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Your Coronavirus Update – Dec. 4, 2021

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

Assisted Living & Nursing Home facilities are seeing an uptick in cases. Winslow Gardens in East Providence, an assisted living facility, has an outbreak of over 30 people, which followed a lifting of visitation policy. 1 person is a staff member, and approx. 6 have been hospitalized for their symptoms, which are not considered to be serious. All members had been vaccinated with 3 shots except for 1 unvaccinated resident.

The Tech Collective has announced it will close at the end of 2021 due to declining business attributable to the pandemic.

The PC-URI Basketball Game will be held this weekend, after a year off due to the pandemic.

The P-Bruins are not playing as they have several cases in team members.

From Dr. Michael Fine, in a recent writing on his blog: “Covid is back in Rhode Island. The Omicron variant is out there. We don’t know what it means yet. We’ve had 200 preventable deaths in Rhode Island since the end of June, and almost 200,000 preventable deaths in the US in that time. I’m stunned. This is what a culture of narcissism buys us. People are quitting their jobs and dropping out left and right – and good for them! But the pandemic won’t relent until all of us push back and speak up. And mask inside. And stay home until the pandemic lifts. The pandemic still seems like the first plague to me. It won’t relent unless and until we change.”

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

The Omicron variant is detected in 8 US states.

The Omicron variant has quadruped in 3 days in South Africa.

Some hospital admissions in South Africa are among young children – as early as under 2 years old.

Italy strengthens its pandemic passport beyond a negative test – to fully vaccinations.

First two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India

8 states in the US now have cases of Omicron

Oxford University says no evidence yet that vaccines won’t protect against severe disease from Omicron

Only 210,000 jobs were added back in November.

Unvaccinated people in Germany will be barred from most businesses, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, officials announced

Pres. Biden’s presser announcing new guidelines:

New variant cause for concern, not panic.

Fighting this with science and speed.

Experts say COVID cases will continue to rise. WhiteHouse.gov for full plan:

            1. Expanding booster campaign to provide shots to all eligible adults – 100 million are eligible – all those over 18 years old and who were vaccinated before June should go get it now – 80,000 locations coast to coast. Asking pharmacies to expand hours and days, and send text messages too those who have been vaccinated to remind them to get a booster shot. AARP will reach out to 38 million members, and also help arrange rides for those who need it. 64 million on Medicare, the US Govt will reach out to them. Any federal employee will be given paid time off for their booster or a family members – asking private employers to do the same thing.

            2. Working with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson to work on contingency vaccines, in case they are needed. Working with FDA and CDC for fast approval.

            3.  Children’s vaccine for 5 and over – 35,000 locations to go to – vaccines.com for sites – launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics – one stop for the whole family – holding them at community centers – some will be mobile clinics.

            4. Children under age of 5 – strongly support research on developing vaccines for children under 5 – critical, but we need to move carefully. Test to stay policies will allow students to stay in classroom and test frequently when a positive case in the classroom happens.

            5. At home tests – more tests made available for home use, free of charge. We have 8 options. Health insurers must cover the cost of at-home tests. Insurers will also cover PCR tests. For those not covered we’ll offer thousands of sites to go and pick up a test free and take it home.

            6. Improve care for those who get COVID. Surge response teams for overrun hospitals and communities. Monoclonal antibody teams. We’re going to triple these teams from 30 to 90.

Increasing availability of other medications developed by real scientists, such as antiviral medications.

            7. We need to go to where it came from – COVID. We also need to help vaccinate the rest of the world. 289 million vaccines to 110 countries. New effort to accelerate vaccinations to rest of the world.

            8. International travelers to US: All inbound travelers must test within 1 day of departure, regardless of vaccination status and nationality. Extending this for mask wearing at all public transportation through the winter months.

French govt has said about the 5th wave: according to Gabriel Attal, “the objective” of the government is to allow “the French to spend Christmas together”

Public school teachers’ unions around the country are proposing “self-taught” Fridays—in other words, a four-day work week—citing the stresses of the pandemic.

In an interview with Dr. Jha, by G. Wayne Miller of the Providence Journal, Dr. Jha explained the urgency around vaccination: “Vaccinated people most times won’t even get infected, so the virus is not going to be multiplying,’ Jha said. ‘Even if you get infected, [the virus] will be there for a much shorter period of time and you’re not going to give the virus as much chance to mutate. No question there’s a lot more replication happening among unvaccinated people, and replication is the heart of mutations that lead us to’ variants such as omicron.”

From South Africa, perhaps some good news – as doctors post their impressions – with cautions that this is early on and a developing virus:

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