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OMICRON VARIANT

A seemingly endless stream of “subvariants” of omicron, the most recent Greek-letter variant, has emerged in the past few months. How different are these subvariants from one another? Can infection by one subvariant protect someone from infection by another subvariant? And how well are the existing coronavirus vaccines doing against the subvariants? We asked medical and epidemiological experts these and other questions.
Health officials say that declining hospitalizations is a better metric for tracking spread.
Federal health officials say the best prevention against COVID-19 infection among infants, who cannot be vaccinated, is for pregnant women and new mothers to become vaccinated.
The omicron variant of COVID-19 is more transmissible than previous variants and these higher-grade masks received are good at blocking droplets, according to public health leaders.

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After two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a Minnesota emergency room physician talks about the toll on hospital staff and patients.
Modeling scientists say cases and hospitalizations now in decline, but have a long way to go. With 1 in 4 residents already infected, the state could see up to 1 in every 2 Minnesotans having been infected by mid-March.
When given early, lab-engineered antibody infusions have reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations among persons at high risk. Previous versions of these treatments do not appear to work against the omicron variant, however. Replacement products are in short supply, with providers given a few dozen treatments weekly while managing hundreds of new patients.
Gov. Tim Walz announced that the first round of staffing support teams was set to move out to 23 hospitals.
The CDC clarified on its website "that people can choose respirators such as N95s and KN95s, including removing concerns related to supply shortages for N95s."
A year ago, the newly available vaccine offered hope that the COVID-19 pandemic may be under control by the start of 2022. Instead, the sudden arrival of Omicron has brought a surge in coronavirus cases across the globe.

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Rising cases snarled air travel over Christmas weekend as flight crews contracted the virus, causing thousands of flight cancellations.

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