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    It's an issue that plagues an estimated 3.7 billion people globally, and now scientists have uncovered the history – or should we say 'kiss-tory' – of cold sores. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have sequenced ancient genomes from herpes – the virus that commonly causes lip sores. Their findings suggest that the strain of the virus behind facial herpes as we know it arose around 5,000 years ago, amid the advent of 'sexual-romantic kissing.' Dr Christiana Scheib, co-senior author of the study, said: 'Every primate species has a form of herpes, so we assume it has been with us since our own species left Africa. 'However, something happened around five thousand years ago that allowed one strain of herpes to overtake all others, possibly an increase in transmissions, which could have been linked to kissing.' It's an issue that plagues an estimated 3.7 billion people globally, and now scientists have unravelled the history – or should we say 'kiss-tory' – of cold sores In the study, the team extracted viral DNA from the teeth of four individuals. One sample...
    PHOENIX — The Giants expect to be without third baseman Evan Longoria for a “couple weeks,” manager Gabe Kapler said, after an MRI on Monday revealed a Grade 1 strain in his right hamstring. Longoria, 36, suffered the injury running out a double play ball in the fourth inning of San Francisco’s 4-2 loss Saturday against the Dodgers. When healthy, he’s been one of the Giants’ best bats this season (a line of .243/.331/.459 for an OPS+ of 120) but has missed nearly half of their games so far this season and will now miss more time. “It can be disheartening,” Kapler said. “When you factor in how much effort and energy Evan puts in to getting ready to play a game for us and then go out and try to beat out a double play and run as hard as he can and strain it … for anybody, but in particular for a guy who works as hard as he does and prepares as well as he does. … I feel for him as a person first.” La Stella...
    3Shoppers are now looking for bargains, yellow sticker items and using apps to find unwanted itemsCredit: Getty Brits have been struck with ‘freebie fever’ – as 28 per cent actively look for free items due to to the cost-of-living strain. A poll of 2,000 adults found two-thirds have picked up a free item during the past six months, with 29 per cent of those doing so for the first time. 3Families are now using shopping lists to ensure they don't go over budgetCredit: Getty 3People are buying yellow sticker items in supermarkets and apps to find second hand goods as the cost of living crisis bites families hardCredit: Getty A third have even gone as far as saying no completely to buying any new non-essential items. While 54 per cent experience anxiety when purchasing something new, with 37 per cent claiming this feeling has increased within the last year. Books, children’s clothes, and toys are the top free items people are on the lookout for – with clothes and tech items, such as phones and laptops, also popular. The...
    The wreckage keeps piling up in the Yankees’ bullpen. One day after saying Miguel Castro would need some time on the injured list to deal with a shoulder issue, manager Aaron Boone gave some more clarity on the righty’s situation. “Castro, as of right now, will be a no throw for up to four weeks,” Boone said. “He’ll be re-evaluated after two weeks. But it’s going to be at least a few weeks of no throwing. It’s a shoulder strain.” Instead of bringing up another pitcher to take Castro’s spot on the roster, the Yankees elected to call up outfielder Tim Locastro. That gives the Yankees just seven relievers on the active roster, one fewer than they and most teams typically like to carry. Of course, with the All-Star break just two days away, this current iteration of the roster is sure to be temporary. But with unproven relievers Ryan Weber and Albert Abreu now potentially having to get some big outs during this Red Sox series, and the immense struggles of Aroldis Chapman as of late, the relief corps...
    EXPERTS have warned that if you have a cold, it’s twice as likely to be Covid. It comes as a new Omicon strain runs rampant, capable of infecting people who already had Omicron earlier in the year. 4Covid is in higher numbers now than ever before, estimates showCredit: Getty 4This graph shows the percentage of people in the UK who have cold-like symptoms who are positive for Covid (blue), and negative (orange)Credit: The ZOE COVID Study The ZOE COVID Study estimates that Covid infections are the highest they have ever been in the UK. It says there are almost 350,000 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid (which doesn’t include those that don’t have symptoms). And one in 15 people in the UK are currently sick with the bug. Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the study, said: “Covid is still rampant in the population. Read more on CovidCLOSE WATCH Covid restrictions could RETURN with face masks brought back, minister warnsNEW THREAT Fears over Omicron strain dubbed 'Centaurus' - medics say it's 'very contagious' “So much so, that if you have...
    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- New research shows the latest highly-transmissible COVID subvariants may be shortening the window of immunity post-infection."I think this is a wake-up call," said UCSF's Dr. George Rutherford. "For all of us."The warning comes from Australian health officials who say the BA.4 and BA.5 strains are so strong at evading antibodies -- they're seeing COVID reinfections happen faster and more frequently compared to other variants."This means your period of immunologic protection following infection is probably shorter," Rutherford said. "We previously thought it was around three to four months. It's probably less."RELATED: White House urges caution on coronavirus variants, pushes boostersHow much less? A committee of Australian doctors are changing recommendations to reduce the definition of immunity from 90 days to 28 days."Do you think we should do the same?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked."It's something up for discussion," said Rutherford, who specializes in infectious diseases. "If you were infected at the beginning of the summer, there's nothing saying you can't be infected again today with one of these newer variants."The omicron subvariant BA.5 is now the most dominant...
