The nation’s best expert in infectious diseases is “as sure as you can be” that most states will have reached a peak for omicron COVID-19 cases by mid-February.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaks on Sunday ABC’s “This Week”, said that several states in the northeast and upper midwest have seen cases peak and begin to fall sharply, but that cases are still rising in the south and west.
“You never want to be overconfident when dealing with this virus,” Fauci said, adding that coronavirus “surprised us in the past.”
Fauci said there may be “a little more pain and suffering with hospitalizations” in parts of the country where a higher percentage of people have not been fully vaccinated or have not received a booster shot.
Fauci said the goal is to get infections under control where the virus is not eliminated, but the level is low enough that “it is essentially integrated into the general respiratory infections” that Americans have learned to live with.
Also in the news:
►Scott Quiner, 55, an unvaccinated patient flown from Minnesota to Texas during a legal battle over whether to turn off his ventilator, died Saturday, the family’s attorney said.
►Arkansas reported nearly 1,700 admissions of coronavirus on Saturday, beating the state’s record for the fifth day in a row.
►New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is postponing her wedding after announcing new restrictions on Sunday. The restrictions came after nine cases of the omicron variant were found in a single family flying to Auckland to attend a wedding.
►Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in an interview with Israel’s N12 News that he hopes so COVID-19 boosters will be administered “once a year” and not even every four to five months, according to Reuters.
►Kiribati, one of the most isolated islands in the world, went into its first lockdown after the majority of passengers on the country’s first international flight in months were tested positive for COVID-19, said the government on Facebook.
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded more than 70 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 866,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: More than 350.5 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 210 million Americans – 63.3% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we read: Long COVID-19 patients are still struggling to regain their lives – even many months after their infections. “I’m 29 years old and I feel like I’m 70,” says a man from Georgia. He is not alone. Read the full story.
Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch Newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton, without a doubt the most famous alumnus of Gonzaga University, has been banished from home games of the country’s No. 1 college basketball team due to his refusal to wear a mask.
Stockton, who has advocated conspiracy theories about vaccines killing professional athletes in their prime, told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the school in eastern Washington has suspended his season ticket because he would not wear a mask to matches.
In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, Stockton has publicly opposed mesh mandates and shutdown measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus.
Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, Stockton retired from Gonzaga and became the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals in 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz.
– Steve Gardner
Thousands of protesters demonstrated in near-minus degrees on Sunday at the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington. It is the kind of passion that makes them appeal to right-wing extremist groups.
Right-wing extremists try to take advantage of the raw emotions caused by the pandemic – “scamdemi”, they call it – to lure anti-waxers to their causewho regularly spread disinformation videos and fake statistics about vaccines on social media.
“The far right has certainly seized the anti-vaccine ideology as an important new front in their ideological and cultural struggle,” said Brian Hughes, associate director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University.
“They see anti-vaccine sentiment and COVID denial as a marketplace that they can leverage for impressions, for clicks, and for merchandise sales,” Hughes added.
– Will Carless
An Illinois COVID testing company under federal and state investigations had its headquarters searched by the FBI on Saturday.
The Center for COVID Control and its main laboratory, which has been reimbursed more than $ 124 million by the federal government for coronavirus testing, were the subject of what an FBI spokesman called “law enforcement activity.”
The company, based in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, has been accused of providing inaccurate and misleading test results. Authorities in Illinois and Oregon are investigating the Center for COVID Control, which according to its website had more than 300 locations across at least 26 states at one time.
The company has also been sued by the Minnesota Attorney General.
– Grace Hauck
Israeli health authorities have argued for a fourth dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the elderly, and on Sunday they presented evidence for their case.
A fourth shot, or other booster, provided three times as much protection against serious illness and twice as much against infection in people over 60 than three doses, the Israeli Ministry of Health said Sunday. according to Reuters.
On Monday, preliminary results from a study by health professionals at Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv indicated that a fourth shot increased antibodies more than a third but not enough to prevent infections with the omicron variant. The ministry said the improved protection was still important for older people.
The latest study, conducted by the Sheba Center in collaboration with major Israeli universities, compared 400,000 people over the age of 60 who received the fourth shot with 600,000 people in the age group who received a third dose more than four months before.
Omicron infections have set records in heavily vaccinated Israel, where hospitalizations have also increased, but deaths have not.
A Beijing district home to 2 million people began testing mass coronavirus on Sunday as China tightened restrictions ahead of the Winter Olympics. The government told people in areas of the Chinese capital believed to be at high risk of infection not to leave the city after 25 cases were found in Fengtai district and 14 elsewhere. The ruling Communist Party is stepping up enforcement of its “zero tolerance” strategy, which aims to isolate any infected person, while Beijing prepares to open the Winter Games on February 4 under intensive anti-virus control.
The Chinese capital must “take the most resolute, decisive and strict measures to block the chain of infection,” a city government spokesman, Xu Hejian, told a news conference.
Non-US nationals must be fully vaccinated before entering the country by land or ferry, even if traveling for “essential” purposes. The change, which took effect Saturday, was first announced in October.
“These updated travel requirements reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to protecting public health while facilitating cross-border trade and travel, which are vital to our economy,” Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement on Thursday.
Unvaccinated U.S. citizens, legal residents, and U.S. citizens will still be able to enter the country via ferry or land port.
– Bailey Schulz
A parent in Virginia who opposes mask mandates has been charged with making one oral threat to school property after saying she would bring loaded weapons to school on Monday if her child was forced to wear a mask. Amelia King, 42, was upset after she was cut off during a public comment section at the Page County Public School Board meeting Thursday.
“My children do not come to school on Monday with a mask on. It does not happen and I will bring every single gun loaded and ready, ”King said. Luray police issued a statement saying King later called and apologized for the remark. King was released on $ 5,000 unsecured bond. The school board ultimately voted to make masks optional for students from Monday. It followed a decree from Governor Glenn Youngkin that gave parents the choice of sending their children masked or unmasked to school.
– Patrick Hite, Staunton News Leader
Hospitals in North Carolina treat a record number of coronavirus patients, prompting state health officials to do so seek federal support in the Charlotte area. Atrium Health, the state’s largest health provider, along with health and human services and Emergency Management officials are asking FEMA for staff support, including additional nurses, Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. To stretch capacity, Atrium Health said it has redeployed staff from emergency care and outpatient clinics, limited non-emergency procedures, closed specialist centers and used state-subsidized facilities – but it is still over 95% capacity.
Unvaccinated people account for 72% of hospital admissions and 83% of COVID-19-related intensive care units nationwide, officials said.
Starring: Associated Press.