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A man receives the first dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as the Columbian government begins the vaccination campaign for people between 20 and 24 years old, in the newspaper library of the National University in Bogota, Aug 15, 2021

The World Health Organization has designated a new strain of COVID-19 as a "variant of interest."

The global health agency announced in its weekly bulletin Tuesday that Mu, also known by its scientific designation B.1.621, has been detected in South America and Europe since it was first identified in Colombia in January.

The WHO said the Mu variant has several characteristics that make it more resistant to vaccines, but said more studies needed to be conducted to fully understand how it works.

The Mu variant is the fifth one designated by the WHO as a variant of interest. Four other variants have been designated as "variants of concern," including alpha, which has been detected in 193 countries, and the more transmissible delta, which is present in 170 countries and has been linked to the current worldwide surge of new infections.

Scientists in South Africa announced earlier this week they have detected a new COVID-19 variant designated C.1.2. The variant has spread across Africa, Asia, Europe and the southern Pacific region of Oceania since it was first spotted in South Africa in May.

The variant has not been identified by the WHO as either a variant of interest or variant of concern.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Tuesday urged Americans who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid traveling during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend due to a surge of new infections and deaths driven by the delta variant. The United States is averaging well over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, with states like Florida, Mississippi and Washington state reporting record levels of new cases and hospitalizations.

Meanwhile, two key officials in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine review office are leaving their posts in the coming weeks. Dr. Marion Gruber, the director of the division, is retiring in October, while her deputy, Dr. Philip Krause, will leave the following month. The retirements of Gruber and Krause come at a crucial time for the FDA, which is nearing a decision on whether to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years old and booster shots of the current vaccines already approved for the adult Americans.

Siblings waiting to get tested for covid-19 in North Miami, Florida. Florida schools are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases forcing of students and teachers to quarantine Image source:voavoa

The New York Times reports Gruber and Krause are upset over the Biden administration's recent announcement that booster shots would be offered for some Americans beginning next month, well before the FDA had time to properly review the data.

In Australia, Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria state says authorities will gradually lift the current coronavirus restrictions once 70 percent of its adult residents have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. Victoria and its capital city, Melbourne, have been under a strict lockdown since early August due to an outbreak that began back in June, but Andrews says it is now apparent that it was time to switch to a mass vaccination strategy to bring the outbreak under control.

"We were aiming to drive it down and have cases falling, it is now the advice of the experts that that is not possible, so now we have to contain the growth of cases and the speed at which they increase," Andrews told reporters. He said the state should reach 70 percent vaccination by September 23.

Victoria state posted a record 120 new cases on Wednesday, including two deaths. (VOA/RN)

Keywords: Covid-19, Mu variant, WHO, Pandemic


There are two types of welcome bonuses - deposit and no deposit.

By- Robert James

More and more sports betting sites are appearing on the Internet. They are especially popular in India due to the prevalence of cricket. Users from this country constantly use the services of sports providers and have the right to choose the best.

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Devon Hamper/wikipedia

Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

Also read: Books to read in January

There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

Also read: Book Review: Philip: The Final Portrait

Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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