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Daily COVID Tracker: US airlines drop mask requirements for passengers, employees

Daily COVID Tracker: US airlines drop mask requirements for passengers, employees
April 20
08:19 2022

US airlines have dropped mask requirements for passengers and employees. Here are five updates about the pandemic this Wednesday.

US airlines drop mask requirements for passengers, employees

The US government will no longer enforce a mask mandate on public transportation.

This comes after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the directive was unlawful.

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Airlines welcomed the move on Monday by saying they would no longer require masks.

“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one. But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately,” they said.

“Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.”

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Dual variant booster more effective against Omicron than current shot

Moderna says a COVID-19 booster designed to target the Beta variant as well as the original COVID-19 generated a better immune response against a number of virus variants including Omicron.

Moderna said the results were a good sign for the company’s plans for future shots targeting two COVID-19 variants.

Jacqueline Miller, a top Moderna scientist, said the company had no immediate plans to file for authorisation of the bivalent vaccine.

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It said it will submit the data to the US Food and Drug Administration in order to lay the groundwork for a future bivalent vaccine candidate that includes the Omicron variant as a target.

Omicron BA.2 now makes up more than 90% of COVID variants in US, says CDC

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron is estimated to now make up more than 90% of the COVID variants in the United States as of April 16.

The CDC said seven-day moving average of US COVID cases stood at 34,972 as of April 16, up 23.4% from a week earlier.

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It added that BA.2 made up 74.4% of the variants in the country for the week ending April 16, while BA.2.12.1 made up 19%.

India’s COVID infections hit month-high

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India’s tally of daily COVID-19 cases has reached more than 2,000 for the first time in a month.

According to the health ministry, 2,183 new infections were reported on Monday, taking the total cases to more than 43 million.

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The ministry reported 214 more deaths on April 13. India has reported a total of about 522,000 deaths from COVID.

Shanghai reports seven more COVID-19 deaths

Shanghai has reported seven more COVID deaths amid a lockdown.

The deaths on Tuesday bring the total death toll in Shanghai to 10.

A city health official said the seven who died on Tuesday were unvaccinated and were aged between 60 and 101. All the dead also had illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

”The patients became severely ill after admission to hospital, and died after ineffective rescue efforts, with the direct cause of death being underlying diseases,” the official said.

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