Senate GOP is forcing a vote to end the emergency declaration

Senate Republicans force a vote to end COVID emergency declaration: WSJ

Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas plans to force a vote to end the national COVID-19 emergency declaration after President Biden spontaneously commented that the “pandemic is over,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The statement was enacted by the previous government in March 2020 and gave the federal government flexibility to offer free testing, treatment and vaccines and grant liability exemptions to providers who provide services, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The pandemic isn’t over, but “we’re in a different place,” CDC director says

dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, received the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shot Thursday and told ABC News she was among “millions” of Americans who received a dose of the updated vaccine . “All the data on this new bivalent vaccine has shown that it protects you – and is more likely to protect you – and protect you well because we’ve seen, against the strains that we have currently circulating, these omicron BA.5 strains that some of this protection may wear off over time. So we really encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves and get this updated bivalent vaccine,” she said in a speech at a CVS site in Massachusetts. She added that the new syringes are likely to be available soon for children between the ages of 5 and 11 and that the CDC is waiting for word from the FDA. But Walensky was reluctant to agree with President Biden’s remarks during his appearance on Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” when he said “the pandemic is over.” Instead, she stressed that hospital admissions and case numbers are falling and with the widespread availability of vaccines and treatments “we’re in a different place.”

The WHO says the end of the pandemic is “still a long way off”.

World Health Organization officials said the COVID-19 pandemic is categorically not over, despite President Biden’s off-the-cuff “pandemic is over” comment last weekend. “We’ve been in a long, dark tunnel for two and a half years, and we’re just beginning to see the light at the end of that tunnel,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing on Thursday. “But there is still a long way to go and the tunnel is still dark with many obstacles that could trip us if we are not careful. We all have to hope that we can – and we will – reach the end of the tunnel and put the pandemic behind us. But we’re not there yet.” However, the UN health agency’s director-general agreed with the second half of Biden’s televised commentary, noting that the world is in a better place now than it has been at any time in the last two years. “Weekly deaths continue to decline and are now just 10% of the peak in January 2021,” he said. “Two-thirds of the world’s population is vaccinated, including three-quarters of health workers and the elderly. In most countries, restrictions have ended and life is back to what it was before the pandemic.” But he noted that “10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many when most of those deaths could be prevented”.

Minority ethnic groups saw higher rates of pandemic depression and anxiety, according to the study

Racial and ethnic minorities have been at higher risk of symptoms of depression and anxiety than white populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study recently published in the journal Plos One. In a survey of 691,473 people in the US and UK from January to June 2021, researchers found that black Americans were 1.16 times more likely than white Americans to be diagnosed with depression, with the rate for Hispanic Americans being 1.23 times higher and 1.15 times higher for Asian Americans. Respondents in the UK reported similar results. “Our findings underscore the urgency of open discussions about mental health and well-being in minority communities that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and will suffer well beyond its assumed end,” the authors wrote. “Discussing these issues can alleviate the stigma surrounding mental illness in such populations and ensure that those in need of treatment are identified in a timely manner.”

The positivity rate drops to 5% as the state surpasses 95,000 COVID deaths

Since the pandemic began, California has had a total of 95,009 confirmed COVID-19 deaths through Thursday. The state reached the murky milestone just as almost every other marker was improving. California’s positive test rate reached 5%, the figure many infectious disease experts believe is low enough to regain control of the spread of the virus. The state is recording an average of 11 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, the lowest number since early April and a 62% drop from the same day in August. Statewide, there are 2,313 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 3,587 a month ago. Confirmed COVID-19 deaths have also fallen to 37 per day, compared to 48 over the same period. The Bay Area is seeing similar improvements, averaging 9 new daily cases per 100,000 residents compared to 23 a month ago. The region has 426 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 637.

Pandemic issues: when to get a refresher if you’re unsure if you’ve had COVID

The Chronicle’s advice column today tackles a tricky question from a reader who has almost certainly been exposed to coronavirus from his girlfriend and even had mild symptoms, but has never tested positive. Given the advice to wait three months or more after contracting COVID to get the new omicron-specific booster shot, when is the best time for him to get an injection? The experts we consulted said it depended a little on what type of testing the reader had done to confirm their COVID status – but nonetheless, the evidence suggests there wouldn’t hurt waiting a little longer for the refresher waiting.

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