Overnight health care – Biden officials assess vax mandate for travel


Welcome to Wednesday night health care, where we follow the latest policy developments and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

If Chicago is any indication, DC Public Schools’ efforts to get all staff and students tested negative are going to be… difficult, to say the least.

The Biden administration is also tiptoeing around a vaccine mandate for domestic travel.

For The Hill, I’m Nathaniel Weixel ([email protected]). Write with tips and comments, and follow me on Twitter @NateWeixel.

Let’s get started.

The domestic travel mandate once again in the spotlight

The debate over the requirement for COVID-19 vaccines for domestic travel is back on the scene this week, despite the business retreat and the potential for strong backlash if the Biden administration imposes such a mandate.

The White House has said a potential warrant is not on the table, and the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible variant of omicron has raised questions as to whether a requirement is another way. to protect Americans.

President BidenJoe BidenBiden, Lawmakers Mourn Harry Reid 29% of GOP Support Efforts to Indict Jan 6 Rioters: Poll Congress Must Meet Time to Hold Big Pharma to Account MOREthe chief medical officer of, Antoine FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care – CDC under fire for new guidelines CDC under fire for new COVID-19 guidelines Biden says if medical team advises, he will issue vaccine requirement for travel national PLUS, said on Wednesday that the administration was discussing a warrant, but stressed the safety of the mask requirement in place for all U.S. transportation networks.

“When you deal with domestic flights, you want to ensure the safety of people on domestic flights. And as I said, at the moment we believe that the masking requirement and the degree of filtration in an airplane is sufficient to ensure the safety of people, ”Fauci told reporters during a briefing by the White House COVID-19 Response Team. “If there is a need to do more beyond this masking, primarily due to a vaccine issue, we will seriously consider it as new information arises.”

Airline Hall: Airlines and other business groups are opposing a vaccine and testing requirement for domestic air travel. Delta Air Lines reiterated its position on Wednesday that airline health protections allow safe travel, highlighting hospital-grade filtration systems and masking on board planes and inside airports.

The administration is already under fire for new guidelines that cut isolation time in half for people who are asymptomatic or with improved symptoms, following pressure from the airline industry.

Read more here.

Fauci: Omicron not as harsh on vaccinees

The first data shows that the omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to be less severe than the delta strain in those vaccinated, Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday.

Citing international studies and some initial data from US hospitals, Fauci said those vaccinated and stimulated are also less likely to be hospitalized. And despite an increase in infections over the past month, hospitalizations have not increased as quickly.

“We now know, without question, that it is a highly, highly transmissible virus. We know that from the numbers that we see,” Fauci told reporters during a briefing at the House. White.

However, he said, “all indications point to a lesser severity of the omicron compared to the delta.”

Numbers: Omicron is now the dominant strain of coronavirus, but the delta is still important. Cases were already increasing steadily this fall due to the delta variant, but the emergence of omicron over the past month has led to an almost vertical peak.

The United States broke a record for most COVID-19 single-day infections on Tuesday, with 441,278 cases. This topped the previous daily record of nearly 150,000.

As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 431,567 more infections. The seven-day average of cases hit a record 277,241, an increase of more than 60% over the past week.

Positive signs? Fauci said on Wednesday there had been a 126% increase in cases over the past two weeks, but only an 11% increase in hospitalizations.

While hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator, the “disparity between cases and hospitalizations strongly suggests that there will be a lower hospitalization-to-case ratio,” Fauci said.

Fauci noted that omicron has some ability to evade immunity, especially against infection. But for those vaccinated, they remain protected against serious illnesses.

Read more here.


The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday urged richer countries not to prioritize coronavirus booster injections amid a “tsunami of cases” caused by the new omicron variant.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference urged wealthy nations to share their vaccine share with other countries, arguing the coronavirus will continue to evolve and the pandemic will get worse “if we don’t improve our collective response.”

“Delta and omicron are twin threats that are spiking cases to record numbers,” he said. “I am very concerned that omicron is more transmissible [and] flowing at the same time as the delta leads to a tsunami of cases. “

Tedros has repeatedly hit wealthier countries for prioritizing boosters or third injections of the vaccine, saying last week that “no country can get out of the pandemic”.

Developing countries continue to struggle to immunize their populations. Low- and middle-income countries have an average immunization rate of 20 percent, compared to 80 percent in richer countries, according to a September update from Covax, a collaborative initiative to share vaccines with the world.

Read more here.


Washington, DC, public schools will require a negative COVID-19 test for all students and staff before they are allowed to return to school after vacation.

Mayor Muriel bowserMuriel BowserDC COVID-19 cases reach new high. Overnight Health Care – FDA Approves First Pill To Treat COVID-19 DC To Require COVID-19 Vaccination For Indoor Public Spaces (D) and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee announced wednesday That to ensure safety amid the current COVID-19 outbreak, DCPS will require all students and staff to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school on the 5th January.

The DCPS added that it will make rapid and free antigen testing available on Monday January 3 and Tuesday January 4.

Earlier, school officials said return testing was “strongly encouraged” but not mandatory.

Authorities are asking parents to keep children at home regardless of their test results if they show symptoms or need to be quarantined because they are not vaccinated and have been identified as close contact of ‘a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Read more here.

Head of the CDC: the agency asked for balanced orientations

Federal health officials said the recommendation to shorten the isolation period for people with asymptomatic COVID-19 was aimed at striking a balance between ensuring that essential services can continue to operate and for how long one can. reasonably expect people to remain isolated.

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle WalenskyRochelle Walensky CDC criticized for new COVID-19 guidelines said on Wednesday that the agency feared people would isolate themselves at all. While infections due to the omicron variant flare up, she said the goal was to have a policy that people would follow.

The new guidelines, which reduce the 10-day period to five days for asymptomatic people, “really had a lot to do with what we thought people would be able to tolerate,” Walensky said in an interview on “New Day “from CNN. “

“We’ve seen relatively low isolation rates for this whole pandemic. Some science has shown that less than a third of people self-isolate when they need to. And so we really want to make sure we have counseling. this time when we were going to have a lot of diseases that we could adhere to, that people were ready to adhere to, ”added Walensky.

Business calculations: The large number of expected infections could hamper businesses if large amounts of employees miss work, and Walensky said many people wouldn’t even want to self-isolate if they tested positive but had mild symptoms. .

Based on what is known about omicron, she said the agency believes a change is needed.

“Our advice was previously conservative. He had said 10 days of isolation. But in the context of the fact that we were going to have so many more cases, a lot of them would be asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, people would feel good enough to be. They wouldn’t necessarily tolerate being at home and they might not comply, ”Walensky said.

Read more here.


  • Who invented the Covid-19 vaccines? Drugmakers fight for patents (the Wall Street newspaper)
  • 3 big questions about the Biden administration’s Covid response in 2022 (Statistics)
  • How mistakes, inaction sent a deadly COVID variant around the world (Bloomberg)
  • How the insurance lobby got Congress to love Medicare Advantage (modern health care)


  • 22,000 unvaccinated state workers need weekly COVID testing (Albany Times Union)
  • Florida opposes federal government over monoclonal antibodies – again (Tampa Bay weather)
  • After a year with virtually no cases, seasonal flu is back in Minnesota (Star Tribune)


That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. On Thursday.


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