Fauci news – live: ​​US ‘hitting Omicron peak’ as scientists plead for politicians to leave top doctor alone

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  • Anthony Fauci
    Anthony Fauci
    American immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Rand Paul
    Rand Paul
    United States Senator from Kentucky

Dr Anthony Fauci has defended remarks made during a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was heard calling Senator Roger Marshall “a moron” when the senator questioned if he should have a publicly available financial disclosure form on Tuesday.

Dr Fauci told MSNBC on Wednesday that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.

The infectious diseases expert also clashed with Senator Rand Paul during the hearing, who he accused of politicising the pandemic and “kindling the crazies” with his remarks. Dr Paul has since doubled down on his remarks.

Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter defending Dr Fauci from criticism that is “inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics”.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also appeared before lawmakers to answer questions on the US response to new variants of Covid, as cases of Omicron may have already peaked in large urban areas.

President Joe Biden will make an address from the White House on Thursday morning about the federal response to combat the highly transmissible variant

Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday that a new “super vaccine” could be needed to target future variants, and suggested that the US was on the “threshold” of Covid becoming endemic.

Key points

  • Incredulous Fauci mocks GOP senator

  • Omicron will find almost ‘everybody’ says Fauci

  • ‘Urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

  • Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

  • Scientists and medical professionals rally around Fauci

  • Has Omicron peaked in the US?

BREAKING - Supreme Court blocks Biden vaccine mandate set to cover 80 million workers

19:54 , Oliver O'Connell

The Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden’s push to get more Americans vaccinated amid the Covid-19 Omicron surge.

Justices handed down a ruling rejecting an Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that would have required 80 million workers to get vaccinated or submit to periodic tests.

Supreme Court tosses out Biden vaccine mandate for businesses

Covid-19 pill rollout stymied by shortages

19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Two brand-new Covid-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the US are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections.

The problem is that production is not yet at full strength and that the pill considered to be far superior, Pfizer’s, takes six to eight months to manufacture.

While the supply is expected to improve dramatically in the coming months, doctors are clamouring for the pills now, not just because omicron is causing an explosion of cases but because two antibody drugs that were once the go-to treatments don’t work as well against the variant.

“This should be a really joyous time because we now have highly effective antiviral pills,” said Erin McCreary, a pharmacist and administrator at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Instead, this feels like the hardest and most chaotic stretch of the pandemic.”

The pills — and other Covid-19 drugs, for that matter — are being carefully rationed, reserved for the highest-risk patients.

AP

Scientists rally to defend Fauci

19:24 , Oliver O'Connell

Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter of support for Dr Anthony Fauci following the fierce criticism he has faced from Republican lawmakers this week.

In the letter, Dr Fauci, one of the leading experts on infectious diseases in the US and the White House chief medical adviser, is lauded for his 40 years of service to the country through HIV, ebola, and now Covid.

Scientists defend Fauci from ‘inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded’ criticism

Ann Coulter hits out at Trump over ‘gutless’ dig over booster shots

19:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has called politicians who refuse to say whether they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot “gutless” – and he appeared to be referring to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has dodged questions on if he has taken up the latest coronavirus shot.

Speaking on conservative One America News Network, the former president said “You gotta say it. Whether you had it or not, say it.”

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter lashed out at Mr Trump in defence of Mr DeSantis on Twitter.

Jade Bremmer reports.

Trump divides conservatives with ‘gutless’ jab on boosters as Ann Coulter lashes out

Rand Paul: Fauci ‘ deserves everything he gets’

19:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has suggested that Dr Anthony Fauci “deserves” criticism for his handling of Covid and told The Independent he ‘resented’ the US chief medical adviser blaming him for threats made against the top infectious diseases expert.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

Rand Paul says Dr Fauci ‘deserves everything he gets’

Biden offers free masks and 1 billion tests

18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden said his administration will unveil a plan to provide free masks to Americans, to encourage their use in order to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Mr Biden also said on Thursday that his administration will order another half-billion at-home Covid-19 tests for mailing to any American who requests one on a yet-to-be unveiled website, adding to a previous order of 500,000 placed by the administration last month.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Biden to make free masks available and order half-billion Covid tests for mailing

Trump slams GOP politicians who dodge vaccine questions as ‘gutless'

18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump blasted GOP politicians who refuse to say if they’ve received a Covid-19 booster shot on Tuesday – a rant that some are viewing as an indirect attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Tom Fenton reports.

Trump attacks ‘gutless’ GOP politicians who dodge vaccine question

270 scientists write letter demanding Spotify address Joe Rogan anti-vax misinformation

17:56 , Oliver O'Connell

Spotify is being asked to address Covid misinformation by hundreds of scientists and medical professionals, following another controversial Joe Rogan anti-vax episode.

Rogan, who has a reported $100m podcast deal with the streaming giant, interviewed medical doctor Robert Malone in a recent episode, who claimed on his show that Americans were “hypnotised” into wearing masks and getting vaccines.

Malone also told The Joe Rogan Experience that the country suffered from “mass formation psychosis”, which psychology experts say is a concept that does not even exist.

Graeme Massie reports.

270 scientists demand Spotify address Joe Rogan anti-vax misinformation episode

ICYMI: Five times Fauci and Paul clashed over leaked emails, masks and Omicron

17:35 , Oliver O'Connell

The Republican Senator and the federal government’s lead infectious disease expert clashed over emails from early in the pandemic warning of possible “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the creation of Covid-19.

