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Fauci news - live: ‘Moron’ spat senator re-ups disclosure conspiracy as Rand Paul dismisses threats to doctor

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Dr Anthony Fauci has defended remarks made on Tuesday following a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was heard calling Mr Marshall “a moron” when the senator questioned if he should have a publicly available financial disclosure form.

Dr Fauci told MSNBC on Wednesday that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.

The infectious diseases expert also clashed with Senator Rand Paul during the hearing, who he accused of politicising the pandemic and “kindling the crazies” with his remarks. Dr Paul has since doubled down on his remarks.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, also appeared before lawmakers to answer questions on the US response to new variants of Covid-19.

The hearing comes as health policymakers say they believe the administration needs an urgent reset in the way it is approaching the new realities of the pandemic, although Dr Fauci has suggested that the US was on the “threshold” of Covid-19 becoming endemic.

At a speech on Tuesday, he said the Omicron variant “with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody”.

Key points

  • Omicron will find almost ‘everybody’ says Fauci

  • Fauci tears into Rand Paul

  • ‘Urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

  • Incredulous Fauci mocks GOP senator

  • Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

  • Marshall demands ‘truth’ from ‘least trusted bureaucrat’ Fauci

What happens if a child becomes seriously ill with Covid?

22:05 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s a photo that’s been viewed thousands of times. A two-year-old boy, his eyes closed, lies in a hospital bed with a tangle of tubes protruding from his nose and mouth. One of them is for a ventilator. Underneath it is a Paw Patrol toy.

The boy was Adrian James of Mount Vernon, Illinois, who was critically ill with Covid-19. For parents, the photograph seemed to realise a nightmare that was never supposed to come true – children, supposedly, didn’t get Covid. And yet, here was this seriously ill boy.

Nathan Place reports on what happened next.

The world watched this two-year-old’s Covid struggle – here’s what happened next

Moderna expects data on children aged 2-5 in March

22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Moderna says it expects to report data on the efficacy and safety of its vaccine on children aged two to five years old in March and proceed with regulatory filings after that.

The company says it is also evaluating the potential of lower doses in children 6-11 and adolescents aged 12-17 years old in ongoing clinical trials.

Moderna is also evaluating boosters for teenagers.

Fauci defends ‘moron’ outburst

21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Anthony Fauci has defended mocking Republican senator Roger Marshall after the two sparred over his financial disclosures during a senate committee hearing on health, education, labour and pensions.

Dr Fauci, in an interview with MSNBC News on Wednesday, said he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.

Namita Singh reports.

Fauci defends outburst after calling senator a ‘moron’ on hot mic

Voices: Rand Paul showed us all who he really is

21:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Skylar Baker-Jordan writes:

By now, Paul and Fauci’s arguments are par for the course whenever the good doctor testifies before Congress. This one, though, was remarkable in just how craven and hypocritical “Rona Rand” behaved.

Rand Paul just showed us all who he really is — believe him

Covid top cause of death for US police officers for second year

21:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Covid-19 has been the biggest killer of police in the United States for the second year running, a report has revealed.

A total of 301 members of law enforcement died in the line of duty last year from Covid, the report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found.

That was among 458 fatalities reported by the fund, revealed on Tuesday in its annual report. It also makes 2021 the deadliest for more than nine decades.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Covid was top cause of death for US police officers last year

United Airlines reduces schedule in Covid staff crunch

20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

United Airlines is canceling more flights after thousands of the company’s workers called out sick with the coronavirus.

According to a memo from the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby, about 3,000 UA employees have recently tested positive for Covid-19, including almost a third of the workers at Newark Liberty International Airport – an important entryway to New York City.

Nathan Place has the story.

United Airlines cancels flights after 3,000 employees test positive for Covid

Don Jr bemoans ‘victim’ Fauci

20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr has bemoaned Dr Anthony Fauci for being a “victim” after the infectious disease expert defended calling a Republican senator a “moron” and accused another of misinforming the public on Covid.

“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks,” Mr Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday, “No one else!”

Gino Spocchia reports.

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Marshall demands ‘truth’ from ‘least trusted bureaucrat’ Fauci

19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Roger Marshall is still implying that there is something hidden in Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms and demands the “truth”. and not a redacted version from before the pandemic.

