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CDC recommends higher quality masks as cases surge; more school districts shift to remote learning: COVID-19 updates

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The Infectious Diseases Society of America voiced its support for the update in a Friday statement, noting that the omicron variant's high transmissibility makes wearing the right mask even more important.The organization said surgical N95 respirators, which the CDC said offers the highest level of protection, should be reserved for use in health care settings, but others should consider non-surgical N95 or KN95 masks.The IDSA also acknowledged that while these masks have become more readily available, they are also more expensive."This cost barrier can exacerbate already significant health inequities," the IDSA said.Also in the news:►As some experts say the current COVID-19 wave may be peaking, new coronavirus cases ticked down slightly for the second time this week. ►U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office apologized Friday to the royal family for holding a late-night staff party the day before Queen Elizabeth II sat alone and mourned her late Prince Philip in a socially distanced funeral service due to the country's COVID-19 rules.►New York's eviction moratorium, which protected hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who were late on payments due to hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic from eviction, expires Saturday.►More than half-a-million people in Israel have received a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the country's health ministry said Friday.►Cruise lines will no longer be obliged to follow COVID-19 guidance on ships as the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which was extended and modified in October, will expire Saturday.📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 63.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 846,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. In rare occasions it is given to humans with parasitic worm infestations.It’s been promoted as a COVID-19 cure but there’s little data to suggest it is effective.The researchers excluded the few patients who had a diagnosis of parasitic infection, about 6% of prescriptions.Conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School and Boston University, it was published Friday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.The Food and Drug Administration specifically says ivermectin should not be taken for COVID-19 and cites side effects such as skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, seizures and confusion and liver injury.Despite that, millions of prescriptions for the drug have been written for COVID-19 patients.The study found that on average the insurer reimbursement for the drug was $35.75 for private insurance and $39.13 for Medicare Advantage patients.– Elizabeth WeiseThe Biden administration on Wednesday will launch a website where Americans can order up to four free COVID-19 testing kits per person, according to a senior administration official.The tests, part of the Biden administration's purchase of 500 million tests last month to help tackle a record surge in infections, will be available at and mailed to homes within 7-12 days, according to the official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss details of the announcement.President Joe Biden announced earlier this week the administration would double its order with the purchase of an additional 500 million at-home COVID-19 tests amid a shortage of tests nationwide that's led to long lines at testing locations and overburdened hospitals.

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