Mr Paul asked Dr Fauci it was appropriate to use his $420,000 salary to attack scientists who disagreed with the science of Dr Fauci’s, who has become the public face of the federal government’s Covid response.

Justin Vallejo reports.

Five times Anthony Fauci and Rand Paul clashed in testy Senate hearings

Un-vaxxed Quebec father temporarily loses right to see child

17:13 , Oliver O'Connell

A father in Quebec, Canada has temporarily lost the right to see his 12-year-old child because he isn’t vaccinated.

A judge in the province ruled that it wasn’t in the child’s “best interest” to see the parent after the father requested to extend his visiting time during the holiday season.

A family law expert told the Le Devoir paper that it’s the first case of a parent being banned from seeing their child because of their vaccination status.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Unvaccinated dad temporarily loses right to see 12-year-old child over Covid jab

Premium: Fauci called a GOP senator a ‘moron’ after unrelenting conservative criticism

16:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Here’s why Anthony Fauci called a GOP senator a ‘moron’

Unvaxxed Glenn Beck says he has Covid-19 again

16:27 , Oliver O'Connell

Right-wing talk radio personality Glenn Beck on Wednesday said he has contracted Covid-19 for the second time and complained about the disease’s effect on his lungs.

“It’s starting to go into my lungs today and a little disturbing. I’m on all the medications and treatments and everything else, so...it’s all good,” Beck said during an appearance on Mark Levin’s daily radio show.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Glenn Beck has Covid again after refusing vaccine: ‘It’s going into my lungs’

Biden appeals to social media companies about Covid misinformation

16:07 , Oliver O'Connell

“I make a special appeal to social media companies and media outlets, please deal with misinformation and disinformation that is shown. It has to stop.”

16:02 , Oliver O'Connell

President Biden announces that six federal medical teams will be sent next week to help overwhelmed hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan, and New Mexico.

“It’s been a long road,” Biden says as he concludes his remarks, “but what’s clear, as we get through this, when everybody does their part, no matter where you live, no matter your political party, we’ve got to fight this together.”

CDC not planning to change mask guidance

15:55 , Oliver O'Connell

CBS Senior White House correspondent Weijia Jang reports that the CDC is not planning to change its guidance to recommend wearing high-quality masks.

The CDC director Rochelle Walensky says the best mask for you is the one you are willing to wear.

1 billion tests in total

15:50 , Oliver O'Connell

President Biden announces he is directing the government to acquire 500 million Covid tests for future demand in addition to the 500 million currently in the process of being purchased for the Omicron variant wave.

White House to roll-out plan for free masks next week

15:48 , Oliver O'Connell

“Wearing a well-fitting mask” is essential says the president “please wear a mask.”

Mr Biden acknowledged “it’s a pain in the neck” but says it makes a difference.

Next week the administration will announce how it will provide high-quality masks for free.

15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

After noting the progress made in fighting the virus, Biden says: “But as long as we have tens of millions of people who will not get vaccinated, we’re going to have full hospitals and needless deaths.”

Biden begins Covid remarks

15:44 , Oliver O'Connell

“I know we’re all frustrated as we enter the new year,” President Biden says as he begins his Covid remarks, noting the surge in cases and record hospitalisations — But he goes on to note the huge disparity in outcomes between vaccinated people and unvaccinated people when they contract Covid.

Has Omicron peaked in the US?

15:31 , Oliver O'Connell

The number of new Covid cases in several major cities that saw massive spikes beginning in December appears to be levelling off, according to data aggregated by The New York Times.

In Boston, the amount of the Covid virus detected in wastewater has dropped 40 per cent since its early January peak.

Scientists and policymakers are cautious about being too confident that the wave has peaked as the virus has surprised them in the past. However, current data in places in which the variant likely first arrived in the US suggests the worst of the wave has passed.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said this week “we may be cresting over that peak”.

This would match data from South Africa where a surge in cases lasted approximately one month — new daily cases have fallen by approximately 70 per cent since mid-December. The UK is seeing a similar trend develop since its New Year peak.

Previous variants of the virus have seen waves of cases that last for approximately two months, suggesting that the ease with which Omicron is transmitted has led to a faster cycle as it has quickly reached those vulnerable to infection and then moves on or fades away.

“It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle told the Associated Press.

At the same time, experts warn that much is still uncertain about how the next phase of the pandemic might unfold.

As cases fall in the major US cities that saw the first of the latest wave, this is not happening everywhere in the country at the same time or at the same pace.

There are still potentially weeks of new cases on the downside of a national peak and potentially many more overwhelmed hospitals and disruptions to daily life.

“There are still a lot of people who will get infected as we descend the slope on the backside,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the University of Texas Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, which predicts that reported cases will peak within the week.

The University of Washington’s own influential model projects that the number of daily reported cases in the US will crest at 1.2 million by 19 January and will then fall sharply “simply because everybody who could be infected will be infected,” according to Dr Mokdad.

In fact, he said, by the university’s complex calculations, the true number of new daily infections in the US — an estimate that includes people who were never tested — has already peaked, hitting 6 million on 6 January.

With reporting from The Associated Press

Scientists and medical professionals rally around Fauci

15:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter defending Dr Anthony Fauci from the fierce criticism he has received from Republican lawmakers this week.