    Travelers flying home from Fourth of July getaways faced more flight delays throughout the day on Monday as US airports continue to buckle under the strain of post-COVID travel rebound.  At least 251 flights within or out of the US had been canceled as of 11 p.m. on Monday, while 3,233 other domestic trips have been delayed, according to travel site FlightAware. Those figures were slightly lower than in recent days, when well over 500 flights have been canceled and up to 8,000 delayed. But that will bring little comfort to the thousands whose trips were canceled by the ongoing chaos, which has been blamed on staffing shortages caused by the sudden rebound in demand for travel as Americans shrug-off COVID.   Nearly 60 flights have so-far been canceled for Tuesday.  Since holiday weekend travel picked up last Thursday, airlines have canceled more than 2,200 U.S. flights, and another 25,000 have been delayed. Travelers flying home from July Fourth getaways faced flight delays Monday, but airlines were canceling fewer flights than in the days leading up to the holiday weekend. Pictured: Travelers pack...
    COVID super booster vaccines are reportedly set to get the green light for millions of Brits from autumn. Around 30million over-50s are expected to be topped up with the jab, specifically designed to protect against the Omicron strain. 2Around 30million over-50s are reportedly set to be topped up with Moderna's 'super jab' from autumnCredit: AFP The so called super-booster from Moderna is claimed to be five times better than the original vaccine and is expected to get the go ahead from drugs regulators within weeks, the Mail on Sunday reports. It's unofficially named "214" and uses mRNA molecules to programme the immune system to protect against two types of Covid – the original Wuhan strain and Omicron. It comes as Omicron cases surge once again, with infection levels jumping by almost a third last week. They still remain lower however, than peak figures from March. Read More HealthBURGER ME! Minute by minute - what eating McDonald’s does to your body in just one hour Last Friday, the influential European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it believed...
    Sponsored Content In John Lennon’s words − Indica is what happens when you’re busy growing other plants. (Or something like that) Indeed, any experienced grower knows that Indica seeds are much easier to grow than Sativa. But that doesn’t mean you can settle for any cheap seeds! (Unfortunately). So, to make sure you don’t kill half your seeds (or more), we’ve rounded up the best Indica seeds you can get. Yes, these seeds are beginner-friendly. And yes, there are potent, tasty options as we look at the strongest indica strains available. Let’s dive in! [Spoiler Alert: Our #1 recommendation is Afghan feminized strain for its soothing effect, ease of growth, and value for money] 10 Best Indica Seeds for Sale Online in 2022 [USA] Afghan − Best Indica seeds overall (up to 21 oz!) Black Indica − Low-THC (13%) pick for beginners Aurora Indica − Weather-resistant cannabis seeds Pure Indica − 100% Indica strain for relaxation Ruderalis Indica − Ideal for cold environments Hindu Kush − Great for dry and warm climates Cali Kush − Best high-CBD medicinal strain...
    Republicans have been lashing out at former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson after her bombshell testimony before the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. On his Truth Social platform, without providing any evidence, Trump claimed Hutchinson "made up phony and completely outrageous stories" and falsely claimed Hutchinson had been "caught in a ridiculous lie." He also called her a "phony social climber." But the attacks are complicated by Hutchinson's history. "Worked for Steve Scalise, Ted Cruz & Mark Meadows. Cassidy Hutchinson was fully dug-in and a true believer. So there’s a lot of nervousness out there tonight. The lame attempts to discredit her testimony demonstrate the levels of anxiety," argued civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill. Yet the attacks continued, as was noted by select committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). "Watching the desperation of Trump world to discredit the brave Cassidy Hutchinson reminds me of…. Everything Trump does when he is busted and cornered," Kinzinger wrote. On Wednesday, Hutchinson addressed the attacks in a statement issued through attorneys Jody Hunt and William Jordan, CNN's...
    Liam Hendriks is used to getting the final three outs as the Chicago White Sox closer. Recently, he has been limited to watching the action unfold. ”I was going stir crazy in the bullpen (Tuesday),” Hendriks said before Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers. The right-hander is recovering after being placed on the 15-day injured list Tuesday with a right forearm strain. ”I’ve had a tear in my UCL since ‘08,” Hendriks said. “It’s been there, that’s been manageable, I’ve been able to deal with it. But over the course of this year my elbow has been constantly inflamed a little more than usual. “It got to the point where it was inflamed, it was getting a little uncertain, there’s a slight forearm strain in there, so we’re taking care of that. The ligament hasn’t changed, nothing has changed on any other end that way, so it’s a mild strain, hopefully get back out there. They say three weeks, I’m targeting July 1.” Hendriks last pitched Friday, when he struck out one in a scoreless ninth to wrap up an...
    BERLIN (AP) — Scientists in Europe say they have pinpointed the origins of the Black Death, a bacterial plague that wiped out half of the continent’s population in the 14th century. The findings counter other theories that the disease — which caused repeated outbreaks into the early 19th century and also left its mark across the Middle East and North Africa — might have first emerged in China. Drawing on the work of historian Phil Slavin from the University of Stirling in Scotland, who had suggested the disease’s emergence might be linked to an unusual surge of deaths in a town in Central Asia in 1338-1339, researchers examined DNA from bodies found there. They found genetic fingerprints of the bacterium Yersinia pestis in individuals who had been buried with tombstones referring to a “pestilence” at the site by Lake Issyk Kul, in what is now Kyrgyzstan. In an article published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the researchers detail how the fingerprint reveals the strain that devastated the ancient trading community at Issyk Kul was the precursor to many others which...
