SCOTUS Stays Out of Texas Abortion Fight; Attack on the emergency room of the hospital; New Omicron variant

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The Supreme Court has refused to fast-track a legal challenge to Texas’ 6-week abortion ban. (PA)

Speaking of Texas, in some rural parts of the state, “maternity deserts” mean women have to travel hundreds of miles to get to hospitals offering labor and delivery services. (Texas Grandstand)

And in another story of depleted resources, a 68-year-old unvaccinated pizza place owner from Massachusetts with COVID-19 died after there was no hospital bed open within 75 miles. (USA today)

A 24-year-old man has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after he allegedly attacked two hospital workers in a North Carolina emergency department this week. (PA)

Minnesota’s attorney general is suing the Chicago-based Center for Covid Control, which had 300 pop-up locations across the country, for allegedly tampering with and providing inaccurate test results. (BNC News)

As of 8 a.m. ET Friday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the United States was 69,309,309 cases and 860,248 deaths, increases of 739,351 and 2,470, respectively, from the same time yesterday.

The UK Health Safety Agency has designated an Omicron subline, BA.2, as a variant under study. (Sky News)

Austria’s parliament has voted to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all adults. (PA)

After putting some of the toughest restrictions in place, Ireland is expected to lift almost all of them in the coming days. (The Guardian)

Staffing crises in American nursing homes have reached new heights in the face of Omicron. (NPR)

In related news, the former owner of Skyline Healthcare, a national nursing home chain, has been arrested and faces 22 federal tax and labor charges. (BNC News)

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) said it agreed to merge with the Association of Academic Health Centers in April – with both taking the AAMC name.

Some Alzheimer’s disease patient groups plan to publicly protest Medicare’s recent proposal to limit coverage for new amyloid-targeting drugs. (Reuters)

A total of 141 House lawmakers are calling on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to waive copayments with TRICARE — a military health care program — for contraceptive purchases and services. (military times)

A researcher from the University of Connecticut has developed a new type of synthetic artificial stem cells, helping to circumvent the pitfalls of using traditional stem cells. (PNAS)

A new meta-analysis has found a link between pot drinking and certain cognitive deficits. (Addiction)

Sperm donation may soon be subject to stricter regulations as more lawsuits continue to pile up. (Salon)

In other COVID news, ESPN said it was keeping its reporters home from the Winter Olympics in China due to pandemic concerns.

Under a UN-backed deal, a slew of generic drug makers located in Asia, Africa and the Middle East plan to manufacture cheaper versions of Merck’s COVID pill to send to countries in development. (Reuters)

According to a preliminary laboratory study, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine showed slightly higher Omicron neutralizing antibodies than Pfizer’s vaccine. (Reuters)

Traveling to Hawaii? You may need your booster first if you don’t want to quarantine yourself. (ABC News)

  • Kristen Monaco is a writer, specializing in endocrinology, psychiatry and nephrology news. Based in the New York office, she has been with the company since 2015.

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