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US news roundup: 17 December to 6 January


This week: integrity funding, student loan pause and Covid quarantine

In depth: Astronomers and politicians have celebrated the launch of a ground-breaking telescope that the United States’ space agency Nasa says “will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe”.

Full story: Joy over successful launch of Hubble telescope replacement


Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Funding for research integrity work

The Office of Research Integrity is offering tens of thousands of dollars for projects and meetings in research integrity that can “produce tangible outcomes” in the hot-topic field. The agency, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has opened two calls for projects, conferences and workshops. One is expected to make up to six awards worth $75,000 to $150,000 per year for projects in areas including research transparency and handling allegations of misconduct. The other will provide $50,000 in total for conferences and workshops on integrity.

Student loan repayment pause extended

The US Department of Education has announced a 90-day extension to the pause on student loan repayments it implemented to help students adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, taking the stay up to 1 May. “The extension will allow the administration to assess the impacts of the Omicron variant on student borrowers and provide additional time for borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments and reduce the risk of delinquency and defaults after restart,” the department said. It claimed that 41 million people would save a total of $5 billion per month.

Recommended isolation time cut to five days

People with Covid-19 have been told by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to isolate for five days rather than the previously recommended 10 days, if they have no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving by that time. They should then wear a mask around others for five more days, the CDC recommended. It said: “The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of Sars-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”