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler had bone spurs removed from his right elbow in a procedure unrelated to the flexor strain that has sidelined him. Buehler said Tuesday he had the arthroscopic surgery done a day earlier. He did it now because it doesn’t affect the rest and rehab timeline for the strain. The right-hander is expected to be out 10 to 12 weeks, which means it could be September before he returns. Asked how confident he is about returning this season, Buehler said, “As confident as you can be.” Manager Dave Roberts said removing the bone spurs seemed like the best course of action. “If there’s an opportunity for him to come back, he will,” Roberts said. “It’s going to be a tough process because no player wants to go through that and you sort of feel alienated, isolated. It’s going to be a tough, lonely road for a while.” Buehler left last Friday’s start at San Francisco after four innings when his elbow began bothering him. After the game, the 27-year-old said he’s...
    Tim Anderson ranged to his left to field P.J. Higgins’ grounder in the fifth inning of Sunday’s City Series game against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox shortstop made the throw to first and fell to the ground in obvious pain. A hush went over the sellout crowd of 38,080. Teammates circled Anderson in shallow center field. He needed the training staff’s assistance to exit the game. Anderson became the latest key Sox player to suffer an injury this season as he left with a strained right groin. The Sox found a way to rally without their offensive spark plug, beating the Cubs 5-4 in 12 innings. Third baseman Jake Burger knocked in Danny Mendick with a single to end the marathon game. “I make (a fielding) error in the seventh that cost a run for us,” Burger said. “I’m just glad I got the chance to redeem myself a little bit.” Now the question becomes how long the Sox will be without Anderson. “It’s devastating,” Burger said. “You saw all nine guys out there around...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Mets pitcher Max Scherzer is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a strained oblique muscle in his left side, the latest blow to a New York pitching staff already missing ace Jacob deGrom. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, had an MRI on Thursday, a day after he pulled himself from a start against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 1-1 count on Albert Pujols in the sixth inning after feeling “a zing” in his left side. New York said the scan detected a moderate-to-high grade strain. The 37-year-old right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts after signing a $130 million, three-year contract with the Mets. An eight-time All-Star, Scherzer has struck out 59 and walked 11 in 49 2/3 innings. The Mets began the day with a six-game lead in the NL East. “He’s been pitching with a blister issue, the thing with the baseball — the seams are different,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said before the game. “That’s one of the reasons why he really struggled...
    Monkeypox appears to be spreading globally for the first time in an outbreak that has caught health officials off-guard. The UK has recorded seven cases of the virus but the majority of them are not linked which suggests more are going undetected. Spain and Portugal have also spotted the virus for the first time ever and the US is monitoring six people who were on a flight with a positive case. The majority of patients in the UK are gay or bisexual men, as are the eight Spanish men suspected of having the disease. Portuguese officials have confirmed five men tested positive and over a dozen more are thought to be infected. Health chiefs in the UK say the pattern of transmission is 'highly suggestive of spread in sexual networks'. Until now monkeypox had only been detected in four countries outside of Africa — the UK, US, Israel and Singapore, all of whom had links to Nigeria and Ghana. Infections are more common in central and western Africa, where they can result from direct contact with infected animals. Monkeypox can kill...
    General Hospital star Steve Burton's 23-year-long marriage to Sheree Gustin had been under strain for a while, leading up to his separation announcement last week. On Wednesday, the 51-year-old actor made a post on his Instagram Stories page, saying he and Sheree, 45, who's currently pregnant with her fourth child, were separated and that he was not the father of the baby. Now a source tells PEOPLE the separation was a long time coming: 'Their lives have been in the coasting stage for a while. After a long marriage, it's not that unusual.' Strained: Steve Burton's 23-year-long marriage to Sheree Gustin had been under strain for a while, leading up to his separation announcement last week; Pictured 2012 Part of the problem were the difficulties they faced after Steve, 51, was fired from his role as Jason Morgan on General Hospital in November 2021.  RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 2 Next 'The child is not mine': General Hospital star Steve Burton,... 'Beach with my little +1': Pregnant Lottie Tomlinson shows... Helena Bonham Carter, 55, shows off...