Politico obtained a copy of the letter, which states:

We deplore the personal attacks on Dr Fauci. The criticism is inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics. It is a distraction from what should be the national focus – working together to finally overcome a pandemic that is killing about 500,000 people a year. We are grateful for Dr Fauci’s dedication and tireless efforts to help the country through this pandemic and other health crises.

The letter cites Dr Fauci’s 40 years of service to the US, combatting HIV, Ebola, and now Covid.

US averaging more than 760,000 cases daily

15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The US is now seeing an average of more than 760,000 new Covid infections a day, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said.

It comes amid a surge of the Delta and Omicron variants that continue to spread across swathes of largely unvaccinated states, as both CDC figures and Dr Fauci have warned in recent days.

Analysis by The New York Times suggests daily infections are up 159 per cent on the previous fortnight.

The CDC has also suggested that the US could see 62,000 Covid deaths in the next four weeks alone, with the daily number of Covid fatalities at about 1,700 per day, according to Reuters.

Rand Paul just showed us all who he really is — believe him

14:55 , Oliver O'Connell

“Rand Paul does not need to tell people to take violent action against Dr Fauci for those people to make threats or, God forbid, act on them. And he knows this — because he knew it last year when someone took violent action against him”.

Skylar Baker-Jordan writes: “The height of hypocrisy does not begin to describe the summit of shamelessness Rand Paul occupies. It is a disgusting abdication of not only his duty to his constituents and his country that he so recklessly stokes the flames of discontent and spreads misinformation.”

Rand Paul just showed us all who he really is — believe him

Biden to give update on federal ‘surge’ to combat Omicron

14:37 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden is scheduled to give an address from the White House at 10.30am this morning in which he will highlight the federal government’s efforts to “surge” military medical personnel to help overwhelmed medical facilities weather the spike in coronavirus cases and staff shortages due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Starting next week, 1,000 military medical personnel will begin arriving to help mitigate staffing crunches at hospitals across the country. Many facilities are struggling because their workers are in at-home quarantines due to the virus at the same time as a nationwide spike in Covid-19 cases. The new deployments will be on top of other federal medical personnel who have already been sent to states to help with acute shortages.

The administration’s focus is shifting to easing disruptions from the nationwide spike in cases that is also contributing to grocery shortages and flight cancellations.

On Tuesday, Janet Woodcock, the acting head of the Food and Drug Administration, told Congress that the highly transmissible strain will infect “most people” and that the focus should turn to ensuring critical services can continue uninterrupted.

“I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is: Most people are going to get Covid, all right?” she said. “What we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function — transportation, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens.”

President Biden will be joined by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who recently recovered from his own case of Covid-19, and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.

They will spotlight the work of the more than 800 military personnel who have been helping civilian hospitals since Thanksgiving and the more than 14,000 National Guard members whose work supporting vaccinations, testing, and caring for patients is being covered by the federal government.

The White House said the trio would speak with federal personnel who are already on the ground in Arizona, Michigan, and New York to hear about their experiences.

Mr Biden will also announce that six additional military medical teams will be deployed to Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

The White House said the teams will support Henry Ford Hospital just outside Detroit, University Hospital in Newark, the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque, Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Cleveland Clinic, and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

With reporting from the Associated Press

Donald Trump Jr joins complaints against Fauci

14:20 , Gino Spocchia

Donald Trump Jr has bemoaned Dr Anthony Fauci for being a “victim” after the infectious disease expert defended calling a Republican senator a “moron” and accused another of misinforming the public on Covid.

“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks,” Mr Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday, “No one else!”

Mr Trump went on to retweet his own tweet about Dr Fauci and another by conservative commentator Steve Hilton which baselessly alleged that Dr Fauci “didn’t just ‘fund’ Gain of Function research in Wuhan he COMMISSIONED it”.

The remarks and the retweets made by the eldest son of former US president Donald Trump were among many in response to the furore around Dr Fauci’s confrontation with Republican senators on Tuesday.

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Fauci ‘deserves everything he gets’, says Rand Paul

13:49 , Gino Spocchia

Rand Paul has said he believes Dr Fauci “deserves everything he gets and then some, to tell you the truth”, after the Republican was ridiculed by the infectious diseases expert during a senate committee hearing.

The Republican, who has dismissed accusations from Dr Fauci that his Covid misinformation was responsible for death threats issued against the NIAID director – suggested in an interview with right wing commentator Dave Rubin that Dr Fauci “deserved” to be attacked.

"I think he deserves everything he gets and then some, to tell you the truth,” said Mr Paul in an interview that appeared on Rumble. “I mean we've probably never had a government bureaucrat have this much power over our lives and this much disdain for our individual liberty".

Mr Paul also complained about criticism of Dr Fauci being seen as being “against science”, and again issued a number of false statements about the efficiency of mask wearing and vaccinations.

Four US states at 10 per cent ICU capacity

13:30 , Gino Spocchia

Hospitals in four US states have less than 10 per cent of their remaining capacity in their ICUs available amid a surge in Covid hospitalians, the US Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday.

The four states – Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire – have been among the worst hit in a surge in Covid cases and hospitalisations in the past week.

On Wednesday, another record was broken with 151,261 patients being treated for the disease. Data analysis from The New York Times shows that Alabama, for example, has less than 50 per cent of its population fully vaccinated.

