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Public health officials continue to monitor the highly transmissible XBB.1.5 subvariant, warning it can more easily evade the immunity offered by COVID vaccines and prior infections. (The Hill)
At the same time, scientists have been quick to shut down the notion that COVID vaccines are making variants like XBB.1.5 — nicknamed “Kraken” for its namesake mythical and menacing sea monster — stronger. (Fortune)
The Biden administration is preparing for an end to the COVID public health emergency, which could come as early as this spring. (Politico)
And a WHO committee will convene Jan. 27 to decide whether the pandemic still represents a global emergency. (Reuters)
As China lifted its border curbs amid a rollback of the nation’s zero-COVID policy, people flocked to immigration offices in Beijing, eager to renew their passports. (Reuters)
Some Chinese citizens are looking to travel for the West’s mRNA COVID vaccines. (CNBC)
Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said the company is not in discussions with Chinese authorities to license a generic version of its COVID antiviral nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) for use there. (Reuters)
And as COVID cases rise, more schools are reinstating mask mandates. (ABC News)
Here’s why successfully applying for Social Security disability is more difficult as a long COVID patient. (CNBC)
This writer is putting a voice to long COVID and mothering from bed. (STAT)
The NIH said it will fund eight studies to advance rapid diagnosis of COVID-related inflammatory syndrome in children.
Public health officials fear mpox infections may go undetected and unreported. (STAT)
Behavioral telehealth faces losing momentum absent a regulatory boost. (KHN)
Public schools in Seattle are blaming tech giants for social media harm via a new lawsuit, claiming the companies were responsible for a worsening mental health crisis among students. (Reuters)
In New York City, a nurses’ strike entered its second day. (ABC7 New York)
CVS is exploring a $10 billion-plus acquisition of Oak Street Health, which runs primary care centers for Medicare recipients. (Bloomberg)
Lydus Medical said it received FDA clearance for Vesseal, its microvascular anastomosis suture deployment system, for standardized omni-vessel anastomoses.
The American College of Physicians said it is reassured by recent steps to protect abortion access.
After a teen died of a fentanyl overdose, the man who sold the pills was sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Washington Post)
A family’s lawsuit claims a man died from COVID after related health and safety protocols on a Massachusetts film set were ignored in 2021. (NBC10 Boston)
A 30-year-old man paid $27,000 for leg-lengthening surgery. (Insider)
Spectrum Laboratory Products is voluntarily recalling three lots of Epinephrine (L-Adrenaline) USP, a bulk active pharmaceutical ingredient used to manufacture or compound prescription products, after customer complaints said the product was discolored.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said it will consider a ban on gas stoves amid rising concern about harmful indoor air pollutants emitted by such appliances. (Bloomberg)
The CPSC also said that Fisher-Price has re-announced its 2019 recall of Rock ‘n Play Sleepers after at least eight infant deaths occurred after the initial recall. (CNN)