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A drive through COVID testing site in Columbus.

Ohio’s top doctor says an ‘Omicron Tsunami’ is hitting the state right now

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the record-high number of cases right now is driving record-high hospitalizations. He uses the word, “tsunami” when describing this surge, driven by the omicron variant. “Our state is experiencing the highest number of COVID-19 driven in-patient hospitalizations, ICU admissions and… Read More

A Hollywood, Calif., classroom sits empty in August 2020. At least 3,229 schools around the U.S. announced they were canceling in-person learning as of Monday evening.

Officials are determined to keep schools open, despite omicron

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Updated January 3, 2022 at 7:05 PM ET WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — As the coronavirus pandemic slides into a fifth school semester, there is less appetite than ever among U.S. leaders for schools to go remote, even though cases — and with them, pediatric hospitalizations — are rising. According to Burbio, an organization that tracks… Read More

Employees of Nomi Health check in a long line of people seeking COVID-19 tests

Omicron will cause more infections but lower hospital rates, analysis shows

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — A new analysis by the University of Washington shows the omicron surge will peak in a massive wave of infections by the end of January but is likely to produce far fewer severe illnesses for most people. The analysis projects the omicron wave will infect more than 400,000 people a day… Read More

People wait at a street-side testing booth in New York's Times Square on Monday.

Omicron is now the dominant COVID strain in the U.S., making up 73% of new infections

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Updated December 20, 2021 at 9:23 PM ET WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — The omicron variant is now considered the most dominant version of the coronavirus — making up 73% of new COVID-19 infections last week in the U.S., according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday. The new… Read More

Former NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins speaks in a hearing

U.S. could see 1 million cases per day, warns departing NIH director Francis Collins

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — After spending more than 12 years as director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins is retiring this weekend. But he’s no less worried about the public health agency’s latest pandemic curveball. As the omicron variant threatens record-breaking rates of infections in the U.S., Collins departs with a warning…. Read More

A technician from the Findlay College of Pharmacy fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Reynoldsburg, February 2021.

The COVID situation in Ohio is not great. It’s expected to worsen in the coming weeks

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The positive case and hospitalization numbers right now are rivaling what was seen in Ohio last winter. Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said 9,738 probable and confirmed positive cases of COVID Wednesday. Thursday, that number was even higher. There are 10,456 positive and confirmed cases, after… Read More

The omicron variant under a microscope

A clue as to why omicron is spreading so quickly

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — Omicron is spreading lightning fast. In the U.S., the percentage of cases caused by this new coronavirus variant jumped seven times in just a week, from 0.4% of the total cases sequenced to 2.9%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. And it’s already causing about 13% of cases in… Read More

Remnants of the COVID-19 Pandemic are seen in Athens, Ohio, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. [Joseph Scheller | WOUB]

2 cases of omicron variant of COVID-19 found in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Health officials in Ohio say two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state. The Ohio Department of Health said the presence of the new variant was confirmed following genomic sequencing at the Ohio State University laboratory. Officials said the two adult males in central Ohio… Read More

A COVID vaccine

The good and bad news when it comes to COVID in Ohio right now

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — State health leaders say COVID hospitalizations are the highest they’ve been since January before vaccines were widely available. And Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the Delta variant is still stressing many facilities, especially where vaccination rates are lower than the state’s average. “Higher vaccination rates… Read More

Hopkins County Schools Superintendent Deanna Ashby received a vaccine earlier this month.

Studies suggest sharp drop in vaccine protection vs. omicron — yet cause for optimism

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — With the omicron variant continuing to spread in a number of countries, including the U.S., scientists have been anxiously awaiting data to answer this question: How well will the vaccines work against this new variant? On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, scientists in South Africa and Germany released preliminary results from… Read More

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff

There’s another spike in Ohio’s COVID case numbers

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The most recent COVID case numbers from the Ohio Department of Health show more than 9,000 positive and confirmed cases of the virus. Ohio Health Dept Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the case numbers from the past couple of days are rising. “These numbers are comparable to what we… Read More

President Joe Biden speaks as he announces that he is nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Nov. 22, 2021.

Biden says omicron variant is cause for concern but not panic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — President Biden said Monday that while travel restrictions imposed on travelers from several southern African nations would slow the entry of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, “it cannot prevent it.” “Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases,” he said in an address to the American people. Biden added: “This… Read More