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Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.
Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.
Beijing on Saturday reported its first locally transmitted case of Omicron, less than three weeks before the start of the Olympic Winter Games, Reuters reports.
Driving the news: Lab testing found "mutations specific to the Omicron variant" in the individual, an official at the city's disease control authority told a news briefing, per Reuters.
New data suggests that people with the Omicron variant frequently stay infectious for longer than five days, raising concerns about the CDC's updated isolation guidelines.
Why it matters: Experts say the issue could be resolved by using rapid tests to determine whether it is safe to exit isolation, but the CDC has not recommended a negative test as a condition to end isolation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday that it has recommended two new drugs to treat COVID.
Why it matters: The recommendations come as cases spike around the world, and could especially serve lower-income countries that have struggled to contain the disease due to lack of vaccines and other medical necessities.
Driving the news: The walkouts come two days after 340,000 Chicago students returned to the classroom after a five-day work stoppage due to the Chicago Teachers Union asking for tougher COVID-19 restrictions.
The White House said Friday a new website, COVIDTests.gov, will begin accepting orders Jan. 19 for free rapid tests shipped to Americans' homes.
Why it matters: The White House emphasized the importance of testing during the Omicron surge, with President Biden on Thursday announcing plans for the government to have 1 billion tests.
The Biden administration warned Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) that it will take back the state's COVID-19 relief aid if it does not redesign programs that use the funding to discourage schools from mandating masks.
Driving the news: The state has two programs that are directed to schools and students. However, these programs take funding away from jurisdictions that have imposed mask requirements in schools, AP reports.
The Omicron variant doesn't cause as much severe illness as other variants have, but its "mild" symptoms can still be pretty unpleasant.
The big picture: The way health care professionals and doctors differentiate between "mild" and "severe" illness may not align with a layperson's understanding of those terms.
The U.S. is likely reaching the end of the road on new vaccinations, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large employers.
Why it matters: Cash prizes and other incentives barely moved the needle on vaccinations. So the government turned from carrots to sticks — but now it has lost its biggest stick.