December 2, 2023

Jill Biden tested positive for Covid and is experiencing “mild symptoms”, per a 4 September statement from the White House.

New Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna are now available at pharmacies nationwide, and the US is restarting its free Covid test program.

Tests can be ordered from starting September 25; you can order four per household.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending one dose of the updated vaccine for everyone six months and older in the US; some children may be eligible for up to three doses depending on their age and previous vaccination status.

Hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 have been rising for weeks in the US, and global health authorities are monitoring two new variants, BA.2.86, known as Pirola, and EG.5, known as Eris.

First reported in February, Eris is now responsible for nearly 25 per cent of Covid cases in the US, per CDC data.

Some experts are urging Americans to wear a mask when necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

CDC Covid tracker

20,538 hospitalisations from 3 September to 9 September


Some people may want to space out their vaccines, FDA official says

A top-ranking official at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently said he may space out his influenza and Covid vaccines, even though it’s safe to get both at the same time, per reporting from CBS News.

“Some people are saying, ‘Well, could I get RSV, Covid, and the flu vaccine on the same day?’” Dr Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said in a recent call with stakeholders. “Yes, indeed, you could. But, honestly, I might not.”

Dr Marks went on to explain that he recommends spacing out the vaccines—for people who live near a pharmacy—in order to lessen side effects like fever or fatigue.

This may not be a good option for people in rural areas, though, Dr Marks said. “I might just want to space them out a little bit,” he explained. “But if you had to drive a lot of miles to get the vaccines, then it might not be unreasonable to get all three of them [Covid, flu, and RSV] at once.”

Maggie O’Neill26 September 2023 00:00


Americans can now order free Covid tests from the government

Starting today, Americans can order free Covid tests from the government. All households are eligible for four tests; orders can be placed at

To place an order, you need only to input your address and contact information.

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 21:00


President Biden receives updated Covid vaccine

President Biden received the updated Covid vaccine, now available in pharmacies nationwide, as well as his flu shot, according to a White House statement from the physician to the president.

The statement reiterated that almost all Americans are eligible for both shots.

“As we enter the cold and flu season, the President encourages all Americans to follow his example and to check with their healthcare provider or pharmacist to assure that they are fully vaccinated,” the statement said.

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 18:00


Biden administration awards millions to Covid test manufacturers

The Biden administration has awarded $600 million to Covid test manufacturers across the country, per the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 15:00


You should see a doctor for Covid if you develop these symptoms

Not everyone infected with Covid develops symptoms. But certain warning signs should prompt a visit to a hospital or urgent care centre.

According to Mass General Brigham, severe trouble breathing; new dizziness or confusion; persistent pressure or pain in the chest; inability to stay awake; and discoloration of the skin, nail beds, or lips all signal that you need emergent help.

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 12:00


Some counties in California are reinstating mask guidelines

As deaths and hospitalisations from Covid continue to rise, some California counties are requiring masks in certain settings again, NBC Bay Area reports.

Many counties will require people to mask in public areas like healthcare centres or jails, and some counties have said that people must wear masks in businesses, government offices, or public transportation hubs that require them.

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 07:00


Public health authorities urge Americans to stay home if they are sick

Staying home if you suspect you are ill will be crucial in reducing cases of respiratory viruses this year, experts say.

The agency also encourages employers to “review and communicate their sick leave policies and practices to employees every year before flu season begins” to make sure employees know what they’re allowed to do when they’re ill.

Maggie O’Neill25 September 2023 02:00


Experts say it’s fine to get flu and Covid vaccines together

For those looking to minimise trips to the pharmacy, it is okay to get both the Covid and flu shots at the same time, public health authorities say.

Maggie O’Neill24 September 2023 21:00


How to get free Covid tests from the government

The federal government is restarting its mail-order Covid test program, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week.

Maggie O’Neill24 September 2023 18:00


Pandemic babies may have altered gut bacteria, study finds

Infants whose first year was spent during the pandemic have “fewer types of bacteria in their gut”, a report funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found.

The authors noted that the differences observed in the pandemic babies could be due to “the social changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with infants potentially experiencing more time at home, less time in daycare interacting with other children, increased hygiene in the environment, changes to diet and breastfeeding practices, and increased caregiver stress”.

It’s too soon to say what this could mean for babies born during the pandemic, a press release on the new research says: “The authors say that…speculating on the health implications of gut microbiome differences should be done with caution.”

Maggie O’Neill24 September 2023 15:00


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