Boris Johnson and Partygate

It is no secret that Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, broke rules regarding Covid-19 shutdown, when he held a party. He was fined 50 pounds, which is about $100 or so.

In the meantime, a pub landlord in North Devon held a party on the same date (December 18, 2020) as the prime minister, was fined 4,000 pounds. This hypocritical application of the regulations has people fuming across the pond.

At the time, Devon was under Tier 2 restriction, which meant only friends and family could meet if they were living together or otherwise part of a support bubble. The police performed a raid and found there were several different groups of people sitting together.

The landlord justified the meeting as being limited to a Christmas party among colleagues and coworkers, as they’d been working together throughout the pandemic. The group was around 12-20 people.

The landlord is a Conservative voter and wants Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign after they – along with Johnson’s wife Carrie and 40-odd other people – were fined for attending a birthday party on June 19 2020.

Johnson and Sunak had previously said in Parliament that they didn’t attend the party and followed the rules. This story is still in development; some say that Johnson was the first to break toast.

The Wayfarer Inn offered free meals to NHS and care staff during the Covid-19 lockdowns, as well as providing free school meals and giving up rooms at no charge for those self-isolating.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 potential gatherings, meaning the Prime Minister and Sunak could be fined again if found to have participated. Many in Britain are now calling for resignation.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2022, All rights reserved.

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Food Shortages Cause Riot in Shanghai as Lockdown Continues

China’s Zero Covid program is coming under high scrutiny as Shanghai residents begin rioting against the draconian lockdown against its residents. Some residents have taken to running out of their confinement to beating by regulators, and many are actively seeking food. That being said, food shortage is rampant in the city, despite regulators’ attempt to bring food to its residents.

Shanghai has confirmed 1,006 infections with 24,000 asymptomatic cases in the past 24 hours, and many have been under lockdown since March 28. Authorities said Saturday that areas with no new cases in the last 14 days following another round of mass testing will see easing of restrictions. Nonetheless, people are growing angrier and hungrier, which is never a good mix in the business of running a state.

Will Covid measures become the straw that breaks the camel’s back that is Xi Jinping?

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21 States Sue Biden Administration to Stop Mask Mandates in Airplanes

On Tuesday, 21 states filed a suit to end the federal mandate requiring people to wear masks when traveling on most modes of public transportation, including airplanes and buses. The mandate was extended through April 18.

The plaintiff named includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Most mask mandates have been updated, and the only federal mandate that really stays in place is the mask mandate for public transportation.

Airlines have been supportive of the states seeking to end the mandate. Last week, executives from 10 airlines and the American Public Transportation Association sent letters to Biden urging him to end pandemic-related travel policies including mask mandates.

The new 30-page suit filed in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida calls the mandate “arbitrary and capricious.”

The 21 states that filed the suit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Children younger than 2 and people with certain disabilities are exempt from the mask requirement, and the government has yet to actually announce a COVID-19 endemic.

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Search for Universal Covid Vaccine Begins

Until recently, researchers and scientists have attempted to tackle the variants as they became prevalent, such as the initial strain, the delta variant, and now, the omicron variant.

However, it is also true that by the time the vaccines may be ready for public release, the omicron variant is expected to relent. Mask mandates are easing in the United States, and Europeans are beginning to strongly oppose what they see as draconian measures in covid-19 prevention measures.

Therefore, scientists are now focusing their energy on a new tactic: finding a vaccine that will attempt to protect the body against all variants of the coronavirus, and any other variant or viral infections that might appear on the horizon.

The researchers are now ready to search for a truly variant-proof vaccine, which would also prevent a future pandemic, protect against unknown coronavirus that will likely jump from animals to humans in the near future.

Many scientists are thinking big, in hoping not only to solve the covid-19 problem, but even the virus variants that cause the common cold, middle east respiratory syndrome, and any other bat coronaviruses.

The first iterations of the Sar-Cov-2 vaccine focused on the simple spike protein. Future iterations will require more sophistication, as the vaccines attempt to capture more variants.

It seems clear that there is much research to be done in the field of vaccination, and the relative success with the covid-19 virus is giving researchers hope in producing vaccines that might solve even broader sets of viruses plaguing the human race today.

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Vitamin D and Covid-19 Severity Could be Linked

Israeli researchers have revealed that they’ve found a link between vitamin D levels and covid-19 severity. Specifically, those with adequate vitamin D levels prior to contracting the disease suffered less severe symptoms than those who had less than sufficient vitamin D.

The research is the first to look at vitamin D as a major factor and studied the 253 people admitted to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel between April 2020 and February 2021, right before the Omicron surge.

This does not advocate against vaccinations; ultimately, vaccinations will protect against severe symptoms with 90% efficacy, but also having high vitamin D intake in the system will increase the chance of reducing covid-19 severity.

