* Italy: Vaccine shots are now compulsory for those over 50.

* The brutal, beyond-sobering bottom line: If everyone had worn a mask and gotten vaccinated, we’d have fewer dead Americans. Shouldn’t personal “freedom” include doing what’s best to, well, stay alive?

* Thirty-five sailors—citing religious grounds—have sued the U.S. Navy and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin—over vaccination orders. What would Jesus say?

* “The chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.”–CDC statement.

* Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have halted some cruises due to the omicron variant.

* According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate among children ages 5 to 17 is about 1 per 100,000.

* An estimated 1.6 million Americans have chronic smell problems because of COVID.

* More than 5.8 million Floridians—ages 5 and up—remain unvaccinated.

* Florida hospitals are caring for more than 7,000 COVID patients. That number was about 1,000 a month ago.

* Since the school year began (Aug. 10), Hillsborough has reported more than 15,000 cases. A recent week’s total was 2,452. It was 604 for the month of October.

* According to the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, Florida’s surging case numbers should peak by mid-January.

* Flurona”: The term used for those who test positive for both the flu and the coronavirus at the same time.

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