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November 4 was a Newsworthy COVID19 Day

On November 4, The United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency granted emergency use authorization for Merck’s drug molnupiravir, the first oral drug for treating adults with confirmed cases of mild to moderate COVID19 and at least one risk factor, such as obesity, being older than 60, diabetes, or heart disease.

Hans Henri Kluge of the WHO’s European regional office said, “Europe is back at the epicenter of the pandemic — where we were one year ago.” He stated that COVID19 cases in Europe and Central Asia had increased 55 percent in the past week due to insufficient vaccine coverage and relaxed COVID19 precautions. Europe accounted for 59 percent of the world’s new COVID19 cases during the past week. He predicted that Europe could experience 500,000 COVID19 deaths in the next 3 months.

The Biden administration announced all employers with 100 or more employees must vaccinate their employees by January 4, 2022. Workers who refuse must be tested weekly and wear masks. This mandate would impact 84 million Americans. Noncompliant employers could be fined up to $14,000 per violation. The program will be overseen by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services announced new emergency rules that would require all healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated. Religious and medical allowances would be allowed. This mandate affected 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 healthcare facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The United States passed another pandemic milestone with more than 750,000 COVID19 deaths. Johns Hopkins University reported that 751,046 had died and 46,300,738 Americans had confirmed COVID19 infections.

The 7-day average of new daily cases in the United States was 71,619, with a 7-day average of 1,257 daily deaths. After steadily declining for several weeks, COVID19 cases had plateaued or started increasing in 20 states. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah had experienced the biggest uptick in cases largely due to their low vaccination rates of 44 to 53%.

Emergent Biosolutions announced that the US government had canceled its $628 million contract for manufacturing Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Emergent’s manufacturing sites in Baltimore had been closed for months after J&J’s vaccine doses were found to be contaminated.

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