    (CNN)Gun violence spiked in the United States in the first year of the pandemic, adding strain to an already overwhelmed health care system.Between March 2020 and February 2021, there were about 62,500 firearm-related incidents in the US -- 15% higher than expected based on previous trends, according to a study published Thursday. These incidents resulted in more than 10,000 excess non-fatal injuries and about 4,400 excess deaths. DC authorities identify suspect arrested in connection with shootings of 5 homeless men there and in New York CityEarly in the pandemic, as hospitals filled to capacity and patients overflowed into hallways, emergency rooms in particular were seeing fewer patients than usual. Car crashes dropped off in 2020 as lockdown measures kept many at home and off the road, and the threat of Covid-19 infection probably kept many from seeking non-urgent care.But gun violence persisted despite the Covid-19 prevention measures in place, and the spike in violence translated to a direct effect on the nation's health care system. Read MoreWhile Covid-19 hospitalizations have recently dropped to the lowest point on record, stress on...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The planes take off almost daily from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware — hulking C-17s loaded up with Javelins, Stingers, Howitzers and other materiel being hustled to eastern Europe to resupply Ukraine’s military in its fight against Russia. The game-changing impact of those arms is exactly what President Joe Biden hopes to spotlight as he visits a Lockheed Martin plant in Alabama on Tuesday that builds the portable Javelin anti-tank weapons that have played a crucial role in Ukraine. But Biden’s visit is also drawing attention to a growing concern as the war drags on: Can the U.S. sustain the cadence of shipping vast amounts of arms to Ukraine while maintaining the healthy stockpile it may need if a new conflict erupts with North Korea, Iran or elsewhere? The U.S. already has provided at least 7,000 Javelins, about one-third of its stockpile, to Ukraine, according to an analysis by Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program. Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about one-quarter...
    (CNN)After two years of social distancing, parents are eager to get their kids outdoors and off their mobile devices. As a result, interest in summer camps is booming, with about 26 million children nationwide expected to join camps in the coming weeks. But amid surging demand, some experts say the cost of camps will jump 10% to 15% this summer over 2021.Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day. (You can get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)1. UkraineThe long-awaited evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, is underway. Hundreds of people -- dozens of whom are injured -- are thought to be inside the complex, the last Ukrainian holdout in the city following weeks of heavy Russian bombardment. Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called the situation a "humanitarian catastrophe," as people are running out of water, food and medicine. Nearly every building in the plant has been destroyed, new satellite images show. Separately, US House Speaker Nancy...
    Point guard Kyle Lowry was ruled out of Sunday night’s Miami Heat playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena due to the hamstring strain sustained during the third quarter of Friday night’s loss. Listed as questionable earlier in the day, Lowry’s status was changed 90 minutes before the 7 p.m. tipoff. It is only the second game Lowry, 36, has missed due to injury since he joined the team on a three-year, $85 million free-agent contract in August, having sat out an Oct. 25 road loss to the Indiana Pacers due to an ankle sprain. His other absences had been due to personal reasons, rest or health-and-safety protocols. The Heat went 12-7 in Lowry’s absence during the regular season. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said prudence took priority. “You have to be smart about it,” he said. “The training staff determined that he wasn’t going to play tonight and we have everybody else available and that’s what we’re focused on.” Asked if Lowry pushed to play, Spoelstra said, “You know Kyle.” The Heat have termed Lowry’s status as...
    Point guard Kyle Lowry was ruled out of Sunday night’s Miami Heat playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena due to the hamstring strain sustained during the third quarter of Friday night’s loss. Listed as questionable earlier in the day, Lowry’s status was changed 90 minutes before the 7 p.m. tipoff. It is only the second game Lowry, 36, has missed due to injury since he joined the team on a three-year, $85 million free-agent contract in August, having sat out an Oct. 25 road loss to the Indiana Pacers due to an ankle sprain. His other absences had been due to personal reasons, rest or health-and-safety protocols. The Heat went 12-7 in Lowry’s absence during the regular season. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said prudence took priority. “You have to be smart about it,” he said. “The training staff determined that he wasn’t going to play tonight and we have everybody else available and that’s what we’re focused on.” Asked if Lowry pushed to play, Spoelstra said, “You know Kyle.” The Heat have termed Lowry’s status as...
    The losses keep piling up for the Chicago White Sox. They dropped their sixth straight Saturday, falling to the Minnesota Twins 9-2 in front of 16,686 at Target Field. More significantly, left fielder Eloy Jiménez exited with right hamstring soreness after trying to beat a throw to first base in the second inning. He is being evaluated, the Sox said. “You walk in the training room and you see him and he’s crying his eyes out,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You walk in and everybody cries. I feel for him. He loves what he does. I told him there will be a lot of season left when he gets back. ”He banged the hamstring serious enough. We have to wait for the MRI to get the final diagnosis, but it makes everybody want to break up. We lost a player two years in a row. I think this is going to be shorter with what he went through with his shoulder. I feel sorry for him.” La Russa said the indication is that the injury would not be...
    COVID cases are still being detected across the UK - with the Omicron XE strain making its way through the population. But what are the symptoms of the new variant? 1Omicron XE could become the next dominant strain, experts saidCredit: PA The World Health Organisation has warned that this strain is more transmissible than previous variants - with 1,179 detected in the UK so far. Omicron XE is a sub-variant or “recombinant” variant - and was first detected in the UK in January. The WHO explained: “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 per cent as compared to BA.2, however this finding requires further confirmation. “XE belongs to the Omicron variant until significant differences in transmission and disease characteristics, including severity, may be reported.” The symptoms are thought to be similar to previous strains. The most common reported symptoms are similar to that of a cold. People with the variant have reported having a sore throat, sneezing, fatigue, and a runny nose. But experts have warned that it will probably become a dominant strain...
