The Centers for Disease Control says the new mutant strain of Covid-19 in the UK is not deadlier or more severe than the current strains of Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus going around.
The UK reported a new, deadlier strain of SARS-CoV-2 that resulted in increased hospitalizations and deaths.
The news prompted other countries to shut their borders to anyone arriving from the UK. Anxiety about the new strain spread across the pond to the U.S., where some states have been locked down since March.
The CDC issued a statement on Tuesday, calling for calm and stating there is "no evidence" the mutant strain causes more severe respiratory illness or increased risk of death.
The new UK strain, which is known as "B.1.1.7." has not been isolated in a lab in the U.S., though former FDA director Scott Gottlieb said the new strain has almost certainly spread around the globe.
The CDC urged all states to give priority to minorities when distributing the mRNA vaccine. As a result, 25 states are now prioritizing Black, Hispanic, and Native American residents over white people for vaccine distribution.
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In a stunning reversal on Monday, Britain's vaccine rollout minister walked back his statements about Covid-19 passports and forced vaccine mandates, saying the measures are "discriminatory and completely wrong."
Nadhim Zahawi said the British government will not require so-called "Covid-19 passports" that confirms the holder was vaccinated.
Zahawi also said the UK would "definitely not" mandate the coronavirus vaccines, or place restrictions on those who chose not to get the vaccines.
Zahawi made the announcement during a Westminster Hall debate after a petition garnered 340,000 signatures against the Covid passports and vaccine mandates.
He said he previously "misspoke."
"I think mandating vaccinations is discriminatory and completely wrong," he said. "I would urge businesses listening to this debate today not to even think about this."
Zahawi added, "We have absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting."
Civil liberties groups praised Zahawi's reversal as "a welcome return to rationality."
Just two weeks ago, Zahawi said bars, cinemas, restaurants and sports venues should "demand proof of vaccination" before allowing customers to enter.
But that was before health officials reluctantly agreed that there isn't enough data to prove the vaccine can stop or prevent the spread of the coronavirus,
There is still no cure for a virus.
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As the U.S. and other countries prepare to roll out millions of messenger Ribonucleic Acid (mRNA) vaccinations, UK officials warn the still experimental mRNA vaccinations will do nothing to stop the spread of the virus.
The U.S., Canada and the UK recently approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech for "emergency use."
But critics of the rollout say the mRNA vaccinations were not designed to stop the spread of a virus since, unlike traditional vaccines, the mRNA vaccines are bio-engineered to genetically modify human DNA.
In a letter sent Nov. 4 to the U.K.'s healthcare staff in four countries, chief medical officers say the vaccines will not stop the spread of the virus, and healthcare workers should prepare for "an specially hard winter."
"[Vaccine] deployment will have only a marginal impact in reducing numbers coming into the health service with COVID over the next three months," the officials wrote.
"Vaccines do not equal zero COVID," World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan warned on Friday.
The vaccines pose a problem to healthcare workers because of the serious side effects reported by participants in clinical trials.
Buddy Creech, one of the lead investigators of the Moderna vaccine trials, said the side effects are strong enough to put health workers "out of commission" and those risks have to be raised before the vaccines are rolled out.
Officials at Massachusetts General Hospital and other hospitals in the U.S. are considering vaccinating doctors and nurses at the end of their shifts to stagger their staff in case they call out sick after receiving the shots.
But Mass General's vice chair of emergency preparedness Paul Biddinger says staggering shifts will not be enough since full data from Pfizer and Moderna's late-stage trials are still unknown.
A British pharmacy regulator has dropped a bombshell warning: people with significant allergic reactions should not take the still experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
The MHRA warned Wednesday that people who have experienced "powerful allergic overreactions" should avoid taking the experimental Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccines.
The warning comes after 2 people reported adverse reactions after taking the Pfizer mRNA vaccines last week.
At least 2 volunteers in the Pfizer and Moderna trials have died after getting the vaccine in clinical trials in the U.S.
The adverse reactions spell trouble for the already risky vaccination program here in the U.S. where the elderly in nursing homes will be the first guinea pigs.
Dr. Sandra Fryhofer warned that patients will have some "rough side effects" from the vaccine that will last a day to a week. She said some healthcare workers who take the vaccine may have to call out sick the next day.
She is concerned that her patients will not return for the second dose if they are feeling poorly after the first dose.
"We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park," Fryhofer said. "They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they've got to come back for that second dose."
One North Carolina woman who participated in the Moderna trials said, "The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure. You will need to take a day off after the second dose."
