Amid calls from public well being consultants to swap material face coverings for higher-quality masks as COVID-19 circumstances surge, the CDC updated its mask information Friday to acknowledge some forms of masks present extra safety than others.
The company additionally acknowledged that some forms of masks could also be tougher to put on persistently than others and that you will need to select a masks that’s snug and supplies good safety. It additionally eliminated considerations associated to provide shortages.
“Masking is a critical public health tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask,” the CDC mentioned in a press release. “To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.”
Loosely woven material masks present much less safety than well-fitted disposable surgical masks. And KN95s supply extra safety, in accordance with the CDC steerage.
The guideline additionally notes that “NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection.” Such face coverings are much more necessary in high-risk state of affairs corresponding to when caring for somebody who has COVID, driving a airplane or utilizing public transportation.
The up to date tips come as many consultants advocate for growing masks safety amid rising proof that widespread cloth masks are not protective enough towards the most recent variants of the virus.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America voiced its assist for the replace in a Friday assertion, noting that the omicron variant’s excessive transmissibility makes sporting the fitting masks much more necessary.
The group mentioned surgical N95 respirators, which the CDC mentioned affords the best degree of safety, needs to be reserved to be used in well being care settings, however others ought to take into account non-surgical N95 or KN95 masks.
The IDSA additionally acknowledged that whereas these masks have turn into extra available, they’re additionally costlier.
“This cost barrier can exacerbate already significant health inequities,” the IDSA mentioned.
Also within the information:
►As some experts say the current COVID-19 wave may be peaking, new coronavirus circumstances ticked down barely for the second time this week. The U.S. reported some 5.51 million circumstances within the week ending Thursday, down from a revised 5.53 million within the week ending Wednesday, a USA TODAY evaluation of Johns Hopkins University data exhibits.
►Roughly one in 5 hospitals reported having “critical staff shortages” in information launched Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, a USA TODAY analysis found. One in 4 anticipated important shortages throughout the subsequent week.
►U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s workplace apologized Friday to the royal household for holding a late-night workers celebration the day earlier than Queen Elizabeth II sat alone and mourned her late Prince Philip in a socially distanced funeral service as a result of nation’s COVID-19 guidelines.
►New York’s eviction moratorium, which protected a whole bunch of hundreds of New Yorkers who had been late on funds attributable to hardships in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic from eviction, expires Saturday.
►More than half-a-million individuals in Israel have obtained a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the nation’s well being ministry mentioned Friday.
►Cruise traces will not be obliged to comply with COVID-19 steerage on ships because the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which was prolonged and modified in October, will expire Saturday.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 63.9 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and greater than 846,000 deaths, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 319 million circumstances and almost 5.5 million deaths. More than 208 million Americans – 62.8% – are totally vaccinated, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re studying: When will this COVID surge finish? Scientists search your sewage for clues.
As COVID-19 circumstances skyrocket amongst academics, faculty officers in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada introduced this week they might briefly shut or shift to distant studying amid worsening instructor shortages.
In Indiana, a minimum of 4 Marion County faculty districts have shifted to distant studying. Indianapolis Public Schools mentioned Wednesday the choice “has been made based on the number of staff absences, including COVID-19 isolation and quarantines at the middle and high school levels.”
North Carolina has resorted to permitting state workers to make use of their allotted volunteer days to fill in as paid substitute academics, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday. In Nevada, all schools in Carson City School District had been closed for a part of this week due to a surge in workers members getting contaminated with COVID-19.
Maryland’s largest faculty district requested the National Guard to fill in for bus drivers, ABC News reported. New Mexico’s governor mentioned Thursday she’s contemplating looking for assist from the National Guard to deal with COVID-19 staffing shortages at public schools within the state, too.
A brand new examine says U.S. insurers paid the annual equal of $129 million for the de-worming treatment ivermectin, regardless of the drug having not been found to benefit COVID-19 patients.
Ivermectin is used to deal with coronary heart worms and ear mites in cats and canines and to combat parasites in horses, cattle, pigs and sheep. In uncommon events it’s given to people with parasitic worm infestations.
It’s been promoted as a COVID-19 remedy however there’s little information to recommend it’s efficient.
The researchers excluded the few sufferers who had a prognosis of parasitic an infection, about 6% of prescriptions.
Conducted by researchers on the University of Michigan Medical School and Boston University, it was printed Friday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Food and Drug Administration specifically says ivermectin shouldn’t be taken for COVID-19 and cites unintended effects corresponding to pores and skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdomen ache, facial or limb swelling, seizures and confusion and liver damage.
