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Newsroom - March

FDA authorizes another booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people age 50 and up

bostonglobe.com, March 29, 2022
Americans 50 and older can get a second COVID-19 booster if it’s been at least four months since their last vaccination, a chance at extra protection for the most vulnerable in case the coronavirus rebounds. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and for certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems. Hours later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging those eligible to rush out and get it right away. That decision expands the additional booster to millions more Americans. Read more »

Some states in the U.S. are closing virus testing sites despite fears of a new surge

nytimes.com, March 20, 2022
Some states will close mass coronavirus testing sites in the coming weeks, as many did before the recent Omicron surge, despite concerns among some public health experts that the United States may be unprepared for a new wave of cases. The closures arrive only a few months after Americans were forced to wait hours in long lines for free tests or to pay for testing. New Hampshire closed all state-run sites on Tuesday. Massachusetts will have closed a majority by April 1. South Carolina has been gradually closing them this month; Utah has been doing so since February. Read more »

'Crucial' weeks ahead for COVID in Mass. as experts track Europe's BA.2 spike

wbur.org, March 18, 2022
Epidemiologists and doctors in Massachusetts are watching carefully as COVID cases spike in parts of Europe. In the United Kingdom, Greece, France, Germany and several other countries, cases have risen sharply in the past two weeks. Read more »

Two years of COVID: A new analysis reveals a heavy toll on young families of color in Massachusetts

bostonglobe.com, March 11, 2022
Two years after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, many Americans are peeling off their masks, booking vacations, and moving on with their lives. But for many others, the landscape is permanently altered. In Natick, 49-year-old Brettany Barnett continues to grapple with the shock of losing her husband to COVID last April. A big teddy bear of a man, Clifton Barnett ran a successful upholstery shop and delighted in cooking feasts for friends and family. Read more »

Mass. public health department reports 'significant overcount' of COVID deaths

wbur.org, March 10, 2022
When state public health officials publish Monday's report about the latest COVID-19 impacts on Massachusetts, the cumulative death toll through two years of the pandemic will suddenly stand about 15% lower. The Baker administration will start using a new public health surveillance definition next week, narrowing the window of time between a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and death required for the fatality to get attributed to the highly infectious virus. Read more »

Mass. pandemic emergency sick leave program to end March 15

wgbh.org, March 2, 2022
Massachusetts workers who need time off work to recover from COVID-19 infections will have to rely on traditional paid leave benefits starting in less than two weeks, when the state's pandemic emergency sick leave program expires. The Massachusetts Emergency Paid Sick Leave Program was put in place during the pandemic to help employers cover the costs of their workers' extended illnesses or caregiving commitments. Read more »