ATLANTA – The president of Emory University said on Tuesday that the school was switching to virtual classes to start the spring semester due to a nationwide increase in COVID cases fueled by the omicron variant.
In a letter to the college community, President Gregory Fenves said Emory will return to in-person learning on January 31 if conditions permit.
The shift to distance learning applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional courses. University residences will remain open, although students are encouraged to delay their return to campus.
COVID-19 infections in the Atlanta area, where Emory is located, are increasing rapidly.
The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in Georgia rose to nearly 8,700 per day on Monday, according to the state’s public health department. This is approaching the peaks Georgia saw in the number of infections in early January and early September.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
– Undertakers and rabbis join global fight to promote COVID shooting
– US officials recommend shorter COVID isolation, around quarantine
– Fauci: US should consider vaccine mandate for US air travel
– In eastern Germany, pastors call for shots despite protests
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS TODAY:
LONDON – The UK reported another record high number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 129,471 more infections on Tuesday.
Data was incomplete due to the Christmas holidays and did not include figures for Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Another 18 people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus, the government said.
Officials said 90% of cases in the country are now the omicron variant.
Despite the high number of daily infections, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has said it will not impose new virus restrictions on England until the New Year. Meanwhile, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which set their own public health rules, have started closing nightclubs and limiting social gatherings from Boxing Day.
AUSTIN, Texas – Infusion centers in five major cities in Texas have depleted their supply of antibodies that are most effective against the more transmissible variant of omicron.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services said centers in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and the Houston area were running out of sotrovimab, which is the effective monoclonal antibody treatment against omicron.
The agency says treatment cannot be offered until January, when the next delivery of the drug is expected to arrive from the federal government.
Antibody drugs for coronavirus variants other than omicron are still available, the agency said.
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – Justice in Maryland on Monday announced plans to postpone jury trials and cut back on other court operations amid an increase in coronavirus cases.
The emergence of more contagious variants and the risk to those who are vaccinated and those who have not completed the vaccination process require a return to more restrictive emergency operations, according to an order from the Chief Justice of the Court of call from Maryland, Joseph Getty.
State health officials on Monday reported 5,376 new cases, an increase in hospitalizations to 1,714 and an increase in the seven-day test positive rate to more than 16.5%.
Jury trials scheduled for Wednesday through February 8 will be rescheduled, but district and circuit courts will hear specific types of cases remotely or in person. The ongoing jury trials may be terminated.
The Court of Appeal and the Special Court of Appeal will remain fully operational, but the Chief Justice can decide whether to hold proceedings in person or remotely. The offices of the clerks will remain open to the public.
ANKARA, Turkey – The number of daily COVID-19 infections in Turkey has passed 30,000 for the first time since mid-October, as the highly contagious omicron variant begins to take hold.
The country reported 32,176 new cases and 184 deaths on Tuesday. A day earlier, daily infections had risen to around 26,000, after hovering around 20,000 for weeks.
“Due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant, (infections) appear to be on an increasing trend,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter. He warned the country was entering a period in need of additional care and urged people to receive their booster shots as soon as possible.
Turkey reported its first six cases of the omicron variant on December 11. It did not impose any new restrictions.
MILAN – Italian experts will meet on Wednesday to discuss changing quarantine rules under pressure from regional governors who say the system is no longer manageable as confirmed positives hit a new pandemic high of over 78,300 reported to the in the last 24 hours.
Currently, people who have been vaccinated twice can be released from quarantine after seven days with a negative test, while unvaccinated people or people who have only received a single dose must quarantine themselves for at least 10 days.
Under this system, up to 2 million people are expected to be quarantined in the coming weeks as the number of cases continues to skyrocket.
Veneto governor Luca Zaia calls for limiting quarantine to those who have only been in close contact with symptomatic people. Other proposals call for removing the quarantine for anyone who has had the recall.
Health ministry official Pierpaolo Sileri estimates that omicron currently accounts for around 50-60% of new cases. He says the impact of the new variant should be investigated before reducing quarantine times.
MIAMI – Miami-Dade County officials have opened two new coronavirus testing sites and extended the Miami Zoo’s hours of operation in response to increased demand.
“We are working around the clock to ensure that residents of Miami-Dade have access to testing to protect themselves and their loved ones during the holiday season,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Tuesday in a statement. Press release.
She said the county had also distributed 152,000 take-out rapid test kits.
The Miami Zoo site is open for testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Ron Gonçalves, general manager of NOMI Health Florida.
Overall, Florida has seen a sharp increase in new cases of COVID-19 over the past week.