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US companies including NFL, Met Opera and universities mandate Covid booster shots for employees


As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 explodes across the United States, various elite institutions are beginning to mandate booster shots of the vaccine.

The National Football League announced that it was mandating all Tier 1 and 2 staff and personnel get boosters by December 27. While that doesn’t require players get the jab, it does include coaches and some high-level team personnel. 

In a memo sent to the NFL’s 32 teams on Monday, the league said: ‘Given the increased prevalence of the virus in our communities, our experts have recommended that we implement the CDC‘s recommendation.’ 

The requirement is under CDC guidelines, which asks anyone who got the Pfizer and Moderna shots more than six months ago or the Johnson & Johnson shot more than two months ago should get the booster jab.   

Those exempt from the requirement include those who received monoclonal antibodies in the last 90 days and anyone in the 90-day test holiday after becoming positive with the virus.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is mandating Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for all players and staff

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell is mandating Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for all players and staff

New York University is one of the institutions mandating Covid-19 booster shots for those on-campus. On Wednesday, New York University canceled all non-academic events and encouraged professors to move finals online

New York University is one of the institutions mandating Covid-19 booster shots for those on-campus. On Wednesday, New York University canceled all non-academic events and encouraged professors to move finals online

The Metropolitan Opera is requiring all employees, staff and ticketed guests to get a booster shot

The Metropolitan Opera is requiring all employees, staff and ticketed guests to get a booster shot

Georgetown University in Washington is also requiring students and faculty to receive the booster

Georgetown University in Washington is also requiring students and faculty to receive the booster

Nearly 50 million Americans have received a coronavirus vaccine booster shot, according to latest Census data

Nearly 50 million Americans have received a coronavirus vaccine booster shot, according to latest Census data

Should those individuals become eligible, they would need to get the booster within 14 days.   

A season-high 36 players were placed on the league’s COVID-19 list on Monday.

Metropolitan Opera announced yesterday that all eligible adult employees and audience members must get booster shots in order to enter. 

The Metropolitan Museum has not yet made the boosters required and did not respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.

Some universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, Syracuse, Fordham, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Stanford, Boston College, Wesleyan, Brown, Loyola Chicago, the University of New Mexico, University of Delaware and NYU, are also requiring the booster shots.

Meanwhile, investment bank Jeffries is requiring a booster shot by January 31

The Washington Post is requiring employees to get the booster shot and mandating weekly testing

The Washington Post is requiring employees to get the booster shot and mandating weekly testing

States on the coasts and in the south and midwest have all seen double digit percent increases in Covid cases in the past two weeks

States on the coasts and in the south and midwest have all seen double digit percent increases in Covid cases in the past two weeks

Omicron replicates in the air 70 TIMES quicker than Delta, study finds 

The Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the airways, according to a study.

Hong Kong University researchers also found the new variant replicates 10 times slower in the lungs than predecessors.

The finding may explain why the mutant virus is spreading at a ferocious pace, and also lends weight to the theory it is milder than the past variants, something which doctors in South Africa have been claiming for weeks. 

The researchers exposed lung tissue in a laboratory to the original Covid strain that was identified in Wuhan last year, along with the two variants, to compare how the viruses behave after infection.

Omicron replicated faster in the bronchus — tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs — suggesting people with the strain may be more infectious.

Higher viral loads nearer the throat means people are more likely to breathe out viral particles. 

Delta was found to duplicate much quicker in the lungs, where more of the virus can lead to the most severe illness. 

The finding may be the biological clue behind why doctors insist people infected with the strain only suffer cold-like symptoms.

But Dr Michael Chan Chi-wai, a public health expert at Hong Kong University and chief investigator, warned speed of replication is only one way of measuring the severity of Covid infection and individuals can still become unwell with the virus.

And the threat from Omicron ‘is likely to be very significant’ and could lead to higher rates of severe illness and deaths at a population level than other strains by infecting many more people, he said.

The findings add to data, studies and reports from doctors on the ground that the virus spreads rapidly but causes less severe symptoms. 

Omicron cases in the US have soared by 32 per cent in 24 hours, with White House COVID tsar Dr Anthony Fauci warning of of the variant’s ‘extraordinary’ ability to spread, before revealing that cases will double every three days. 

Confirmed US Omicron cases jumped by a third overnight, from 241 on Wednesday to 319 on Thursday. But experts have warned those are the tip of the iceberg, and that American cases likely already number in the tens of thousands. 

Immunologists have also forecast a potential triple-whammy of Omicron, Delta and regular flu infections this winter. Two doctors interviewed by DailyMail.com said those who haven’t received a booster shot should consider returning to Spring 2020-style self-isolation, when COVID’s Alpha variant raged through the US, and no vaccines were available. 

Speaking on Good Morning America on Thursday, Fauci also confirmed Omicron was on track to be the dominant Covid strain in America within weeks.

