Pandemic food assistance program to end

The weekly COVID-19 trend is down as new cases and hospitalizations decline, according to CDC monitoring. One of the longest-held masks in the United States is now obsolete in the Navajo Nation. President Biden is said to have chosen the man who led his administration’s response to the pandemic to fill the key role of White House chief of staff.

The CDC plan recommends less frequent testing

Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect major changes to the agency’s testing guidelines to “emphasize the need for asymptomatic screening.” The new guidelines, which have not yet been finalized, recommend testing only those who are symptomatic or have recently been directly exposed to COVID-19, Natalie Thornburg, head of the CDC’s respiratory virus immunology team, said at a webinar hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society. America on Saturday.

“We’re moving in the direction of saying it’s really important to get tested when someone has symptoms or you’re known to be exposed, and we’re really reducing the need for screening in many, but not all, situations,” he said. said. said. Thornburg did not specify whether the new policy would apply to public gatherings, new hospital admissions or pre-procedure patients. But it seems to mean that the reliability of rapid testing of new strains of the virus has decreased.

“We hope to have revised guidelines soon, but that’s not decided yet,” he said. “In conclusion, some of the changes to be made emphasize the need for asymptomatic screening tests, emphasizing the need for diagnostic testing in symptomatic patients and asymptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19. Limitations of certain types of diagnostic tests are explained and how test results can be interpreted. Please tell me a little more about the explanation.”

Pandemic SNAP benefits are ending

Under the USDA reform, temporary increases in SNAP benefits, known as emergency distributions, provided at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic will end nationwide in February. Congress eliminated a policy that provided at least $95 more per month to those who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, informally known as food stamps for low-income people, as part of the Consolidated Budget Act. SNAP benefits return to normal for all SNAP households. The change also applies to CalFresh recipients in California.

For households on Social Security, SNAP benefits may decrease due to new increases in Social Security benefits, the agency’s website said, adding that changes to Social Security benefits since January have been due to significant cost-of-living increases. 1.

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There is little additional cost behind the annual vaccine plan

The Food and Drug Administration’s proposal on Monday to simplify future vaccination practices and allow most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutated virus is due to lower use of the updated bivalent booster. While more than 80 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, only 16 percent of those eligible received the latest booster approved in August, according to the Associated Press. In a paper published online, FDA scientists said many Americans have “adequate immunity” to the coronavirus due to vaccination, infection or a combination of the two. According to the agency, this protective baseline should be sufficient to switch to annual boosters against the latest circulating strains and make the COVID-19 vaccine the same as the annual flu vaccine. A two-dose combination is required to protect immunocompromised adults and very young children. FDA scientists and vaccine companies will look at vaccination rates, infection rates and other data to decide whether someone should get the shot in the two-dose series.

Taking off on the much-avoided CH.1.1 sub in the UK

Almost a quarter of all cases in England last week were attributed to the latest origin of the coronavirus, an omicron strain called CH.1.1. According to a report by the UK’s Health Safety Agency, the subversion is likely to surpass BQ.1, which currently dominates in the United Kingdom. “Both versions, CH.1.1 and XBB.1.5, appear to have growth advantages in the UK,” it said in its weekly report. Since CH.1.1 was detected in the country in November, it has accounted for 23.1% of all cases in England, with some areas saying it could account for up to 100% of cases. In a study recently published on the bioRxiv preprint server, researchers at Ohio State University showed that CH.1.1 “exclusively evaded” neutralization by the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine. But while CH.1.1 joins XBB.1.5 and CA.3.1 among subtypes that are increasing in percentage worldwide, infectious disease experts are uncertain whether the latest strain will cause another wave of cases and hospitalizations. The UKHSA’s latest figures show a 26 per cent drop in cases in the UK last week compared to the previous week.

Annual COVID vaccine in FDA evaluation mix

A team of experts at the Food and Drug Administration is studying a strategy for a COVID-19 vaccine, likely aimed at simplifying the frequency of vaccinations in line with the approach used annually to fight the flu. According to a briefing released on Monday, the virus is available in the fall. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will vote on the agency’s proposal on Thursday.

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“The complexity associated with the diversity of formulations and regimens of currently approved and approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, the lack of a complete understanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunology, and the lack of an established system for reporting periodic updates to vaccine formulations. , simplification of immunization schedules, and future leave open scientific and policy questions related to updating current COVID-19 vaccines for vaccination campaigns,” the document said.

Biden, the former White House COVID chief, has said he is an option for the next chief of staff

Jeff Zients, who led the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic early in Biden’s term, is expected to be named by President Biden as his next boss, the Associated Press and other agencies reported, citing unnamed sources. Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klein, will step down in the coming weeks. Zients returned to a less prestigious position at the White House to work on personnel issues during Biden’s first term after serving as the coordinator of the COVID-19 response.

FDA advisory panel meets on future COVID-19 vaccine regimen

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee will meet this week to discuss the future vaccine regimen against COVID-19. The public meeting will be broadcast live at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. adjusted to move forward.” The meeting will include representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, along with independent experts from the advisory committee.

Berkeley’s salvage yard has not only survived the pandemic, it’s also thriving

Urban Ore’s salvage yard in Berkeley looked like it would have a hard time surviving, as sales of second-hand clothing, century-old appliances and beloved wooden furniture plummeted at the start of the pandemic. But something unexpected happened, and the store broke all sales records for the next two years. Read more about how the unusual space floated and thrived.

The Navajo Nation can now go without a mask

The Navajo Nation has lifted the mask mandate that has been in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and the tribe’s new president, Buu Nygren, has made good on a promise he made during his campaign for office. The mandate was one of the longest-running anywhere in the United States and was widely used by businesses, government offices, and tourist destinations along the vast reservation that stretched across New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. The tribe once had the highest rate of coronavirus infection in the country and one of the strictest measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. Nygren and Representative Otto Tso of the Navajo Nation Council, which temporarily oversees the tribe’s legislative branch, announced Friday night on social media that they were rescinding the mask mandate. They cited figures from tribal health officials that showed a low risk of transmission based on a one-week incidence rate of 51 cases per 100,000 people.

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Japan can downgrade its COVID-19 status and ease restrictions

Japan is downgrading the status of COVID-19 to a Category 5 disease, similar to seasonal flu, for the next three months, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. Voice of America reports that the government will reexamine measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as wearing masks. In an interview with reporters on Friday, Kishida said he had instructed officials to review specific requirements for reclassifying COVID, as well as the pandemic restrictions that have been in place for nearly three years. Japan currently classifies COVID-19 as a Category 2 infectious disease, similar to tuberculosis and acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

This status allows the government to take extensive measures to prevent its spread, including restricting the movement of infected people and the movement of close contacts. The declassification will be an important step towards normalizing social and economic activities in Japan, and foreigners will be able to enter Japan without PCR tests or quarantine checks.

As morbidity, hospitalizations, and deaths decline, the U.S. is expected to provide aid

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the United States fell 23.9 percent from the previous week’s average, from 62,397 to 47,459, according to updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. Average daily admissions also fell 16.4 percent to 5,014 from the previous week’s average of 5,997. After posting the highest number of COVID-19 deaths since late August last week, confirmed COVID-19 deaths also slowed, with the current daily average of 565, a 6.1% improvement from the previous average of 601. The agency’s weekly report shows that the most popular fall viruses — the common cold, respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID — are trending downwards and emergency department visits.

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