Despite that, hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for the drug have been written for COVID-19 sufferers.
The examine discovered that on common the insurer reimbursement for the drug was $35.75 for personal insurance coverage and $39.13 for Medicare Advantage sufferers.
– Elizabeth Weise
The Biden administration on Wednesday will launch a web site the place Americans can order as much as four free COVID-19 testing kits per person, according to a senior administration official.
The exams, a part of the Biden administration’s buy of 500 million exams final month to assist deal with a file surge in infections, might be accessible at COVIDTest.gov and mailed to properties inside 7-12 days, in accordance with the official, who briefed reporters on the situation of anonymity with a view to talk about particulars of the announcement.
President Joe Biden introduced earlier this week the administration would double its order with the acquisition of an extra 500 million at-home COVID-19 exams amid a scarcity of exams nationwide that is led to lengthy traces at testing areas and overburdened hospitals. The second batch of testing kits may also be distributed at no cost by way of the federal web site, officers mentioned.
— Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY
As academics unions and schools battle over in-person and distant studying, students nationwide are demanding a seat at the table. Many are staging walkouts this week, together with Boston on Friday.
“We are the ones who have been in this environment every day. It’s our bodies that we’re putting at risk,” mentioned Kayla Quinlan, a 16-year-old scholar activist at Boston Day and Evening Academy. “Students should have a say in what their learning environment looks like, but our voices are always left out.”
While particular calls for differ throughout districts, college students’ requests largely focus on permitting distant studying choices in its place for these frightened about coming to highschool, moderately than shutting school rooms down altogether. Student coalitions which have advocated for shifting totally to distant have solely known as to take action briefly if schools don’t implement stricter COVID-19 precautions, together with extra frequent testing and higher-quality masks.
“It feels like a breeding ground for COVID, like a COVID petri dish,” Quinlan added. “How are you supposed to feel safe?”
Novak Djokovic faces deportation once more after Australian authorities revokes his visa a second time
Tennis star Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after the Australian authorities revoked his visa for a second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke mentioned Friday he used his ministerial discretion to revoke the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public curiosity grounds three days earlier than the Australian Open is to start. Djokovic’s legal professionals are anticipated to enchantment the cancelation within the Federal Circuit and Family Court as they successfully did after the first cancellation.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne final week to defend his Australian Open title. His exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete was authorised by the Victoria state authorities and Tennis Australia, the match organizer. That apparently allowed him to obtain a visa to journey.
But the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa upon arrival in Melbourne. Djokovic spent 4 nights in an immigration detention resort earlier than a decide on Monday overturned that call.
— The Associated Press
A coronavirus testing firm underneath investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and which has drawn criticism from customers in several states introduced Thursday a “one-week pause on all operations.”
The pause was anticipated to take impact Friday by way of Jan. 21 in any respect Center for COVID Control testing websites. The Illinois-based firm’s web site says it has greater than 300 areas within the U.S. throughout a number of states. Two of these, Massachusetts and Washington, took motion this week to close down a number of of the corporate’s testing facilities of their communities.
In an inside firm memo addressed to “all location owners and managers” and obtained by USA TODAY, the Center for COVID Control cited “increased scrutiny by the media into the operations of our collection sites” over the previous week. The firm says it processes 80,000 check requests per day.
“This, coupled with various customer complaints, resulted in various state health departments and even Department of Justice taking a keen interest in our company,” the discover mentioned.
— Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
The Supreme Court on Thursday halted enforcement of certainly one of President Joe Biden’s signature efforts to fight COVID-19, ruling that his administration does not have the authority to impose vaccine-or-testing requirements on employers that will have coated tens of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The unsigned opinion, which got here days after the justices heard arguments within the emergency enchantment, marked the second time the nation’s highest court docket unwound a pandemic coverage of the Biden administration, once more concluding that federal officers exceeded the facility given to them by Congress. The court docket blocked Biden’s eviction moratorium in August, ruling that it additionally was an overreach.
At challenge within the office case was whether or not the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the facility to impose the necessities underneath a 1970 regulation.
It was not instantly clear what, if any, choices the Biden administration has to reply to the ruling. In a press release, the president mentioned he was “disappointed,” and it was “now up to states and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees.” Read more here about what could be next for Biden’s vaccine campaign.
— John Fritze, USA TODAY
Contributing: Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press