New COVID Variant in Texas; Warnings Ignored in Michigan; You ‘Otter’ Read This

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A new coronavirus variant, BV-1, has been discovered in Texas. (Fox News)

The European Medicines Agency said it found a “possible link” between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots and recommended that a warning be added to the vaccine’s label, but they also said the shot’s benefits still outweighed its risks. (AP)

On a related note, Johnson & Johnson said it will work with a German scientist on a study of the rare clotting incidents following use of its vaccine. (Reuters)

U.S. hematologists also say they want people to get the vaccine despite the very small risk of clotting. (CNN)

Nearly nine in 10 Americans surveyed said the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was the right call, and the pause hasn’t increased vaccine hesitancy. (Axios)

But two in three U.S. adults who have not yet received a coronavirus vaccine say they’re unlikely to get one, an Axios-Ipsos poll found.

As of Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. ET, the unofficial U.S. COVID-19 toll stood at 31,793,715 cases and 568,475 deaths, up 55,009 and 746, respectively, from this time a day ago.

Rocker Ted Nugent, a vocal COVID denier, has fallen ill with the virus. (Daily Beast)

Some Republicans initially skeptical of getting a COVID-19 vaccine are finding their skepticism getting worse, a focus group found. (Washington Post)

Pfizer says it identified counterfeits of its COVID-19 vaccine in Poland and Mexico. (Wall Street Journal)

Michigan residents were warned about the U.K. coronavirus variant, but chose to ignore the warnings at their peril, an investigation found. (USA Today)

In the U.S., it’s time to stop wearing masks when we’re outside, this columnist says. (Slate)

If the number of newly and fully vaccinated people is increasing by the millions each day, why are cases and hospitalizations still increasing? (CNN)

Now added to the list of animals who can contract COVID: otters. (HuffPost)

Is herd immunity reachable in the U.S.? Experts are increasingly doubtful. (USA Today)

In other news:

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    Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including stories about Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, healthcare trade associations, and federal agencies. She has 35 years of experience covering health policy. Follow

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