Pfizer CEO says an omicron vaccine will be ready in March January 11, 2022 by Editorial staff Why some COVID experts support throat and nose swabs for your home test: With attention intensely focused on how to get rapid home tests for COVID-19, a debate has arisen over how to most effectively use the coveted kits amid the omicron wave – namely, should you opt for the throat as well as the nose? The possible differences in the way omicron proliferates in the body compared to previous variants have led to disagreements – including among prominent infectious disease experts – over whether users of self-kit test should take samples from their throat in addition to their nose. Read the full story here. How long can I continue to use the same N95 respirator mask? Here’s what Bay Area experts say: Disposable masks are not necessarily single use, but they cannot be reused for long periods of time. So how long can you wear one before you have to throw it away and use a new one? The short answer, according to experts: it depends. Read the full story here. The CEO of Pfizer said an omicron vaccine would be ready in March: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said a vaccine specially designed to fight the omicron variant would be ready in March during an appearance on CNBC on Monday. While the precise utility and extent of demand for variant-specific vaccines was not immediately clear, Bourla said, “the hope is that we achieve something that will provide much better protection, especially against infections “as opposed to the prevention of serious illness, hospitalization and death. Omicron could infect 50% of Europe within the next 6-8 weeks, according to the WHO director: If current trends persist, 50% of Europe could be infected with the omicron variant within the next six to eight weeks, a senior official at the World Health Organization has said. EU hospitals are also expected to bear the brunt of such a massive influx of new patients, according to Hans Kluge, the WHO official. “Once again, the greatest burden of responding to this pandemic is borne by our health and care workers, and other essential frontline workers. They are also the most exposed to the virus, ”he said. during a briefing on the surge in Europe. Sonoma County bans large gatherings and advises residents to shelter in place for the next 30 days: Sonoma County prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors, and recommends that all residents shelter in place and avoid contact with people outside their homes in over the next 30 days to help slow an omicron-fueled coronavirus wave. Read the full story here. COVID in California shatters the pandemic – more than 1 in 5 positive test rates: California marked a pandemic high for positive coronavirus test results on Monday, with more than one in five tests showing COVID-19 infection, as hospitals braced for an even larger influx of new patients. With more than 6 million cumulative coronavirus cases reported since the start of the pandemic, California’s most recent 7-day average reached a 22% positive rate on January 5. Read the full article here. This Bay Area school district returned to distance learning on Monday amid the omicron wave: Hayward Unified returned to distance education on Monday, the first major Bay Area district to return to online learning amid the omicron wave as districts struggled over the last week to staff the classrooms. Read the full story here. Palo Alto is looking for parent volunteers to keep schools open: Schools in Palo Alto are under a ‘call to action’, imploring parent volunteers to help while staff members are away due to the COVID-19 crisis. Parents are needed “in designated roles that are coordinated by the PTA and the school administration,” Palo Alto Unified officials said on the district’s website. The district said it received responses from 360 parents on Monday morning. Jobs include helping with coronavirus tests, lunch and recess, light duty duties, office work, and classroom support. SF Health Department cut hours at 4 COVID testing sites amid the omicron wave. Here’s why: Four COVID-19 testing sites affiliated with the San Francisco Department of Public Health have temporarily cut operating hours in response to staff shortages and increasing processing times for test results, health officials said. the city. Read the full story here. California officials warn of rising prices for home coronavirus test kits: With coronavirus tests nearly impossible to find in the Bay Area – and San Francisco health officials saying they will limit testing at the start of this week due to “challenges beyond our control” – California officials are putting now on guard against price increases for home test kits. Read the full story here. Healthcare workers oppose new NHQ return-to-work guidelines: Organizations representing healthcare workers have reacted strongly against new guidelines from California health officials saying these workers can stay on the job if they are infected with COVID-19 but do not show symptoms. Health unions have predicted that waiving stricter precautions will increase outbreaks in the workplace and put vulnerable patients at risk. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West said hospitals should reject the guidelines and maintain more stringent precautions such as requiring a negative test before a healthcare worker who is positive or exposed to COVID-19 returns to work. “Our union will fight for safe working conditions for hospital workers who have continuously risked their lives during this pandemic,” said union president Dave Regan.