COVID News: CDC urges at-home testing ahead of indoor gatherings

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
CDC recommends at-home COVID testing before indoor gatherings
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The CDC is recommending at-home COVID testing ahead of indoor gatherings this holiday season.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the delta and omicron COVID variants spread in the U.S., the CDC is trying to boost testing as another tool to stop the spread.

The agency is now urging people to use a rapid test before going to any indoor gathering, even if they are vaccinated and don't have symptoms.

At-home tests are now available at most pharmacies, and the Biden administration is requiring reimbursement for these tests by health insurance companies.

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

Judge grants hearing to reconsider NYC's mandate for municipal workers

A judge in New York on Tuesday granted a hearing to consider a restraining order on the city's vaccine mandate that applies to all municipal workers, including police officers and firefighters.

2nd case of omicron variant found in CT

Gov. Ned Lamont said a second case of the omicron variant was detected in Connecticut on Tuesday.

Connecticut's second case is a fully vaccinated man in his 20s from Fairfield County who traveled to NYC in the week before his symptoms started, but has no links to the NYC Anime 2021 Convention.

How severe is omicron? Expert says variant's 50 mutations could be its downfall

Preliminary data out of South Africa is giving the world insight into how strong omicron really is. The South African Medical Research Council just reported this variant may cause less severe cases of COVID-19.

"Unvaccinated people in South Africa are going to the hospital, but they are not suffering a severe disease. They are not requiring oxygen. Their hospitals stay is about a third as long as it was with delta," said Dr. Warner Greene, MD, PhD - Gladstone Institutes, Senior Investigator and Virologist.

Omicron has 50 mutations and 32 of those are in the spike protein. Those mutations in the spike protein are making this new variant more transmissible than any other variant.

Legal challenges expected to NYC's private-sector COVID vaccine mandate

It is the first COVID vaccine mandate for the private sector in the nation, and the legal challenges will almost certainly outlast the remaining term of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Tuesday, a Staten Island-based lawyer said he will file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all unvaccinated workers across the city.

This new mandate, which the mayor announced on Monday, is scheduled to take effect just four days before he leaves office.

NYRR to require COVID-19 full vaccination to participate in 2022 races

New York Road Runners announced that runners taking part in its 2022 adult races will be required to show proof of COVID-19 full vaccination to participate.

With COVID variants and cases increasing, the decision was made in collaboration with medical and public health experts and state and local government officials. The new health and safety protocol will begin with the NYRR Midnight Run on December 31 and continue with races moving forward.

"We are excited to have our traditional calendar of events safely return in the new year," said Kerin Hempel, CEO, NYRR. "The health and wellness of all of those involved continue to remain at the forefront of our organization."

All entrants will be required to show proof of full vaccination series authorized by the Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or on the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use lists. Runners who have already registered for a 2022 race will have the option to receive a refund or gift card or donate their race entry fee to NYRR's youth and community programs.

Sen. Gillibrand, Asian American community leaders encourage vaccine

Following the discovery of the omicron variant in New York City, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and community leaders at Hamilton-Madison House, a leading non-profit serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, to encourage vaccination against COVID-19 and to discuss issues facing the AAPI community.

Senator Gillibrand toured Hamilton-Madison House's Naturally Occurring Retirement Community and child care facility and met with community members.

NYC Vaccine Mandate

A vaccine mandate for all private-sector employers across the board in NYC will go into effect December 27, Mayor de Blasio announced on Monday. He called it a proactive, "First in the nation measure."

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