The US Food and Drug Administration is prepared to approve a second Covid-19 vaccine shot for anybody aged 50 and up, amid fears that a new Omicron subvariant would enter the country.
According to US media reports, the approvals for the second Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters could be revealed as soon as next Tuesday.
As the Omicron wave recedes, Hawaii became the latest US state to lift the indoor masking rule on Saturday. According to Xinhua, the state also discontinued its Safe Travels programme, which allowed travellers from the continental United States to enter without submitting proof of vaccination or the results of an approved Covid-19 test.
Last Monday, the Idaho State Legislature enacted legislation prohibiting businesses from mandating a Covid-19 immunisation for employment or service and prohibiting unvaccinated individuals from being “treated differently or discriminated against.”
According to the bill, the decision to acquire a vaccine is “a profoundly personal and individual decision” that should not be mandated by public or private institutions. Republican legislators backed the bill, which arrived on Governor Brad Little’s desk this week. Little, a Republican, has not said whether he will veto or sign the bill.
While restrictions on Covid-19 are being lifted or eased in most parts of the country, health officials in Washington are closely monitoring the behaviour of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, the more contagious cousin of the Omicron variant that has spread throughout Europe and other parts of the world, and which now accounts for about 30% of new infections in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
According to The Washington Post, “public health specialists think BA.2 will likely become the dominant strain in the Washington region during the next several weeks,” causing “another rise in new infections after a steady reduction since the top of the Omicron surge in early January.” The region’s weekly average for new cases was 1,131 on Friday, the lowest rate since July.
According to the NYT data study, the seven-day average new Covid-19 deaths in the United States decreased to 796 on Saturday, a 39% decrease in 14 days. The number of new coronavirus cases was 30,174, a 12% decrease.