Five more states are approaching similar limited ICU capacity, CNN reported on Thursday, amid warnings that staff shortages were making the situation worse.

Rand Paul ups criticism of Dr Fauci

13:05 , Gino Spocchia

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul continued to criticise Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday after he was accused of misinforming the American public on Covid and the NIAID director’s work.

Dr Fauci, who said Mr Paul was “distorting” facts and profiting from personal attacks on the top infectious diseases expert, said such remarks had allowed for “crazies” to threaten him and his family.

Mr Paul afterwards complained in a number of TV appearances that it was he who was victim of criticism, and what he said was “real violence”.

“So he’s equating anybody who disagrees with him with some crazy person that threatened him physically,” said Mr Paul in an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday.

“Well the thing is he’s talking to a senator that has been the victim of real violence, has been threatened many times. I had six ribs broken, lost part of my lung. My wife had to open envelopes that looked like anthrax at the time.”

The remarks appeared to ignore that a man was arrested in Iowa in December who was allegedly travelling to Washington DC to kill both Dr Fauci and US president Joe Biden, and that another was charged with sending threatening emails to the NIAD director.

Stephen Colbert jokes that Covid has ‘broken’ Dr Fauci

12:40 , Gino Spocchia

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert has parodied Dr Fauci’s remarks on Covid in recent days by saying two years of the pandemic have “broken” Dr Fauci, who said Omicron will eventually infect almost everybody.

“There are certain things I don’t want to equivocate on. My life is one of them,” Mr Colbert joked. “You don’t want to hear a skydiving instructor say, ‘Jump from the plane, you will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well.’”

He continued by admitting that vaccinations against Covid were a “silver lining”, and as Dr Fauci said recently would “do reasonably well” at presenting severe illness.

However CDC figures show that as few as 62.7 per cent of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid.

Fauci’s hot-mic outburst

12:15 , Gino Spocchia

“The more I watch Anthony Fauci’s ‘hot mic’ moment (and I have watched it numerous times), the more I’m convinced that the nation’s top infectious diseases expert knew very well the sound was on – and that his description of GOP senator Roger Marshall as a ‘moron’ would be heard by all”, writes Harriet Sinclair:

Fauci’s hot-mic outburst is exactly what happens when a pandemic gets politicised

‘Moron’ remarks not personal, says senator

11:32 , Gino Spocchia

Roger Marshall has said he did not take Dr Fauci’s remarks about him being a “moron” personally following a confrontational senate committee hearing on the NIAID director’s finances.

The Republican senator told NewsMax on Wednesday: “I didn’t take it personal. We’ve all had a rough day. But I think we pointed out the hypocrisy in what Fauci does. He misleads the public”.

Mr Marshall continued by calling for Dr Fauci’s stock investments to be made public, having been called a “moron” for asking the NIAID director to disclose his financial information – despite Dr Fauci doing so for “37 years or so”.

According to FactCheck.org, the most recently available financial disclosure form for Dr Facui could be obtained by requesting it, and that it did contain information about his investments and salary. As was the form for the CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

In a statement after Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Marshall appeared to alter his demands by saying Dr Fauci had not made financial disclosures during the Covid pandemic. It is unknown when the 2021 report will be available.

Rand Paul spokesperson defends resurfaced video

10:55 , Gino Spocchia

Senator Rand Paul has been seen in a resurfaced video admitting to spreading misinformation and says “misinformation works”.

The Kentucky senator, who has been accused of issuing an attack on Dr Anthony Fauci, had on Tuesday been accused of “distorting” information about Covid-19 and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In the video from 2013, the Republican told medical students that “misinformation works, so try to trick your opponents”.

A spokesperson for Mr Paul told The independent on Wednesday that “Anyone who watches the video can clearly see that Dr Paul was making a light hearted joke addressing the very real stresses of medical school.”

Video resurfaces of Rand Paul admitting ‘misinformation works’

Five times Anthony Fauci and Rand Paul clashed

10:21 , Gino Spocchia

Dr Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul came to verbal blows again in the senate this week, with the Republica senator accusing the NIAID director of funding “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the creation of Covid-19.

Mr Paul asked Mr Fauci it was appropriate to use his $420,000 salary to attack scientists who disagreed with the science of Mr Fauci’s, who has become the public face of the federal government’s Covid response.

“In usual fashion, senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Mr Fauci said. “There you go again, you just do the same thing every hearing,” he added, accusing the Republican of issuing misinformation.

As Justin Vallejo writes, it was the latest in the long-running battle of one-upmanship provided more zingers between the two, with Mr Fauci increasingly frustrated over questions from some Republicans:

Five times Anthony Fauci and Rand Paul clashed in testy Senate hearings

Biden wants federal mandate on Covid testing by 15 Feb

07:57 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Federal agencies should require weekly Covid testing for unvaccinated employees by 15 February, the Biden administration said on Tuesday.

Unvaccinated employees, including those seeking religious or medical exemptions “should be tested weekly for any week during which they work on-site or interact in person with members of the public as a part of their job duties.

Agencies may require more frequent testing,” the administration said in a statement, reported Reuters. Federal agencies may impose disciplinary action against those employees who refuse to get tested, the statement added.

The Biden administration wants federal agencies to mandate Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated employees (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
The Biden administration wants federal agencies to mandate Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated employees (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

US facing 62,000 Covid deaths in next four weeks: CDC

07:09 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The US could see 62,000 Covid-19 deaths in the next four weeks, according to an ensemble prediction by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) published on Wednesday.

