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US households can now order four free Covid tests from the government – latest guidelines

An updated Coronavirus booster is now being rolled out nationwide

Maggie O'Neill
Friday 03 November 2023 20:00 GMT
Jill Biden tested positive for Covid and experienced “mild symptoms”, per a 4 September statement from the White House.

New Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna are now available at pharmacies nationwide, and the US has restarted its free Covid test program.

Tests can be ordered from; you can order four per household.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending one dose of the updated vaccine for everyone six months and older in the US; some children may be eligible for up to three doses depending on their age and previous vaccination status.

Hospitalisations and deaths rose steadily during the last weeks of summer, and global health authorities are monitoring two new variants, BA.2.86, known as Pirola, and EG.5, known as Eris.

First reported in February, Eris is now responsible for nearly 30 per cent of Covid cases in the US, per CDC estimates.

Some experts are urging Americans to wear a mask when necessary to slow the spread of the virus.

CDC Covid tracker

16,186 hospitalisations from 15 October to 21 October


The test positivity rate, as well as Covid deaths and hospitalisations, show little change from mid-October, CDC data show

From 22 Ocotber to 28 October, the national test positivity rate was nine per cent, and there was no change from the previous week, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show.

During that time, emergency department visits from Covid dropped 5.3 per cent, while hospitalisations rose 0.1 per cent.

About 2.5 per cent of all deaths in the US were due to Covid during that time, which is similar to the rate of the previous week.

Maggie O’Neill3 November 2023 20:00

Covid vaccination rate grows slightly

More than 15 million people in the US had received the updated Covid vaccine as of 27 October, according to reporting from Reuters.

This accounts for less than five per cent of the US population.

As of 26 October last year, nearly 23 million people had received the new Covid booster.

Maggie O’Neill3 November 2023 14:00

Researchers discover biomarkers that could help predict long Covid

Scientists have learned more about who is likely to develop long Covid, and their findings could help doctors better treat the condition.

The new research—which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal—discovered certain biomarkers that may predict long Covid.

“These findings suggest that complement biomarkers could facilitate the diagnosis of long COVID and further suggest that currently available inhibitors of complement activation could be used to treat long COVID,” the authors of the new paper wrote.

Maggie O’Neill3 November 2023 06:00

Moderna shares updated vaccine predictions

Moderna said Thursday it is likely to make close to $6 billion in sales this year, perhaps due to decreased demand for Covid vaccines, according to reporting from Reuters.

The company also said its flu shot will not be available in 2024, as was previously expected. The launch date has now been pushed to 2025.

Maggie O’Neill3 November 2023 00:00

Denny’s owner in New York State to pay $2 million for making false statements on federal Covid aid program application

The owner of multiple Denny’s restaurants in Central New York will have to pay $2 million for making false statements on an application for a federal Covid aid program, per reporting from

The whistleblower who alerted the government will receive $200,000, per reporting from WWNYTV 7 News.

Maggie O’Neill2 November 2023 19:00

CDC says vaccines are safe for breastfeeding mothers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging pregnant people and new mothers to stay up-to-date on their Covid vaccines.

Maggie O’Neill2 November 2023 14:00

Vaccine confidence in the US has fallen in the last two years, survey shows

A new survey found that from April 2021 to October 2023, the percetage of Americans who think vaccines approved for use in the US are “safe” fell from 77 per cent to 71 per cent.

The survey, conducted by experts at the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania, also found the percentage of adults who think vaccines are not safe jumped from nine per cent to 16 per cent during the same time period.

Maggie O’Neill2 November 2023 06:00

New research suggests masks slow the spread of Covid

A new paper published in JAMA Network Open has found masks “reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2”, the virus that causes illness with Covid-19.

“High-quality studies have shown that use of face masks in the community is associated with reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and is likely to be an important component of an effective response to a future respiratory threat,” the authors of the new paper wrote.

Experts say it may be necessary to mask up in public spaces this fall and winter, if Covid case counts rise.

Maggie O’Neill2 November 2023 00:00

Millions of lives were saved by the Covid vaccines, research finds

At least 2.4 million excess deaths were prevented after the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, new research suggests.

However, more lives would have been saved had vaccine access been equitable across the globe.

Experts say staying up-to-date on all vaccines is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease from Covid.

Maggie O’Neill1 November 2023 19:00

‘Bedbound’ long Covid patient shares how the illness has made it difficult to celebrate Halloween

Dianna Cowern says she’s been “bedbound” due to long Covid since January.

Maggie O’Neill1 November 2023 14:00

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