CDC Doubles Down on Guidance; Kids’ COVID Cases Jump 64%; Outbreak in Antarctica

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The CDC explained its rationale for shortening its COVID-19 isolation and quarantine recommendations, maintaining that testing is not required after 5 days of isolation after infection but antigen tests offer the best approach for those who want to.

Healthcare workers remain concerned about shorter isolation periods in the face of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and a nationwide hospital shortage. (NBC News)

Omicron was estimated to be 95.4% of the coronavirus strains circulating in the U.S. as of January 1, according to the CDC.

Hong Kong announced a 2-week ban on incoming flights from the U.S. and seven other countries. (Reuters)

A new coronavirus variant found in France, nicknamed IHU, has been “on our radar” but has not become much of a threat, the World Health Organization said. (Bloomberg)

As of Wednesday at 8 a.m. EST, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll is 57,096,954 cases and 830,375 deaths, increases of 905,221 cases and 2,626 deaths versus this time yesterday.

More than 325,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported for the week ending December 30, a 64% increase over the previous week and almost double the counts from 2 weeks earlier, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

Maryland declared a temporary state of emergency as hospital patient volumes surged in the state. (Baltimore Sun)

The federal government doubled its order for Pfizer’s nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) COVID-19 pill and is accelerating delivery of the first 10 million treatment courses from September to June. (CNBC)

Shipments of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir and Merck’s antiviral molnupiravir can’t come soon enough, doctors say. (Washington Post)

Nevada reversed course and agreed to join a proposed nationwide settlement worth up to $26 billion to resolve claims that three opioid distributors and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson fueled the opioid epidemic. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Nurses voted to end a record-long 10-month strike at Tenet Healthcare’s St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. (AP)

HCA Healthcare announced it had purchased MD Now Urgent Care’s network of 59 outpatient centers in Florida.

The FDA identified Covidien’s recall of 135 Puritan Bennett 980 series ventilators as Class I, indicating the devices may cause serious injuries or death.

The agency also announced that the Omicron surge had led to a pause in inspection activities.

Under new California law, state-regulated health insurance plans are now covering at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections. (KHN)

NBC’s two late-night talk show hosts, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon, tested positive for COVID-19. (NPR)

Seven hundred sheep and goats formed into a shape of a 330-foot syringe to promote COVID-19 vaccinations in Germany. (AP)

Despite being in one of the most remote regions on the planet, a Belgian research station in Antarctica is battling a COVID-19 outbreak. (ABC News)

  • Judy George covers neurology and neuroscience news for MedPage Today, writing about brain aging, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, rare diseases, epilepsy, autism, headache, stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, concussion, CTE, sleep, pain, and more. Follow

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