Researchers don't know the longterm effects of the mRNA vaccine, since the FDA has never approved mRNA vaccines for use in humans.
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UK's newly appointed minister to oversee Covid-19 vaccine development says British citizens can lose their right to a normal life if they don't roll up their sleeves to get the vaccine.
Nadhim Zahawi warned Brits will have to show proof of vaccination in order to gain entry to shops, bars, theaters or sporting events.
Zahawi says proof of vaccination could be held on a phone app already in use in the government's track and trace system.
"I think you'd probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system as they've done with the app," Zahawi told the BBC on Monday.
"The sort of pressure will come both ways: from service providers – who will say 'look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated' – but also we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson "strongly urges" Brits to get vaccinated, but he said vaccines will not be mandatory in the UK.
Officials in the United States are looking at similar apps on phones or a digital wallet that will confirm Americans received the COvid-19 vaccine.
But, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, Dr Anthony Fauci insisted the Covid-19 vaccine will not prevent infection, it will only lessen symptoms. People who are vaccinated can still spread the virus.
"The primary endpoint is to prevent clinical disease, to prevent symptomatic disease, not necessarily to prevent infection. The primary thing you want to do is, if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick. And if you prevent them from getting sick you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill, so that's what we want to do."
Common symptoms of Covid-19 are similar to the seasonal flu: a fever, cough, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and muscle aches.
A former female-to-male transgender who "detransitioned" back to a woman won a groundbreaking lawsuit against a transgender clinic that failed to carry out a proper mental assessment before prescribing puberty blockers for her as a teen.
Keira Bell, 23, brought legal action against Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the only clinic in the UK that provides gender identity development services for transgender children.
Judges presiding over Keira's case said doctors at the Trust must now get a court order before prescribing puberty blockers for children under age 16.
The judges said children are unable to mentally understand the complex consequences of puberty blockers and cross-sex drugs.
"Children under 16 who wish to undergo under reassignment can only consent to having puberty blockers if they are able to understand the nature of the treatment," the high Court ruled in its landmark decision.
Keira, who was prescribed puberty blockers at age 16, was injected with testosterone at 17 and had her breasts removed at age 20. She is now living as a woman.
She said she felt like a "guinea pig" and she claimed the doctors at the Trust failed to perform a proper psychiatric assessment on her before she transitioned.
Trans children's charity group Mermaids called the ruling a "devastating blow" for trans children waiting for sex change treatment.
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A new study suggests people who work from home are becoming more racist than their counterparts who still drive to work every morning.
The new study, conducted by polling company Survation, warns that people are living in a bubble and without social mixing between different cultures, religions and ethnic groups, people are more apt to become racist and intolerant to others.
In the United States, over 50% of the workforce continue to work from home amid the daily news reports of spikes in positive coronavirus tests.
44 percent of the workforce in the UK are now working from home due to strict coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is listed as "stable" after spending the night in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at London's St. Thomas' Hospital as his coronavirus symptoms "worsened" and he went into respiratory distress.
On Sunday, April 5, Johnson was admitted to the National Health Service (NHS) hospital after battling COVID-19 for 10 days.
When he began suffering from respiratory distress on Monday, he was moved to the ICU and listed in serious condition.
Providing an update on his condition, a spokesperson said, "The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance."
The spokesperson insisted Johnson did not require intubation or a ventilator to stabilize his breathing.
"He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support."
Typically, patients in respiratory distress are placed on a ventilator in ICU where the nurse-to-patient ratio is one-to-one or one-to-two.
The spokesperson denied reports that Johnson was diagnosed with a potentially fatal pneumonia caused by Covid-19.
But according to reports, Johnson was having difficulty breathing and his oxygen saturation levels were so low that he was moved to ICU in anticipation of being placed on a ventilator to support his breathing.
Johnson is the first world leader to be hospitalized with Covid-19.
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Johnson, 55, and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, 31, are expecting a baby in early summer. She is recovering from Covid-19.
The British media claims Johnson has at least 5 children - though he has never confirmed the exact number.
Tariq Nasheed was banned from entering the United Kingdom, where he planned to screen his new movie Hidden Colours 5. The self-professed "race baiter" learned he was denied entry by the UK government when he tried to board a plane to England at LAX Airport last week.
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The HM Prison Service in the United Kingdom has ended the controversial policy of housing male-to-female (MtF) transgenders in all-female prisons.
The new policy calls for MtF prisoners to be housed in separate wings over concerns for the safety of genetic female prisoners.
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