Using data from Johns Hopkins University, the forecast could imply 2,624 Covid deaths a day, up from a current average of 1,715 per day.

The CDC also predicted a continued increase in hospitalisations over the coming weeks and said there may be 17,900 to 48,000 new confirmed Covid-19 hospitalisations reported on 4 February.

However the CDC said that “current forecasts may not fully account for the emergence and rapid spread of the Omicron variant or changes in reporting during the holidays and should be interpreted with caution.

US slams China for Covid-induced flight cancellations

06:24 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The US on Wednesday hit out at China and warned it would take action against the country for cancelling flights originating from the US due to the increasing number of passengers testing positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.

In a statement, the US Transportation Department said: “China’s actions are inconsistent with its obligations under the US-China Air Transport Agreement. We are engaging with the (Chinese government) on this and we retain the right to take regulatory measures as appropriate.”

The statement came after Beijing cancelled six more flights from the US to China on Wednesday.

A total of 70 flights have been cancelled this year alone between the two countries.

Last week Airlines for America, which represents the largest US passenger and cargo carriers, said it was discussing the issue of flight cancellations with US and Chinese officials.

China has imposed strict border restrictions and cut down international flights in a bid to stop spread of the pandemic.

Dozens of flights from the US to China have been cancelled in recent weeks (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Dozens of flights from the US to China have been cancelled in recent weeks (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Trump calls out “gutless” politicians who won’t disclose booster doses

06:01 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Former president Donald Trump has endorsed booster shots and hit out at politicians who won’t disclose whether they got booster shots, calling them “gutless”.

“I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ .... And they, ‘Oh, oh,’ they’re answering it — like in other words, the answer is ‘Yes,’ but they don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless.”

“You gotta say it. Whether you had it or not, say it,” Mr Trump added during his appearance on One America News Network on Tuesday.

While Mr Trump did not name any politician, however, reports said that his comments were a veiled attack on Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who may be a possible Republican contender for 2024 and is known to not disclose whether he has received a booster shot, as Tom Fenton reports:

Trump booed by his own supporters as he admits to having Covid booster shot

Debate over mask mandates renewed by soaring Covid cases

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Officials across the U.S. are again weighing how and whether to impose mask mandates as COVID-19 infections soar and the American public grows ever wearier of pandemic-related restrictions.

Much of the debate centers around the nation’s schools, some of which have closed due to infection-related staffing issues. In a variety of places, mask mandates are being lifted or voted down.

Soaring COVID-19 cases renew US debate over mask mandates

White House to double Covid testing in schools

05:28 , Sravasti Dasgupta

The White House has announced that it will double the volume of testing in schools across the US as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the country.

In a press release on Wednesday, the White House said that it will double testing in schools by 10 million per month “to increase access to Covid-19 testing”.

“With the additional ten million tests per month, we will make available to schools more than double the volume of testing that took place in schools across the nation in November 2021,” the statement said.

In a bid to keep schools open and safe from infections, the Biden administration has also announced a slew of measures to increase testing including sending federal testing units near schools and connecting schools with testing providers.

The White House said that the additional tests in schools “will help schools safely remain open and implement screening testing and test to stay programs.”

Covid deaths due to Delta not Omicron, says CDC

04:59 , Sravasti Dasgupta

While the surge in cases in the US is being driven by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, a rise in hospitalisations and deaths is being driven by the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a media briefing, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said the rise in hospitalisations and deaths is “likely a lagging effect of the Delta variant, which was surging before Omicron took hold in the United States in December.”

As Tom Fenton writes, rhe number of daily hospitalisations has surpassed the previous record from January 2021:

Record number of Americans are now hospitalised with Covid

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 94% effective against hospitalisations among adolescents

04:36 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines are 94 per cent effective in preventing hospitalisations among adolescents, a new study has found.

The study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) along with 31 hospitals across 23 states in the country included data on adolescents between the ages of 12 to 18 who had been hospitalised between 1 July and 25 October.

It analysed data from 445 adolescents hospitalised with Covid and 777 hospitalised without the disease.

“Despite eligibility for Covid-19 vaccination, 96 per cent of the patients who were hospitalised with Covid-19 and 99 per cent of those who received life support had not been fully vaccinated,” the researchers wrote in the study, reported CNN.

“We found that vaccination with two doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA (official name of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19 by 94 per cent among adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age in the United States,” the study said.

The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In this file photo from November 2021, a nurse holds a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (AFP via Getty Images)
In this file photo from November 2021, a nurse holds a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (AFP via Getty Images)

Don Jr bemoans Fauci characterised as ‘victim’

04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr has bemoaned Dr Anthony Fauci for being a “victim” after the infectious disease expert defended calling a Republican senator a “moron” and accused another of misinforming the public on Covid.

“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks,” Mr Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday, “No one else!”

Gino Spocchia has the story.

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Many will get infected but not all will be severely ill, says Dr Fauci

04:06 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Not all those who get infected with Covid-19 will face severe illness, said Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday.

At a White House Covid-19 briefing, Dr Fauci clarified the statement made by US Food and Drug Administration Acting Commissioner Dr Janet Woodcock on Tuesday, where she had said that most people will get infected with Covid.