    Dallas star Luka Doncic is healing up from his calf injury but his availability for Game 3 has been determined and it’s not good news for the Mavericks. Luka Doncic is getting closer and closer to a return for the Mavericks but fans in Dallas will have to wait a little longer to get their star back. Doncic told ESPN he was “feeling great,” after a workout on Thursday. That hasn’t equated to being available to face the Jazz though. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the All-Star has been ruled out for Game 3 in Salt Lake City.Luka Doncic injury update: Mavericks star ruled out for Game 3Theres still significant pessimism on Luka Doncics availability for Game 3 tonight, sources tell ESPN. Hes eager to play, but its trending unlikely as he recovers from that left calf strain. https://t.co/Qodn0Fuuyc — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 21, 2022 Doncic went down in the regular-season finale with a calf strain and has missed the first two games of the playoffs. Without their star player, the Mavericks have gone 1-1. While it was certainly...
    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill isn’t expected to return anytime soon from the abdominal strain that has prevented him from playing thus far in their first-round playoff series with the Chicago Bulls. “We don’t expect him in the short term,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Wednesday before Game 2. Budenholzer said this issue is unrelated to the neck injury that caused Hill to miss 17 games earlier in the season. Hill said after returning from that injury that he’d been dealing with a partial tear between the sixth and seventh thoracic vertebra in his spine. According to Budenholzer, the latest injury stems from something that happened in the Bucks’ April 8 game at Detroit. Hill hasn’t played since. “We’ll see how he progresses over the next I’d say handful of days or more,” Budenholzer said. Hill, 35, played 54 games during the regular season and averaged 6.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 23.2 minutes. Jevon Carter filled Hill’s spot in the rotation the Bucks’ 93-86 Game 1 victory and scored three points in 10 minutes. ___...
    Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker had to leave Game 2 against the Pelicans with a hamstring injury and he’s likely to miss more game time. The Suns were riding high after a Game 1 blowout over the Pelicans but things have definitely taken a turn for the worse since. New Orleans evened the series with a victory in Game 2 while Phoenix lost Devin Booker to injury. The guard had 31 points in 25 minutes before leaving the game with a tweaked hamstring. While the prognosis isn’t devastating, it’s still less than ideal. Devin Booker injury update: Suns star likely to miss gamesBooker’s hamstring strain “is believed to be mild,” according to Adrian Wojnarowski. However, ESPN’s NBA insider also said “it appears unlikely he will be able to play in Game 3 and 4.” The Suns confirmed the mild strain but put no timetable for his return to action. Per the Suns: “Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has sustained a mild right hamstring strain, an MRI confirmed today. There is no timetable for his return and updates will be provided...
    A NEW Omicron variant is “likely to become the dominant strain”, an expert has said. Already 1,179 cases of the XE Covid strain have been detected in the UK since January. 1Mutating virus concept and new coronavirus b.1.1.7 variant outbreak or covid-19 viral cell mutation and influenza background as dangerous flu strain medical health risk with disease cells as a 3D render.Credit: Getty However, due to bank holiday delays in reporting data, the UK Health and Security Agency has not given an updated figure since April 8. “The early signs are that it is going to be very transmissible so it will probably become the dominant strain again,” said Dr Alan Stout, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in Northern Ireland, according to the Independent. “Again the early signs from elsewhere are that it’s not causing any more serious illness and that the vaccine is protecting people.  “So even though it will most likely become dominant it hopefully won’t cause any significant problems.” Read more on coronavirus WAVE CRASHING UK sees 116,227 extra Covid cases and 482 fatalities...
    by Anthony Hennen   As the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education adjusts to the merging of some of its colleges, selling dorms could be on the table. At the latest PASSHE Board of Governors meeting, officials discussed the selling off of two Edinboro University dorm buildings built in 2011. The university only had a 57.8 percent occupancy rate during the fall semester. High school graduate levels have fallen off in recent years, and it’s hit the PASSHE system hard: enrollment has declined by 21.6% since 2010-11, falling from about 120,000 students to about 94,000. “The low occupancy rates have created financial strain on the auxiliary operations, resulting in the housing program experiencing annual deficits,” the Board of Governors’ agenda states. “Divesting two of the housing facilities, Highlands 7 & 8 is a key strategy to support long-term financial sustainability for the housing operations for Edinboro University, as outlined in its sustainability planning.” Highlands 7 and 8 have not housed students since 2019. The university looks to “sell the property for development compatible with its mission while also improving its financial situation,”...
    (CNN)Zoos across the country are moving their birds indoors to protect them from the spread of a contagious and potentially lethal strain of the avian flu.Cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) have been rising in backyard flocks and wild birds across dozens of states in recent months, prompting zoo officials to temporarily shut down bird exhibits. "This strain of the disease is highly contagious and lethal to birds," the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore said in a statement on its website. "As a precautionary measure, we have closed our aviaries and moved several of our bird species to behind-the-scenes facilities with limited human contact until the threat of avian influenza has subsided."Detroit Zoo moves birds inside due to Avian Influenza concernsBirds in zoos could get infected by wild birds, humans or a new bird introduced to the facility.The avian flu was first detected in February in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This was the first case of infection in the US since 2020. Read MoreThe disease caused by the flu...
