Evidence is growing that schools can safely reopen even without vaccinating teachers, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, but teachers aren’t so thrilled. (Fox News)
Walensky also had a message for football fans this weekend: “Whichever team you’re rooting for and whichever commercial is your favorite, please watch the Super Bowl safely, gathering only virtually or with the people you live with,” she urged on Wednesday. (CNBC)
NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, agreed, calling on Americans to “just lay low and cool it” Super Bowl Sunday. (Market Watch)
Fauci also warned that if new coronavirus variants become dominant, there’s a very good chance COVID survivors could get reinfected. (CNN)
Politico heard rumors about a possible frontrunner to lead CMS: Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, a Democratic health policy expert.
Beginning next week, the Biden administration will ship about 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses directly to some 6,500 pharmacies, in addition to the millions already being sent to states, territories, and tribes. (NPR)
Also, the White House will buy 8.5 million at-home rapid coronavirus tests, through a $231.8-million contract with the Australian firm Ellume, which plans to boost production to 19 million tests per month once it builds a new U.S. manufacturing plant. (The Washington Post)
Johnson & Johnson sent paperwork to the FDA on Thursday requesting the agency to authorize the company’s one-dose vaccine for adults; the agency set a Feb. 26 advisory committee meeting to review it.
Also on Thursday, the FDA said it was scaling back its emergency authorization for convalescent plasma.
Biden’s pandemic response team has hit a serious roadblock: 20 million vaccine doses shipped to states by the Trump administration are missing from the tracking system. (Politico)
Possibly related: the CDC’s pricey new Vaccine Administration Management System website intended to manage COVID-19 shots and inventory is so flawed that most states have deserted it. (MIT Technology Review)
Hunter Biden’s memoir “Beautiful Things” which documents his battle with substance abuse is slated for publication this April. (Fox News)
An NIH panel found insufficient data to recommend for or against using IL-6 inhibitors tocilizumab (Actemra) or sarilumab (Kevzara) to treat COVID-19 in the ICU.