On Wednesday, Dr Fauci said, “What Dr Woodcock was referring to when she said most of us will ultimately get Omicron is not that most of us were ultimately going to get sick with Omicron.”

He added that while Covid can’t be eliminated it can be brought under control.

“If you control it in a way it’s at such a low level, and people are vaccinated and boosted, sooner or later, as we begin to live with it, what she was referring to is that virtually everybody is going to wind up getting exposed and likely get infected — but if you’re vaccinated and if you’re boosted, the chances of your getting sick are very, very low.”

“That’s what she was referring to,” he added.

Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, gives an update on the Omicron variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on 1 December 2021 (Getty Images)
Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, gives an update on the Omicron variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on 1 December 2021 (Getty Images)

US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci said the US is approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, with cases surging across the country.

The chief medical adviser to the president, while speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Tuesday, said almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant but the vaccinated will fare better.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports.

Fauci says US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

Staff shortages hit United Airlines forcing schedule reductions

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

United Airlines is canceling more flights after thousands of the company’s workers called out sick with the coronavirus.

Nathan Place reports.

United Airlines cancels flights after 3,000 employees test positive for Covid

How long can you wear a KN95 or N95 mask?

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

As the US fights to slow the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant, reports have surfaced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering recommending that those who can should wear a higher standard of mask when in public – specifically the KN95 and N95 masks that have been in high demand for the last two years.

How long should you wear them?

Andrew Naughtie reports.

KN95 and N95 masks: Which does the CDC recommend, and can you reuse them?

Majorie Taylor Greene mocks proposal to isolate lawmakers without masks

00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday mocked a proposal to allow House members to vote without masks from a plexiglass box in the House gallery, suggesting any member who is concerned about Covid-19 should not be in office.

Speaking to Insider, Ms Greene said she would argue that members “may not be fit to do the job” if they feel threatened by the coronavirus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans.

“Maybe they need to consider that they are the ones in the risk group, and they should just go sit it out until they feel safe to come out,” she said.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Marjorie Taylor Greene responds to plan to put maskless lawmakers in ‘isolation box’

How can vaccination status change Covid symptoms?

00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A New York emergency room doctor has explained which symptoms his Covid patients typically get, depending on which – and how many – vaccine shots they’ve received. Unsurprisingly, the unvaccinated patients fare the worst.

Nathan Place reports.

Doctor explains how vaccination status can change Covid symptoms

Kids’ low Covid-19 vaccination rates called a ‘gut punch’

Wednesday 12 January 2022 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Distrust, misinformation, and delays because of the holidays and bad weather have combined to produce what authorities say are alarmingly low Covid-19 vaccination rates in US children ages 5 to 11.

As of Tuesday, just over 17 per cent were fully vaccinated, more than two months after shots became available to the age group. While Vermont is at 48 per cent, California is just shy of 19 per cent and Mississippi is at only five per cent.

Vaccinations among the elementary school set surged after the shots were introduced in the fall, but the numbers have crept up slowly since then, and omicron’s explosive spread appears to have had little effect.

The low rates are “very disturbing,” said Dr Robert Murphy, executive director for the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It’s just amazing.”

Parents who hesitate “are taking an enormous risk and continuing to fuel the pandemic,” Dr Murphy said.

Hospitalizations of children under 18 with Covid-19 in the U.S. have climbed to their highest levels on record in the past few weeks. Many have other conditions made worse by Covid-19, though many aren’t sick enough to require intensive care.

The low vaccination rates and rising hospitalisations are “a gut punch, especially when we’ve been working so hard to keep these kids well,” said Dr Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas.

The vaccines have proved highly safe and effective at reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalisation and death.

Kids' low COVID-19 vaccination rates called a 'gut punch'

Rand Paul snaps back at Fauci allegations

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has been blasted as “unbalanced” and “delusional” after he doubled down with a new attack on Dr Anthony Fauci following a Senate committee hearing.

The Republican senator, who was accused of “distorting” facts about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on Tuesday, told Fox News in following interview that Dr Fauci was “juvenile” for blaming him for death threats.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Rand Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

‘Most people are going to get Covid’ say officials

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Top doctors are warning that most people in the United States are eventually going to get infected with Covid-19 – as the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly.

A record number of daily Covid-19 infections were reported earlier this week, as the hospitalization rate also spiked massively.

On Monday alone, 132,646 people were admitted due to the virus, a new daily record that was broken again on Tuesday - as per Reuters.

Tom Fenton reports.

‘Most people are going to get Covid’: Fauci and FDA chief admit Omicron will sweep US

What happens if a child becomes seriously ill with Covid?

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:05 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s a photo that’s been viewed thousands of times. A two-year-old boy, his eyes closed, lies in a hospital bed with a tangle of tubes protruding from his nose and mouth. One of them is for a ventilator. Underneath it is a Paw Patrol toy.

The boy was Adrian James of Mount Vernon, Illinois, who was critically ill with Covid-19. For parents, the photograph seemed to realise a nightmare that was never supposed to come true – children, supposedly, didn’t get Covid. And yet, here was this seriously ill boy.

Nathan Place reports on what happened next.

The world watched this two-year-old’s Covid struggle – here’s what happened next

Moderna expects data on children aged 2-5 in March

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Moderna says it expects to report data on the efficacy and safety of its vaccine on children aged two to five years old in March and proceed with regulatory filings after that.