In a tweet from Tuesday, he referred to him as America’s “least trusted bureaucrat”

Fauci: US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

19:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci said the US is approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, with cases surging across the country.

The chief medical adviser to the president, while speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Tuesday, said almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant but the vaccinated will fare better.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports.

Fauci says US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

Can you reuse KN95 and N95 masks?

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

As the US fights to slow the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant, reports have surfaced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering recommending that those who can should wear a higher standard of mask when in public – specifically the KN95 and N95 masks that have been in high demand for the last two years.

The Washington Post quotes an unnamed official saying that “the agency is currently actively looking to update its recommendations for KN95 and N95 in light of Omicron”, explaining: “we know these masks provide better filtration”.

But can you reuse them?

KN95 and N95 masks: Which does the CDC recommend, and can you reuse them?

Marjorie Taylor Greene responds to plan to isolate anti-mask lawmakers

18:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday mocked a proposal to allow House members to vote without masks from a plexiglass box in the House gallery, suggesting any member who is concerned about Covid-19 should not be in office.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Marjorie Taylor Greene responds to plan to put maskless lawmakers in ‘isolation box’

‘The Omicron medicine cabinet'

18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Both Dr Walensky and Dr Fauci underscored the importance of having an up-to-date Covid-19 vaccination status to prevent severe disease and keep you out of the hospital.

Dr Fauci explained that if you do get sick there are now a host of treatments available, which Mr Zients referred to as “the Omicron medicine cabinet”.

Dr Fauci specifically mentioned Remdesivir, Paxlovid, Molnuporavir as treatments to target the virus itself, as well as monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron, Eli Lilly, and GSK & Vir.

These come in addition to treatments that moderate the response of the patient to the virus to try and reduce the likelihood of serious disease and shorten the duration of the illness.

Latest figures from White House Covid briefing

17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci once again joined CDC director Rochelle Walensky for the White House’s Covid-19 press briefing on Wednesday morning. Covid response coordinator Jeff Zients led the session.

Mr Zients announced an enhanced White House response for testing at schools, as well as other initiatives to help keep children learning in spite of the wave of Omicron infections sweeping the nation.

Dr Walensky reviewed the latest data noting that the current seven-day average of cases is approximately 751,000 cases per day, representing a 47 per cent increase over the previous week.

The seven-day average of hospital admissions is approximately 19,000 per day, an increase of about 33 per cent over the prior week. The seven-day average of death is about 1,600, an increase of 40 per cent over the previous week.

The Omicron variant now represents 98 per cent of US cases. Dr Walensky cited a study in California that showed substantially reduced risk of severe clinical outcomes of patients infected with the variant.

The study by Kaiser Permanente in southern California showed a 53 per cent reduction in risk of symptomatic hospitalisation, a 74 per cent reduction in risk of ICU admission, and a 91 per cent reduction in risk of mortality.

Video resurfaces of Rand Paul saying ‘misinformation works'

17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has been seen in a resurfaced video admitting to spreading misinformation and says “misinformation works”.

A video shared to Twitter by Federation of American scientists epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding appeared to show Mr Paul in 2013 admitting to telling medical students at the University of Louisville, “misinformation works”, as The Atlantic reported at the time.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

Video resurfaces of Rand Paul admitting ‘misinformation works’

Joe Scarborough calls out politicians profiting from misinformation

17:01 , Oliver O'Connell

On Wednesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough, himself a former congressman, called out politicians who attempt to profit from misinformation, likening it to “the big lie” by referring to it as “the big grift”.

He began by hitting out at networks and social media companies for allowing such misinformation to thrive but quickly turned his critique specifically to Rand Paul, after yesterday’s Senate hearing with Dr Anthony Fauci.

Scarborough called Senator Paul “this generation’s Jim Bakker”, referring to the televangelist who was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in 1989 for how he raised money from his congregation and viewers and failed to deliver on what was promised.

The Morning Joe host said the same tactics used to exploit people’s religious beliefs were now being used to exploit people’s political convictions, giving the example of Dr Paul’s “Fire Fauci” fundraising webpage.

“It is all grifting,” said Scarborough.

“They are wrecking congress to do it,” he added.

