COVID Omicron News: 'Fully vaccinated' in Hawaii now means booster shots required

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you plan on vacationing in Hawaii, make sure you get your booster shot.

Hawaii's governor is changing the definition of "fully vaccinated" to include booster shots.

Visitors who haven't had all three shots, the governor says, will have to quarantine for five days.

The change won't go into effect for at least two weeks, so travelers have will time to plan accordingly.

RELATED: What are the symptoms of the COVID omicron variant?

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:



Daily cases, hospitalizations in New York continue to go down
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday that coronavirus cases across New York are continuing to decline across all regions of the state. That includes the 7-day average positive cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations

Omicron surge hasn't peaked nationwide, US surgeon general says
Areas that were among the first to get hit hard by the Omicron variant are starting to see their Covid-19 numbers level off or even improve. But that's not the case for much of the country, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.

"There are parts of the country -- New York, in particular, and other parts of the Northeast -- where we are starting to see a plateau, and in some cases, an early decline in cases," Murthy told CNN on Sunday.

"The challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace," he said. "The Omicron wave started later in other parts of the country, so we shouldn't expect a national peak in the next coming days. The next few weeks will be tough."
An average of more than 750,000 new Covid-19 infections were reported every day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Queens man who recovered from COVID twice celebrates 105th birthday

Some birthdays deserve to be recognized as extra special. A man from Bayside, Queens, who recovered from not just one, but two bouts of COVID, is celebrating his 105th birthday.

Paul Barberio's family threw the great-grandfather a party to mark the occasion. Barberio was healthy, happy, and surrounded by his loved ones.

Omicron won't be last worrisome COVID variant, scientists say
Get ready to learn more Greek letters. Scientists warn that omicron's whirlwind advance practically ensures it won't be the last version of the coronavirus to worry the world.

Every infection provides a chance for the virus to mutate, and omicron has an edge over its predecessors: It spreads way faster despite emerging on a planet with a stronger patchwork of immunity from vaccines and prior illness.
Beijing first omicron case
Beijing reported its first local omicron infection on Saturday, according to state media, just before it hosts the Olympics starting on Feb. 4 and around two weeks before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations. The infected person lives and works in the city's northwestern district of Haidian and had no travel history outside of Beijing for the past two weeks. The individual experienced symptoms on Thursday and was tested on Friday for COVID-19, officials said in a news conference Saturday. The patient's residential compound and workplace have been sealed off and authorities are mass-testing people linked to either location. Some 2,430 people had been tested as of Saturday night, according to The Global Times, a state-owned newspaper. Beijing Daily reported Sunday that the capital will require travelers to take nucleic acid tests within 72 hours of entry starting Jan. 22.

Debunking the idea viruses evolve to become less deadly over time
Scientists warn that omicron's whirlwind spread across the globe practically ensures it won't be the last worrisome coronavirus variant. As evidence mounts that the omicron variant is less deadly than prior COVID-19 strains, one oft-cited explanation is that viruses always evolve to become less virulent over time. The problem, experts say, is that this theory has been soundly debunked. The idea that infections tend to become less lethal over time was first proposed by notable bacteriologist Dr. Theobald Smith in the late 1800s. His theory about pathogen evolution was later dubbed the "law of declining virulence."
When am I contagious if infected with omicron?
When am I contagious if infected with omicron? It's not yet clear, but some early data suggests people might become contagious sooner than with earlier variants - possibly within a day after infection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the few days before and after symptoms develop. But that window of time might happen earlier with omicron, according to some outside experts. That's because omicron appears to cause symptoms faster than previous variants - about three days after infection, on average, according to preliminary studies. Based on previous data, that means people with omicron could start becoming contagious as soon as a day after infection.

Stay home or work sick? Omicron poses a conundrum for workers without paid sick days
As the raging omicron variant of COVID-19 infects workers across the nation, millions of those whose jobs don't provide paid sick days are having to choose between their health and their paycheck. While many companies instituted more robust sick leave policies at the beginning of the pandemic, some of those have since been scaled back with the rollout of the vaccines, even though omicron has managed to evade the shots. Meanwhile, the current labor shortage is adding to the pressure of workers having to decide whether to show up to their job sick if they can't afford to stay home.

"It's a vicious cycle," said Daniel Schneider, professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. "As staffing gets depleted because people are out sick, that means that those that are on the job have more to do and are even more reluctant to call in sick when they in turn get sick."

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