U.S. Airlines Cancel Over 1,000 More Christmas Flights as Omicron Surge Leads to Major Staff Shortage
United, Delta and other U.S. airlines have canceled more than 900 flights for Christmas Day, after canceling over 600 Christmas Eve flights the day before, as a surge in COVID-19 cases impacts their staff.
“The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation,” a United Airlines spokesperson told CBS News. “As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport.”
Real-time flight tracking data from FlightAware showed 911 flights within, to and from the U.S canceled as of midday Saturday. Delta listed over 300 flight cancellations, United had 238, Jet Blue had 123 and American Airlines had 90.
UK Considering Door-to-Door COVID-19 Vaccination Teams to Reach Millions of Unvaccinated People
In plans being considered by Ministers to reach the estimated 5 to 25 million people yet to be inoculated, door-to-door teams armed with COVID-19 vaccines would be sent to the homes of the unvaccinated.
Discussions between the Department of Health, NHS England and 10 Downing Street over the past week have looked at a nationwide drive to send COVID-19 vaccination teams to areas with low uptake rates as a way to avoid lockdown and other restrictions.
One Cabinet Minister last night backed the plan, saying: “I think anything that encourages the vaccine-hesitant is sensible,” before warning: “The mood in the country is hardening against people who refuse to be vaccinated.”
Intentionally Contracting COVID-19 in Switzerland Carries Five-Year Prison Sentence
As SARS-CoV-2 infection parties become more popular around the world, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) confirmed this week that intentionally contracting COVID-19 to receive a health pass after recovery is illegal and leaves you liable to a prison sentence of up to five years.
The FOPH warned that not only is the practice illegal, but it’s dangerous—both for the person contracting the virus and for others as purposefully getting COVID-19 meant it was more likely to spread further.
“This contributes to accelerate the transmission of the virus and the gravity of the epidemic. People are taking risks (which endanger) their relatives and for society.
Dutch Man Arrested for Trying to Sell Live Covid-19 Virus for Self-Infection (Reuters reports)
A Dutch man allegedly selling coronavirus vials online for self-infection so customers could avoid vaccination by eventually recovering and thus gaining a health pass, has been arrested by police.
South Africa Suddenly Relaxes Most COVID-19 Rules — No More Quarantines
South Africa is no longer imposing COVID-19 quarantines and has stopped most contact tracing. Director General of Health Dr. Sandile Buthelezi announced on Thursday (Dec. 23) that the country will change its strategy to focus on mitigation efforts.
“Quarantine has been costly to essential services and society as many people stay away from their work and thus lose their income and children miss on their schooling,” the release said. “We never identify most high risk patients.”
Contact tracing will only continue for outbreaks in congregate settings, in which they’ll ask people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested only if they begin showing symptoms.
The health department noted that as much as 80% of the population has likely gained some immunity from previous SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Israel’s Attorney General Authorizes Imposition of Government Restrictions on the Unvaccinated
Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has approved the imposition of government restrictions on unvaccinated people in an effort to encourage them to get the jab, regardless of whether those restrictions are demonstrably epidemiologically effective.
In view of the attorney general’s legal brief, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz are weighing bringing a few proposals to the cabinet, designed to bolster restrictions on the unvaccinated as Omicron drives a fifth wave in Israel.
Unvaccinated in Singapore Banned From Returning to Work, Even With Negative SARS-CoV-2 Test Result
Unvaccinated workers will no longer be allowed to return to the workplace starting on January 15, even if they have a negative pre-event testing (PET) result, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Sunday (Dec. 26).
The ministry had said in October that unvaccinated people would not be allowed to enter the workplace in 2022, unless they had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.
“Following the review and discussion with tripartite partners, we have decided to remove the PET concession for unvaccinated persons to return to the workplace from Jan 15, 2022,” said MOH in a press release.
Partially vaccinated workers will be granted until January 31 to complete the COVID-19 vaccination regime and can enter their workplace with a negative PET result until then, the ministry said.
New Research Shows Omicron Symptoms Match Those of Common Cold
Amid the global spread of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, scientists in the United Kingdom have determined that its symptoms match those of common cold.