Trump calls GOP politicians ‘gutless’ for dodging vaccine booster questions

16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump blasted GOP politicians who refuse to say if they’ve received a Covid-19 booster shot on Tuesday – a rant that some are viewing as an indirect attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Tom Fenton reports.

Trump attacks ‘gutless’ GOP politicians who dodge vaccine question

West Virginia governor ‘extremely unwell’ with Covid

16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has tested positive for Covid-19 after developing symptoms suddenly on Tuesday, his office has said.

In a statement, the second-term Mountain State governor said he was “surprised” to have tested positive for the coronavirus, but was “thankful to the Lord above” that he’d been vaccinated and boosted, and that he has “an incredible support system” that includes his “loving family”.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

West Virginia governor ‘extremely unwell’ with Covid

Fauci hot mic moment brings down house on Colbert

16:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci’s Senate hearing hot mic moment went down a storm on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night.

Colbert teed up the clip that showed the moment when, after sparring with Senator Roger Marshall about his and his staff’s inability to find Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure documents — by definition a public document — the nation’s leading infectious disease expert was heard to say: “What a moron… Jesus Christ.”

The audience roared with amusement and appreciation for the doctor. Watch below.

Omicron 'will ultimately find just about everybody’ says Fauci

15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” said Dr Fauci on Tuesday.

“Those who have been vaccinated ... and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalisation and death.”

As Tom Fenton writes, the remarks came as US records were broken on Monday for Covid hospitalisations and infections:

‘Most people are going to get Covid’ US health chief admits

Don Jr hits out at ‘Lord Fauci'

15:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr hit out at Dr Anthony Fauci in a tweet and Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon.

He wrote: “Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks, no one else! Not your dead relatives, not your kids or their education, not your destroyed businesses/livelihoods, not Freedom as we knew it. It always has been and always will be about him.”

“You’re just lab rats in his experiment!”

Fauci accuses Republicans and Project Veritas of ‘distortions’

15:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Fauci has been the target of a video released on Monday evening by Project Veritas claiming that he was involved in research projects related to coronaviruses by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The far right activist campaign group alleged that Dr Fauci, as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, allowed for gain of function research to go ahead in Wuhan despite the Department of Defense saying the risk was too high.

On Tuesday, the NIAID director told a senate committee on that “What came out last night in Project Veritas was a grant that was submitted to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and was “distorted” so that it appeared to blame Dr Fauci for the research.

“We have never seen that grant and we have never funded that grant. So once again, you are completely and unequivocally incorrect when you join the DARPA proposal, was a grant that we never saw and did not fund. So you are incorrect,” said Dr Fauci in font of senator Roger Marshall.

Dr Fauci has repeatedly been forced to defend himself and the NIAID’s work from Republican attacks, including that of senator Rand Paul who called for the US chief medical adviser “to prison for five years for lying to Congress” in December, as Graig Graziosi reported:

Rand Paul says Fauci should be jailed for five years for allegedly lying to Congress

US reaching ‘peak’ of Omicron wave

15:01 , Oliver O'Connell

While UK health experts say Omicron has peaked in the country, those in the US have suggested that the highly contagious variant of Covid-19 will also soon peak.

The US on Monday reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections, which a Reuters tally found was the highest daily total of any country in the world so far.

The seven-day average for new cases has meanwhile tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections daily, and a record number of people are currently hospitalised with the virus in the US.

Deaths are around 1,700 a day, and at levels seen earlier this winter, Reuters found.

On Tuesday, the US chief medical adviser suggested that Omicron would “ultimately find just about everybody”, at which point the wave will begin to die out. He added that the US was on the “threshold” of the virus becoming endemic.

Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

14:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has been blasted as “unbalanced” and “delusional” after he doubled down with new attack on Dr Anthony Fauci following a senate committee hearing.

The Republican senator, who was accused of “distorting” facts about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on Tuesday, told Fox News in following interview that Dr Fauci was “juvenile” for blaming him for death threats.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Rand Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

What did Dr Fauci say about variant specific booster?

14:25 , Gino Spocchia

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said during a senate committee hearing on Tuesday that there was an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine because of “the inevitable continual emergence of new variants”.

He added that NIAID was making significant progress on the issue, which would allow the US and countries globally to deliver “a pan-coronavirus vaccine, namely one that would be effective against all SARS-COVID-2 variants, and ultimately against all coronaviruses, becomes even more apparent”.

