* “(Intensive care units) are filled for the most part with unvaccinated people.”–French Prime Minister Jean Castex. So, no, it’s not just the U.S. that needs a vaccine against right-wing stupidity and defiance.

* Paxlovid: Pfizer’s anti-COVID pill that was recently approved by the FDA. Molnupiravir: the pill created by Merck & Co., which is not recommended for pregnant women.

* U.S. health officials cut isolation restrictions for Americans with COVID from 10 to 5 days.

* Early research suggests omicron may cause milder symptoms than earlier versions.

* FEMA has spent nearly $1.5 billion to reimburse families up to $9,000 for funeral costs for loved ones who died of COVID. Many families who are eligible for reimbursement, however, have yet to take advantage of the benefit.

* Currently, the U.S. can conduct about 600 million tests per month—with home tests accounting for about half.

* “We are seeing unprecedented demand for testing services.”–Walgreens statement.

* Help.” What full-page, hospital-staff-underwritten newspaper ads in Ohio said in pleading with the unvaccinated to finally get a shot and help packed hospitals that are low on beds.

* Roughly 15 percent of the adult population remains unvaccinated.

* Florida reported 125,000 cases from Dec. 17-23, or a daily average of about 18,000. That’s more than a 300 percent increase from the week before. For context, that’s still lower than the weekly average (25,000) during the summer wave.

* President Biden is prepared to deploy an additional 1,000 troops with medical skills to assist hospitals impacted by the COVID surge.

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