Virus forces changes in Vegas gadget collection
LAS VEGAS – CES’s annual gadget convention will last three days instead of four amid an increase in COVID-19 cases and the withdrawal of some of its most well-known tech presenters.
The convention’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association, said in a statement Friday that CES will be held Jan. 5-7, a day shorter than expected. The event still has over 2,200 exhibitors confirmed to showcase their products at the Las Vegas convention, spokesperson Jeanne Abella said.
The announcement follows the tech giants’ withdrawal from CES last week citing the health risks of the omicron variant, including mobile carriers like T-Mobile, whose CEO was scheduled to deliver a keynote address.
Computer maker Lenovo and social media companies like Twitter and Facebook’s parent company Meta have also canceled plans to attend. News organizations, including CNN, said they would cancel or reduce coverage.
CES was held entirely virtually last year. It will be an online and in-person hybrid this year, with organizers offering a digital entry allowing access to around 40 live-streamed events, Abella said.
On the convention floor, participants will have to show proof of vaccination and wear masks.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:
– Muted New Years celebrations around the world as the omicron rages on
– American children hospitalized with COVID in record numbers
– UK estimates 1 in 15 people had virus in London before Christmas amid omicron wave
– New cases of COVID-19 in United States reach highest levels on record
– Do home COVID-19 tests detect the omicron variant?
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS TODAY:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The coronavirus pandemic is forcing last-minute changes to concert programming for Nashville’s famous annual New Years Eve party.
The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation is hosting the New Years Eve show, which is broadcast live on CBS and Paramount +. It is said in a statement that Sam Hunt, the Zac Brown Band and Elle King will not perform as planned.
“Despite my precautions, I tested positive for COVID-19,” Zac Brown wrote on Twitter.
Neither Hunt nor King immediately released a statement explaining why they would not be there.
The annual celebration will include performances at a dozen venues in downtown Nashville.
TAMPA, Florida – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 75,900 new cases of COVID-19 in Florida on Friday.
That tally brings the 7-day daily average to 42,600, which is twice as high as it was at the peak of this summer’s outbreak when the delta variant fueled an outbreak of infections in the state. .
Friday’s report marks a single-day record for the number of new cases in Florida. It breaks the record set a day earlier when more than 58,000 cases were reported in the state. The omicron variant of the coronavirus has increased in Florida and across the country in recent weeks.
The surge in numbers during the holiday season has sent tens of thousands of people to COVID-19 testing centers across Florida, resulting in long lines in many areas.
Three people collapsed as they lined up at a Tampa test site on Friday morning.
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Hundreds of unvaccinated employees who work at public colleges and universities in Nevada were fired on Friday, a day after the state’s board voted to keep a vaccination mandate in effect Staff.
The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on Thursday blocked 6-6 on a move to repeal the staff vaccination mandate, then rejected a move to push back the effective termination date by two weeks. Without majority support for a repeal, the mandate – which Gov. Steve Sisolak and the Nevada Faculty Alliance support – has remained in place.
Higher education officials said on Friday that 379 employees were made redundant, 188 award employees terminated their contracts and 18 others voluntarily resigned. Fired employees can apply for reinstatement if they show proof of vaccination in January, the regents said.
PARIS – Describing himself as “resolutely optimistic”, French President Emmanuel Macron took advantage of the last New Year’s speech of his current term to express hope that with vaccinations, 2022 will see the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Macron did not say he would run again in April. He only said he intended to continue serving the French “regardless of my place and circumstances”.
The president called on the 5 million unvaccinated but eligible people in France to receive vaccines against the coronavirus, declaring: “All of France is counting on you.”
France has lost 123,000 people to COVID-19 and new cases are at unprecedented levels, with the highly contagious variant of omicron. France reported a record 232,200 new cases on Friday, its third day surpassing the 200,000 mark.
ROME – Italian President Sergio Mattarella used the last New Year’s Eve speech of his tenure to accuse those who ‘waste’ opportunities to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, calling the choice a ‘crime’ for all those who did not receive the injection.
In a televised address to the nation on Friday night, Mattarella, who is the head of state, noted that he was serving in the final days of his seven-year term, with Parliament electing his successor in the first weeks of 2022. Referring to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Italy and many other countries driven by virus variants, Mattarella noted a “sense of frustration” at the setbacks.
ALBANY, NY – Federal ambulance teams and additional National Guard members head to New York, and western New York hospitals receive more federal assistance as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.
State officials announced the new deployments on Friday.
Governor Kathy Hochul also said that students at state universities and the City University of New York will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus on campus in the spring semester and will need to test negative before returning from vacation.
The number of new confirmed cases broke records every day in the state, surpassing 76,500 on Thursday, Hochul said at a press conference.
An average of 53,000 New Yorkers per day tested positive in the week that ended Thursday, up from 13,000 per day two weeks earlier. More than 7,900 people with COVID-19 are hospitalized statewide, up 67% in one week.
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas officials on Friday asked for federal help to increase testing and treatment for COVID-19 following reports that the state is lacking the antibody treatment that has been shown to be the most effective against the omicron variant.
In a statement, Governor Greg Abbott said the Texas Division for Emergency Management and the Texas State Department of Health Services made the request.
They are seeking federal resources for additional COVID-19 test sites in six counties, an increase in medical staff and more sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody treatment that has been shown to be most effective against the more transmissible omicron.
Abbott called on the Biden administration “to step up this fight and provide the resources needed to help protect the Texans.”
GAITHERSBURG, MD – Novavax Inc. said it filed data with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday to support the authorization of its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine, a type of shot different from current U.S. options.
Novavax said the data package is the last requirement before the company officially submits its emergency use request next month to become the US’s fourth COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement comes shortly after the European Commission and the World Health Organization cleared the two-dose vaccine for use from the Maryland-based company.
Novavax has developed a protein vaccine, similar to the injections used for years against other diseases, and a strategy that may appeal to people hesitant to use COVID-19 vaccines made with newer technologies. But Novavax, a small biotech company, faced months of delays in finding manufacturers to mass-produce its vaccine.
LONDON – Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp said three of his players tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Sunday’s English Premier League football match against title rivals Chelsea in London.
Klopp did not name the trio and is hopeful the match will continue.
A persistent coronavirus outbreak in Newcastle resulted in its EPL match at Southampton being postponed on Sunday. This brings the total to 18 EPL games carried over in three weeks.
The French championship postponed the home match between Angers and Saint-Etienne on January 9 due to 19 cases of coronavirus in the Angers team.
ROME – Italian health authorities warn that COVID-19 patient occupancy rate of hospital beds in both intensive care units and regular wards has exceeded “critical level” nationwide .
A senior health ministry official Gianni Rezza also said on Friday evening that the incidence of cases was increasing, with 783 confirmed COVID-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in Italy. The country hit another high for the number of new daily cases – 144,243 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours.
Nearly 12% of the roughly 1.234 million swab tests carried out since Thursday have been tested positive, according to the ministry, which urged those vaccinated to get a booster shot if they are eligible.
With the country hit by a wave of infections largely due to the omicron variant, the government has banned public New Years celebrations.
DALLAS – Flight cancellations rose again on the last day of 2021, with airlines attributing it to crew shortages linked to the spike in COVID-19 infections.
As of late Friday morning on the East Coast, airlines cleaned up more than 1,300 flights, according to the FlightAware tracking service. That compares to about 1,400 cancellations for the whole Thursday.
The remnants of the delta variant and the rise of the new omicron variant have pushed the rate of new daily infections in the United States to well above 200,000 a day, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.