As John Bowden and Meghan Sheets write, his comments come amid concerns about the Omicron variant’s effectiveness at evading some of the protection provided by the vaccine, although a majority of those currently hospitalised in the US are the unvaccinated, the CDD has said.

Fauci warns of ‘urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

Omicron booster being manufactured by Pfizer

14:00 , Gino Spocchia

The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, has said that a vaccine for the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19 will be ready in March and that the pharmaceutical company has begun manufacturing the doses.

“The hope is that we will achieve something that will have way, way better protection particularly against infections, because the protection against the hospitalizations and the severe disease – it is reasonable right now, with the current vaccines as long as you are having let’s say the third dose,” Dr Bourla said.

As Gustaf Kilander writes, Dr Fauci said in December that a variant specific booster would not be unnecessary because the current booster shots provide enough protection.

Although during a senate committee hearing on Tuesday Dr Fauci said he believed Omicron meant there was an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine that would be more effective at preventing new variants of Covid-19 and other coronaviruses.

Pfizer CEO announces Omicron vaccine to be ready in March

Rand Paul issues counter-attack after Fauci ridicule

13:35 , Gino Spocchia

Republican senator Rand Paul continued attacking Dr Fauci on Tuesday night and again made false allegations about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director.

“We want people to go to RandPaul.com if they want to get rid of Tony Fauci,” said Mr Paul in an appearance on Fox News.

“It is a political thing. He is a political creature. We think he should be put up on charges but he’s not going to until there’s an intervening election. So elections do make a difference.”

The Republican’s counter-attack came after Dr Fauci on Tuesday accused him of “distorting” facts about Covid-19 and the NIAID’s work with the Wuhan institute of virology, who many Republicans have argued was to blame for the virus following gain of function research.

Dr Fauci has described such allegations as “nonsense” and of an “anti-scientific flavour”, with the US having had no known role in the enhancement of coronaviruses in Wuhan’s lab.

Dr Paul continued on Tuesday night by calling Dr Fauci “a menace” and said”: “I think he has lied to the American public. I think that he funded the lab in Wuhan that in all likelihood this virus came from. I think he as ignored natural immunity. I think he has told people to wear a cloth mask when they don’t work”.

Those claims were based on no scientific understanding.

Bernie Sanders calls for KN95 masks for all Americans

13:10 , Gino Spocchia

The Democrat senator shared a graphic headed “Not all masks are created equal” on Monday, which showed the different levels of protection offered by masks against Covid-19.

Mr Sanders, who has recently become a vocal supporter of issuing KN95 masks for all Americans, tweeted out the graphic amid reports that the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may soon recommend the higher standard of face mask – rather than a fabric covering.

As Andrew Naughtie writes, KN95 masks were prioritised for healthcare workers at the beginning of the pandemic, and have a different design to standard face masks - so which is best?

KN95 and N95 masks: Which does the CDC recommend, and can you reuse them?

Democrats champion Dr Fauci for ‘destroying’ Rand Paul

12:45 , Gino Spocchia

Democrat congresswoman Ilhan Omar was among many to champion Dr Fauci on Tuesday for confronting senator Rand Paul for “distorting” information and facts about the US chief medical adviser, and of “making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain”.

Ms Omar compared the encounter to when Democrat colleague Katie Porter used a marker pen and whiteboard to attack USPS post master Louis DeJoy, who was appointed by Donald Trump last year, for delivery failures.

What did Dr Fauci and Rand Paul argue about?

12:20 , Gino Spocchia

Dr Fauci came to blows with senator Rand Paul during a committee hearing on Tuesday, and accused the lawmaker of “distorting everything about me”.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the senator that he was distorting the content of an email about scientific criticism, and kept on “coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance.”

The confrontation came to a head when Dr Fauci accused Mr Paul of attempting to build his personal brand amongst Republicans by fundraising with a “fire Dr Fauci” graphic on his website – with a print out from the senator’s website.

As Meghan Sheets and John Bowden write, the confrontation afterwards went viral on Twitter and follows a long-running feud between Republicans and Dr Fauci:

Fauci tears into Rand Paul for using ‘pandemic for political gain’ with attacks

Dr Fauci says Omicron ‘will ultimately find just about everybody'

11:55 , Gino Spocchia

Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that US was approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, and that almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant eventually.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said in front of the the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

He said of an endemic: “When we get there, there’s that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now”.

