All Coronavirus stories

CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Pearl returns to the Port of Miami in Florida, on Jan. 5 after several crew members tested positive for COVID. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 guidance will be optional for many cruise ships starting Saturday.

Why it matters: The CDC's framework for cruise lines was extended to Jan. 15 in October after cases spiked. Its expiration comes two weeks after the CDC issued a warning to avoid cruise travel for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements

A woman gets vaccinated in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico will require booster shots for all public school students over the age of 12, as well as people working in entertainment and tourism, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced in a series of tweets Thursday.

Why it matters: Puerto Rico is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. While the island had a positivity rate below 5% at the end of 2021, it has spiked to 36% in the new year, AP reported.

Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers, but it will allow a similar mandate to continue for workers at federally funded health care facilities.

Driving the news: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency measure went into effect on Monday. It said that employers with more than 100 workers must require their workers to either get vaccinated or tested every week.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols

Teachers denounce the absence of protective materials in schools on Jan. 13 in Paris. Photo: Vincent Koebel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Teachers across France staged a mass walkout Thursday to protest ever-changing COVID-19 rules in the education sector, which they say fail to protect teachers and students.

Why it matters: Protests took place in towns across the country, forcing schools to close, though officials did not specify how many schools had to close Thursday. Some 58% of teachers in Paris participated, leading to nearly 200 school closures, the mayor's office said.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

The cost of testing

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Note: Prices vary within countries. France and Malaysia prices reflect legal price caps. Data: Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The average cost of a single at-home rapid COVID test is about $12 in the U.S., more than twice the cost of a test in France and more than three times as much as in India.

The big picture: Places like Canada and the U.K. make tests available for free.

Biden announces purchase of additional 500 million COVID-19 tests

Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday that his administration is buying an additional 500 million rapid tests to distribute to people in the U.S. for free.

Driving the news: The administration previously bought 500 million rapid tests in December, which are scheduled to arrive this month. With the purchase announced today, the U.S. will have 1 billion tests in total "to meet future demand," Biden said.

Biden deploying military medical staff to help overwhelmed hospitals

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday announced a "surge" deployment of military medical personnel to support hospitals currently dealing with a spike of COVID-19 cases largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Driving the news: Omicron's surge in cases has led to a "high number of total hospitalizations," and hospitals are having to treat "more and more patients in the midst of staffing challenges and faced with a highly transmissible virus that does not spare our health care workers," CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Jan 13, 2022 - Health

America rethinks its endgame for COVID

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans' views of life with COVID, and the ultimate goal we're trying to achieve, appear to be evolving quickly at this point in the pandemic.

The big picture: In the beginning, efforts were aimed at reducing the overall spread of COVID. Over time, the focus has shifted to preventing the worst outcomes — hospitalizations and deaths.

COVID deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket

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Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Daily COVID infections have more than doubled over the past two weeks, reaching an average of more than 760,000 new infections per day in the U.S.

By the numbers: COVID deaths are also on the rise, up from about 1,200 per day two weeks ago to an average of over 1,700 per day now. The toll is a reminder that while Omicron is not as deadly as past variants, it’s still a serious threat for vulnerable people.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

Army disciplines nearly 3,000 soldiers for refusing COVID vaccine

Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday it issued 2,994 written reprimands to soldiers for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate and relieved six active-duty commanders from leadership positions for refusing to get vaccinated.

The big picture: Two battalion commanders were among those removed, per an Army statement. It's received 2,128 religious exemption requests but has yet to grant any. It approved five medical exemptions. 96% of active-duty soldiers are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Go deeper: More than 200 Marines removed for defying COVID vaccine mandate