Coronavirus

WHO chief Tedros confirmed for second five-year term

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was confirmed by the U.N. health agency’s member countries for a second five-year term on Tuesday. No other candidate challenged him for the post amid the ongoing difficulties of responding to the devastating coronavirus pandemic. Tedros is a former government minister from Ethiopia. He has directed WHO throughout its management of the global response to COVID-19 and withstood occasionally withering criticism over its multiple missteps. He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor.

WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is 'most certainly not over'

The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over” despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the omicron wave. He told governments on Sunday that “we lower our guard at our peril.” The U.N. health agency’s director-general told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” The WHO leader noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven’t been vaccinated and said vaccine hesitancy around the world has been fueled by “disinformation.”

3 Air Force cadets who refused vaccine won't be commissioned

The U.S. Air Force Academy says three cadets who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine will not be commissioned as military officers but will graduate with bachelor’s degrees. Academy spokesman Dean Miller says a fourth cadet who only recently decided to be vaccinated will graduate and become an Air Force officer. Miller said in a statement Saturday that the three won't be commissioned as long as they remain unvaccinated. He says the Air Force secretary will decide whether the unvaccinated students will be required to pay their educational costs in lieu of service.

US sees risk of COVID supply rationing without more funds

The White House is planning for what it calls “dire” contingencies that could include rationing supplies of vaccines and treatments this fall if Congress doesn’t approve more money for fighting COVID-19. Biden administration officials have been warning for weeks that the country has spent nearly all the money approved for COVID-19 response. The administration faces critical decisions about how to spend what's left. It's weighing whether to use it to secure the next generation of vaccines to protect the highest risk populations or to prioritize highly effective therapies to reduce the risks of severe illness and death. Rationing could expose even the most vulnerable to shortages.

Eric Clapton cancels shows after testing positive for COVID

Eric Clapton, a critic of coronavirus vaccines and pandemic restrictions, has tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled two upcoming European gigs. Clapton’s upcoming shows in Zurich on Tuesday and Milan on Wednesday will be rescheduled, he announced on his Facebook page and official online site. The 77-year-old rocker tested positive following his concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 8. Clapton has expressed skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccine in the past. In 2020, he and Van Morrison released an anti-lockdown song titled “Stand and Deliver.” He hopes to be able to resume the tour starting with two concerts in Bologna on May 20.

Biden offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

The government website for requesting free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is accepting a third round of orders. The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests. President Joe Biden committed to making 1 billion at-home tests available to the public free of charge, but the White House says just 350 million tests have been shipped to date. A third round of orders is possible because hundreds of millions of tests are still available. The latest round will bring to 16 the total number of free tests available to each household since the program was launched earlier this year.