His comments came as Omicron spreads through the US, which on Monday reported more than a million cases in 24 hours, and what is the highest known total for cases of an country so far.

Deaths from the virus have meanwhile been averaging at about 1,700 a day, and numbers of those vaccinated against Covid in the US remain below that of comparable countries, as Alisha Rahaman Sarkar writes:

Fauci says US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

When will the pandemic end?

11:30 , Gino Spocchia

The Covid-19 pandemic will not end like flipping a light switch off, but according to health experts will come when the world has learnt to live with the virus.

Omicron’s emergence has been a reminder that while vaccines provide strong protection against severe illness, new variants of Covid-19 will to happen “unless we really get serious about the endgame,” said Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health.

“Certainly Covid will be with us forever,” Dr Ko said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month. “We’re never going to be able to eradicate or eliminate Covid, so we have to identify our goals.”

As Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday, that will likely be when each country has reached a point at which vaccines and drugs ensure that Covid cases are easily treatable in persons at high risk.

How will pandemic end? Omicron clouds forecasts for endgame

UK ‘closest to any country’ of Covid becoming endemic

11:05 , Gino Spocchia

An academic at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has said the UK is among the closest of any country in to reaching the point of Covid-19 becoming an ednemic.

“In general, now, the countries that we know best in the northern hemisphere have varying stages of the pandemic,” said Professor David Heymann.

“And probably, in the UK, it’s the closest to any country of being out of the pandemic if it isn’t already out of the pandemic and having the disease as endemic as the other four coronaviruses.”

His remarks come as Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday that the US was nearing the “threshold” of Covid-19 becoming an endemic, and told a senate committee that would bewhen “there’ll be enough protection in [the] community, enough drugs available”.

As Jane Kirby writes, Covid-19 may not be declared over “until all countries have completed what they need to do to make this virus more tame and to become endemic”.

UK ‘closest of any country in northern hemisphere to exiting pandemic’

Fauci defends hot mic comments

10:41 , Gino Spocchia

Dr Anthony Fauci has defended calling US senator Roger Marshall a “moron” during a senate committee hearing on health, education, labour and pensions on Tuesday.

The chief US medical advisor told MSNBC News that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”, after being called on to make his financial statements public by Mr Marshall.

As Namita Singh writes, he had asked the infectious diseases expert: “Will you be willing to submit to Congress and public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments?”

“I don’t know why you are asking me that question,” a confused Dr Fauci said. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so of 35 years (sic)... It is totally accessible to you if you want it.”

Fauci defends outburst after calling senator a ‘moron’ on hot mic

Study finds Omicron causes less severe illness, shorter hospital stays

07:00 , Sravasti Dasgupta

A new study on 70,000 patients in California has found that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus diseases causes less severe illness and shorter hospital stays.

“It’s truly a viral factor that accounts for reduced severity,” said author of the study Joseph Lewnard, epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley to The New York Times.

The study, which has not yet been published in a scientific journal was conducted by analysing electronic health care records maintained by Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, which serves 4.7 million people.

69,279 symptomatic patients who tested positive for the coronavirus between 30 November and 1 January were analysed for the study.

While three-quarters of the samples contained the Omicron variant, the rest were Delta.

The study found that Omicron was half as likely to send patients to hospitals in comparison to Delta and other variants.

The variant also cut hospital stays by 70 per cent compared to the Delta variant by reducing the number of days in the hospital by more than three days.

The study also found that vaccinated people were 64 per cent to 73 percent less likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated.

My colleague Nathan Place reports on how Omicron cases have overwhelmed hospitals in early hit cities across US:

Omicron overwhelms hospitals in cities across US

Rapid tests not included in US’ total count, says CDC director

06:43 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Rapid tests are not being included in the total count of coronavirus cases in the US, the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the senate hearing on the Biden administration’s preparedness and response to new Covid-19 variants, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “We have been using the PCR test — not the rapid test — the lab tests, the molecular tests, to really capture our case counts and really get a good view of where we are in terms of the epidemiology, anticipating what was going to be coming into the hospitals.”

Dr Walensky added that the tests remain important for those infected to isolate themselves immediately, especially if they are asymptomatic.