The company says it is also evaluating the potential of lower doses in children 6-11 and adolescents aged 12-17 years old in ongoing clinical trials.

Moderna is also evaluating boosters for teenagers.

Fauci defends ‘moron’ outburst

Wednesday 12 January 2022 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Anthony Fauci has defended mocking Republican senator Roger Marshall after the two sparred over his financial disclosures during a senate committee hearing on health, education, labour and pensions.

Dr Fauci, in an interview with MSNBC News on Wednesday, said he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.

Namita Singh reports.

Fauci defends outburst after calling senator a ‘moron’ on hot mic

Voices: Rand Paul showed us all who he really is

Wednesday 12 January 2022 21:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Skylar Baker-Jordan writes:

By now, Paul and Fauci’s arguments are par for the course whenever the good doctor testifies before Congress. This one, though, was remarkable in just how craven and hypocritical “Rona Rand” behaved.

Rand Paul just showed us all who he really is — believe him

Covid top cause of death for US police officers for second year

Wednesday 12 January 2022 21:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Covid-19 has been the biggest killer of police in the United States for the second year running, a report has revealed.

A total of 301 members of law enforcement died in the line of duty last year from Covid, the report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found.

That was among 458 fatalities reported by the fund, revealed on Tuesday in its annual report. It also makes 2021 the deadliest for more than nine decades.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Covid was top cause of death for US police officers last year

United Airlines reduces schedule in Covid staff crunch

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

United Airlines is canceling more flights after thousands of the company’s workers called out sick with the coronavirus.

According to a memo from the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby, about 3,000 UA employees have recently tested positive for Covid-19, including almost a third of the workers at Newark Liberty International Airport – an important entryway to New York City.

Nathan Place has the story.

United Airlines cancels flights after 3,000 employees test positive for Covid

Don Jr bemoans ‘victim’ Fauci

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr has bemoaned Dr Anthony Fauci for being a “victim” after the infectious disease expert defended calling a Republican senator a “moron” and accused another of misinforming the public on Covid.

“Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks,” Mr Trump Jr tweeted on Tuesday, “No one else!”

Gino Spocchia reports.

Donald Trump Jr groans about ‘Lord Fauci’ being a victim of Rand Paul

Marshall demands ‘truth’ from ‘least trusted bureaucrat’ Fauci

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Roger Marshall is still implying that there is something hidden in Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms and demands the “truth”. and not a redacted version from before the pandemic.

In a tweet from Tuesday, he referred to him as America’s “least trusted bureaucrat”

Fauci: US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci said the US is approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, with cases surging across the country.

The chief medical adviser to the president, while speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Tuesday, said almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant but the vaccinated will fare better.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports.

Fauci says US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

Can you reuse KN95 and N95 masks?

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

As the US fights to slow the spread of Covid-19’s Omicron variant, reports have surfaced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering recommending that those who can should wear a higher standard of mask when in public – specifically the KN95 and N95 masks that have been in high demand for the last two years.

The Washington Post quotes an unnamed official saying that “the agency is currently actively looking to update its recommendations for KN95 and N95 in light of Omicron”, explaining: “we know these masks provide better filtration”.

But can you reuse them?

KN95 and N95 masks: Which does the CDC recommend, and can you reuse them?

Marjorie Taylor Greene responds to plan to isolate anti-mask lawmakers

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday mocked a proposal to allow House members to vote without masks from a plexiglass box in the House gallery, suggesting any member who is concerned about Covid-19 should not be in office.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Marjorie Taylor Greene responds to plan to put maskless lawmakers in ‘isolation box’

‘The Omicron medicine cabinet'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Both Dr Walensky and Dr Fauci underscored the importance of having an up-to-date Covid-19 vaccination status to prevent severe disease and keep you out of the hospital.

Dr Fauci explained that if you do get sick there are now a host of treatments available, which Mr Zients referred to as “the Omicron medicine cabinet”.

Dr Fauci specifically mentioned Remdesivir, Paxlovid, Molnuporavir as treatments to target the virus itself, as well as monoclonal antibodies from Regeneron, Eli Lilly, and GSK & Vir.

These come in addition to treatments that moderate the response of the patient to the virus to try and reduce the likelihood of serious disease and shorten the duration of the illness.

Latest figures from White House Covid briefing

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci once again joined CDC director Rochelle Walensky for the White House’s Covid-19 press briefing on Wednesday morning. Covid response coordinator Jeff Zients led the session.

Mr Zients announced an enhanced White House response for testing at schools, as well as other initiatives to help keep children learning in spite of the wave of Omicron infections sweeping the nation.

Dr Walensky reviewed the latest data noting that the current seven-day average of cases is approximately 751,000 cases per day, representing a 47 per cent increase over the previous week.

The seven-day average of hospital admissions is approximately 19,000 per day, an increase of about 33 per cent over the prior week. The seven-day average of death is about 1,600, an increase of 40 per cent over the previous week.

The Omicron variant now represents 98 per cent of US cases. Dr Walensky cited a study in California that showed substantially reduced risk of severe clinical outcomes of patients infected with the variant.

The study by Kaiser Permanente in southern California showed a 53 per cent reduction in risk of symptomatic hospitalisation, a 74 per cent reduction in risk of ICU admission, and a 91 per cent reduction in risk of mortality.

Video resurfaces of Rand Paul saying ‘misinformation works'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has been seen in a resurfaced video admitting to spreading misinformation and says “misinformation works”.

