Thursday, July 7

Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at Senate hearing as daily Covid cases skyrocket | Coronavirus

The United States has recorded a record number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as the daily infection rate soared to more than 1.35 million.

Nonetheless, politics dominated a Senate hearing on the pandemic on Tuesday as Republicans tried to use the disease for political gain and Kentucky’s Rand Paul once again clashed with Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden’s top medical adviser. .

“As usual, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said. “You keep coming back to personal attacks against me that have absolutely no relevance.”

On Monday there were 145,982 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the United States, according to HHS data. Reuters reported that the previous maximum was 132,051, established in January 2021.

According to Reuters, there were 1.35 million new covid infections on Monday, also a record. Measurements vary, and observers note that many home tests are not officially recorded. But nbc news reported at least 1,343,167 new infections.

The highly contagious variant of Omicron has doubled hospitalizations in three weeks. The seven-day average for new cases has tripled in two weeks to more than 700,000 a day.

Despite the intimidating new numbers, Paul again used a Senate health committee hearing to attack the government’s top infectious disease expert.

Paul, who has repeatedly used public health hearings to brag politically and launch personal attacks on Fauci, accused the immunologist of working to smear scientists and be responsible for closing schools, while reiterating right-wing theories about the origin of the disease. covid-19.

Fauci has been the target of death threats and said his family had been harassed “because people are lying about me.”

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He held a one-page printout in Paul’s campaign website, which had the “Fire Dr. Fauci” sign next to an invitation to donate to Paul’s re-election effort.

“You are creating a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” Fauci said.

He also described the arrest in Iowa in December of a man who, according to the police, planned to kill Fauci and other powerful figures and who was carrying an assault rifle.

A large number of Covid cases tend to be reported on Mondays due to many states not reporting over the weekend, but the total of 1.35 million reported this week comfortably surpassed the previous record of 1.03 million, recorded on Monday. January 3.

Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, and Wisconsin have reported record levels of cases recently.

Only seven states have not set case records in 2022: Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Wyoming, Reuters said.

At the Senate hearing, Fauci was asked for an update on the effect of the virus on vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated people. He reiterated that getting vaccinated was the best way to avoid serious illnesses.

Fauci said that unvaccinated people were 10 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, 17 times more likely to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die.

As cases and hospitalizations skyrocket, U.S. health authorities are increasingly taking the previously unthinkable step of allowing nurses and other covid-infected workers to stay on the job if they have mild or no symptoms. . The Associated Press informed.

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The move is a reaction to a severe shortage of hospital staff and the overwhelming number of cases Omicron is causing.

California health officials announced over the weekend that hospital staff members who test positive but have no symptoms can continue to work. Some hospitals in Rhode Island and Arizona have given employees similar guidelines.

In December, the CDC saying Health workers who do not have symptoms can return to work after seven days with a negative test, but that isolation time “can be further reduced if there is a shortage of staff.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), clarified the federal guidance. She said fully vaccinated people exposed to the virus don’t need to stay home unless they develop symptoms, but should wear a mask, get tested and avoid travel until after day 10.

The threat from Omicron and the number of new cases has led to increased demand for testing, with long lines and shortages across the country.

On Monday the white house said Insurance companies will be required to cover eight OTC home tests per person each month beginning January 15.

In December, Joe Biden said that 500 million home tests would be sent free to Americans starting in January.

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