He said: ‘Certainly what [Omicron] is showing us in other countries [is that it spreads faster than other variants] and I believe soon in our own country.

‘It has an extraordinary ability to transmit efficiently and spread. It has what we call a doubling time of around three days.

‘And if you do the math on that, if you have just a couple of percentage of the isolates being Omicron, very soon it’s going to be the dominant variant. We’ve seen that in South Africa, we’re seeing it in the U.K. and I’m absolutely certain that’s what we’re going to be seeing here relatively soon.’ 

The doubling time of three days is slightly longer than the 2.5 days reported by British and South African health officials. On Thursday, the UK recorded its second-consecutive day of record infections – 88,376 – 24 hours after Wednesday’s total of 78,610. That is a 74 per cent jump in a week, with 15 people who’ve been infected with Omicron so-far hospitalized in the UK. 

The US is much larger, with most of its landmass not as densely populated as the UK or South Africa. 

But Omicron is believed to represent up to 13 per cent of new diagnoses in New Jersey and New York – states with extremely well-populated areas – giving a possible early taste of what’s to come with the new strain. 

Fauci continues to urge Americans to get vaccinated, and boosted, to protect themselves from the virus, especially now with the new threat of Omicron circulating. A total of 16.5 per cent of Americans have so-far had the booster shot. 

‘We need to do everything that we have been talking about up to now, and even more so,’ he said.  

He spoke hours after the CDC agency released forecasts on Wednesday night showing that weekly Covid cases will increase by 55 percent to 1.3 million per week – or 185,714 per day – by Christmas. 

It also predicted deaths with jump by 73 percent to up to 15,600 per day by early January – or 2,228 deaths per day.  

The CDC projects that up to 15,600 Americans will die of Covid during the week that ends on January 8

The CDC also projects that there will be up to 1.3 million new Covid cases recorded during the week of Christmas

The CDC released these projections on Thursday, predicting 15,600 Covid deaths for the week ending January 8, and 1.3 million infections for the week that concludes on Christmas Day  

Other institutions are making similar adjustments as they see more cases being reported. 

California is re-imposing its statewide mask mandate for all indoor public spaces beginning Wednesday and lasting at least a month as COVID-19 figures ratchet.

Cases have spiked 47 percent in the Golden State since Thanksgiving, and the alarming rise triggered the order, said California health agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

‘We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy,’ Ghaly told reporters during a press briefing. ‘Frankly, I am too. ‘That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.’ 

Princeton University has joined Cornell in moving its final exams online after reporting a surge of dozens of COVID cases – up from zero on Sunday – that it says are likely driven by the highly-contagious Omicron variant.

The CEOs of two of America’s biggest airlines said on Wednesday they do not think masks should be required on planes any longer – even as new cases of the Omicron variant spread across the nation.

At a Senate hearing about the financial support airlines received in 2020 and 2021, Sen. Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican on the Senate committee, asked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and Southwest CEO Gary Kelly their thoughts on the federal government’s mask mandate for flying.

‘I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add very much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,’ Kelly said. ‘It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting. 

Meanwhile, a study suggests the Omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the airways, according to a study.

Hong Kong University researchers also found the new variant replicates 10 times slower in the lungs than predecessors.

The finding may explain why the mutant virus is spreading at a ferocious pace, and also lends weight to the theory it is milder than the past variants, something which doctors in South Africa have been claiming for weeks. 

The researchers exposed lung tissue in a laboratory to the original Covid strain that was identified in Wuhan last year, along with the two variants, to compare how the viruses behave after infection.

Omicron replicated faster in the bronchus — tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs — suggesting people with the strain may be more infectious.

Higher viral loads nearer the throat means people are more likely to breathe out viral particles. 

Delta was found to duplicate much quicker in the lungs, where more of the virus can lead to the most severe illness. 

The finding may be the biological clue behind why doctors insist people infected with the strain only suffer cold-like symptoms.

The graphs show the amount of the coronavirus detected in human bronchial cells (left) and lung cells (right) 24 and 48 hours after coming into contact with the original strain of the virus (pink), Delta (orange) and Omicron (red). There was 70 times more Omicron recorded in the bronchus — the main pipe connecting the airways and lungs — compared to previous strains, but 10 times less virus in the lungs when compared to the original version and Delta. Experts from the University of Hong Kong said this suggests the virus is more transmissible but may cause less severe illness

The graphs show the amount of the coronavirus detected in human bronchial cells (left) and lung cells (right) 24 and 48 hours after coming into contact with the original strain of the virus (pink), Delta (orange) and Omicron (red). There was 70 times more Omicron recorded in the bronchus — the main pipe connecting the airways and lungs — compared to previous strains, but 10 times less virus in the lungs when compared to the original version and Delta. Experts from the University of Hong Kong said this suggests the virus is more transmissible but may cause less severe illness



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