Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

Lack of a Vaccine Mandate Becomes Competitive Advantage in Hospital Staffing Wars

Kaiser Health News - September 1, 2021

As of Thursday, about 39% of U.S. hospitals had announced vaccine mandates … The market for health care labor, strained by more than a year and a half of coping with the pandemic, continues to be pinched. While urban hospitals with deeper pockets for shoring up staff have implemented vaccine mandates, and may even use them as a selling point to recruit staffers and patients, their rural and regional counterparts are left with hard choices as cases surge again.

Grocery workers were on the front lines of the pandemic — so why so many still unvaccinated?

NBC News - September 1, 2021

From Walmart to the meat giant Tyson Foods, an increasing number of companies have rolled out vaccination mandates for corporate staff members or all employees. But efforts to encourage workers to get vaccinated — and recent vaccination mandates — have caused rifts and pushback among workers, leading some companies to stop short of requiring vaccinations for front-line staffers.

Covid: Delta variant patients twice as likely to need hospital care

BBC - August 30, 2021

People are twice as likely to need hospital care if they are sick with the Delta Covid variant, rather than the Alpha variant that was once prevalent in the UK, data from England suggests. Experts say the big study, published in The Lancet, reinforces why it is important that people get fully jabbed.

The U.S. reaches 100,000 average daily Covid hospitalizations for the first time since winter.

The New York Times - August 30, 2021

The influx of patients is straining hospitals and pushing health care workers to the brink as deaths have risen to an average of more than 1,000 a day for the first time since March. Hospitalizations nationwide have increased by nearly 500 percent in the past two months, particularly across Southern states, where I.C.U. beds are filling up, a crisis fueled by some of the country’s lowest vaccination rates and widespread political opposition to public health measures like mask requirements.

EU Set to Recommend Halting Nonessential Travel From the U.S.

Wall Street Journal - August 30, 2021

The European Union is set to recommend halting nonessential travel from the U.S. because of the spread of Covid-19, diplomats said on Sunday. European officials have been considering the move for much of the last month, with the average U.S. infection rate now above that of the EU. The Slovenian presidency of the EU last week recommended removing the U.S. and five other countries from a list of countries allowed nonessential travel. A final decision is due on Monday.

Demand Surges for Deworming Drug for Covid, Despite No Evidence It Works

The New York Times - August 30, 2021

For the past week, Dr. Gregory Yu, an emergency physician in San Antonio, has received the same daily requests from his patients … They ask him for ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms that has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus. … Prescriptions for ivermectin have seen a sharp rise in recent weeks, jumping to more than 88,000 per week in mid-August from a prepandemic baseline average of 3,600 per week, according to researchers from the CDC.

‘Tired of worrying’: As some parents press for vaccines off-label, pediatricians call for patience

STAT - August 30, 2021

Just hours after the FDA announced full approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, the AAP issued a warning: Physicians should not vaccinate any children under the age of 12 “off-label.” But by that time, parents had already started calling their pediatricians. Full FDA approval of a drug or vaccine opens the door for off-label use, when doctors can use their discretion to provide a treatment in a way other than what it’s specifically approved for — in this case, people age 16 or older.

I was once a hardcore anti-vaxxer. Now I try to nudge people to get the Covid-19 vaccine

STAT - August 30, 2021

I’m often angry at my friend and others like them who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19, but then I have to remind myself that I am no better than they are: For several years, I steadfastly refused all childhood vaccinations for my daughter, leaving her unprotected against a dozen or so highly contagious and potentially fatal diseases until second grade.

Unvaccinated and Unmasked Calif. Teacher Spread COVID Delta Variant to Elementary School Students

PEOPLE - August 30, 2021

An unvaccinated California teacher passed along the Delta variant of COVID-19 to a group of their elementary school students, as well as others, according to a report from the CDC. … On May 23, positive cases of COVID-19 were then reported among the teacher's class of 24, as well as through other staff members, parents, and siblings in close contact with those affected. Each of the infected students at the educational institution were too young to have been vaccinated, per the CDC.

Record delta wave hits kids, raises fear as US schools open

AP - August 20, 2021

[With] the highly contagious delta variant spreading across the U.S., children are filling hospital intensive care beds instead of classrooms in record numbers, more even than at the height of the pandemic. Many are too young to get the vaccine, which is available only to those 12 and over. The surging virus is spreading anxiety and causing turmoil and infighting among parents, administrators and politicians around the U.S., especially in states like Florida and Texas, where Republican governors have barred schools from making youngsters wear masks.

Early U.S. Vaccine Rollout Saved 140,000 Lives, Prevented 3 Million COVID Cases

HealthDay - August 20, 2021

The United States' early rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations may have saved nearly 140,000 lives, a new study suggests. Using data on state vaccination campaigns and COVID-19 deaths, researchers estimate that immunizations prevented 139,393 deaths nationwide between December 2020 and early May 2021. On the state level, vaccinations prevented an average of five deaths for every 10,000 residents, according to the report.

‘We Sent a Terrible Message’: Scientists Say Biden Jumped the Gun With Vaccine Booster Plan

Kaiser Health News - August 20, 2021

The Biden administration’s plans to make covid-19 booster shots available next month has drawn a collective scream of protest from the scientific community. As some scientists see it, the announcement is rash and based on weak evidence, and they worry it could undercut confidence in vaccines with no clear benefit of controlling the pandemic.

As Covid-19 hospitalizations increase, a greater number of Americans are deciding to get vaccinated

CNN - August 20, 2021

More than 1 million doses of the vaccine were reported administered Thursday, new CDC data showed, marking the first time since early July for the single-day change in reported doses. The average pace of those initiating vaccination is more than 70% higher than one month ago. Oklahoma and Louisiana -- two states that have lagged the rest of the nation in vaccinations -- are now outpacing the national average…

Biden’s No-Jab-No-Job Order Creates Quandary for Nursing Homes

Kaiser Health News - August 20, 2021

President Joe Biden’s edict that nursing homes must ensure their workers are vaccinated against covid-19 presents a challenge for an industry struggling to entice its lowest-paid workers to get shots without driving them to seek employment elsewhere. Although 83% of residents in the average nursing facility are vaccinated, only 61% of a home’s workers are likely to be … More than 602,000 staff members have contracted covid and more than 2,000 have died from it.

Congress And COVID-19: Members’ Cases And Quarantines

NPR - August 20, 2021

Breakthrough infections continue to hit Capitol Hill, with Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Angus King of Maine and John Hickenlooper of Colorado the latest fully vaccinated members of Congress to announce positive coronavirus cases. The three senators all announced their positive tests on Thursday, stressing that they had just mild symptoms.

‘Bracing for the worst’ in Florida’s COVID-19 hot zone

AP - August 20, 2021

As quickly as one COVID patient is discharged, another waits for a bed in northeast Florida, the hot zone of the state’s latest surge. But the patients at Baptist Health’s five hospitals across Jacksonville are younger and getting sick from the virus faster than people did last summer. Baptist has over 500 COVID patients, more than twice the number they had at the peak of Florida’s July 2020 surge, and the onslaught isn’t letting up.