“I think that it’s less about the absolute case count of understanding whether you have asymptomatic infection, or a runny nose and your rapid test is positive than it is really about empowering you to do the right thing and not be forward-transmitting.”

“The self-tests are a really important, valuable tool for people to empower themselves, their own health, to not expose themselves to other people, to get some information about their own health,” she added.

A rapid COVID-19 test is taken, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
A rapid COVID-19 test is taken, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Omicron will find just about everybody, Dr Fauci says

05:32 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The US’s top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said that “just about everybody” will ultimately be infected by the Omicron variant of Covid, and that those who are vaccinated will fare better in fighting off the disease.

Speaking to J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Dr Fauci said, “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”

“Those who have been vaccinated ... and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalisation and death,” he added.

In contrast, those who are not vaccinated “are going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” he said.

Dr Fauci said that the country “may be on the threshold” of a new phase of the pandemic where there’s “enough protection in the community and drugs to easily treat severe Covid-19”.

Dr Fauci’s comments came after a Senate hearing earlier on Tuesday on the Biden administration’s response to new variants of Covid-19.

Dr Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on 11 January 2022 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)
Dr Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on 11 January 2022 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

United Airlines CEO says vaccine mandate ended weekly staff deaths

04:45 , Oliver O’Connell

The CEO of United Airlines has told his staff in an open letter that the company’s vaccine mandate has ended the “weekly” deaths that previously plagued the organisation.

There are still 3,000 United employees who are infected with the virus, but Scott Kirby told his staff that “zero of our vaccinated employees are currently hospitalised”.

“Prior to our vaccine requirement, tragically, more than one United employee on average *per week* was dying from Covid,” Mr Kirby wrote, as Gustaf Kilander reports:

United CEO says vaccine mandate has brought 'weekly' staff deaths to an end

Fauci shows his teeth

03:45 , Gino Spocchia

But why didn’t he sooner, asks Andrew Buncombe:

Fauci is showing his teeth. The only question is why he didn’t do so earlier

Testy exchange over Fauci’s financial disclosure forms

02:45 , Oliver O'Connell

NIAID director Dr Anthony Fauci was heard mocking a Republican senator at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions after the senator in question sparred with Mr Fauci regarding whether his financial disclosure was publicly available.

Fauci caught on hot mic calling senator ‘a moron’ after heated questioning

Urgent need for super vaccine to fight new variants

01:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci warned at a Senate committee hearing that the US faced an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine that would be more effective at preventing new variants of Covid-19 and other coronaviruses.

John Bowden and Megan Sheets report:

Fauci warns of ‘urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

Experts warn people they are ‘playing with dynamite’ by deliberately getting Covid

00:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Doctors across the US have said there is a dangerous trend of people deliberately trying to get Omicron ‘to get it over with’, as Jade Bremner reports:

Experts warn us to stop purposely getting Covid to ‘get it over with’

Fauci: ‘You are distorting everything about me’

00:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Fauci tore into Senator Rand Paul for using the pandemic for political gain in his personal attacks against him during today’s hearing.

Megan Sheets and John Bowden report.

Fauci tears into Rand Paul for using ‘pandemic for political gain’ with attacks

HHS spokesperson stands by Fauci

Tuesday 11 January 2022 23:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Sams, the Covid spokesperson at the Department of Health and Humans Services, calls out Senator Rand Paul’s “non-stop lies”.

Bernie Sanders calls for Joe Biden to make N95 masks free for all

Tuesday 11 January 2022 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

As the Biden administration and CDC take steps to bolster the US’s response to the spread of the Covid-19 variant and its knock-on effects, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is adding pressure to provide free high-grade masks to all Americans.

In a tweet Monday, the senator shared a graphic headed “Not all masks are created equal”, which shows the different length of protection against transmission of Covid-19 provided by different masks. Below the table are the words: “We need N95 masks for all.”

Andrew Naughtie reports.

Bernie Sanders leads pressure on Joe Biden to make N95 masks free for all

Senator Murphy calls out Fauci detractors

Tuesday 11 January 2022 23:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Chris Murphy calls out those who ‘make a sport’ of attacking Dr Fauci: “They do it because it gets clicks, they don’t do it because they’re legitimately engaged … [in] the science.”