    The “stealth” COVID-19 Omicron subvariant has become the dominant strain of the virus in New York, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health officials in the US are calling the BA.2 strain a “subvariant of concern" as countries overseas have seen the number of new cases spiking in China and parts of Europe. Related story - COVID-19: Stealth Omicron Now Labeled 'Subvariant Of Concern' In the region, which includes New York, according to the CDC, the “stealth” Omicron variant now accounts for 84 percent of new cases statewide, up markedly from the previous week, when the figure stood at approximately 70 percent and 52 percent the week prior to that. The data from the CDC includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Earlier story - COVID-19: First 'Stealth Omicron' Cases Confirmed In NY Nationally, over the past two weeks, the BA.2 subvariant has been attributed to more than half of all new COVID-19 cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron, which is known as B.1.1.529,...
    The highly contagious BA.2 Omicron subvariant is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., including the West Coast — a development that added urgency to federal authorities’ decision Tuesday to allow a second vaccine booster shot for those age 50 and up. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be ready to offer second booster shots to those in that age group starting Wednesday at seven clinics. An additional shot “is especially important for those 65 and older, and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19, as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement Tuesday. Under the new authorization, a second booster dose will be available to those who are at least four months removed from their first booster. This would be the fourth dose for those who were originally vaccinated with the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna...
    Recent surges of COVID-19 cases around the world have brought on questions and concerns about one particular sub variant of the virus — BA.2 BA.2, along with its sister variants BA.1 and BA.3, are all different versions of the omicron strain. BA.1, the most common of the three variants after omicron, was first discovered in November, was effectively the sole cause of the large spike in coronavirus cases around the world in December and January.  Although BA.1 dominated new infections at the end of last year, BA.2 has continued to become more prevalent as 2022 has progressed.  Here's what to know about BA.2. BA.2 now dominant strain in the US: CDC The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named the BA.2 sub variant the dominant strain in the U.S. Tuesday. The agency said the new strain accounts for 54.9 percent of new coronavirus cases for the week ending March 26, a jump from 27 percent two weeks earlier.  The sub variant may cause a spike in cases after weeks of consistent declines in numbers in the U.S., but it is unclear how noticeable the increase...
    Chief White House medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciArizona Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 Sunday shows preview: Biden calls Putin a war criminal as Ukraine conflict continues Officials wary of new COVID-19 surge as country relaxes MORE said on Sunday that he did not think that the U.S. will see another surge in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of a new omicron variant, even though cases are rising in Europe and Asia due to the strain. Fauci said while appearing on ABC's "This Week" that the newer omicron strain is about 50 to 60 percent more transmissible than the first omicron strain, adding that it could take over as the dominant strain in the U.S. However, he noted that the strain does not appear to cause more severe illness or evade immune responses from vaccination or prior infection. "Hopefully, we won't see a surge. I don't think we will. The easiest way to prevent that is to continue to get people vaccinated. And for those who have been vaccinated, to continue to get them boosted. So, that’s really where we stand right...
    LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- While Los Angeles County continues to enjoy relatively low COVID-19 infection numbers and falling hospitalization numbers, the public health director urged residents to continue exercising caution, including during this weekend's L.A. Marathon."I hope a lot of people have an opportunity to go out and cheer on our runners," Barbara Ferrer told reporters during an online briefing Thursday. "I want to commend the organizers of the marathon, as always they're attentive to really what we consider routine infection-control processes. We encourage people to try to distance as much as possible and if they're indoors gathering before the run with lots of people, to keep those masks on."Obviously for the spectators, we'll all be outside watching. We can do our best to keep our distance. If you feel like you're in a crowded area and you're a person particularly at higher risk or you live with people at higher risk or you're unvaccinated in those crowded situations, we obviously continue to recommend that you keep a mask on."Thousands of runners are expected to take part in Sunday's marathon,...
    (CNN)Under experimental conditions, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus survives at least twice as long on surfaces like plastic, paper and skin than the original strain that emerged from Wuhan, China, which may help explain how this variant has become so contagious, two recent studies show.There's no need to start obsessively wiping and washing, however. Even though Omicron may survive longer on surfaces, you're probably still more likely to be infected by inhaling the virus rather than by touching something that's been contaminated, says Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer and aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech.Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Is America ready to take the next step in its Covid-19 recovery?"I think that maybe surfaces could be a little more important than they were with the ancestral strain. I still do not think that does not mean that surfaces are dominant, though," said Marr, who reviewed the studies but was not involved in the research. "I am sure that inhalation of aerosols is still the dominant mode of transmission."This increased stability probably also helps Omicron survive longer in the air, too. "If...
    TWO people in Israel have been struck with a new Covid variant described as “not yet known to the world” by experts. The novel strain caused mild symptoms of fever, headaches and muscle aches in the patients, local media report. 1A new Covid variant could be on the horizonCredit: Alamy New Covid variants are unexpected as the pandemic progresses. Especially when case numbers are very high, the virus is able to evolve. Israeli’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday that the two people infected had returned from abroad to Israel. Prof Salman Zarka, the nation’s Covid tsar, said the patients are a couple in their 30s who contracted the virus from their infant son, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He did not say where the patients were travelling from. Therefore, the strain’s origin is not clear. Genetic sequencing revealed that the strain they were carrying was a combination of the original (BA.1) and new (BA.2) Omicron variants. This, the Health Ministry said, was a version of the coronavirus “not yet known to the world”. The World Health Orgnaization (WHO) has warned...
