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

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


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


US school systems are already seeing Covid disruptions

A Maryland elementary school will require students to wear masks for 10 days after multiple students tested positive for Covid, according to reporting from WUSA9.

School principal Irwin Kennedy said in a letter that at least three students had tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday.

Students must wear masks unless they are eating or drinking; following the 10-day period, masks will become optional again.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 06:00


Infant’s eyes change from brown to blue after taking Covid drug in Thailand

A baby’s eyes changed colour after he was given a Covid antiviral treatment that has not been authorised or approved in the US.

The six-month-old was given the drug in Thailand after he developed a cough and fever — both symptoms of Covid-19 — and tested positive for the virus.

A report on the baby’s case, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, states that the baby was the youngest known patient to receive favipiravir, which has been studied in China, Japan, Italy, Canada, Egypt, Thailand, Iran, the UK and the US.

Maggie O’Neill7 September 2023 01:00


CDC releases new Covid data on hospitalisations in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated data on Covid hospitalisations in the US.

The new numbers show that from 20 August to 26 August, Covid hospital admissions rose 15.7 per cent compared to the previous week.

Yesterday, the agency said deaths from Covid during that same week had risen 17.6 per cent from the previous week.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 22:00


Moderna says new Covid shots work against Pirola variant

Moderna issued a press release Wednesday stating that clinical trial data show the company’s updated Covid vaccines work well against BA.2.86, also known as the Pirola variant.

“These results demonstrate that our updated COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong human immune response against the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant,” Moderna president Stephen Hoge, MD, said in the statement. “Our updated COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be an important tool for protection as we head into the fall vaccination season.”

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 19:00


Watch live: Karine Jean-Pierre holds White House press briefing as new Covid variant spreads across US

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing as Covid case counts continue to rise. New CDC data show that from 20 August to 26 August, Covid hospital admissions rose 15.7 per cent compared to the previous week.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 18:22


Aaron Rogers shows support for Novak Djokovic’s decision not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine

NFL star Aaron Rogers recently posted a picture from the US Open to his Instagram story, showing Novak Djokovic on the court.

“Bucket list…being able to witness the greatness of @djokernole in person at #arthurashestadium,” he wrote in the story. In his post, Rogers included the hashtag #novaxdjokovic and crossed out the Moderna advertisement at Arthur Ashe Stadium featured in his photograph.

Rogers and Djokovic both refused the Covid-19 vaccine when it became available.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 16:00


Updated vaccines will soon be available in New Jersey

The site features a vaccine appointment finder that allows residents to input their zip code and find pharmacies offering the vaccinations near their home.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 13:00


FDA says some at-home Covid tests have extended expiration dates

Some at-home Covid tests may last longer than originally expected, per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The agency has provided a list of tests that have been given “extended expiration dates” on its website.

You should not use tests that are expired and are not featured on the FDA’s list of products with extended expiration dates, per the FDA.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 10:00


President Biden will wear a mask since he was recently exposed to Covid through the First Lady

President Biden has been tested for Covid-19 twice since his wife tested positive for the virus. Both times—on the evening of 4 September and during the day on 5 September—he was negative.

However, he will wear a mask in certain settings since he was recently exposed, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

“As far as the steps he is taking—since the President was with the First Lady yesterday, he will be masking indoors and around people in alignment with CDC guidance, and—as has been the practice in the past—the President will remove his mask when sufficiently distanced from others indoors and while outside,” she said.

Maggie O’Neill6 September 2023 05:00

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