Jill Biden tested positive for Covid and is experiencing “mild symptoms”, per a 4 September statement from the White House.
New Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna designed to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and are expected to be made available later this week.
Health officials say that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will now sign off on it amid rising cases of Covid across the US.
Last week Moderna released a statemen 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.
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When will the new Covid vaccines be available?
As case counts rise, US health authorities are urging the public to stay up-to-date on their vaccines. Some experts are also discussing the possibility that masks may help slow the spread of Covid-19 in the coming days as people start doing more activities indoors.
Maggie O’Neill13 September 2023 15:45
Do Covid-19 tests work after they expire?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should not use a Covid test after it expires. However, some tests have received extended expiration dates from the agency.
A list of products with this designation can be found on the agency’s website. If you find a test in your home that has been given an extended expiration date, it’s safe to use it until that date.
If you find a test that has already expired, you should not assume it will be accurate, per the FDA.
Maggie O’Neill13 September 2023 12:45
FDA releases guidance on who can get the updated Covid-19 vaccine
The agency said unvaccinated children six months to four years old can get three doses of the updated shots, while vaccinated children in the same age group can get two doses. Everyone in the five and up category is eligible for a single dose, per the statement.
Maggie O’Neill13 September 2023 07:45
Several states with the highest vaccination rates are in the Northeast, new report finds
Massachusetts had the highest ranking, followed by Rhode Island, Iowa, Vermont, and Connecticut, according to the report.
The state with the lowest vaccination rate was Mississippi; others in the bottom five included Wyoming, Georgia, Arizona, and Alaska.
Maggie O’Neill13 September 2023 02:45
Social media app Threads blocks access to Covid-19 information on the platform
Threads, a text-based social media platform structured similarly to X, formerly known as Twitter, recently rolled out a search engine function, but it will not let users search for info on Covid or long Covid, according to reporting from The Washington Post.
Meta, which owns Threads, said in a statement to the outlet that the “search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content”.
When users type “Covid” or “long Covid” in the search function, they are met with no results and directed to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Maggie O’Neill12 September 2023 22:45
New variant FL.1.5.1 gains traction in the US
The most recent reports put FL.1.5.1 in second place behind EG.5, also known as eris, which is currently responsible for 21.5 per cent of all cases.
Experts are urging the public to stay up-to-date with their Covid vaccines to prepare for cold and flu season this year.
Maggie O’Neill12 September 2023 19:45
Covid exposure guidelines 2023: What to know
If you do not have symptoms of the virus but you’ve been exposed, you should test at least five full days after the exposure.
If you’re only going to take one test, you should opt for a PCR test, as they are more reliable than antigen tests, per the CDC.
Maggie O’Neill12 September 2023 16:45
CDC data show which counties have the highest hospitalisation rates due to Covid
The top three counties—all in Texas—are Wilbarger County, Hardeman County, and Foard County. All are seeing 22.4 new hospital admissions a week per every 100,000 residents.
Below those three are Seminole County and Pontotoc County, both in Oklahoma. Both are seeing 20.9 new hospital admissions a week per every 100,000 residents.
Covid hospitalisations and deaths have risen in recent weeks, with experts warning that Americans may need to wear masks and take actions to slow the spread of the virus in the coming days as cold and flu season approaches.
Maggie O’Neill12 September 2023 13:41
New Covid boosters approved as CDC set to decide who should receive them amid rising cases
Health officials say that the Pfizer and Moderna shots likely to be available later this week.
Graeme Massie11 September 2023 19:38
As Covid cases rise, experts chime in on the question of whether we need to start masking again
Covid hospital admissions and deaths have been on the rise in the US for weeks. As cases climb, experts weigh in on the question of whether or not people should start masking again in public spaces. Olivia Hebert reports:
Maggie O’Neill9 September 2023 14:00