Two days after the first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant

DWQA QuestionsCategory: QuestionsTwo days after the first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant
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Two days after the first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant was officially confirmed in Massachusetts, the head of the state’s largest hospital system stressed the importance of vaccines and masks.

Mass General Brigham CEO Dr. Anne Klibanski joined the New England Council for a virtual conversation, where she described the future of health care as a need to “provide the right services in the right places” — with a nod to her system’s proposed expansions in Woburn, Westborough and Westwood — and said the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in the industry.

State public health officials on Saturday announced the first case of the Omicron variant in Massachusetts identified through genetic sequencing, in a Middlesex County woman in her 20s. The woman, according to the Department of Public Health, was “fully vaccinated, has experienced mild disease, and did not require hospitalization.”

Klibanski said questions about the new variant — including what impact it will have on hospitalizations — remain unanswered, but the advice for the public remains the same.

“Stay masked, follow precautions, get vaccinated, get boosters,” she said. “That’s what you need to do, and I think if we follow those rules, we will be at the very best place in terms of protecting ourselves, protecting our families.”

She said there is a difference between transmissibility — how easily the virus spreads — and how pathogenic it is, or how likely it is that a person will get sick.

“We know that this particular variant is highly transmissible, i.e. it is highly contagious, so it will likely take over,” Klibanski said. “It will likely take over as the dominant variant at some period of time. We don’t know what that looks like, but we’ve seen that with other variants that have come forward. We certainly saw it with Delta. Here’s the critical question: Is it more likely to cause symptomatic disease, illness that leads to hospitalizations?”

Masks have come off in many public settings but remain required in others, such as health care and public transportation. Winter’s arrival and the ongoing surge in infections is forcing some to rethink mask-wearing.

The College of the Holy Cross on Monday announced that Christopher “Kit” Hughes will be the school’s new director of athletics.

Hughes, 42, is currently the deputy athletic director at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and will begin his role at Holy Cross in January, the school said.

Holy Cross plans to introduce Hughes during at Doran Auditorium inside the Hart Center on Thursday at 10 a.m. Only media members and employees of Holy Cross’ athletic department will be allowed to attend due to COVID-19 protocols. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube.

“Throughout our national search process, it was apparent that Kit understood and embraced our Jesuit mission and the significant role athletics plays at Holy Cross,” Holy Cross President Vincent Rougeau said in a statement. “As a former student-athlete, coach and administrator, he brings broad and relevant experience to his new role. His principled leadership, commitment to academic excellence and integrity, and deep experience in creating the strategic vision and structures that enable success stood out to the search committee, and make him an outstanding fit for the College.”

Hughes replaces former Holy Cross Athletic Director Marcus Blossom, who left Worcester for Omaha, Nebraska and to lead Creighton University. Senior Associate Athletic Directors Rose Shea and Nick Smith have led the department in the interim.

Hughes, a Massachusetts native, helped lead day-to-day operations of Bowling Green’s athletic department, and was responsible for administration of its men’s basketball and football program. Prior to his time at Bowling Green, Hughes spent seven years at North Carolina State University.

“My family and I are thrilled to join what we know to be a very special community at Holy Cross,” Hughes said in a statement. “It is an honor to be selected by President Rougeau and the search committee to represent the proud tradition and passionate alumni of Crusader athletics. I look forward to working side-by-side with our talented student-athletes, coaches and staff as we relentlessly pursue excellence in all areas of the Holy Cross experience.”

Hughes earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and received his master’s degree in higher education from Boston College in 2006. He was a four-year letterman in lacrosse at Bowdoin and led his team to the ECAC Championship in 2001.

“I believe [Holy Cross] is an institution at which one can truly have it all, and I am excited to join the team as we strive to serve, support and challenge our athletics family to achieve its full potential,” Hughes said. “The best is yet to come, and I cannot wait to get started.”

On the seventh night of Hanukkah Laura Mangones, Amalia Zagorski and their two children put up their Christmas tree.

Their family is one of many celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas.

“In my family, we only celebrated Jewish holidays,” said Zagorski. “And then Laura’s family only celebrated Christian holidays. And now we have two kids. And so we get the best of everything.”

Mangones and Zagorski said their traditions are largely based on what they grew up with, what their children are learning about in school and combining traditions to fit their family.

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