COVID-19 weekly news: December 13-19

An expert’s take on what omicron tells us about the state of the pandemic

Researchers at Mayo Clinic and around the world continue to monitor the omicron variant and study how it behaves. Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, who has decades of experience in the field of infectious diseases, offers some insight into what the emergence of omicron tells us about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and where it may be headed.

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Mayo Clinic stands with other health care organizations to urge public to help curb COVID-19

ROCHESTER, Minn. — CEOs from nine Minnesota health systems have come together in an appeal to the public, asking them to help our state’s overwhelmed health care system. As COVID-19 continues to surge, leaders have taken out a full-page ad in major newspapers across the state this week that highlight the critical nature of the situation, the heartbreaking realities facing hospitals and how the community can help.

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COVID-19 booster vaccine for teens

This past week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccinations for 16 and 17-year-olds who are six months past their initial vaccination series.

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Mayo Clinic Minute: Winter, holidays and keeping safe from COVID-19 and other viruses

As the end of the year approaches, it's only the beginning of the season for illnesses like the cold and flu. Add COVID-19 and other viruses to the list, and that can damper plans or even make gatherings dangerous.

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Do COVID-19 pills change the medical game plan?

The latest potential COVID-19 treatment is on the horizon. Pfizer reports that Paxlovid, its COVID-19 antiviral pill, reduced hospitalizations and deaths by 89% among people at high risk. Pfizer has submitted its latest trial data to the Food and Drug Administration and has asked for emergency use authorization for the drug.

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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Experts urge COVID-19 boosters to fight omicron surge

More Americans are now eligible for COVID-19 booster doses as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Pfizer vaccine booster for 16- and 17-year-olds late last week. Previously, only those 18 and older were eligible.

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Predictive modeling for COVID in preparation for the holiday travel season

On Wednesday, December 15, Dr. Shannon Dunlay, M.D., co-leader of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 modeling team, and Curtis Storlie, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic data scientist, fielded questions around Mayo's Coronavirus map tracking tool, which has county-by-county information on COVID-19 cases and trends nationwide. The tool can help show what the risk is now and how it is changing. It offers predictive modeling and forecasts where hot spots will emerge. What do the COVID-19 map trends mean for people considering holiday gatherings or travel?

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Mayo Clinic Q and A: Handling holiday stress

Those who are vaccinated for COVID-19 may be planning family gatherings, gift exchanges and big meals this year. After last year, a lot of people are feeling more pressure to make this holiday season even better for their loved ones. Do you have any tips for coping with the stress of it all?

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Mayo Clinic expert discusses the latest on omicron variant

The omicron variant has now been identified in at least 32 states, and experts believe it will become the dominant strain in the U.S. The omicron variant appears to be more transmissible than other variants, including delta, but has so far led to milder disease.

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Flu season has arrived as COVID-19 surge continues

On Friday, December 17th, Abinash Virk, M.D., a Mayo Clinic infectious disease expert and Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, discussed this years flu season. They also accressed how people can tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu and why getting tested is going to be especially important this winter.

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Mayo Clinic Q and A: Vaccines and boosters for COVID-19 omicron strain

I am 36 and work remotely. I have received a two-dose series of the COVID-19 vaccine, but as I am hearing more about the new omicron variant, I'm wondering if I need a booster shot? Also, I have child who will be 5 in a few weeks. Should I get my daughter vaccinated now or wait for a new vaccine based on this new strain?

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1 year of COVID-19 vaccines at Mayo Clinic

It’s been one year since hope arrived at Mayo Clinic in form of a vaccine to help slow the spread of COVID-19 infection. Since December of 2020, Mayo Clinic has administered approx. 320,000 COVID-19 vaccines throughout its campuses in Rochester, Phoenix, Jacksonville, and Mayo Clinic Health System.

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Forecast your travel plans with COVID-19 predictive modeling tools

Like checking the weather before making traveling plans, members of the Mayo Clinic Predictive Modeling Task Force are hoping people turn to the U.S. COVID-19 map to help make decisions this holiday season.

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Chantell Canfield (@chantellcanfield)

Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.