Covid variant news: Moderna gives update on Covid vaccine coming this fall as cases rise across the US and Canada

Jill Biden tested positive for Covid and is experiencing “mild symptoms”, per a 4 September statement from the White House.

Moderna released a statement Wednesday saying the company’s updated boosters are expected to work well against the BA.2.86 variant – unofficially called “Pirola”.

Covid-19 case counts are rising across the US, and public health authorities are monitoring the worrisome new variant. Some experts are urging Americans to wear a mask when necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

Doctors warned that Pirola may be cause for concern as it is a newly-designated, highly-mutated variant of Omicron which triggered a surge in cases in a number of countries including the US.

According to a Thursday bulletin in Yale Medicine, the new variant has more than 30 mutations to its spike protein – located on the outer surface of a coronavirus – which helps it enter and infect human cells.

“Such a high number of mutations is notable,” infectious disease specialist Dr Scott Roberts said. “When we went from [Omicron variant] XBB.1.5 to [Eris] EG.5, that was maybe one or two mutations.

“But these massive shifts, which we also saw from Delta to Omicron, are worrisome.”

CDC Covid tracker

17,418 hospitalisations from 20 August to 26 August


Florida surgeon general warns against getting the latest Covid-19 vaccine

DeSantis said, “People are lurching toward this insanity again. As we see these things being orchestrated…there needs to be pushback.”

Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, expressed his opinion that there aren’t good reasons to get the latest Covid vaccine. “There are a lot of red flags,” he said.

Health authorities around the world—including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—have publicly stated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Maggie O’Neill8 September 2023 11:00


Experts warn about the dangers of long Covid as cases continue to rise across the country

Experts are making the case to take precautions to slow the spread of Covid, warning about the risks associated with long-term complications of the virus.

On Wednesday, Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, a physician and scientist who studies long Covid, highlighted new research published in Nature Medicine on X, formerly known as Twitter.“Risks remain elevated for many health conditions even two years after infection,” he wrote. He previously tweeted that the new research “illustrates the long and arduous journey of dealing with the long-term health consequences of the virus.”

Maggie O’Neill8 September 2023 08:00


Republicans attempt to ban masks in schools and on flights

Republican senator J.D. Vance of Ohio has introduced a bill called the “Freedom to Breathe Act”, which aims to ban mask mandates on planes and in schools.

The bill would make it impossible for airline employees to “refuse transportation to a passenger on the basis that the passenger refuses to wear a mask or comply with a mask mandate while travelling in the national airspace system”.

Infectious disease experts criticised the move. Amesh Adalja, MD, a biosecurity expert at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, tweeted, “This is just political pandering”.

Maggie O’Neill8 September 2023 03:00


President Biden continues to test negative for Covid following wife’s positive test

The White House announced Monday that Jill Biden tested positive for Covid-19 and would isolate in the Bidens’ Rehoboth, Delaware, home. President Biden was tested Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; each test was negative.

The president is set to visit India for the Group of 20 (G20) summit and Vietnam in the coming days. So far, the White House has not announced any changes to his travel schedule.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 23:00


Canadian government urges the public to take precautions to slow the spread of Covid

With Covid cases on the rise in much of Canada, officials are signalling that the public should be on alert. The government’s health authorities tweeted that residents need to be aware of the spread of respiratory viruses, including Covid, as they head into fall and spend more time indoors.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 20:00


New York to make Covid tests and masks available to schools

New York state will make test kits and masks available to school districts as concerns over rising Covid-19 cases grow.

“This comes amid reports of the new BA.2.86 variant and following a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations this summer,” the statement said. It went on to say that Governor Hochul is recommending that schools follow Covid-19 guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Frequent testing for COVID-19 is an important part of keeping our kids safe and preventing an outbreak,” she said in the statement.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 17:00


CDC map shows Covid hotspots in the US

Hospital admissions from Covid infections are rising in much of the country, including parts of Florida, Alabama, Montana, Texas, and Wyoming, per the latest CDC data.

This map shows where Covid cases are on the rise in the US, per the CDC.


Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 16:36


Covid cases are rising across Canada

As of 6 September the weekly change in cases was 3,565, and there were 23,381 weekly tests reported.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 15:23


President Biden will continue to travel following wife’s positive Covid test

President Biden’s plans to travel to India and Vietnam will not change, despite his wife’s recent Covid diagnosis, the White House said. He is scheduled to depart for the Group of 20 leaders’ summit Thursday.

The First Lady has remained in Delaware since testing positive and is isolating in compliance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 14:00


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused of mishandling his state’s Covid response plan to benefit campaign donor

Former First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer testified Wednesday that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton used his state’s Covid response plan to benefit a campaign donor in 2020, according to reporting from The Hill.

Attorney General Paxton—who could be removed from office and is facing 16 counts of official corruption—allegedly misused Texas’s Covid response plan to benefit indicted real estate investor Nate Paul, based in Austin.

During Paxton’s impeachment trial, Mateer accused him of shutting down foreclosures to protect Paul’s interests in properties across the state. This, Mateer said, was antithetical to the state’s Covid response plan, which was meant to keep churches, entertainment centres, and other establishments open during the pandemic.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 11:00

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