Barcelona (AFP) - In Barcelona, Laia and her daughter stroll peacefully in Park Guell. At the same time, Mladen savours the silence of the marble alleys of Dubrovnik while Fabiana soaks up the calm of old Lisbon. These three corners of three cities, known for the hustle and clamour of tourists, are unusually tranquil.The lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic may not have been universally popular but they have had the effect of alleviating, at least temporarily, some of the ills associated with tourism, notably the overcrowding of city centres and a rapid rise in prices and rents. Park G...
There is no evidence at present that healthy children and adolescents need booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a news briefing, she said that while there seems to be some waning of vaccine immunity over time against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus, more research needs to be done to ascertain who needs booster doses.
"There is no evidence right now that healthy children or heavy adolescents need boosters. No evidence at all," she said.
Israel has begun offering boosters to children as young as 12, and the U.S. States Food and Drug Administration earlier this month authorized the use of a third dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.
Last week Germany became the latest country to recommend that all children between ages of 12 and 17 receive a COVID-19 booster shot. Hungary has also done so.
Swaminathan said the WHO's top group of experts would meet later this week to consider the specific question of how countries should consider giving boosters to their populations.
"The aim is to protect the most vulnerable, to protect those at highest risk of severe disease and dying. Those are our elderly populations, immuno-compromised people with underlying conditions, but also healthcare workers," she said.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy and Manas Mishra; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Democratic consultant Laura Fink refused to yield to Fox News host Harris Faulkner on Tuesday as she tried to attack President Joe Biden's poll numbers.
During a Fox News segment about Biden's refusal to release visitor records from his private residence, Faulkner admitted that former President Donald Trump had done the same for Mar-a-Lago.
But she added: "So Biden isn't the first president to hold back some of that information but he's spending an inordinate amount of time out of public view and knowledge and that then brings in the issue here."
"I just don't think -- you can look at this data in Delaware and let's compare it to the stat at Mar-a-Lago where there were a number of hours on a golf course," Fink said. "Look, President Biden is in office. He is taking questions. He is out there. He has accomplished more in his first year the American Recovery Act and the American Jobs Plan, that bipartisan infrastructure deal than his predecessor could in four."
Faulkner tried to interrupt as Fink continued to talk.
"Why are his poll numbers so low?" the Fox News host could be heard asking.
"Don't compare him to the almighty, but the alternative," Fink said without missing a beat. "And I will say this, politically, when President Trump comes back on to the national stage as he has done, you're going to watch those poll numbers turn right back around because the alternative of the previous four years is anathema to both independents and the Democrats who do not find Biden perfect."
Watch the video below from Fox News.
Legal experts blast ‘jerk Gorsuch’ for refusing to wear a mask – forcing Sotomayor to stay in chambers
During the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the Biden administration's vaccine or test mandate in certain workplaces earlier this month some court observers noted every justice was masked – except one: Neil Gorsuch. They also noticed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was participating from her chambers via telephone, while her co-workers were seated as usual on the bench.
"Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19," NPR reported Tuesday. "Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up."
"They all did," NPR's Nina Totemberg noted. "Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench."
Public outcry was swift, and it includes legal experts:
"As a member of the Supreme Ct bar, I condemn in the strongest terms possible Justice Gorsuch refusing to wear a mask to protect his high risk colleague, Justice Sotomayor, from being killed by Covid," wrote Richard Signorelli, a civil and criminal litigation attorney and former Asst. U.S. Attorney. "Shame on him."
Constitutional law scholar and Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, who has argued before the Supreme Court 36 times, called Justice Gorsuch a "jerk."
"Gorsuch’s refusal to mask up on the bench even when asked by the Chief Justice to do so in order that the diabetic and hence immunocompromised Justice Sotomayor could attend in person shows just what kind of jerk Gorsuch is," Tribe tweeted. He added he wished Gorsuch were not an alumnus of Harvard Law.
"Personally, I feel like we’re entitled to expect our Supreme Court justices to be better role models," wrote former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor. "Or, at least, to have an ounce of decency. Putting on a mask would have cost Gorsuch nothing, but then he didn’t care about risk to front line workers, either," she noted subtly, after the conservative Court voted 6-3 to block OSHA's vaccine or test mandate.
USA Today columnist Connie Schultz quoted Dahlia Lithwick, an attorney and author of "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence," from Lithwick's Slate column:
“The real problem with the court’s masks-optional policy? It reflects the court’s much larger rules-optional policy on everything pertaining to judicial conduct.” - @Dahlialithwick https://t.co/B8mZKymjaP
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) January 18, 2022
"Gorsuch should be the one who is forced to isolate, not Sotomayor," notes NBC News and MSNBC Legal Contributor Katie S. Phang.
Legal journalist Cristian Farias, a former New York Times editorial writer last week commented on Gorsuch and his refusal to wear a mask:
A couple of years ago, Neil Gorsuch wrote a whole book lamenting the loss of civility in public life. In it, he quotes a rule George Washington is said to have learned as a child: “Bedew no man’s face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak.” Kid you not. https://t.co/Aicgtcolh5
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) January 11, 2022