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UK has detected a new Covid variant. Here’s what we know so far about omicron XE

A new omicron subvariant has been detected in the U.K. as the country faces a renewed surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations.

The XE variant, as it is known, has so far been detected in 637 patients nationwide, according to the latest statistics from the U.K. Health Security Agency, which said there is currently not enough evidence to draw conclusions on its transmissibility or severity.

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Europe’s rising caseloads could foreshadow a second Omicron surge in the U.S.

Experts warn that another coronavirus wave may be imminent in the United States, fueled by a more contagious Omicron subvariant that is spreading rapidly in Europe, though they said the trend was more a cause for caution than alarm.

The Omicron variant this month began its second sweep through Europe, where past virus surges have been a harbinger of what was to come in the United States. Many countries thought they were free of the worst of Covid and raced to lift restrictions in February and March, but a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant, BA.2, is contributing to the new surge.

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Covid-19 safety tips to consider as you return to work

As Covid-19 cases continue to fall and state and local governments lift remaining pandemic restrictions, many offices are asking employees to return to in-person work.

We know that 60% of workers with jobs that can be done from home say they’d like to work from home most or all of the time when the pandemic is over, if given the choice, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. That’s up from 54% in 2020.

But what if you want to go back or are required to go back into the office? How should people consider the safety of going back to the office and other in-person work environments?

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Several common rapid antigen tests work well for Omicron, according to a new study.

Several rapid antigen tests that are widely used in the United States — Abbott BinaxNow, BD Veritor At-Home and Quidel QuickVue — are effective in detecting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to a new real-world study that eases concerns about possible false negative test results.

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HR’s next big vaccine decision: Are we requiring booster shots?

Decisions on vaccination policies—whether to require them for employees, especially after the Supreme Court blocked the rule that large companies would have to mandate vaccines for their workers—have been among employers’ biggest and most complex problems in recent months.

Now they’re faced with a new variable: whether to require booster shots.

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Which At-Home Tests Does the FDA Recommend Using?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of the STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test because of its illegal importation to the United States, but Americans still have 17 other choices for FDA-authorized rapid at-home tests.

At-home COVID-19 tests are considered a critical part of America’s response to the pandemic because they help alleviate strain on health care systems and pharmacies during surges in cases. However, officials warned against the use of unauthorized tests out of concerns that the results aren’t accurate, and the FDA advised people to throw out STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test kits because it only provides an “initial screening test result.”

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SD BIOSENSOR, Issues Notification of Voluntary Recall of ‘STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test’

SD Biosensor, Inc., a global in-vitro diagnostics company, is voluntarily recalling its STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test in the United States, due to confirmed reports that the test kits were illegally imported into the United States. The STANDARD Q COVID-19 Ag Home Test is not authorized, cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for distribution or use in the United States. While there is no known distribution of these tests directly to consumers, SD Biosensor, Inc. is issuing this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.

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ACON Laboratories Issues a Recall of non-EUA Authorized “Flowflex™ SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing)” Tests From the U.S. Market

At the same time most Americans are facing cold fronts and winter storms, they’re also expecting their at-home COVID-19 tests from the government to arrive in the mail. But could prolonged cold or freezing temperatures affect the results of those tests?

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Those COVID tests the government sent you might not work. Cold weather could be to blame.

At the same time most Americans are facing cold fronts and winter storms, they’re also expecting their at-home COVID-19 tests from the government to arrive in the mail. But could prolonged cold or freezing temperatures affect the results of those tests?

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FDA recalls two rapid COVID-19 tests, citing false results

The Food and Drug Administration has recalled two rapid COVID-19 tests and urged people to stop using them.

On Friday, the FDA issued a warning against using the ​CovClear COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test and ImmunoPass COVID-19 Neutralizing Antibody Rapid Test from Empowered Diagnostics.

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An N95 Is the Best Mask for Omicron. Here’s Why

As health officials scramble to minimize spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, many experts have recommended that people switch from cloth or surgical masks to more-protective N95 and KN95 masks.

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Should I Use A Throat Swab For My At-Home Covid-19 Antigen Test?

Multiple claims on social media have been suggesting that a throat swab may lead to a more accurate result compared to the recommended nasal swab for at-home testing. An expert in the diagnosis of infectious diseases addresses this claim.

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Usability of COVID-19 Antigen Home Test Kits

ECRI, a leading voice in healthcare, conducted an independent usability evaluation of popular Antigen Home Test Kits. Read their findings here.

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FDA Recalls 200,000 Unauthorized Flowflex COVID Rapid Tests

The Flowflex SARS-CoV2 Antigen Rapid Test has been recalled over concerns the antigen test hasn’t received proper U.S. authorization.

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Reminder—the OSHA ETS is Effective Now!

OSHA has posted a reminder that as of January 10, large employers need to be in compliance with all ETS requirements.

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In a confusing pandemic moment, experts share their own approaches

The rapid spread of the omicron variant has left many vaccinated people feeling confused about which activities are safe. Four public health experts share their own personal behavior and risk calculus during this chapter of the pandemic.

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Fake at-home Covid testing kits are everywhere—here’s how to avoid them

Covid test kits are in short supply in the U.S. and scammers are taking advantage, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which issued an alert on Tuesday about bogus kits being sold to consumers online.

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Rapid Antigen or PCR Covid tests? Which should you take?

Watch this video from NBC news on the differences between the rapid antigen and PCR Covid tests and which is better for determining if you are contagious.

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