Experts with the World Health Organization had been assembly Friday to evaluate a COVID-19 variant in South Africa that has been quickly spreading amongst younger individuals and has already spawned quite a few mutations.
It’s too early to say whether or not the brand new variant, dubbed B.1.1.529, goes to have the potential impression of the troublesome delta variant. But the WHO will resolve quickly whether or not to present the newest variant a reputation from the Greek alphabet, one of many first indicators that it’s value consideration as an elevated risk.
Scientists have little details about the variant and its potential for hazard proper now, stated Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 technical lead, on Thursday.
“What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations, and the concern is that when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves,” stated Van Kerkhove.
The variant would probably be named nu — the subsequent obtainable letter within the Greek naming system for coronavirus variants — whether it is flagged by the WHO group.
Researchers need to measure the variant’s potential to unfold globally, presumably sparking new waves of an infection or exacerbating ongoing rises being pushed by delta, South African well being specialists stated.
The new variant has additionally been present in Botswana and Hong Kong in vacationers from South Africa, in line with Joe Phaahla, the nation’s well being minister. Phaahla stated the variant has seen speedy unfold in Gauteng, the nation’s most populous province.
“We’re flying at warp speed,” Penny Moore, a virologist on the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, advised the science journal Nature. Moore’s lab is gauging the variant’s potential to dodge immunity from vaccines and former infections.
The coronavirus evolves because it spreads and lots of new variants, together with these with worrying mutations, typically simply die out. Scientists monitor for potential adjustments that could be extra transmissible or lethal, however checking out whether or not new variants can have a public well being impression can take time.
Also within the news:
►Officials within the United Kingdom introduced that six African nations will be added to England’s journey “red list.” Meanwhile, on Friday a number of European Union nations had been shifting to cease air journey from southern Africa to counter the unfold of the brand new COVID-19 variant.
►Beginning Monday, Massachusetts hospitals must in the reduction of on non-urgent scheduled procedures resulting from staffing shortages and longer affected person stays, in line with the state’s well being authorities.
►The variety of air vacationers this week is predicted to strategy and even exceed pre-pandemic ranges, and auto membership AAA predicts 48.3 million individuals will journey no less than 50 miles from residence over the vacation interval.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 48 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and greater than 775,000 deaths, in accordance to Johns Hopkins University information. Global totals: Nearly 260 million circumstances and greater than 5.1 million deaths. More than 196 million Americans — roughly 59.1% of the inhabitants — are absolutely vaccinated, in line with the CDC.
Keep refreshing this web page for the newest news. Want extra? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch free e-newsletter to obtain updates on to your inbox and be a part of our Facebook group.
Macy’s Thanksgiving parade returns, with all of the trimmings
Giant balloons as soon as once more wafted by means of miles of Manhattan, wrangled by costumed handlers. High college and school marching bands from across the nation had been again, and so had been the crowds on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
After being crimped by the coronavirus pandemic final yr, the vacation custom returned in full Thursday, although with precautions.
“It really made Thanksgiving feel very festive and full of life,” Sierra Guardiola, a 23-year-old inside design agency assistant, stated after watching the spectacle in a turkey-shaped hat.
Thousands of marchers, tons of of clowns, dozens of balloons and floats – and, after all, Santa Claus – marked the newest U.S. vacation occasion to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officers and among the public extra comfy with massive gatherings amid the continued pandemic.
— Cydney Henderson
COVID-19 circumstances are rising once more this vacation season
Despite early indicators that urged the U.S. might have averted one other winter surge, COVID-19 circumstances are on the way in which up.
The nation reported 665,420 circumstances within the week ending Monday, greater than a 30% enhance from the tempo of circumstances reported a couple of month in the past, in line with a USA TODAY evaluation of Johns Hopkins information.
As circumstances rise in 39 states, U.S. Health and Human Services information present hospitals in 32 states admitted extra sufferers within the newest week than the week earlier than.
“Quite frankly, I’m really concerned,” stated Danielle Ompad, affiliate professor of epidemiology at New York University’s School of Global Public Health. “I might say we’re higher off than we had been final yr, however circumstances are beginning to tick up and that’s one thing that we actually must regulate.” Read more here.
— Adrianna Rodriguez
Will pandemic-weary shoppers turn out in full force for the holidays?
Buoyed by solid hiring, healthy pay gains and substantial savings, shoppers are returning to stores and splurging on all types of items.
But the big question is: How much will supply shortages, higher prices and staffing issues dampen their mood this holiday season?
Americans, already fatigued with pandemic-induced social distancing policies, may get grumpy if they can’t check off items on their holiday wish lists, or they may feel disappointed by the skimpy holiday discounts. Exacerbating their foul moods is the fact that many frustrated workers called it quits ahead of the holidays, leaving businesses short-handed during their busiest time of the year.
Shoppers are expected to pay on average of between 5% to 17% more for toys, clothing, appliances, TVs and others purchases on Black Friday this year compared with last year, according to Aurelien Duthoit, senior sector advisor at Allianz Research. TVs will see the highest price spikes on average, up 17% from a year ago, according to the research firm. That’s because whatever discounts available will be applied to goods that are already expensive.
Such frustrations could mute sales for the holiday season that are supposed to break records.
— Associated Press
Contributing: Associated Press