As COVID-19 cases among teachers skyrocket, school officials in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada announced this week that they will temporarily close or switch to distance learning due to a worsening shortage of teachers.
In Indiana, at least four Marion County school districts have moved to distance learning. Indianapolis Public Schools said on Wednesday that the decision “was made on the basis of staff absences, including COVID-19 isolation and quarantine at high schools and universities.”
North Carolina has resorted to allowing civil servants to use their allotted volunteer days to fill paid substitute teachers, Governor Roy Cooper said Wednesday. In Nevada, all schools in the Carson City School District were closed for part of this week due to an increase in the number of employees infected with COVID-19.
Maryland’s largest school district has asked the National Guard to supplement bus drivers, ABC News said. The governor of New Mexico said on Thursday that she was considering seeking help from the National Guard to address the shortage of COVID-19 staff in public schools in the state.
Also in the news:
►As some experts say the current wave of COVID-19 may peak, new cases of coronavirus have dropped slightly for the second time this week. The U.S. reported approximately 5.51 million cases in the week ending Thursday, down from the revised 5.53 million in the week ending Wednesday, according to an analysis of U.S. TODAY data by Johns Hopkins University.
►About one in five hospitals said they had a “critical staff shortage” in data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, a U.S. TODAY analysis found. One in four predicted a critical shortcoming within the next week.
►The British Prime Minister’s Office, Boris Johnson, apologized to the royal family on Friday for hosting a night party for employees the day before Queen Elizabeth II. she sat alone and mourned her late Prince Philip at a socially remote funeral service because of COVID-19 rules.
►A moratorium on evictions in New York will expire on Saturday, protecting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who were late in paying during the COVID-19 pandemic from eviction.
►More than half a million people in Israel received the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the local health ministry said on Friday.
►Cruises will no longer be required to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines on board ships, as the CDC’s conditional cruise order, which was extended and modified in October, will expire on Saturday.
📈Today’s numbers: According to Johns Hopkins University, the United States has recorded more than 63.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 846,000 deaths. Global totals: More than 319 million cases and almost 5.5 million deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 208 million Americans – 62.8% – are fully vaccinated.
📘What we read: When will this wave of COVID end? Scientists are looking for clues in your wastewater.
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U.S. insurers have paid $ 100 million + for refractory COVID-19 treatment with ivermectin, the study found
A new study found that U.S. insurance companies paid the annual equivalent of $ 129 million for the deworming drug ivermectin, even though the drug was not found to benefit COVID-19 patients.
Ivermectin is used to treat heartworms and ear mites in cats and dogs and to fight parasites in horses, cattle, pigs and sheep. In rare cases, it is given to people infected with parasitic worms.
It has been marketed as a drug for COVID-19, but there are few data to suggest that it is effective.
The researchers excluded several patients who had been diagnosed with a parasitic infection by about 6% of prescriptions.
It was conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and Boston University and was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association on Friday.
The Food and Drug Administration specifically states that ivermectin should not be used on COVID-19 and lists side effects such as skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, swelling of the face or limbs, seizures and confusion, and liver damage.
Despite this, millions of prescriptions for this drug have been written for patients with COVID-19.
The study found that the average reimbursement by the insurance company was $ 35.75 for private insurance and $ 39.13 for Medicare Advantage patients.
– Elizabeth Weise
Biden administration to run the site for free test suites
The Biden administration will launch a website on Wednesday where Americans can order up to four free test kits for COVID-19 per person, the administration’s senior official said.
The tests, which are part of the purchase of 500 million tests purchased by the Biden administration last month to help deal with a record increase in infections, will be available at COVIDTest.gov and sent to homes within 7-12 days, according to an official who told reporters on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the details of the notification.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced that the administration would double its order by purchasing another 500 million domestic tests for COVID-19 amid a nationwide shortage of tests, leading to long queues at test sites and congested hospitals. The second batch of test kits will also be distributed for free through federal websites, officials said.
– Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY
Students come out for COVID security, they call schools “Petri dish”
While teachers’ unions and schools are struggling for full-time and distance learning, students across the country are demanding a place at the table. Many are planning trips this week, including Boston on Fridays.
“We are the ones who have been in this environment every day. It is our bodies that we put at risk,” said Kayla Quinlan, a 16-year-old student activist at Boston Day and Evening Academy. “Students should be able to talk about what their learning environment looks like, but our voices are always omitted.”
School students across the Boston Public Schools system left around 10:30 on Friday, confirmed by the Boston Globe and NBC Boston.
Although the specific requirements vary from district to district, students’ requirements are largely focused on enabling distance learning as an alternative for those who are afraid of coming to school, rather than full class closures. The student coalitions, which advocated a complete transition to remote access, called for this only temporarily if schools did not enforce stricter measures against COVID-19, including more frequent testing and better veils.
“It feels like a breeding ground for COVID, like a COVID Petri dish,” Quinlan added. “How are you supposed to feel safe?”
Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after Australian government cancels his visa for the second time
Tennis star Novak Djokovic is facing deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday that he had used his ministerial discretion and, for reasons of public interest, had his 34-year-old Serb visa revoked three days before the Australian Open. Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to appeal the cancellation to the Federal Circuit and Family Court, as they did successfully after the first cancellation.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne last week to defend the title at the Australian Open. His exemption from the requirement to vaccinate against COVID-19 in order to compete was approved by the government of Victoria and the organizer of the Tennis Australia tournament. This apparently allowed him to obtain a travel visa.
But the Australian Border Forces refused the exemption and revoked his visa upon arrival in Melbourne. Djokovic spent four nights in a hotel for immigrants before the judge overturned the decision on Monday.
– The Associated Press
COVID Control Center for “suspension” of national test sites
The Oregon Department of Justice’s coronavirus testing company, which has criticized customers in several states, announced a “weekly break in all operations” on Thursday.
The break was expected to take effect from Friday to January 21 at all COVID Control Center test sites. The company’s Illinois-based website states that it has more than 300 U.S. offices in several states. Two of them, Massachusetts and Washington, took steps this week to close several of the company’s testing centers in their communities.
In a company internal statement addressed to “all site owners and managers” and obtained by the US TODAY, the COVID Control Center quoted “increased media scrutiny of our collection point operations” over the past week. The company says it processes 80,000 test requests a day.
“This, along with various customer complaints, has led to various state health departments and even the Department of Justice becoming interested in our company,” the announcement said.
– Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
The Supreme Court has blocked a vaccine mandate or COVID-19 testing for the workplace
The Supreme Court on Thursday halted one of President Joe Biden’s signing efforts to fight COVID-19, ruling that its administration did not have the power to impose vaccination or testing requirements on employers that would cover tens of millions of Americans. .
The unsigned opinion, which came a few days after the judges heard the extraordinary appeal’s arguments, marked the second time that the Supreme National Court had overturned the Biden administration’s pandemic policy and again concluded that federal officials had exceeded the powers given to them by Congress. The court blocked Biden’s moratorium on eviction in August and ruled that it was also exaggerated.
The issue at work was whether the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had the authority to impose requirements under the 1970 Act.
It was not immediately clear what, if any, options the Biden administration had to respond to the decision. The president said in a statement that he was “disappointed” and “it is now up to the states and individual employers to decide whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees.” Read more here about what might follow for Biden’s vaccination campaign.
– John Fritz, USA TODAY
Contributors: Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press