Omicron sweeps across nations… Virus fears widen…Battle plan includes at-home tests, support for hospitals…

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NEW YORK (AP) — Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers showed nearly a six-fold increase in omicron’s share of infections in only one week.

In much of the country, it’s even higher. Omicron is responsible for an estimated 90% or more of new infections in the New York area, the Southeast, the industrial Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. The national rate suggests that more than 650,000 omicron infections occurred in the U.S. last week.

apnews.com/article/omicron-majority-us-cases-833001ef99862bd6ac17935f65c896cf

BOSTON (AP) — The nation’s second-largest city called off its New Year’s Eve celebration Monday, and its smallest state re-imposed an indoor mask mandate as the omicron variant leaped ahead of other variants to become the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S.

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The moves in Los Angeles and Rhode Island reflected widening fears of a potentially devastating winter COVID-19 surge. Much of the concern is being driven by omicron, which federal health officials announced accounted for 73% of new infections last week, a nearly sixfold increase in only seven days.

apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-europe-london-england-eddf1657a9462547826881562b71f3b7

President Biden in a speech Tuesday afternoon will outline plans to expand coronavirus testing sites across the country, distribute a half-billion free at-home tests and deploy more federal health resources to aid strained hospitals, as the omicron variant drives a fresh wave of infections.

www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/biden-e2-80-99s-omicron-battle-plan-to-include-a-half-billion-free-at-home-tests-support-for-overwhelmed-hospitals/ar-AAS0Xcp

The NHL is beginning a leaguewide shutdown Wednesday amid a rise in positive COVID-19 test results among players, and with 10 of the league’s 32 teams’ schedules already paused and their facilities closed.

The league announced Monday night that it will open its annual holiday break two days earlier than scheduled and have it run through Saturday. The decision, reached in coordination with the NHL Players’ Association, means five additional games scheduled for Thursday will be postponed, bringing the total this season to 49.

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apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-nhl-sports-lifestyle-health-3076c3f933a91c5e40b027c0fb800022

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he will activate up to 500 members of the National Guard to support understaffed hospitals across the state facing a surge of COVID-19 patients and to bolster non-emergency medical transportation needs.

Up to 300 Guard members will begin training this week to provide nonclinical support at 55 acute care hospitals and 12 ambulance service providers, the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services said in a statement. They will be deployed Dec. 27.

apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-charlie-baker-massachusetts-17af23710ea31acdd4c13f3d0b433b36

ANOTHER COVID CHRISTMAS

www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-will-try-to-rally-exhausted-americans-against-omicron-threat/ar-AAS0gQO?ocid=uxbndlbing
NY SMASHES CASE RECORD 4TH DAY

www.fox5ny.com/news/stunning-spike-in-covid-rattles-new-york

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