The Perfect Enemy | COVID in California: FDA panel to consider future vaccine regimens - San Francisco Chronicle
January 29, 2023

COVID in California: FDA panel to consider future vaccine regimens – San Francisco Chronicle

COVID in California: FDA panel to consider future vaccine regimens  San Francisco ChronicleView Full Coverage on Google News

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Weekly COVID-19 trends continue downward, as new cases decline, along with hospitalizations, according to CDC tracking. One of the longest-standing mask mandated in the United States is now rescinded, in Navajo Nation. President Biden is said to have picked the man who ran his administration’s pandemic response to fill the key role of White House chief of staff.

President Biden is expected to name Jeff Zients, who ran the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of Biden’s term, as his next chief of staff, the Associated Press and other outlets are reporting, citing anonymous sources. Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klain, is leaving the job in the coming weeks. Since serving as COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term. 

FDA advisory board meets on future COVID-19 vaccine regimens

The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee on vaccines meets this week to discuss the future vaccination regimens addressing COVID-19. The public meeting will be livestreamed Thursday strting at 8:30 a.m. The committee will consider “whether and how the composition for primary doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines should be modified and how and whether the composition and schedule for booster doses should be adjusted moving forward.” Along with the independent experts of the advisory committee, representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health will also participate in the meeting.

Berkeley salvage yard not only survives but thrives in pandemic

The Urban Ore salvage yard in Berkeley, with its rows of secondhand clothes, appliances from ages past and well-loved wooden furniture, seemed early in the pandemic like it might have a hard time survivng as its sales tanked. But something unexpected happened, the store ended up breaking gross sales records for the next couple of years. Read more about how the unusual space stayed afloat and thrived.

Navajo Nation now can go mask free

The Navajo Nation has rescinded a mask mandate that’s been in effect since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, fulfilling a pledge that new tribal President Buu Nygren made while campaigning for the office. The mandate was one of the longest-standing anywhere in the U.S. and applied broadly to businesses, government offices and tourist destinations on the vast reservation, which extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The tribe at one point had one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country and among the strictest measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. Nygren and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Otto Tso, who temporarily is overseeing the tribe’s legislative branch, jointly announced the lifting of the mask mandate on social media Friday evening. They cited figures from tribal health officials that show there’s a low risk of transmission, based on the seven-day incidence rate of 51 cases per 100,000 people.

Japan to downgrade COVID-19 status, enabling reduction in restrictions

Japan is downgrading the status of COVID-19 in the next three months to a Class 5 disease, the same level as seasonal influenza, according to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The government will re-examine pandemic preventive measures such as mask wearing, Voice of America reports. Speaking to reporters Friday, Kishida said he instructed officials to examine the specific requirements for a reclassification of COVID, as well as conduct a review of pandemic restrictions that have been in place for nearly three years. Japan currently classifies COVID-19 as a Class 2 infectious disease, like tuberculosis and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. 

That status allows the government to take extensive steps aimed at preventing its spread, such as limitations on the movements of infected people and their close contacts. A downgrade in classification would mark a significant step toward normalizaling social and economic activities in Japan, and would probably result in foreigners being able to enter Japan without PCR tests or quarantine.

U.S. sees relief as cases, hospitalizations and deaths fall

The seven-day average of weekly new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. decreased by 23.9% compared with the previous week’s average, falling to 47,459 from 62,397, according to updated figures released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average number of daily hospitalizations also decreased by 16.4% to 5,014 from the prior week’s average of 5,997. After tallying the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities since late August last week, confirmed COVID-19 deaths also show signs of slowing with the current daily average of 565 marking a 6.1% improvement over the previous average of 601. Better yet, the health agency’s weekly report shows the prevalence of the fall’s most prominent viruses — the flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID — trending down at a rapid rate, with emergency room visits following suit.