CDC tightens testing requirementsFor travelers amid omicron concerns

To combat the spread of the new omicron COVID-19 variant, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention is tightening testing requirements for international travelers. 

CurrentlyFly to the United States who haven’t recently recovered from the virus – including U.S. citizens – must have a negative viral test before boarding their flight. Fully vaccinated travelers are required to take tests no more than three days before departure.

ButThe CDC stated Tuesday that it is “working to modify” the global testing order to give all international air travelers just one day to take a pre-departure test, as first reported by The Washington Post. 

“This strengthens already robust protocols in place for international travel,” the CDC said in a statement. 

CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyDuring an earlier Tuesday news conference that the CDC was “evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible,” which could mean shortening the pre-departure testing window or adding additional post-arrival testing and a self-quarantine period.

TheThe agency continues to recommend travelers have a COVID-19 HIV test performed three to five business days after arriving. Any unvaccinated travelers should also be quarantined immediately upon arrival.

The U.S. is also working to stem the spread of the virus with new travel bans against eight countries that went into effect Monday. TheThe U.S. has yet to detect the omicron variant.  

AlsoThe latest:

►226 omicron cases have been confirmed in at least 21 countries, including Britain, 11 European Union nations, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Canada Israel.

►Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was placed in NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and could miss several games.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 48 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 780,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: MoreThere were 262.9 million cases, and there were 5.2 million deaths. Nearly197 Million Americans – roughly 59.4% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we’re reading: AreTravel bans: Are they worth it? TheyExperts say they could slow down the spread of omicron, but they can have serious repercussions.

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OmicronThe spread of variants shows the need to vaccinate all people

As the new omicron coronavirus variant spreads across the world, advocates of more widespread vaccinations are having an “I told you so” moment. For a year since COVID-19 vaccines first became available, a small but vocal group has warned about the need to protect the most vulnerable around the world. People in richer countries will not be safe, even if fully vaccinated, until those in poorer nations – which make up more than half the world’s 8 billion population – also have the benefit of vaccines, they’ve argued.

“The”The emergence and rapid spread of the omicron virus variant has met precisely the predictions of scientists, who predicted that it would evolve faster in areas where there is limited vaccine access.” Dr. Richard Hatchett, told a special session of the World Health AssemblyThis week. ReadFind out more.

– Karen Weintraub

Evangelist, vaccine doubter Marcus LambCoronavirus causes death

Marcus LambCEO of the evangelical Christian-based Daystar Television NetworkFollowing a bout with COVID-19, the activist against vaccines has passed away. 

“It’s with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus LambPresident and founder of Daystar Television Network, returned home to be at the LordThis morning, the network tweeted Tuesday. “TheFamily members request privacy as they grieve this loss. PleaseKeep them lifted up in prayer.”

Lamb’s wife, Joni, said last week her husband was trying alternative treatments without success. Lamb’s son, Jonathan, had described his father’s illness as “spiritual attackStarting at the enemy” because of his advocacy against vaccines and support for alternate treatments.

As some hospitals reach full capacity, elective surgeries could be halted

Officials from Rochester Regional HealthAnd the UniversityThis is Rochester Medical CenterIn New York state have joined a growing list of hospitals acrossThe U.S. and around the world warning that their facilities had reached full capacity and that emergency departments are stressed. In the Rochester area, hospital leaders said they were weighing whether they could continue performing elective procedures and surgeries.  Dr. Michael Apostolakos, Chief Medical OfficerFor Strong Memorial Highland Hospitals, said the majority of the COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization were unvaccinated.

“A large number of people refuse to take the vaccines and our community is paying for it.” Apostolakos said. “Cases are continuing to rise with no end in sight. 

– Sean Lahman, Rochester Democrat Chronicle

EconomyExperts say that 2022 could see a slight drop in the omicron variant.

TheAccording to top economists, the Omicron Coronavirus variant could have a modest impact on the U.S. economic next year. It will hurt consumer spending and increase labor shortages and supply chain congestions, which in turn, could intensify already-high inflation.

It’s too early to pinpoint how omicron will affect economic growth because scientists are just starting to assess the toll it could take on global health. But under one likely middle-ground scenario laid out by some top economists, the strain could be more infectious but not significantly more virulent than the delta variant. AndIt could result in fewer restrictions being imposed by the government on businesses.

If that’s the case, omicron or another similar variant would cut economic growth next year by half a percentage point to 4.3% and lead to the creation of several hundred thousand fewer jobs, estimates Mark ZandiChief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

ThatIt would be less than Moody’s projected growth of 5.5% this year – highest since the early 1980s – but still a historically strong figure as the nation continues to dig itself out of the pandemic-induced downturn.

The Dow Jones Industrial Averagetumbled 905 point, or 2.5% FridayIt closed at 236 points primarily due to worries about omicron. MondayBefore sliding back in mid-morning forex trading Tuesday.

– Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

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