Your Monday Briefing: Omicron Evades Many Vaccines

Good morning. We’re protecting the newest Omicron information, the Hong Kong elections and a Occasions investigation into civilian casualties from U.S. airstrikes.

A rising physique of preliminary analysis suggests most Covid vaccines supply almost no defense in opposition to an infection from the highly contagious Omicron variant. The one vaccines that look like efficient in opposition to infections are these made by Pfizer and Moderna, bolstered by a booster, which aren’t extensively obtainable world wide.

Different vaccines — together with these from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and vaccines manufactured in China and Russia — do little to nothing to cease the unfold of Omicron, early analysis reveals. As a result of most international locations have constructed their inoculation packages round these vaccines, the hole might have a profound affect on the course of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, most vaccines used worldwide do appear to supply significant protection in opposition to extreme sickness. And early Omicron information suggests South Africa’s hospitalizations are significantly lower on this wave.

U.S.: A fourth wave has arrived, simply days earlier than Christmas. Greater than 125,000 People are testing positive every single day, and hospitalizations have elevated practically 20 % in two weeks. Just one in six People has obtained a booster shot.

Listed here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In different developments:

  • Some Southeast Asian tourism spots have reopened, however few foreigners are making the journey.

  • Two attorneys and a civil rights activist are on trial in Iran after making an attempt to sue the nation’s leaders over their disastrous dealing with of the pandemic.

  • The U.Ok. is contemplating a lockdown as instances skyrocket.

Hong Kong held legislative elections this weekend, the primary since Beijing imposed a drastic “patriots solely” overhaul of the political system, leaving many opposition leaders in jail or in exile.

Beneath the overhaul, solely 20 seats had been instantly elected by residents; the remainder had been chosen by business teams or Beijing loyalists. The institution’s near-total management of the legislature is now assured, reports my colleague Austin Ramzy.

Evaluation: Despite the fact that the government has effectively determined the outcome of the elections, it’s pressuring voters and opposition events to take part to be able to lend the vote legitimacy.

Profile: Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief govt, is the territory’s most unpopular chief ever, polls present. However Lam seems reinvigorated and is poised to hunt a second time period — if Beijing permits it.

A five-year Occasions investigation discovered that the American air wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been affected by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and infrequently imprecise focusing on, hundreds of civilian deaths — with scant accountability.

The army’s personal confidential assessments, obtained by The Occasions, doc greater than 1,300 stories of civilian casualties since 2014, lots of them youngsters. The findings are a pointy distinction to the American authorities’s picture of battle waged by all-seeing drones and precision bombs.

The paperwork present, too, that regardless of the Pentagon’s extremely codified system for inspecting civilian casualties, pledges of transparency and accountability have given option to opacity and impunity.

Particulars: Listed here are key takeaways from the primary a part of the investigation. The second installment can be printed within the coming days.

Data: The Occasions obtained the information by Freedom of Data requests and lawsuits filed in opposition to the Protection Division and the U.S. Central Command. Click here to access the full trove.


Rakugo, one in all Japan’s oldest and raunchiest comedic arts, has lengthy been dominated by males. However a woman artist, Niyo Katsura, is now profitable popularity of her uncanny capability to painting a spread of drunks and fools — female and male alike.

The New York Occasions Faces Quiz gives an opportunity to see how properly you realize among the defining personalities of 2021. We now have chosen 52. Once we present you every face, you’ll want to inform us the title. (And sure, we’re lenient on spelling.)

Play it here, and see how properly you do in contrast with different Occasions readers.

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