ICYMI - Fauci spars with Rand Paul

Tuesday 11 January 2022 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

HHS Covid spokesperson slams GOP members at hearing

Tuesday 11 January 2022 22:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Ian Sams, the Covid-19 spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services has hit out at Republican Senators for how they chose to spend their time at today’s hearing.

In a statement Mr Sams said:

When it comes to misinformation, Republicans on the committee clearly weren’t trying to stop the spread. At a time when America is seeing rising Covid cases, it’s disappointing and frankly unacceptable that Republican Senators chose to spend a hearing with the country’s leading public health experts spreading conspiracy theories and lies about Dr Fauci, rather than how we protect people from Covid-19.

The Biden Administration will continue to focus on getting more Americans vaccinated and boosted and helping Americans get access to the tools to keep themselves and others safe. We would encourage these Republicans to join us.

Senator Tuberville asked about ivermectin

Tuesday 11 January 2022 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Tommy Tuberville asked Dr Fauci why his Alabama constituents shouldn’t take ivermectin instead of the Covid-19 therapeutic Paxlovid, arguing it’s cheaper and has been around for longer.

Dr Fauci lays out data showing ivermectin has shown no conclusive benefits to people with a Covid-19 infection.

Fauci target of campaign of disinformation and distortion

Tuesday 11 January 2022 22:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Tina Smith: “Dr. Fauci has been the target of a concerted and coordinated campaign of disinformation and distortion ... I think we just need to be honest here. This is being done by some members of the Republican Party that are using it for fundraising.”

CDC advises Americans to ‘avoid’ travel to Canada

Tuesday 11 January 2022 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The US Centers for Disease Control on Monday advised Americans to “avoid” travel to Canada as coronavirus cases, particularly of the Omicron variant, continue to sweep the continent.

The CDC raised its warning level to Four – the highest it has – regarding travel to the United States’ northern neighbour.

Sheila Flynn reports.

Here’s what the CDC says about Americans going to Canada

Voices: Fauci is showing his teeth. Why he didn’t do so earlier?

Tuesday 11 January 2022 21:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Andrew Buncombe writes:

Only one question truly springs to mind: Why didn’t Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, bite back earlier?

Fauci is showing his teeth. The only question is why he didn’t do so earlier

United Airlines CEO: Vaccine mandate ended staff deaths

Tuesday 11 January 2022 20:49 , Oliver O'Connell

The CEO of United Airlines has told his staff in an open letter that the company’s vaccine mandate has ended the “weekly” deaths that previously plagued the organisation.

There are still 3,000 United employees who are infected with the virus, but Scott Kirby told his staff that “zero of our vaccinated employees are currently hospitalised”.

“Prior to our vaccine requirement, tragically, more than one United employee on average *per week* was dying from Covid,” Mr Kirby wrote.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

United CEO says vaccine mandate has brought 'weekly' staff deaths to an end

CDC Covid data tracker weekly review

Tuesday 11 January 2022 20:19 , Oliver O'Connell

Covid-19 cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States. This surge is driven by the Omicron variant, which CDC’s Nowcast model projects may account for approximately 9 per cent of cases.

On 5 January, 705,264 new cases were reported, more than doubling the January 2021 peak. The entire country is now experiencing high levels of community transmission. Hospitalisations are also on the rise. While early data suggest Omicron infections might be less severe than those of other variants, the increases in cases and hospitalisations are expected to stress the healthcare system in the coming weeks.

Given what we currently know about Covid-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC recently updated its quarantine and isolation recommendations for the public.

If you come into close contact with someone with Covid-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:

  • You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.

  • You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.

  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

If you have confirmed or suspected Covid-19, regardless of your vaccination status, stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. Testing may be used to help determine when to end your isolation period.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 and reduce its impact on our communities. Everyone should get vaccinated and boosted as soon as they are eligible, including people who have already had Covid-19.

There have been 60.2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US since the start of the pandemic. A total of more than 835,300 Americans have died from the virus.

Incredulous Fauci mocks GOP senator

Tuesday 11 January 2022 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

NIAID director Dr Anthony Fauci was heard mocking a Republican senator at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions after the senator in question sparred with Mr Fauci regarding whether his financial disclosure was publicly available.

John Bowden reports.

