And supporting a procreation of bereaved children.
Dec. 9, 2021, 5:29 p.m. ET
Some U.S. wellness attraction systems are struggling with Delta-fueled hospitalizations.
The F.D.A. authorized an AstraZeneca cause to support radical with immune problems.
U.S. schools are closing unexpectedly, leaving parents successful the lurch.
Get the latest updates here, arsenic good arsenic maps and a vaccine tracker.
Boosting older teens
The F.D.A. contiguous authorized Pfizer booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, astatine slightest six months aft they received their 2nd changeable of that vaccine. The determination clears the mode for respective cardinal teenagers to person an further shot.
The C.D.C. promptly endorsed the F.D.A.’s action. So far, the different 2 coronavirus vaccines, from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are lone authorized for adults.
The agency’s determination comes arsenic a archetypal batch of laboratory tests suggests that the Omicron variant seems to dull the effectiveness of 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer said yesterday that tests with humor samples from radical who had received lone 2 doses showed overmuch little levels of virus-fighting antibodies against Omicron than against an earlier mentation of the virus. Antibodies are the immune system’s archetypal enactment of defence against the virus, and the results suggest that 2 doses whitethorn not beryllium capable to support against infection.
But with a booster, the level of antibodies moving to neutralize the Omicron variant were comparable to those combating the archetypal variant aft 2 doses, the institution said.
Support for boosters has been increasing among nationalist wellness experts successful the look of the Omicron variant. Data from some Israel and Britain has shown that an other dose tin sharply little a person’s likelihood of catching the coronavirus and getting sick, starring galore countries to grow their booster programs.
But the W.H.O. cautioned astir the risks that booster campaigns presented, arsenic tens of millions of radical successful lower-income countries person not had entree to a azygous dose.
There is simply a hazard that affluent countries volition spell backmost to hoarding vaccine supplies to face Omicron, said Dr. Kate O’Brien, the W.H.O.’s vaccine director. Currently, much boosters are being administered than archetypal shots astir the world.
But Andrea Taylor, who tracks vaccine accumulation for the Global Health Innovation Center astatine Duke University, said that portion it was hard to cognize the existent presumption of vaccine proviso and transportation due to the fact that of a deficiency of transparency, booster campaigns should not importantly impact supplies for lower-income countries.
“Globally, we are producing a staggering 1.5 cardinal doses a month, and we theoretically person capable doses present to supply boosters crossed affluent countries, arsenic good arsenic archetypal and 2nd doses to astatine slightest 40 percent of the colonisation successful different countries,” she said. “In reality, however, these doses are not wherever they request to be.”
“Too galore of them are sitting unused successful affluent countries,” she said, adding that estimates showed that the world’s wealthiest nations would person astir 770 cardinal excess doses connected manus astatine the extremity of this month.
An estimated 167,000 children person mislaid parents oregon caregivers to Covid-19. For each 4 Covid deaths successful the U.S., it is estimated that 1 kid is near without a caregiver, a nonaccomplishment that has much severely affected communities of color.
While Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to combat the pandemic, the Biden medication and lawmakers haven’t yet created initiatives to assistance these children. But down the scenes, arsenic my workfellow Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, a bipartisan conjugation of experts — pb by 2 erstwhile governors — have been gathering with White House officials, urging them to bash more.
That group, the Covid Collaborative, is asking President Biden to initiate a nationalist run to place these children and instrumentality steps to amended their affectional and economical well-being. In a study released today, the radical recommended offering them intelligence wellness attraction and creating a “Covid-19 Bereaved Children’s Fund,” akin to a money established aft the Sept. 11 attacks, to supply up to $10,000 to families successful need.
The collaborative envisions $2 cardinal to $3 cardinal for the bereavement fund, perchance supplemented by wealth from backstage foundations. It would assistance parents struggling to marque rent payments, boost their children’s world show and find the close therapy astatine a tenable cost, among different things.
Some parents whose spouses were frontline workers accidental they would similar astatine slightest immoderate designation from Washington that their loved ones died portion trying to support others.
“You invitation athletes to the White House due to the fact that they’ve won a championship; wherefore not invitation families who mislaid their loved 1 due to the fact that they went into a hospital, they went into a schoolhouse that wasn’t truly safe?” said Pamela Addison, whose precocious hubby was a infirmary code pathologist. She runs a enactment radical called Young Widows and Widowers of Covid-19. “You spot erstwhile a subject idiosyncratic dies determination is this large solemnisation of their beingness and the kids cognize their genitor is simply a hero. Our kids request that.”
Answers to your Omicron questions
I brought today’s question to Carl Zimmer, who covers subject for The Times. (If you person a question, you tin capable retired this form.)
Soon aft the variant was identified, it began to beryllium discovered each implicit the world, which implies that it was already wide dispersed. Why does it instrumentality recognition successful 1 spot to jump-start the recognition elsewhere? Are variants usually not identified erstwhile radical are tested oregon hospitalized? — Margaret Pierpont, New York, N.Y.
Carl: A affirmative Covid trial lone tells you that you person SARS-CoV-2 wrong you. It doesn’t archer you what benignant of SARS-CoV-2 is successful there. For that, you request to instrumentality an other measurement and tally a trial that tin observe a variant. There are ways to trial for variants we already cognize about, similar Alpha and Delta. But the lone mode to observe a caller variant is to series each the familial worldly successful a microorganism sample. Only a fraction of affirmative tests get afloat sequenced. In South Africa and Botswana, immoderate precise perceptive doctors and scientists noticed thing unusual astir a fewer cases and decided to look closer. It turned retired those cases were caused by a antecedently chartless variant, which we present telephone Omicron. Once different countries knew what to look for, they started uncovering Omicron successful their ain samples.
What other we’re following
A C.D.C. survey recovered that extortion from mRNA vaccines waned for immoderate older adults with pre-existing conditions.
Chief Justice Roberts refused to artifact the disguise mandate for aerial question successful the U.S.
UNICEF said the pandemic was the worst menace to gains made for children successful 75 years.
Here’s a look astatine the emergence successful cases successful the U.S.
Denmark’s premier curate is facing questions implicit a mink cull past twelvemonth driven by Covid fears.
The Atlantic argues that Omicron’s explosive maturation is simply a informing motion that the variant could thrust a large question successful our future, if it’s near uncontrolled.
Zeynep Tufekci, a contributing Opinion writer for The Times, argues that Omicron’s transmissibility means that we request to immediately ramp up protections successful nursing homes.
New York City volition walk $51 cardinal to assistance much than 1,000 nonprofit taste groups past the pandemic.
What you’re doing
The Omicron variant feels similar Covid starting each implicit again. Hopelessness is what I consciousness the most, and, with wintertime mounting in, I tin nary longer thrust my Harley oregon enactment my garden, truthful it’s peculiarly depressing. I mislaid my imagination occupation arsenic an creation manager and haven’t been capable to find a mode backmost into my career. I presently thrust a transportation motortruck astatine a fraction of my aged salary. I person 1 person who is vaccinated that I consciousness comfy hanging retired with, truthful we perceive to records and portion a batch unneurotic successful his apartment. Because the continually mutating variants whitethorn ne'er cease, and due to the fact that the anti-vaxxers are prohibiting herd immunity, I fearfulness we volition ne'er permission the coronavirus successful the past.
— Patrick Fox, Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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