1 min agoNew York state reports a decrease in daily Covid-19 cases and a slight increase in hospitalizationsFrom CNN’s Laura Ly
New York state reported 22,258 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, marking a decrease of over 1,000 cases since Monday’s report, according to a news release from Governor Kathy Hochul’s office.
Over 61% of Tuesday’s reported new cases are from New York City, data shows. Tuesday’s case count is the first number in five days that does not break a record for the state’s highest daily count of new cases.
An additional 308 hospitalizations were reported on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of Covid-19-related hospitalizations to 4,328, the release states.
33 min agoBiden “considering” lifting travel ban on southern African countriesFrom CNN’s Nikki Carvajal
President Biden said he is “considering” whether to lift the US’ travel ban on South Africa and seven other southern African countries that was put in place as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus began to spread.
“I’m considering reversing (the travel ban), I’m going to talk to my team in the next couple days,” Biden told reporters after a speech on Covid-19 at the White House.
In late November, Biden acted on advice from the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by restricting travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
The ban has come under increasing scrutiny as the strain is already the predominant one in new cases in the US, and has run rampant in other countries that have not seen similar travel restrictions.
“Remember why I said we put the travel ban on – it was to see how much time we had before it hit here so we could begin to decide what we needed by looking at what was happening in other countries,” Biden said. “And we’re past that now, and so it’s something that’s being raised with me by the docs and I’ll have an answer for that soon.”For days the White House has been giving a similar answer on the restrictions. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the ban was never meant to be permanent, and that the administration was “continuing to assess day to day the decision to lift that ban.”
45 min agoBiden says lack of tests in US “not a failure”From CNN’s Nikki Carvajal
President Biden defended his administration’s actions on testing Tuesday, telling reporters that the shortage of tests in the US was “not a failure.”
“No it’s not,” the President responded to CNN’s Phil Mattingly, “because Covid is spreading so rapidly. We know this, it just happened almost overnight, it happened in the last month.”
Biden reiterated that while the lack of tests was “not a failure,” he admitted, “the alarms are going off.”
“I don’t think anybody anticipated this would be as rapid at spreading as it did,” he said, “then all of the sudden it was like everybody rushed to the counter was a big, big rush.”“I knew that was coming,” Biden insisted, “so what I tried to do was meet with the companies to use the Defense Production Act to get a half a billion more tests.”
Asked by another reporter what took so long to ramp up production of tests, Biden seemed irritated at the question.
“Come on, ‘what took so long?’,” he asked. “What took so long is it didn’t take long at all.”
“What happened was, the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anyone thought,” he said. “If I told you four weeks ago that this would spread on a daily basis 50, 100%, 200% 500%, I think you look to me and say, ‘Biden, what are you drinking?’”He said that while it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the variant, hospitals would not be in a position where they run out or run low on critical supplies.
53 min agoBiden: “This is a critical moment” From CNN’s Maureen Chowdhury
(Patrick Semansky/AP)President Biden closed his remarks on the current surge in coronavirus cases in the country by encouraging people to have faith during this “critical moment.”
“I know you’re tired. I really mean this, and I know you’re frustrated. We all want this to be over. But we’re still in it. And this is a critical moment. We also have more tools than we have ever had before. We’re ready. We’ll get through this,” Biden said from remarks from the White House. He continued, “As we head into the holidays, I want us to all keep the faith. I want to sincerely thank you for your perseverance, your courage, your countless acts of kindness, love and sacrifice during these last two years. Throughout our history, we have been tested as a people, and as a nation. Through war and turmoil, we had to ask whether we would be safe, whether we would be okay. Whether we can get back to who we are. We have always endured because remember: there is no challenge too big for America.”
58 min agoPresident Biden says vaccine requirements are in place “not to co
The President outlines new efforts to combat the Omicron variant and issues a warning to Americans who still haven’t received a vaccine
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