1) Economists expected flat change for U.S. jobless claims
The U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ending December 18 will be reported on Thursday local time in Washington. Amid the outbreak of Covid-19 omicron variant that is now a dominant strain in the U.S., economists expected the figure to come in at 205,000 claims, slightly lower than the previous week’s claims of 206,000.
2) WHO warned that unequal immunizations could lead to more Covid-19 mutations
The World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Wednesday that the unequal access to immunizations, meaning Covid-19 vaccine, could lead to more mutated variants that drag out the crisis as rich countries are preparing for a booster while poor countries are struggling for initial doses.
“Blanket booster programs are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
3) FDA cleared Pfizer’s Covid pills
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday granted an emergency authorization to Pfizer’s Covid treatment pill for people at a high risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms. The pill could be available to patients as early as this weekend and will be eligible to people at age 12 and up with mild to moderate Covid who are most likely to end up hospitalized or not survive.
4) Japan’s government plans for biggest annual budget to combat Covid-19
Japan’s government is set to unveil the largest annual budget at the amount of $943 billion in spending for its next fiscal year beginning in April 2022. The first annual budget will be compiled by the new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government with major concerns of Covid-19 situations and economic booster, social security spending to support a fast-ageing population as well as strengthening its military outlays against threats from China.