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World Health Organization Update on Omicron
On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes. Here is a summary of what is currently known.
Current knowledge about Omicron
Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of these studies as they become available.
Transmissibility: It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in ar
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Long Term Care Industry Urges Americans to Get Vaccinated and Boosted to Protect Seniors Against Omicron During Holiday Season
With the holiday season well underway and the new Omicron variant emerging across the United States, it is critical that members of public do their part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 to protect themselves and our nation’s most vulnerable citizens – long term care residents.
The latest data released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the progress nursing homes are making with vaccination efforts, including administering booster shots to residents and staff. As of December 5, 87 percent of residents and 79 percent of staff are fully vaccinated. Of those fully vaccinated, 51 percent of residents and 22 percent have staff have received their booster shot or an additional primary dose.
Booster clinics are well underway in long term care facilities, as boosters for all three vaccines were approved in late October. Nursing homes and many assisted living comm
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The American Academy of Audiology Cautions Parents on Toy Selection this Holiday Season as the Sight & Hearing Association Releasesits Annual Noisy Toys List
“Many parents don’t realize the permanent damage a simple toy can inflict on a child’s hearing,” said Sarah Sydlowski, Au.D., Ph.D., MBA, president of the American Academy of Audiology; and associate chief improvement officer and audiology director of the Hearing Implant Program at Cleveland Clinic. “When we fail to protect a child’s hearing, the result can be irreversible hearing loss.” The inner ear contains delicate hair cells which do not regrow. Once these are damaged by noise, the result can be permanent hearing loss.
The Sight & Hearing Association has produced an annual list on noisy toys prior to the holidays for the past 24 years. Since 1939, SHA has been identifying and preventing vision and hearing loss, in partnership with other professional and community organizations, by providing screenings, education and research. "During the holiday season, we look for the most popula
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How Has The COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted The Diagnosis Of New Cancers?
Restrictions in access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in the treatment of cancer and other conditions. A new study now indicates that the pandemic also likely caused new cancer diagnoses to be delayed, a situation that could lead to worse prognoses for patients. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
For the study, a team led by Brajesh K. Lal, MD, of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, examined data from more than 9 million US veterans at 1,244 VA medical facilities. From 2018 through 2020, there were 3.9 million procedures used to diagnose cancer and 251,647 new cancers diagnosed. The researchers found that procedures to diagnose cancer were used less frequently in 2020. There were also fewer new diagnoses of cancer in 20