U.K. System Strained as Health Care Workers Get Covid Themselves

LONDON — In the hospital in southwest England where Joanna Poole works as an intensive care doctor and anesthesiologist, the last few weeks have been a blur of canceled operations for lack of beds and a scramble to plug holes in schedules because of coronavirus cases among the staff.

From day to day she is unsure who will be available to work, including herself. One day this month, she said, most of her department had to go home to take tests after coming into contact with an infected colleague, throwing the staffing schedule into turmoil.

Dr. Poole, 32, wants to

California Requires Health Workers to Get Boosters by Feb. 1

California will require health care workers to get booster shots by Feb. 1, officials announced on Wednesday, as part of a series of measures intended to stave off hospital staffing shortfalls and to keep schools open despite the unsettlingly rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The state will also require workers in high-risk congregate settings like nursing homes and prisons to get booster shots.

Public health officials said the Feb. 1 deadline applies to workers who are eligible for booster shots under federal guidelines because it has been six months since they received their second dose of

CityMD Temporarily Shuts 19 Locations Amid Urgent Testing Demands

As lines at testing sites grow longer and coronavirus cases surge, the privately owned urgent care clinic CityMD has temporarily closed 19 of its 150 locations in New York and New Jersey, the company announced.

The company cited staffing shortages as the reason for the closures of the locations, 13 of which are in New York City. The closures began on Wednesday, and CityMD has not said how long they will last.

“Continuing to provide these services to the community is a top priority; however, our physicians and teammates are also a priority,” the company said in a statement late

Omicron is here. What are your treatment options if you get Covid-19?

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the coming omicron wave, but there’s one thing we can be pretty sure about: A lot of people are going to get sick. Omicron is highly contagious, and people with previous immunity from a Covid-19 infection, or from vaccination, appear more vulnerable to omicron than to previous variants.

For vaccinated people, omicron cases are likely to be mild, but even a small fraction of cases resulting in hospitalization can overwhelm hospitals if enough people get sick at once — which looks likely to happen.

That means that as the wave sweeps the …

Studies Find Omicron May Be Less Severe Than Delta

We’re covering new data from Britain about the severity of Omicron and an easing of sanctions on Afghanistan.

Omicron infections more often result in mild illness compared with previous variants of the coronavirus, offering hope that the current surge may be less catastrophic than feared.

The research, conducted in Britain and released on Wednesday, indicated that Omicron was less likely to put people in hospitals. One study looked at hospital admissions for the Delta and Omicron variants in November and December and found a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization. A separate analysis looked at Omicron and Delta cases

Reimposed travel restrictions spoil another Christmas season in the Holy Land.

JERUSALEM — In an effort to contain the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Israeli authorities have barred most international travelers from entering Israel or the West Bank until at least the end of December, leaving holy sites in Bethlehem, Nazareth and the Old City of Jerusalem devoid of foreign visitors for a second Christmas.

But those who depend on tourism or whose relatives are unable to visit have been frustrated by the Israeli government, which they have accused of inconsistency, and even discrimination, in applying travel restrictions. The government allowed entry to international beauty pageant contestants and

Turkey issues emergency-use authorization for its domestically produced vaccine.

Turkey granted emergency-use approval for a domestically developed Covid vaccine on Wednesday, adding a third inoculation option for its citizens, as the Omicron variant increasingly fuels outbreaks in Europe and beyond.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the vaccine, called Turkovac, was expected to be ready for widespread use by the end of December. It joins the two vaccines already being administered in Turkey: the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has shown initial success at stopping Omicron infections among people who have received booster shots, and the CoronaVac vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinovac.

The Turkish authorities said they hoped the Turkish-developed

What would it cost to end the pandemic?

After President Biden laid out his administration’s new plan Tuesday to take on the Omicron variant, The New York Times’s DealBook team spoke with medical and policy professionals about what he got right — and where he could have gone farther.

And then, inspired by a post by Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Institute and drawing on insights from Dr. Joseph Allen of Harvard University and Dr. Ashish Jha of Brown University, DealBook calculated the cost of what health experts think might be necessary to help end the pandemic.

Rapid tests. While experts welcomed Mr. Biden’s plan to

Holiday traveling and Omicron: Here are some strategies for staying safe.

Even as the number of coronavirus cases is skyrocketing in some parts of the United States, largely driven by the Omicron variant, the holiday travel rush appears unstoppable. On Friday, Los Angeles International Airport reported its busiest day since early 2020, and on Sunday, 2.1 million people passed through airports in the United States, nearly twice as many as at this time last year.

For people who are determined to keep their travel plans, figuring out how to do so responsibly remains confusing. So what can travelers do?

  • Get a booster. Only one in six Americans have received a booster,

‘The Daily’: A Covid testing crisis, again.

michael barbaro

From The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily.

Today: As demand for Covid testing surges and vastly outstrips the supply of available tests, we look at why shortages still remain two years into the pandemic and what President Biden can do about it. I spoke with my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg.


It’s Wednesday, December 22.

So the way this day really begins is with me giving Michael Simon Johnson a better mask than the light blue surgical one he had.

michael barbaro

That is a fine-fitting KN95.

michael simon johnson

Yeah, you can