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.

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Moderna and Pfizer are Clear Winners vs Johnson & Johnson

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended a preference of Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 booster shots over Johnson & Johnson variable, as Johnson & Johnson continues to struggle with the blood clotting issue, which has since seen nine deaths and several dozen cases of other complications with regards to the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Out of the nine deaths associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 7 of the patients did have underlying health concerns. The other two aren’t clear. Dozens fell sick, and they are also under investigation.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine appeal had to do with it being a single dose vaccine with no special storage requirement. However, it is certainly less appealing due to its lower effectiveness and higher risk in terms of the blood clot issue. Only about 17 million have administered the Johnson & Johnson dosage, whereas the 470 million of the Pfizer and Moderna have been administered.

As Johnson & Johnson did advertise its easy use as one of its main advantages, this will make vaccinating homeless or prisoners more difficult, as their positions are more difficult to reach, and transportation of the other alternatives are harder.

Because of this weakness in Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC, which tends to hold back on having a preferential recommendation, has done so in this case.

Johnson & Johnson continues to remain firm on the quality of their vaccines, but it may become a very special-use vaccine rather than a nationwide one.

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Omicron Threatens Recovery

As the world recovers from the Delta variant, another variant is coming into the picture: Omicron. With origins in Africa, the Omicron is known to be even more infectious than the Delta variant, although not much else is known. Pres. Biden attempted to reassure the nation by stating that the Omicron has less threatening impact than the Delta, although all are encouraged to vaccinate.

CDC recently opened up the Covid-19 booster shot for all individuals above the age of 18. Although the eligibility had been opened for more people, the CDC had focused on those above the age of 50 to receive them first, as they are considered to be the most vulnerable. However, as of today, CDC is recommending boosters for all Americans above the age of 18.

Air travel has become restricted once more, with travels into and out of Africa being regulated. As governments attempt to stifle the new possible onslaught of this new variant, people across the globe are showing their tiredness and weariness at yet another possible lockdown during the holidays.

Europe saw riots prior to the announcement of the Omicron, as anti-vaxxers refused to deal with the governments’ lockdown attempts. Rotterdam saw at least two dead after the rioters were shot by the police and burned down police cars.

Many continue to be concerned by the potential economic impact of this new variant, as well as whether it might have as severe of an impact as the Delta variant.

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China Locks 30,000 People in Disneyland after 1 Positive Covid Test

According to reports, one woman either tested positive for Covid or came into contact with someone who had it prior to visiting Disneyland in Shanghai. The Chinese government officials then locked everyone into the park, which were about 30,000 visitors, and forced them to test negative before they were allowed to leave. AP reported that all 33,863 people at the park tested negative.

Disneyland is set to remain closed until Tuesday, and it plans to refund the tickets and notify the guests as soon as possible for confirmed date for reopening.

China is enforcing highly restrictive policies on its citizens as it continues to deal with Covid pandemic woes. For example, visitors must quarantine for three weeks upon arrival, two more weeks after recovery, and holding ships at port until all crew are tested. The massive testing done at Disneyland is just another one of those restrictions. At the moment, 14 of the provinces in China are affected by these measures. There are cinema closures in Beijing which some analysts believe will impact the new Bond movie “No Time to Die” to perform a little worse than expected.

As Beijing also prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics, it is especially tight on keeping the lid on Covid-19. Thus, there are more than 14 million people currently under quarantine.

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Vaccinated Fill Hospitals in the UK: Why?

Unlike the U.S. where some of the population is still very much against vaccination for covid purposes, the U.K. has been highly successful in getting most of its population vaccinated against Covid-19; almost 80 percent of UK citizens aged 12 and older. With this, Covid-19 deaths are at about 10 percent of previous waves (for example, 120 deaths instead of 1,200), although people may just as well be susceptible to catching Covid-19.

While the vaccines are highly effective against much of Covid-19, it is not a complete protection, as the vaccines are only 95% effective at preventing hospitalization and death from the delta variant, which is the most common variant in the UK.

While it is true that more vaccinated people are counted at the hospital than those that are not, this is missing a key feature, which is that most of the population IS vaccinated. Therefore, it stands to show that in any given population, if delta variant finds a footing, those entering the hospital will likely be vaccinated rather than not, simply due to the number of people that are vaccinated.