    The flu shot used during the 2021 to 2022 virus season was a poor match and did little to prevent circulation, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report finds.  Researchers found that the vaccine only reduced the number of mild influenza by 16 percent, which they do not consider statistically significant. The flu strain that struck America this year was of the H3N2 strain, one of the more dangerous versions of the virus, and the shot was not tailored to the specific version of the virus that ended up emerging.  Experts had warned of a brutal flu season this year for months leading up to it, after the virus had trouble circulating the previous season leaving many without antibodies to combat it. Many Americans did get their flu shots, which health officials recommend to prevent the virus, but they did little to actually protect them from infection. The CDC finds that the 2021-22 iteration of the flu vaccine did little to protect people against infection from the virus, though flu season was still not as brutal as expected....
    A chip made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing CompanyTSMC Russia's invasion of Ukraine could further strain the supplies of semiconductor chips that have already caused global production disruptions for tech companies and automakers for more than a year. Russia and Ukraine are critical suppliers of neon gas and palladium that are used to produce semiconductor chips, according to officials. U.S. neon supply, which is used for lithography processes for chip production, comes almost entirely from Ukraine and Russia, according to Techcet, a California-based market research firm that specializes in critical supply chain materials and components. Russia produces Neon, a gas that's a byproduct of steel manufacturing, which is then sourced and purified by a specialized Ukrainian company, according to Techcet. The price of neon shot up 600% the last time Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. VIDEO3:1603:16Russia's attack on Ukraine is a war, says retired U.S. army colonel Jack JacobsSquawk BoxRussia also is a key Palladium supplier, along with South Africa, and supplies approximately 33% of the global demand, according to Technet. For the automotive industry, palladium also is a key metal used...
    U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 7% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2021, a revised estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed Thursday morning. The slight upward revision was about what was expected and indicates that economic growth remained strong throughout the early winter despite a major outbreak of COVID-19. The higher GDP reading is good for President Joe Biden, whose party is facing a tough midterm election challenge from Republicans later this year. Republicans have been using negative facets of the economy and Biden's sinking approval ratings as talking points in the lead-up to the November elections. December was marked by the new omicron strain, which peaked in mid-January at a daily average of more than 800,000 new cases. Since then, the country has seen a precipitous decline in new cases and is nearly back to where it was prior to the variant’s emergence. Cases are down 66% over the past two weeks, hospitalizations are down 44%, and deaths 24%. MORTGAGE RATES DROP IN EARLY SIGN OF HIGHER RATES TAKING...
    The infamous rats of New York City may be more than just the city's more dubious attraction. Some experts fear they are the source of a new Covid variant. A team made up of researchers from Texas A&M-San Antonio and Queensborough Community College in New York City believe that an unknown strain of the virus found in the city's wastewater could be rat-born. The strain has amino-acid changes that seem consistent with rat-born virus strains of the past, one researcher noted, birthing their theory. Covid being found in wild animals is a worrying prospect, as that means it can indefinitely circulate undetected and potentially find its way back to humans again in a new, unrecognizable, form. White tail deer, for example, are believed to be easily infected with the virus, putting virologists on high alert. Researchers found indicators in a mysterious Covid strain that it had previously infected rats, meaning the virus may have found its way into the rodent community (file photo) 'We offer several hypotheses for the anomalous presence of these lineages, including the possibility that these lineages are...
    Only 50 House members may get to attend President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address as the Omicron surge has resulted in 24 lawmakers getting COVID in one month.  On Tuesday, Axios reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told colleagues that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned him that she may limit the number of attendees from the House to 25 members per party.     Biden will deliver his State of the Union address on March 1.      President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address could look similar to his first joint address before Congress in April of last year, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy she might cap House attendance at 50 members House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) warned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (right) that he may only be able to invite 25 members of his caucus to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address  McCarthy told Republican leadership about Pelosi's plans - and they were frustrated by them.  McCarthy pointed out that Democrats fly on airplanes with more people...
    During an interview with West Virginia MetroNews’ “Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval” on Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that while coronavirus is “still dangerous,” and “you’ve got to be very, very careful” he also thinks that, to a certain degree, everyone is going to “get some kind of a strain” of the virus. While discussing host Hoppy Kercheval recovering from having coronavirus, Kercheval said he “never felt that bad” with the virus. Kercheval added that he just felt like he had a cold and he would have worked through being sick if it hadn’t been the coronavirus. Manchin stated, “I think, to some extent, everybody will get some kind of a strain of that, just like — it’s like a flu-type strain, I’m understanding. But it’s still dangerous, you’ve got to be very, very careful.” Manchin later stated that hospitals in West Virginia are filled up due to the coronavirus. Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
    A NEW Covid variant has emerged in the UK - with over 400 confirmed cases. It is a sub-variant of Omicron, which appears to be able to spread faster but isn't thought to be any more severe. 2The sub-variant is in the UK but isn't a huge cause for concern, experts say It is known as BA.2, and has many of the same mutations as Omicron - with current case rates very low. A string of positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated - with vaccines thought to still be effective against this new variant, BA.2. The latest data from UKHSA found it appears to be able to spread faster than original Omicron, but more research is needed to be certain - with it now officially a variant under investigation. Experts have said there is little to be concerned about at the moment, and crucially, there is no evidence of it being any more severe. Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We are learning to live with this virus - and thanks to our world-leading...
