Vaccination vs. the Omicron

THE OMICRON variant is leading to a surge in vaccinations (Shutterstock).

Over 200 million Americans are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to The New York Times, over 60 percent of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, which has killed over 793,000 Americans and 5.2 million people worldwide.

The milestone comes at the same time as emergence of the Omicron variant as a potential threat, leading to a surge in people seeking vaccination. Some educational systems across the U.S. are imposing or considering a requirement that all pupils enrolling in schools in 2022 become inoculated.

There’s been an increase of over 15 percent in new cases over the past two weeks, although the numbers remain far below the peaks in April 2021.

In related news, Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday that its lab tests indicate that a booster shot of their vaccine provides “significant protection” against Omicron.

Three doses of the vaccine – rather than the typical two – would be needed to provide proper safeguards against the new variant.

Sports: Where is Peng Shuai?

PENG SHUAI (Wikipedia)

One of the reasons that President Joe Biden has called for a “diplomatic boycott” of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing is the uncertain status of Peng Shuai, a star Chinese tennis player, who has nearly vanished after she accused a one-time Communist Party official of sexually assaulting her, according to the Associated Press.

Since that news went public weeks ago, there have only been international contacts with Peng through the International Olympic Committee, leading to speculation that the IOC and the Chinese government are “colluding” to keep the public from knowing Peng’s location or condition.

In addition to the boycott, the Women’s Tennis Association is withdrawing its tournaments from China.

Weather: Rain, clouds, sun

If you like variety in your weather, just keep looking out the window. In the West Orange County there should be different conditions right through the weekend. The forecast for Thursday calls for a 72 percent chance of rain and a daytime high of 60 (overnight low of 47). Friday will be a bit warmer with a high of 64 (46) under mostly cloudy skies and a 5 percent chance of rain. Saturday will be similar with a return of the sun. Sunday will be chillier at 61 (50) and partly cloudy skies.

Finance: Stock rally continues

Wall Street showed a third straight day of gains on Wednesday, as all three major indexes ended up in positive territory. The S&P 500 rose 14.46 points to 4,701.21 and the Dow Industrials were up 35.32 points to 35,754.75. Nasdaq led the pack with a gain of 100.07 points to 15,786.99.

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