Fauci caught on hot mic calling senator ‘a moron’ after heated questioning

A moment of bipartisanship

Tuesday 11 January 2022 19:10 , Oliver O'Connell

They are rare, but they do happen. As proceedings kicked off this morning, Republican Senator Richard Burr gave Democrat Senator Tim Kaine an orange, a blanket, and a Dr Pepper in case he gets trapped in the snow again as he was last week.

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:59 , Oliver O'Connell

After thanking the four witnesses for their testimony, Senator Murray gavels the session to a close.

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Richard Burr says he respects all four of the experts testifying today and says he is sorry for what Dr Fauci and his family are going through.

He adds that they stand by willing to help with whatever they need to combat the pandemic, but will require full accountability.

‘What a moron'

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch out for those hot mics... Dr Fauci is heard calling Senator Marshall “a moron” after their last exchange.

Fauci and Marshall spar over financial disclosure forms

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:36 , Oliver O'Connell

“You are getting amazingly wrong information,” says Dr Fauci when challenged by Senator Marshall over his financial disclosure forms, which although public record, Mr Marshall’s office is unable to locate.

The pair have sparred twice during today’s hearing.

Senator Murray interjected that Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms are publicly available and he can provide them should Mr Marshall like to see them.

Paul ‘kindles the crazies’ against him, says Fauci

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Regarding Rand Paul’s attacks against him, Dr Fauci told the committee: “What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me.”

Fauci: Peak of Omicron will not be uniform across US

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Burr asked about the differing experience of South Africa and Israel with Omicron — the former saw a quick, sharp peak, the latter has seen a more prolonged outbreak.

Dr Fauci said there are many variants to consider, and similarly, the US will not see a uniform peak experience as it will vary from state to state depending on the percentage of vaccinated people and what the prior impact of other variants has been.

Greatest Christmas gift of 2021

Tuesday 11 January 2022 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

This was probably true in many households last month.

'Most people are going to get Covid’

Tuesday 11 January 2022 17:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Janet Woodcock: ”I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is: most people are going to get COVID. And what we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function, transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.”

KN95 and N95 masks - what you need to know

Tuesday 11 January 2022 17:35 , Oliver O'Connell

As the US fights to slow the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant, reports have surfaced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering recommending that those who can should wear a higher standard of mask when in public – specifically the KN95 and N95 masks that have been in high demand for the last two years.

Andrew Naughtie reports.

KN95 and N95 masks: Which does the CDC recommend, and can you reuse them?

Romney defends Fauci

Tuesday 11 January 2022 17:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Mitt Romney defends Dr Fauci from the attacks of senators Rand Paul and Roger Marshall, saying he appreciates the government scientists, but adds that they also can make mistakes.

In one of the more practical moments, Mr Romney asks for a definition of being “exposed” to the virus. He adds that someone in the room might have Omicron now, so should they all be tested.

Dr Fauci says being exposed is close contact with someone who has the virus for 15 minutes or more.

Mr Romney also criticsed the ranking members of both parties for taking so long with their opening statements, noting that it should not take 25 minutes for questioning to get underway.

Fauci tears into Rand Paul

Tuesday 11 January 2022 17:02 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci came to blows with Rand Paul during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, accusing the lawmaker of “distorting everything about me”.

Tensions between the pair boiled over as Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined other top coronavirus experts in the Biden administration testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Megan Sheets reports.

Senator Marshall asks Fauci about emails cited by Project Veritas

Tuesday 11 January 2022 16:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas asks Dr Fauci about the emails cited in the new video put out by Project Veritas. The doctor rejects the interpretation of the contents of the email.

“It really pains me to have to just point out to the American public, how absolutely incorrect you are,” Dr Fauci tells the senator. “You are completely and unequivocally incorrect.”

After a tense back-and-forth between the pair, Chair Patty Murray said that the committee would not allow the hearing to be derailed by personal attacks.

‘Urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

Tuesday 11 January 2022 16:32 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci warned on Tuesday at a Senate committee hearing that the US faced an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine that would be more effective at preventing new variants of Covid-19 and other coronaviruses.

“Looking ahead in the context of the inevitable continual emergence of new variants, the importance of developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine, namely one that would be effective against all SARS-COVID-2 variants, and ultimately against all coronaviruses, becomes even more apparent,” he told the senators.

John Bowden reports.

Fauci warns of ‘urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

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