to curb infections, including requiring a negative rapid test or proof of a booster shot to enter restaurants or cultural events, in addition to proving double-vaccination.
After COVID-Positive Staff Work Amid Shortage, Hospital Sees Outbreak of InfectionsNewsweek reported:
Rhode Island hospital is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak just days after allowing five asymptomatic workers to return to work because of staffing shortages.
The infections were found on multiple campuses of the hospital, according to the Boston Globe, and it’s unclear if there’s any connection between the use of COVID-positive staff members and the rise in infections. However, the policy of using COVID-positive employees has been criticized since many unvaccinated staff members faced losing their jobs.
State Senator Jessica de la Cruz called the updated guidance “dangerous on so many levels.” Instead of allowing COVID-positive staff members to return to work without quarantining, she advocated for the rehiring of unvaccinated workers and adopting a test to stay policy.
COVID-Positive Nurses Are in Our Hospitals. But Biden’s Mandate Forbids Unvaccinated Ones.USA Today via Yahoo! News reported:
The Biden administration has consistently portrayed vaccines as a pandemic panacea. In July, Biden promised, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”
Biden vastly overstated vaccine efficacy in part because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had ceased to count the vast majority of breakthrough infections several months earlier. The Washington Post reported that the CDC’s “overly rosy assessments of the vaccines’ effectiveness against Delta…may have lulled Americans into a false sense of security.”
Across the nation, thousands of health care workers have been fired for refusing to get injected, including many who have natural immunity after surviving COVID-19 infections.
According to the Biden administration’s policies, it is better for hospital patients to be treated by COVID-positive nurses and workers (whose COVID-19 vaccinations failed to safeguard them from the virus) than by unvaccinated nurses with no COVID.
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CDC Doesn’t yet See Signal Omicron Variant More Severe in Young KidsReuters reported:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has not yet seen a signal that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is more severe in young children despite an increase of the hospitalizations, the agency’s director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press conference on Friday.
“We have not yet seen a signal that there is any increased severity” in kids under 5, who are not yet eligible for vaccination, Walensky said. She said that an increase in cases in general could be one explanation for the surge in hospitalizations.
Study Links COVID Vaccination to Small Increase in Menstrual Cycle Length, but Experts Say It’s No Cause for ConcernCNN Health reported:
After getting a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, women had an average menstrual cycle length of about one day longer than usual, according to a study published Thursday.
The findings validate some claims from women across social media that the COVID-19 vaccine affected their menstrual cycle. But the change is not clinically significant, and experts say it shouldn’t cause worry.
In August, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced an investment of about $1.7 million to support five research teams in studying the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on menstruation.
This is the first of those studies to publish, an incredibly quick turnaround time for such research.
FDA Shortens Timing of Moderna Booster to 5 MonthsAssociated Press reported:
U.S. regulators on Friday shortened the time that people who received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine have to wait for a booster — to five months rather than six.
The two-dose Moderna vaccine is open to Americans 18 and older. The Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday means Moderna recipients are eligible for a booster after at least five months have passed since their last shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed.
‘Paramount Importance’: Judge Orders FDA to Hasten Release of Pfizer Vaccine DocsReuters reported:
A federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make public the data it relied on to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months.
That’s roughly 75 years and four months faster than the FDA said it could take to complete a Freedom of Information Act request by a group of doctors and scientists seeking an estimated 450,000 pages of material about the vaccine.
Rather than producing 500 pages a month — the FDA’s proposed timeline — he ordered the agency to turn over 55,000 a month. That means all the Pfizer vaccine data should be public by the end of the summer rather than, say, the year 2097.
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Moderna CEO Warns People May Need Fourth COVID Shot as Efficacy of Boosters Likely to Decline Over TimeCNBC reported:
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel on Thursday said the efficacy of boosters against COVID-19 will likely decline over time, and people may need a fourth shot in the fall to increase their protection.
Bancel said people who received their boosters last fall will likely have enough protection to get them through the winter, when new infections surge as people gather indoors to escape the cold. However, Bancel said the efficacy of boosters will probably decline over the course of several months, similar to what happened with the first two doses.
The Moderna chief was interviewed by Goldman Sachs during the investment bank’s healthcare CEO conference. “We have been saying that we believe first this virus is not going away,” Bancel said. “We’re going to have to live with it.”
J&J Says Its Single Dose Protects Against Breakthrough COVID for up to 6 MonthsReuters reported:
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) said on Thursday that a real-world study showed its single shot COVID-19 vaccine protects against breakthrough infections and hospitalizations for up to six months.
The study, sponsored by the vaccine developer, was conducted between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7 last year, before the Omicron variant was discovered. It is also yet to be peer-reviewed.
J&J said protection against infection from its single dose vaccine starts to wane only from the fourth month compared to the second month in the case of two-dose vaccines from rivals Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s (22UAy.DE) as well as Moderna (MRNA.O).
Some Health Advisers to Biden’s Transition Team Call for a New COVID Strategy in the U.S.The New York Times reported:
Six former health advisers have gone public with an extraordinary, albeit polite, critique — and a plea to be heard. In three opinion articles published on Thursday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, they called for Mr. Biden to adopt an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely, not to wiping it out.
The authors are all big names in American medicine. The authors say they wrote them partly because they have not made headway talking directly to White House officials.
The authors shared the articles with White House officials before they were published, but it was unclear whether the administration would adopt any of their suggestions. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Mr. Biden’s top medical adviser for the pandemic, declined to comment on the articles.
West Virginia Requesting Federal Permission to Administer Fourth Vaccine DoseThe Hill reported:
West Virginia has become the first state in the nation to request federal permission to administer a fourth vaccine dose, or second booster shot, of the COVID-19 vaccine.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) in a Thursday [url=https://governor.wv.gov/Documents/2022 Letters/Letter to President Biden_Fourth Dose_1.6.22.pdf]letter[/url] to President Biden requested that the president direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to authorize a second booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for West Virginians over the age of 50 and essential workers who are three months or more out from their third shot.
Thanks to: https://childrenshealthdefense.org