Some schools turn to COVID testing to keep kids in the classroom amid spike in infections

Amid a spike in coronavirus cases, schools across the U.S. are turning to COVID testing to try to keep kids in the classroom. While the majority of districts have stayed open, nearly 4,500 schools did not offer in-person learning on one or more days last week due to a rise in infections. Meg Oliver reports from Paterson, New Jersey.

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Doctor on vaccines and COVID-19 infections in kids

CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports on a rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases in communities like Kansas City, Missouri. Then Dr. Bob Lahita, director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Diseases at St. Joseph Health and a professor of medicine at New York Medical College, joins CBSN to discuss the latest on COVID-19.

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Germany tops 100,000 daily infections +++ Hong Kong culls hamsters | COVID latest

As the omicron variant spreads, the number of COVID-19 cases has also surged rapidly in Turkey. The country’s health ministry reported nearly 70,000 new cases on Tuesday – one of the highest daily figures since the pandemic began. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan now hopes its locally made "Turkovac" jab will convince vaccine-hesitant Turks to roll up their sleeves. "Turkovac" received emergency use approval from Turkish authorities in December and is now being administered to the public. But experts have serious doubts about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Germany reported 112,323 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the latest new 24-hour record and the first daily tally north of 100,000. The national disease control body, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), published the figures early in the morning. The country’s weekly incidence rate has now reached 584.4 new infections per 100,000 people over a seven-day period, the RKI reported. The institute registered 239 deaths connected to COVID, a reduction from the 384 reported on the previous Wednesday. The hospitalization rate rose, but only slightly, to 3.17 people per 100,000 per week, versus 3.13 one week ago.

Hong Kong health authorities on Tuesday said about 2,000 hamsters and chinchillas needed to be put down after COVID-19 infections were traced back to a pet store. At least 11 hamsters tested positive for the COVID-19, and a store employee was also infected with the delta variant, according to officials. People who purchased hamsters from the store after December 22 have been instructed to hand over the animals to be destroyed, and not to set them free on the streets. Those who had been in contact with the animals would also have to quarantine.

Chapters
00:00 COVID-19 in Germany
03:08 Turkovac vaccine in Turkey
07:38 Hamster culling in Hong Kong

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COVID-19: Japan expands virus restrictions as infections surge

Japan has widened COVID-19 curbs in Tokyo and across a dozen regions. Half the population could be affected by the new controls. The quasi-state of emergency begins on Jan 21 and will last until the middle of February. Local governments will be allowed to limit movement and business activities to try to stop a surge in infections.

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Scientist see decline in COVID ahead as infections drop in parts of the world

New York City, one of the first places in the U.S. hit by the Omicron variant, is recording a decline in both new cases and hospitalizations — similar to South Africa, where the strain was first detected. CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports. Dr. Susannah Hills, a pediatric airway surgeon and assistant professor of ENT at Columbia University, joins CBSN to discuss the latest on the pandemic.

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COVID-19: Infections appear to decline in Australia but hospitalisations remain high

Australia has recorded its lowest COVID-19 tally in a week. There are nearly 74,000 fresh infections, with most of them being reported in New South Wales and Victoria. But hospitalisations remain a concern. Officials say a runaway Omicron outbreak has driven up the numbers, with more people admitted than at any time in the pandemic. They have renewed calls for people to get vaccinated.

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COVID-19: India’s Delhi and Mumbai report sharp decline in infections

The Indian cities of Delhi and Mumbai have recorded a sharp decline in daily COVID-19 cases. But the country has still seen more than 258,000 additional infections. However, most are asymptomatic or have been recovering at home. While the Omicron surge has not had a big impact on the healthcare system, doctors are warning against complacency.

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Global Omicron infections keep surging | COVID Update

Germany: Germany’s intensified vaccination campaign appears to be paying off, with 780,000 doses administered within just one day, officials said. The figure is much higher than last week’s daily jab rate of 593,000 doses. Many of the vaccinations were booster shots, which have been administered to more than 45% of the population. The number of people in Germany who are fully vaccinated (and not yet boostered) rose to more than 72% on Thursday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government set a goal to have 80% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of January.

France:
France is easing some of its strict travel restrictions on visitors from the UK, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced. Fully vaccinated British travelers who also have a COVID negative test will be allowed to enter France without having to self-isolate for 48-hours— and will no longer have to provide a "valid" reason for travel. The rules change goes into effect on Friday. Castex said France was relaxing the travel curbs since the highly-contagious omicron variant is now dominant in both France and the UK. The curbs had been in place since mid-December. Also in France, teachers across the country went on strike on Thursday over the government’s chaotic COVID-19 strategy for schools. "The exhaustion and exasperation of the entire educational community have reached an unprecedented level," eleven unions said in a joint statement. France has logged an ever-climbing surge in infections this week, including a record of over 368,000 new cases in a single day.

India:
India recorded its highest-ever new daily COVID caseload on Thursday — logging more than 247,000 new daily cases for the first time. India is in the midst of a third wave of infections, with the omicron variant causing cases to exponentially rise in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.

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