The announcement on Friday from the United Nations health agency marks the first time in months that the WHO has classified a COVID-19 variant as such.
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The city of Milwaukee has seen nearly 200 homicides so far this year. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that as of Tuesday the city had recorded 175 homicides in 2021. The city saw 189 homicides last year after recording 98 in 2019. According to the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, 763 people have been wounded in shootings this year as of Nov. 15, with 13% of them children. Criminologists say COVID-19 is a major factor a rising number of homicides nationwide last year. They say the disease disrupted education, employment, social outreach services and the criminal justice system.
U.S. health officials say Merck's experimental COVID-19 pill is effective but they raised questions about its safety during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration posted its review Friday ahead of a public meeting next week where outside experts will debate the drug's benefits and risks. If FDA authorizes the drug it would be the first pill for U.S. patients infected with the virus. All FDA-authorized drugs currently used against coronavirus require an IV or injection. The FDA will ask its experts whether the drug's benefits outweigh its risks.
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year’s coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000, the lowest since mid-November 1969. The drop was much bigger than economists expected. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, also dropped — by 21,000 to just over 252,000, the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the pandemic slammed the economy. Seasonal adjustments around the Thanksgiving holiday contributed significantly to the bigger-than-expected drop.
More than 90% of federal workers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday’s deadline set by President Joe Biden. Biden announced in September that all federal workers were required to undergo vaccination, with no test-out option, unless they secured an approved medical or religious exemption. A U.S. official said the vast majority of federal workers are fully vaccinated, and that a smaller number have pending or approved exceptions to the mandate.The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the statistics before their official release later Monday.
Pfizer and Moderna say U.S. regulators have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, letting them choose another dose of either vaccine. The move expands the government’s booster campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays. There’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers are set to debate that on Friday. If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection ahead of the new year.
Pfizer reported earlier this month that its pill cut hospitalizations and deaths by 89% among high-risk adults who had early symptoms.
U.S. jobless claims dipped by 1,000 last week from the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Experts say it's tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.
The company’s antiviral is one of a handful of pills that have recently been shown to significantly cut hospitalizations and deaths among people infected with COVID-19.