    New Zealand will make household contacts of Covid cases isolate for 24 days under harsh new rules brought in to combat an impending Omicron outbreak. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has brought in the strict measures as the country battles to stay Covid Zero despite the threat of the highly contagious mutant strain. But critics say the lengthy quarantine period is 'unworkable' and will lead people to avoid getting tested. Anyone infected with Covid is now required to isolate for 14 days, up from 10 days under the new interim rules. Household contacts must then stay in quarantine for a further 10 days, stretching the time alone out to three and a half weeks. New Zealand will make household contacts of Covid cases isolate for 24 days under harsh new rules brought in to combat an impending Omicron outbreak (pictured, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) The extension to isolation comes as New Zealand recorded 84 new Covid cases on Saturday, with 43 in the community and another 41 caught at the border. It includes an Auckland airport worker who tested positive...
    In Los Angeles, schools saw a massive 130,000-student drop in daily attendance when students returned from winter break this week, the latest pandemic hit to education. In San Diego, severe staffing shortages led school leaders to warn families of the possibility of “COVID Impact Days” similar to heat or snow days. And in Culver City, district leaders announced that they would close all schools next week to give students and staff time to “recoup and recover.” Educators across California are in triage mode working to keep campuses open and the state’s 6 million children in class as Omicron-fueled coronavirus cases surge. Save for some notable exceptions, they are managing to do so. But staff and students are strained in new and stressful ways as yet another intense pandemic chapter unfolds at schools. Amid outbreaks and rocketing infections, districts have closed classrooms; some teachers are trying to figure out how to adjust their lesson plans with fewer than a third of students at their desks; and administrators and other district employees are scrambling to fill in for absent staff. Only...
    COVID passports are "set to be SCRAPPED this month" as the wave of mild Omicron cases begins to ease. The vaccine passes are to be abandoned this month after Health Secretary Sajid Javid "effectively killed off the policy," according to reports. 3Sajid Javid is expected to argue that the Covid passes are not needed when Plan B goes under reviewCredit: PA 3The passes were introduced for when Brits would enter large events and nightclubs in England as part of plan B measuresCredit: Getty The Health Sec told MPs that he shared their “instinctive discomfort” at the vaccine passport policy. Plan B measures are reviewed on January 26, and it's becoming likely that the only Covid rule which will continue beyond then is mask-wearing indoors, reports The Times. This means that vaccine Covid passports are set to be dropped altogether. Last month, the passes were introduced for when Brits would enter large events and nightclubs in England as part of plan B measures when the Omicron surge began. But Sajid Javid is set to now argue that there's no need...
    EXPERTS believe that coronavirus could soon be as mild as common cold within months – as cases are beginning to slow. Dr Mike Tildesley claims that the world will soon be able to function normally again and will no longer be crippled by new variants of the killer virus. 1Experts hope that the country will be able to get back to normal soonCredit: AP The University of Warwick expert also feeds information into SAGE, and previously questioned the need for curbs. He raised hopes that cases are starting to slow in Covid hot-spot London despite the UK reporting nearly 180,000 new cases on Friday. The claims come after it was revealed that Omicron could be 99 per cent less deadly than other Covid variants as daily cases fall for a third day in a row A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta. Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials...
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County fire departments are asking for the community’s help in alleviating the strain its first responders are facing as a result of the strain COVID-19 and its variants are causing. The positivity rate in the county has reached 30 percent, resulting in an intensive care unit occupancy rate of nearly 92 percent, according to county Health Department data the fire departments cited in a statement. READ MORE: Baltimore County Police Searching For Missing 12-Year-Old BoyThe departments are asking people to avoid going to emergency departments for minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, low-grade fevers and seek care from primary care physicians or urgent care centers, and also to not obtain COVID-19 tests from emergency rooms. Residents are asked to go find an approved COVID-19 testing site from the state or use a home testing kit. Residents are asked to limit 911 calls to possible life-threatening conditions, including: Chest pains or persistent pain or pressure in the chest Trouble breathing or shortness of breath Blueish lips or face Severe pain that is...
    A California school district is shutting down for two days due to "an immense strain" on the school system from rising COVID-19 cases. The closures come despite a Dec. 22 statement from Gov. Gavin Newsom affirming state leaders' "shared commitment … to keep each other safe and to keep our classrooms open." "Across California, school communities – students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and board members together – have worked tirelessly to keep schools both safe and in-person. California schools have been open because of, not despite of, our priority on safety," Newsom said at the time. "As we approach the new year, we reaffirm our shared commitment to one another, to our parents and to our students: to keep each other safe and to keep our classrooms open." Joy Harrison instructs her second graders at Carl B. Munck Elementary School, in Oakland, California. (Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File) But COVID-19 cases are spiking again across the country as the omicron variant continues its rapid spread, making up the vast majority of confirmed U.S. cases.  MORE COVID...