The most common symptoms reported by UK scientists are running nose, headaches, fatigue, sneezing and sore throats. This is based on the analysis of confirmed cases in London, as listed on the Zoe COVID app.
At least half of those reporting cold-like symptoms tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, according to a Guardian report on the analysis of data. But only half of infected users also reported on classic three symptoms—fever, cough or loss of smell or taste.
A committee of scientific advisers had also backed this analysis in a meeting on Thursday (Dec. 23), saying that the loss of smell or taste seems to be reported less frequently.
LeBron James Shocks NBA World on Christmas Eve by Posting Meme Equating COVID-19 to the Flu and Common Cold
NBA superstar LeBron James compared (https://www.mediaite.com/sports/lebron-james-divides-nba-fans-with-meme-comparing-covid-to-the-flu-and-the-common-cold/) COVID-19 to both the flu and the common cold on Friday (Dec. 24) amid a nationwide outbreak of cases mostly being attributed to the Omicron variant.
LeBron posted a Christmas Eve meme on Instagram which used the popular Spider-Man Points at Spider-Man format. The image shared by James showed three identical Spider-Man characters pointing one another, and it implied there is little distinction between the three illnesses.
Director of the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine Fired for Violating COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate, Despite Natural Immunity
The director of the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine—who is suing the UC school system for denying him a natural immunity exemption from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate—says he has been fired.
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, who is also a psychiatry professor, described the situation last week on his blog.
Kheriaty sought the exemption on the grounds that he had COVID-19 this past summer, giving him natural immunity and making him no health threat to anyone on campus.
“Two years ago I never could have imagined that the University would dismiss me and other doctors, nurses, faculty, staff, and students for this arbitrary and capricious reason,” Kheriaty wrote. “No amount of empirical evidence about natural immunity or vaccine safety and efficacy mattered at all. The University’s leadership was not interested in scientific debate or ethical deliberation.
Omicron Infected 21 of 33 Triple-Vaccinated Healthcare Workers at a Private Gathering in the Faroe Islands, Study Shows
Amid widespread concern that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 evades immune responses due to unusually high numbers of mutations on the spike protein, a new preprint study analyzed an outbreak in the Faroe Islands.
Researchers found that a super-spreading event of Omicron occurred amongst healthcare workers, infecting 21 of 33 attending a private gathering in the Faroe Islands even though everyone was triple-vaccinated and had a recent negative SARS-CoV-2 test.
All of the infected individuals from the gathering agreed to participate in the study.
CNN’s Dr. Leana Wen Wants Biden to “Go Further to Restrict the Activities of the Unvaccinated” Because “They Are the Ones Who Are Still Spreading COVID”
CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen this week repeatedly called for President Biden to “go further” in restricting the lives of Americans who still decline COVID-19 vaccines in light of the Omicron variant, which mostly infects fully vaccinated people—even those who are boosted (.
“I do have a lot of concern about what happens to parts of this country, for example, that have very low vaccination rates,” Wen said.
“I think President Biden’s message yesterday was the right one in some way—in saying vaccinated people should move on with their lives with precautions. But I wish that he would go further to restrict the activities of the unvaccinated, because they are the ones who are still spreading COVID and prolonging the pandemic for all of us.”
CNN’s Dr. Leana Wen Admits “Cloth Masks Are Little More Than Facial Decorations” After Pushing Draconian Policies for Nearly Two Years
CNN’s medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen—one of the top proponents of draconian COVID-19 policies—has finally admitted that cloth masks are useless against COVID-19.
Speaking on CNN Monday (Dec. 20) about the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, Wen warned viewers to not wear cloth masks because she believes they are now useless.
“I would say that if you choose to go, make sure that you’re vaccinated and boosted, make sure that you’re wearing a mask, even though it’s outdoors, if there are lots of people packed around you, wear a three-ply surgical mask,” Wen said. “Don’t wear a cloth mask.”
“Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron.”
Why have we been requiring “facial decorations” on kids at schools and on planes?