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Covid news summary: 31 January

A health worker inoculates a youth with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine during a vaccination drive for people in the 15-18 age group, in Mumbai on January 31, 2022. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Omicron covid-19 variant: live updates

Covid-19 Omicron variant headlines

- Moderna covid-19 vaccine granted full approval by FDA

- Bipartisan support for inquiry into US' covid-19 response

-"If I pissed you off, I'm sorry," says Joe Rogan amid Spotify backlash

- Protests in Canada over vaccine requirements

General news and information

- Who may not need a fourth covid-19 vaccine dose?

- Americans can order free at-home covid-19 tests can be ordered on website 1-800-232-0233)

How long after having covid-19 can you get your booster?

- Omicron sufferers be at increased risk of long covid, experts say

Why do I have armpit pain after receiving the covid-19 vaccine?

Key websites:

-  World Health Organisation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Lancet

Further covid-related reading:

Moderna becomes second covid-19 vaccine to win full FDA approval

Moderna announced Monday that US Food and Drug Administration granted its covid-19 vaccine full approval. It is the second covid-19 vaccine to receive the full confidence of US health authorities. The decision was taken after completing a rigorous review of data on Moderna’s shot. 

The FDA authorized the Moderna covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in December 2020 and now over 200 million doses have been administered which has provided real-world evidence of its effectiveness and safety.

New York Governor extends mask mandate to 10 February

Despite dropping case numbers in the state, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has extending the state's mask mandate for 10 more days. The need to extend the mandate further will be reviewed every two weeks. "If we continue on this rapid trend downward, we'll be in a good place...if it levels off or something else happens, I need that flexibility," Gov Hochul said.

The rule, which has been challenged in court, requires masks be worn in indoor public spaces where proof of vaccination is not required. If a business doesn’t enforce the requirement, it could face a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation.

Order free at-home tests on

A reminder that people in the United States can order free at-home rapid covid-19 tests from the US government website, or call the telephone hotline 1-800-232-0233.

"To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address," the website says. "No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order."

Each address is allowed up to four tests.



Can the Omicron variant of covid-19 cause long-term symptoms?

Although the Omicron variant of covid-19 generally appears to lead to less severe symptoms than its predecessors, health officials warn that it can still cause severe cases and have long-term health impacts.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has the full story


Will there be a specific vaccine for the Omicron variant soon?

Clinical trials of a variant-specific covid-19 vaccines for Omicron have begun but the surge may be over before they can be available to the public.

Read more

Rogan: "If I pissed you off, I'm sorry"

Popular US podcaster Joe Rogan has apologized amid a backlash against covid-19 misinformation in his programme, while his platform, Spotify Technology SA , said it would add a "content advisory" to any episode with discussion of covid.

Rogan, a prominent vaccine skeptic, has stirred controversy with his views on the pandemic and on vaccines and government mandates to control the spread of the virus.

Singer-songwriters Neil Young and Joni Mitchell announced last week that they were removing their music from Spotify in protest at coronavirus misinformation broadcast on the platform.

Young objected to his music being played on the same platform as the top-rated podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience."

And 270 scientists and medical professionals wrote urging Spotify to prevent Rogan spreading falsehoods.

In a 10-minute Instagram video post on Sunday evening, Rogan apologized to Spotify for the backlash but defended inviting contentious guests.

"If I pissed you off, I'm sorry," Rogan said. "I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view."

Separately, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek posted a blog saying an advisory will direct listeners to a covid-19 hub that contains information from medical and health experts, as well as links to authoritative sources.



What people may not need a fourth covid-19 vaccine according to pharmaceutical companies?

The US federal government continues to urge those eligible to get their third dose or booster shot, as the best way to protect ones self and family from covid-19. However, with the number of breakthrough cases increasing in the latest wave, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, many are wondering if a fourth dose will be in their future.

Read more

Bipartisan backing for US covid response inquiry

There is bipartisan support in the United States Senate for new legislation that would see a commission set up to carry out an inquiry into the country’s response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The pain of this pandemic is unforgettable, and we have a responsibility to make sure its lessons are unforgettable, too,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who is one of the Prevent Pandemics Act’s co-sponsors, said.

Omicron latest news: welcome

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's daily live blog for Monday 31 January 2022, covering the latest developments in the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of covid-19, with a particular focus on the United States.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest figures, which are for Friday 28 January, daily infections in the country are at almost 525,000, with deaths at just over 3,200.

Per data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, just under 97,000 cases and 321 deaths were reported in the US on Sunday, although it should be noted that weekend figures are generally lower.

As of 22 January, 99.9% of all new covid-19 cases in the US were Omicron, the CDC says.


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