PARIS – French teachers voiced anger at the way the French government is handling the pandemic in schools, denounced confusing rules and called for more protection during a nationwide strike on Thursday.
Exhausted by the pressures of surging COVID-19 cases, many teachers answered the call by 11 unions to protest virus-linked class disruptions and ever-changing isolation rules. Teachers want clarifications on rules and more protections, such as extra masks and tests.
France is at the epicenter of Europe's current fight against COVID-19, with new infections topping 360,000 a day this week, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. The teachers' strike puts the government of President Emmanuel Macron under additional pressure a week after opposition lawmakers delayed implementation of a key measure that mandates proof of vaccination for entry into restaurants, cultural and sport facilities.
Biden doubles plan to 1 billion tests
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the government will double to 1 billion the rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests to be distributed free to Americans, along with “high-quality masks,” as he highlighted his efforts to “surge” resources to help the country weather the spike in coronavirus cases.
Biden also announced that starting next week 1,000 military medical workers will begin deploying across the country to help overwhelmed medical facilities ease staff shortages due to the highly transmissible omicron variant. Speaking at the White House, he said six additional military medical teams will be deployed to Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.
Many facilities are struggling because their workers are in at-home quarantines due to the virus at the same time as a nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases. The new deployments will be on top of other federal medical personnel who have already been sent to states to help with acute shortages.
Inmates given ivermectin; they sue
Four inmates at a northwest Arkansas jail sued the facility and its doctor Thursday after they said were unknowingly prescribed ivermectin to treat COVID-19 despite health officials' warnings that the anti-parasitic drug shouldn't be used for that purpose.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the detainees against the Washington County jail, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder and Dr. Robert Karas. Helder in August revealed that ivermectin had been prescribed to inmates to treat their COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved ivermectin for use by people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions. The FDA has not approved its use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. According to the FDA, side effects for the drug include skin rash, nausea and vomiting.