Health Highlights: Dec. 29, 2021

Experts answer your questions about the new COVID pills. New antiviral pills for COVID-19 recently authorized for emergency use in high-risk people by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should give doctors an easier way of keeping people out of the hospital. Read more

CDC lowers estimate of Omicron’s prevalence in United States. The latest agency data pegs the variant’s prevalence at 59%, a sharp drop from its estimate last week of 73% of all COVID cases. Read more

Fewer U.S. women are losing hearing as they age. A new study finds a significant decline in hearing loss, especially in females. The reasons for these gender differences aren’t known, but researchers believe they could be due to differences in anatomy, smoking habits and noise exposures. Read more

FDA says rapid at-home tests may work less well with Omicron variant. The agency said that antigen tests “do detect the Omicron variant, but may have reduced sensitivity,” meaning it’s possible the tests could miss an infection, particularly in the early stages of the disease. Read more

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