When the true dataset is collected, the Public Health England Covid-19 vaccine surveillance report showed that especially in the population that is older than 80 years of age, those unvaccinated likely died at 160 persons per 100,000 within 28 days of positive Covid-19 test vs. less than 60 persons per 100,000 for those vaccinated.

The key for vaccinations is not hospitalization, but rather, death.

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Had enough of Covid-19? Nipah is Next.

As the world continues to struggle with the Covid virus (delta variant this year), the scientists are now warning of a resurgence of a different virus.

Although first discovered in 1980s, it first entered human culture in 1998, it arrived in central Malaysia by air, inside furry bats that lived on the fruit trees swaying over pig farms. But The bats dropped some of their half-consumed meals, which the pigs consumed. Then, the pigs coughed and transferred it to the pig workers.

Within 8 months, 105 Malaysians or about 40 percent of those infected, died of the virus, now dubbed Nipah. It caused fevers, brain inflammation, and comas.

It was then traced back to bats for disease investigation. Nipah erupts annually in Bangladesh, killing people at even greater rate as the country increased industrialization. Sometimes, the virus even broke out in India.

This week, the WHO identified Nipah as the Disease X that could potentially cause human epidemics. Up to 75 percent of new infectious diseases impacting humans right now are related to wild animal source, as human population gets closer to wildlife and raise livestock; the livestock becoming the link between wildlife and humans in transferring dangerous diseases.

Initially, the Nipah outbreak had been linked to mosquitoes, so mosquitoes were exterminated; however, pigs were continuously exported, and those outside of Malaysia got sick. Eventually, the scientists realized they’d found a new paramyxovirus that affected the pigs.

When the investigators arrived in Malaysia, the local folks explained the fearful sound of pigs coughing, dubbed “one-mile barking cough” that one could hear a mile away, coming closer and closer to one’s own piggery, before one would also get sick.

To deal with this outbreak, the Malaysian government performed a massive culling, killing one million pigs that spring; it did stop the disease temporarily. However, ultimately, as humans get closer to wild habitats and wildlife, this is only a higher possibility every year. Recently, scientists revealed that more than 47,000 wild animals were sold in markets in Wuhan, China, in the two years prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. Bats unlike other mammals do not have struggle with these quite horrific viruses, which scientists believe is due to their ability to fly, which suppresses inflammation.

Unlike other animals, bats being mammal can pose a problem for other mammals, such as pigs, dogs, and even humans due to the genetic similarity, making humans vulnerable.

Malaysia is therefore, very alert about Covid-19 because they don’t want to deal with Nipah like outbreak again.

Nipah does not yet have a vaccine or treatment.

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3% of Workforce Quit in August

According to Washington Post, job quitters continue to rise to record highs. In August, 4.3 million people quit jobs, which is about 2.9 to 3 percent of the workforce, as released by data from the Labor Department.

Some of the attributable reasons include less willingness to accommodate inconvenient hours and poor compensation, as well as quitting to find better opportunities. There were 10.4 million job openings by end of August.

Usually, labor market shifts indicate confident workers willing to risk security of the current job for new opportunity; however, Covid times have been more unpredictable than ever. Businesses have reported difficulty finding and retaining qualified employees, while others have succeeded at retention through increased pay and compensation.

Workers who lost their jobs earlier in the pandemic, might have to retrain and add skills for new careers, as those who might be displeased with low-paying jobs may find new more desirable jobs as long as they obtain the new skills necessary.

For example, almost 900,000 workers in restaurant, bars, and hotels quit, 721,000 from retail, 706,000 in professional business services, and 534,000 from health care and social assistance have left in August. In almost every sector, people are quitting, with those at the lowest wage service the most. As job openings outnumber unemployed workers, people are able to reevaluate and seek out what they might want to do instead.

While there is no specified reason for the continued number of quitting in various industries, experts are pointing to loss of confidence in the jobs coupled with stronger bargaining positions than the past.

In fact, the pandemic has brought significant disruption to the industry, with many folks feeling unappreciated by management and finding better pastures. People are now looking to find opportunities that serve them best, such as jobs that provide remote and flexible work, compensation and bonus packages, and even wider range of positions and opportunities for moving up.

In fact, Republican efforts of lessening the benefits of federal unemployment to increase employment has not been successful, as only about 194,000 jobs were added despite the number of openings.

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