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Boris Johnson: UK Faces ‘tidal Wave’ of Omicron Cases

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LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Sunday that Britain faces a “tidal wave” of infections from the omicron coronavirus variant, and announced a huge increase in booster vaccinations to strengthen defenses against it.

In a televised statement, Johnson said everyone age 18 and older will be offered a third shot of vaccine by the end of this month in response to the omicron “emergency.” The previous target was the end of January.

He said cases of the highly transmissible variant are doubling every two to three days in Britain, and “there is a tidal wave of omicron coming.”

”And I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said. “But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.”

He announced a “national mission” to deliver booster vaccines, with pop-up vaccination centers and seven-day-a-week getting extra support from teams of military planners and thousands of volunteer vaccinators.

Johnson’s Dec. 31 target applies to England. The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are also expected to speed up their vaccination campaigns.

The U.K. Health Security Agency says existing vaccines appear less effective in preventing symptomatic infections in people exposed to omicron, though preliminary data show that effectiveness appears to rise to between 70% and 75% after a third vaccine dose.

More than 80% of people age 12 and up in Britain have received two doses of vaccine, and 40% of adults have had three doses. Giving the rest a booster in the next three weeks will be a huge challenge, requiring almost 1 million doses delivered a day. Johnson acknowledged that many routine medical procedures would have to be postponed to meet the goal.

Johnson’s announcement came hours after the government raised the country’s official coronavirus threat level, warning the rapid spread of the omicron variant had pushed the U.K. into risky territory.

The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said the 1of the highly transmissible new strain “adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and health care services” at a time when COVID-19 is already widespread. They recommended raising the alert level from 3 to 4 on a 5-point scale. The top level, 5, indicates authorities think the health care system is about to be overwhelmed.

The doctors said early evidence shows omicron is spreading much faster than the currently dominant delta variant, and that vaccines offer less protection against it. British officials say omicron is likely to replace delta as the dominant strain in the U.K. within days.

“Data on severity will become clearer over the coming weeks but hospitalizations from omicron are already occurring and these are likely to increase rapidly,” they said.

Concerns about the new variant led Johnson’s Conservative government to reintroduce restrictions that were lifted almost six months ago. Masks must be worn in most indoor settings, COVID-19 certificates must be shown to enter nightclubs and people are being urged to work from home if possible.

Many scientists say that’s unlikely to be enough, however, and are calling for tougher measures, which the government so far has resisted.

Scientists in South Africa, where omicron was first identified, say they see signs it may cause less severe disease than delta, but caution that it is too soon to be certain.

Source: wsvn.com

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Rosenberg Says He ’caused Discomfort for a Valued Colleague,’ Leading to Departure As FIU President

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A statement from the now former president of Florida International University has provided new insight into his sudden departure.

In the statement, issued Sunday, Dr. Mark Rosenberg thanked the community for their concern and alluded to inappropriate conduct toward a colleague.

He said his exit from the post he held since 2009 came after years of being the caregiver for his wife.

Rosenberg wrote, “Rosalie, a Type 1 diabetic on insulin for 45 years, has advanced dementia, [multiple sclerosis], and is largely wheelchair bound. I have been her nightly caregiver for over a decade. But Rosalie’s condition entered a new stage in just the last few months, resulting in further cognitive debilitation. When I finally realized the impact that her condition had on my personal well-being in late October, 2021, I sought professional mental health services and am still under a specialist’s care.”

He went on to write, “Regrettably, these issues spilled over to my work, and I caused discomfort for a valued colleague. I unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement. I have apologized. I apologize to you. I take full responsibility and regret my actions.”

Rosenberg then explained that, “In consultation with the Chair of the Board of Trustees, I realized that an immediate change would be healthy for all parties.”

Rosenberg’s departure on Friday night stunned students on campus.

“Honestly, I didn’t see it coming,” said FIU junior Maria Aguirre.

Rosenberg was the fifth president at FIU, taking the helm in 2009, and he was the first faculty member to ascend to that position. He’s credited with increasing enrollment to 58,000 students and improving the graduation rate by 23%.

“He was a really good president. I’m definitely going to remember him,” said FIU junior Katherine Cadavid.

But despite rave reviews and more than a decade of leadership, conspicuously missing from Friday afternoon’s Board of Trustees emergency meeting to appoint a new president was any mention of Rosenberg’s long list of accomplishments. In fact, his name was never mentioned at all.

The board addressed the matter in their own statement, also issued Sunday.

Dean Colson with FIU’s Board of Trustees wrote that Rosenberg’s statement “provides insight into why the Board did not believe Friday was the appropriate time to celebrate the many accomplishments of FIU the past 13 years. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the events requiring his resignation.”

The only FIU official to mention his name publicly was the school’s new interim president, Dr. Kenneth Jessell, during a taped video message released Friday night.

“I want to thank former President Mark Rosenberg for his leadership and hard work in helping to make FIU what it is today. I know that we will continue to elevate our university to new heights.”

Rosenberg said he is now seeking additional help for his wife through the “inevitable progression of her condition.”

Original Source: wsvn.com

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Carvalho Hosts Last Meal Distribution in Miami Before Move to Los Angeles

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Alberto Carvalho hosted his last meal distribution as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

M-DCPS on Sunday provided 1,000 meals to local families who continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, held near Northwest Eighth Street and 80th Avenue in Miami, is Carvalho’s last community feeding before he takes over the reins as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Through the Family Meals-on-the-Go program, M-DCPS has partnered with individual donors, local organizations and local restaurant owners who donate funds to purchase food from local restaurants.

Article: wsvn.com

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Miami-Dade School Board to Interview 3 Candidates Amid Superintendent Search

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Who will be Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ next superintendent? An upcoming meeting will likely prove instrumental to the three candidates currently vying for the position.

The Miami-Dade School Board has set up a special meeting on Monday afternoon. The applicants will be interviewed during the meeting.

Outgoing M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho will be replaced by either Dr. Jose Dotres, Dr. Rafaela Espinal or Jacob Oliva.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the School Board Administration Building in Miami.

Article: wsvn.com

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