US New hurdle for COVID-19 home testing -- the holiday season
Washington Nationals sued by ex-employees over vaccine firing
The Washington Nationals are being sued by two former employees who were fired for refusing to comply with the team’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Lawrence (Larry) Pardo and Brad Holman were pitching coaches in the Nats’ organization. The two refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons and were fired by the Nats as a result. The team instituted a mandate on Aug. 12 that went into effect on Sept. 10, leading to the firing of both men.Now the two have filed a lawsuit against the club, TMZ Sports reports.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more home tests for COVID-19 are hitting store shelves, but will there be enough for Americans hoping to screen themselves before holiday gatherings?
Gone are last year's long lines to get tested, thanks to nearly a year of vaccinations, increased testing supplies and quicker options. But with many Americans unvaccinated and reports of infections among those who've gotten the shots, some are looking to home tests for an extra layer of safety ahead of this year's festivities.
Millions of Americans return to holiday travel; home COVID tests raise challenges for public health officials: Live updates
Home COVID-19 tests during the Thanksgiving holiday raise challenges for public health officials. More live updates.While these quick home tests are hailed as a major convenience and a smart way to protect loved ones, they’ve also raised a significant challenge for public health officials.
Janis Alpine of Seattle is getting together with seven relatives for Thanksgiving, including her 97-year-old father. While everyone is vaccinated, she plans to bring enough Abbott rapid tests for them to use.
“I’m just used to testing now," said Alpine, who is retired. “Even though he’s vaccinated, just getting a little bit sick is probably not the best thing for a 97-year-old.”
She began testing herself regularly in September after flights to Las Vegas and the East Coast for vacation. Because local pharmacies sometimes sell out of tests, she usually buys five packs at a time when she finds them.
After, chains like CVS and Walgreens now say they have ample supplies and recently lifted limits on how many can be purchased at one time. The shift comes after test makers ramped up production, spurred by more than $3 billion in new purchasing contracts and assistance from the government. Home tests are typically more than $10 each and take about 15 minutes.
Fact check: Kids can send letters to Santa, receive gifts through USPS 'Operation Santa'
Since Nov. 1, children around the country can send their Christmas letters to Santa as part of a program coordinated by the USPS.But some Americans may not be able to afford gifts this year, as was the case in 2020 when nearly one in three reported skipping gift-giving due to COVID-19.
Despite the improving picture, health experts warn that a winter surge could easily overwhelm supplies, especially ifand colder weather continue across the country. And, they note, the U.S. is still far from having the kind of cheap or free widespread testing seen in some European countries that were early adopters of the technology.
Toys bring special joy to kids at the holidays. Inflation could play Grinch with donations this year.
Toy prices are up amid record inflation, leaving Toys for Tots and other charities working to make up the difference ahead of Hanukkah and Christmas.Rising toy prices, up as much as 10%, and potential shortages of popular items could challenge holiday shoppers. Charity donation drives and the people they serve may be most significantly affected, as overall economic pressures raise the number of children in need of dolls, games and puzzles while also diminishing donors' ability to give.
“Unfortunately, we’re still going to be playing catch-up until next year or until demand subsides,” said Neil Sehgal, a health policy specialist at the University of Maryland.
White House officials say the U.S. is on pace to have about 200 million home tests per month by December, quadrupling the number from this summer. Still, spot shortages continue, particularly in cities and suburban communities with higher rates of testing.
“I couldn't find them for the longest time," said Denise Weiss, a retired musician in suburban Philadelphia.
Video: Children Urged To Get COVID-19 Vaccine As Cases Surge (CBS Minnesota)
This is why you can't find rapid at-home Covid tests in America
While developing a rapid test that detects the coronavirus in someone's saliva, Blink Science, a Florida-based startup, heard something startling: The Food and Drug Administration had more than 3,000 emergency use authorization applications and didn't have the resources to get through them. © Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images Negative NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 Lateral Flow Tests used for routine home testing when someone is showing no signs of COVID-19. These tests have all been used and show the person who has taken them has tested negative for COVID-19, photo taken on the 13th, May, 2021 in Folkestone, United Kingdom.
She was able to snap up six tests online last month and plans to share them with family members, particularly her son and daughter who are traveling home via plane and train for Thanksgiving.
Market leader Abbott says it is back to producing 50 million of its BinaxNow tests per month, after slashing production last summer when testing demand plummeted. Only a few home tests are widely available nationwide with new ones set to launch, including from Acon Laboratories.
Much of the upcoming supply won’t be available at places like CVS, Walmart and Target. Bulk purchases by federal and state officials will be distributed to community health centers, nursing homes, schools and other government facilities.
Large employers and private universities are also buying up millions of tests. Under the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers, workers who haven’t been vaccinated are supposed to get tested weekly starting in January.
“We have a little bit of a challenge right now and the math is not perfect” said Mara Aspinall, a health industry researcher at Arizona State University. “While having these tests on the shelves is terrific so people can feel empowered personally, we also have to balance where they are going.”
Bidens open holidays with Christmas tree and 'friendsgiving'
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden opened the holiday season at the White House by breaking off a sprig from the official Blue Room tree and giving it — and a big smooch — to her toddler grandson. “Look how beautiful this is,” the first lady said of the 18 1/2-foot (5.6 meter) Fraser fir that was delivered by wagon to her Pennsylvania Avenue doorstep by Clydesdale horses named Ben and Winston. “It is beautiful. It's magnificent, really,” she said Monday.The first lady later joined President Joe Biden for a visit to the Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina to celebrate “friendsgiving” with service members and military families.
Under pressure from the Biden administration, the Food and Drug Administration has been clearing home tests at a faster pace, authorizing four of the 13 tests now available in the last two months. In an unusual move, the White House recently announced that the National Institutes of Health will help vet the most promising ones. But it will take time for companies to make and distribute the tests.
The U.S. made huge initial investments into vaccines, essentially betting that widespread immunity would crush the pandemic. But with roughly 60 million Americans age 12 and up still not vaccinated, experts say every region of the country is still vulnerable to the type of outbreaks flaring up in states like Michigan and New Mexico.
For testing advocates, the pandemic’s persistence underscores the need for rapid, widespread COVID-19 screening to quickly catch infections before they spread-- ansince the beginning of the U.S. outbreak.
Countries like Britain distributes billions of tests for free and recommend testing twice a week. If the U.S. took that approach for everyone 12 and older, it would need 2.3 billion tests per month, researchers with the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation noted in a. That’s more than seven times the 300 million monthly tests officials are hoping the country will have by February.
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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
LSU’s top three head-coaching targets reportedly revealed .
Kentucky's Mark Stoops was listed at No. 3 behind Jimbo Fisher and Bill O’Brien. VERY Good LSU source just saw my report and told me the LSU list is this 1. Jimbo Fischer2. Bill O Brien3. Mark Stoops In that order — Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 19, 2021 The list makes sense. Fisher has been a known top target for LSU’s athletic director. O’Brien is the current offensive coordinator at Alabama. He previously was the head coach of the Houston Texans and won the AFC South four times in six seasons. O’Brien also coached Penn State for two seasons before James Franklin took over.