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New CDC guidance recommends that vaccinated and boosted healthcare staff no longer quarantine after high-risk exposures and shortens the isolation time for those testing positive, if asymptomatic.
New York state saw a fourfold increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations among children over the past 3 weeks, about half of which involved kids under 5 years of age. (NBC News)
Meanwhile, New York Magazine explores the “infuriating wait” for a vaccine for children under 5.
Why did the Biden Administration reject a plan for scaling up free rapid tests ahead of the holidays? (Vanity Fair)
British researchers found the risk of hospitalization with Omicron to be 40-45% lower than with the Delta variant. (Reuters)
The FDA authorized Merck’s molnupiravir for adults at high risk of serious COVID-19, though only in cases where other authorized treatment options “are not accessible or clinically appropriate” — a far more narrow indication than for Pfizer’s pill.
In either case, experts warned that careful monitoring for both of these antivirals is needed as they may interact with commonly used medications. (NBC News)
FDA also approved secukinumab (Cosentyx) for treating enthesitis-related arthritis and psoriatic arthritis in children and adolescents, Novartis announced.
As of Monday at 8 a.m. EST, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll is 52,283,401 cases and 816,610, increases of 1,436,560 cases and 10,172 deaths versus this time a week ago.
Protection from symptomatic COVID with the Omicron variant appears to lessen within 10 weeks of a booster, British research suggests. (New York Times)
Medical experts are pressing the government for action to ensure boosters reach nursing home residents. (New York Times)
Roughly 2,100 more flights were canceled globally on Monday as the Omicron variant continues to sicken airline crews. (New York Times)
“We’re sailing on a petri dish,” said a passenger of the Carnival Freedom cruise ship that was turned away from its port because of COVID infections on board — at least six other cruises were similarly forced to alter course. (Washington Post)
Across the pond, France witnessed more than 100,000 daily COVID-19 cases for the first time on Sunday. (AP)
Despite Australia’s first Omicron-related death, officials there appear committed to the country’s reopening plan. (Reuters)
Researchers took a look at how kids exposed to the Zika virus are developing 5 years later. (NPR)
Could the conviction of a Harvard scientist with ties to China have a chilling effect on international research? (STAT)
E.O. Wilson, a pioneering evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor, died at age 92 on Sunday. (New York Times)
While city dwellers in Brazil were getting their boosters, here’s how medical teams delivered first and second shots to the hard-to-reach riverine people, or ribeirinhos. (Science)
Mehmet Oz, MD, the Republican celebrity physician running for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, promoted chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19 in 25 separate appearances on Fox in the spring of 2020. (New York Times)
The CDC is investigating a listeria outbreak tied to packaged salads made by Fresh Express and Dole.