A video shared to Twitter by Federation of American scientists epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding appeared to show Mr Paul in 2013 admitting to telling medical students at the University of Louisville, “misinformation works”, as The Atlantic reported at the time.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

Video resurfaces of Rand Paul admitting ‘misinformation works’

Joe Scarborough calls out politicians profiting from misinformation

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:01 , Oliver O'Connell

On Wednesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough, himself a former congressman, called out politicians who attempt to profit from misinformation, likening it to “the big lie” by referring to it as “the big grift”.

He began by hitting out at networks and social media companies for allowing such misinformation to thrive but quickly turned his critique specifically to Rand Paul, after yesterday’s Senate hearing with Dr Anthony Fauci.

Scarborough called Senator Paul “this generation’s Jim Bakker”, referring to the televangelist who was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in 1989 for how he raised money from his congregation and viewers and failed to deliver on what was promised.

The Morning Joe host said the same tactics used to exploit people’s religious beliefs were now being used to exploit people’s political convictions, giving the example of Dr Paul’s “Fire Fauci” fundraising webpage.

“It is all grifting,” said Scarborough.

“They are wrecking congress to do it,” he added.

Trump calls GOP politicians ‘gutless’ for dodging vaccine booster questions

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump blasted GOP politicians who refuse to say if they’ve received a Covid-19 booster shot on Tuesday – a rant that some are viewing as an indirect attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Tom Fenton reports.

Trump attacks ‘gutless’ GOP politicians who dodge vaccine question

West Virginia governor ‘extremely unwell’ with Covid

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has tested positive for Covid-19 after developing symptoms suddenly on Tuesday, his office has said.

In a statement, the second-term Mountain State governor said he was “surprised” to have tested positive for the coronavirus, but was “thankful to the Lord above” that he’d been vaccinated and boosted, and that he has “an incredible support system” that includes his “loving family”.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

West Virginia governor ‘extremely unwell’ with Covid

Fauci hot mic moment brings down house on Colbert

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Anthony Fauci’s Senate hearing hot mic moment went down a storm on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night.

Colbert teed up the clip that showed the moment when, after sparring with Senator Roger Marshall about his and his staff’s inability to find Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure documents — by definition a public document — the nation’s leading infectious disease expert was heard to say: “What a moron… Jesus Christ.”

The audience roared with amusement and appreciation for the doctor. Watch below.

Omicron 'will ultimately find just about everybody’ says Fauci

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:40 , Oliver O'Connell

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” said Dr Fauci on Tuesday.

“Those who have been vaccinated ... and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalisation and death.”

As Tom Fenton writes, the remarks came as US records were broken on Monday for Covid hospitalisations and infections:

‘Most people are going to get Covid’ US health chief admits

Don Jr hits out at ‘Lord Fauci'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr hit out at Dr Anthony Fauci in a tweet and Instagram post on Tuesday afternoon.

He wrote: “Remember Lord Fauci is always the victim folks, no one else! Not your dead relatives, not your kids or their education, not your destroyed businesses/livelihoods, not Freedom as we knew it. It always has been and always will be about him.”

“You’re just lab rats in his experiment!”

Fauci accuses Republicans and Project Veritas of ‘distortions’

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Dr Fauci has been the target of a video released on Monday evening by Project Veritas claiming that he was involved in research projects related to coronaviruses by the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The far right activist campaign group alleged that Dr Fauci, as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, allowed for gain of function research to go ahead in Wuhan despite the Department of Defense saying the risk was too high.

On Tuesday, the NIAID director told a senate committee on that “What came out last night in Project Veritas was a grant that was submitted to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and was “distorted” so that it appeared to blame Dr Fauci for the research.

“We have never seen that grant and we have never funded that grant. So once again, you are completely and unequivocally incorrect when you join the DARPA proposal, was a grant that we never saw and did not fund. So you are incorrect,” said Dr Fauci in font of senator Roger Marshall.

Dr Fauci has repeatedly been forced to defend himself and the NIAID’s work from Republican attacks, including that of senator Rand Paul who called for the US chief medical adviser “to prison for five years for lying to Congress” in December, as Graig Graziosi reported:

Rand Paul says Fauci should be jailed for five years for allegedly lying to Congress

US reaching ‘peak’ of Omicron wave

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:01 , Oliver O'Connell

While UK health experts say Omicron has peaked in the country, those in the US have suggested that the highly contagious variant of Covid-19 will also soon peak.

The US on Monday reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections, which a Reuters tally found was the highest daily total of any country in the world so far.

The seven-day average for new cases has meanwhile tripled in two weeks to over 700,000 new infections daily, and a record number of people are currently hospitalised with the virus in the US.

Deaths are around 1,700 a day, and at levels seen earlier this winter, Reuters found.

On Tuesday, the US chief medical adviser suggested that Omicron would “ultimately find just about everybody”, at which point the wave will begin to die out. He added that the US was on the “threshold” of the virus becoming endemic.

Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Rand Paul has been blasted as “unbalanced” and “delusional” after he doubled down with new attack on Dr Anthony Fauci following a senate committee hearing.

The Republican senator, who was accused of “distorting” facts about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on Tuesday, told Fox News in following interview that Dr Fauci was “juvenile” for blaming him for death threats.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Rand Paul calls Fauci ‘juvenile’ for linking him to death threats

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