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Jimin from BTS hospitalized due to appendicitis and Covid-19

Several members of BTS have been found Covid-19 positive including Jin, RM, and Suga from BTS. However, Jimin from BTS has experienced the most intense symptoms: he was hospitalized after experiencing appendicitis on top of covid-19 infection.

He had to undergo appendix surgery to deal with the problem. The surgery on Monday was successful, and Jimin is now recovering from the surgery. He is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days to receive post-surgery treatment and for Covid-19.

South Korea has generally been successful with maintaining a lower Covid-19 infection rate; last updated figure shows nationwide infection of 17,532 on Sunday.

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Limited State of Emergency Declared in Virginia for Omicron Surge

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency for hospitals due to the ongoing pandemic.

It is a 30-day state-of-emergency order that seeks to expand capacity and increase staffing at hospitals. While Gov.-elect Youngkin could rescind the emergency order after he takes office on Saturday, Gov. Northam believes Gov.-elect Youngkin will also support the continuation of the order.

Gov.-elect Youngkin’s spokesman said that Youngkin does support the use of tailored executive action to remove staffing barriers and provide flexibility to deliver high quality care.

These removals include limitations on bed capacity, providing those with active licenses and in good standing to practice in Virginia. Furthermore, there will be more flexibility with regards to vaccine administration and will prevent price-gouging for at-home antigen test kits.

A 30-day state of emergency is also in effect in Maryland, and D.C. Hospital Association is also calling on D.C. to reactive a health emergency.

About 90 percent of Virginian adults and 78 percent of all Virginians have had at least one dose of vaccine, although the advised dosage is both vaccine + the booster.

Northam said that most overwhelming the hospital systems are those that are not fully vaccinated or boosted. On Friday, Virginia hit a peak 3,329 hospitalization, beating out the record of 3,201 on January 13, 2021. COVID-related hospitalizations are up 200 percent.

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Australia Revokes Novak Djokovic’s Visa

Novak Djokovic is the world’s No. 1 male tennis player. He received a medical exemption to mandatory covid vaccination. However, when he landed in Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open, he was escorted to an immigration room while the authorities checked his paperwork.

Border authorities then canceled his visa. By midmorning Thursday in local time, Djokovic was escorted to a government-approved hotel pending flight out of the country. He has engaged with lawyers to overturn the decision.

While Serbian president called out against the act, the Australian Prime Minister was resolute in supporting the decisions of the border patrol agents.

Australian Open officials did not have immediate comments.

Although Djokovic had performed everything exactly as requested by the Australian authorities to obtain a visa exemption, his obtaining it had caused an outrage from Melbourne citizens who had been subjected to some of the toughest covid restrictions in the world. Ultimately, it seems that he has become a sort of a scapegoat.

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US Hits New High on Covid-19 Infection

7-day average of new daily cases have risen to 253,245 as of Tuesday, marking a new high, surpassing 248,209 cases on January 12 due to the Omicron variant.

Omicron, although known to be less deadly than the Delta variant, is known to be more infectious. With loosening regulations across the country, the season and time period. Omicron has had an easier time spreading across the U.S. in much faster period than with the original coronavirus or with the Delta.

Many businesses have applauded the government’s efforts to reduce the quarantine time from 10 days to 5 days, but the president of the largest nursing union expects this will boost the number of Omicron infections.

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As Omicron surges, CDC shortens Quarantine to 5 Days

On Monday, the CDC shortened the recommended time for isolation for Americans infected with the coronavirus. The new requirement is 5 days if they are asymptomatic, which is based on new research when people are most infectious.

The omicron variant, which is less severe than the delta variant, nonetheless is highly transmissible and has led to infection levels unseen since last winter. That being said, Airlines and other industry officials had been demanding the CDC to shorten recommended quarantine and isolation times, as the industry leaders claimed that the cancellations this holiday season had to do with employees testing positive and having to quarantine for 10 days. The industry argued that following earlier guidelines would make maintenance of business impossible.

The CDC recommended quarantine for 5 days and then wearing masks around others for 5 days. Those exposed to infection but has received the booster shot, should wear a mask for 10 days; they do not need to quarantine.

The CDC explained that the update is to allow others to continue with their lives and that the decision was driven by scientific research which showed that the transmission occurs in the one to two days before the onset of symptoms and for two to three days afterwards. The officials also recommended getting tested five days after exposure.

As the world begins to realize that it will need to live with the coronavirus rather than exterminate it, policy changes, at least in the U.S., is beginning to reflect this. Maybe it’s more economically motivated than government officials like to admit, however. Whether the change in recommendation leads to what kinds of results is yet to be known.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2021, All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in whole, or part without the express written permission.