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There’s excellent news and unhealthy information on covid-19 this week. On the one hand, a number of million doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved by the FDA for emergency use are already going into the arms of individuals across the nation. And the Biden administration has brokered a cope with rival producer Merck to supply much more doses of the J&J vaccine, which may be transported and administered extra simply than the covid vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
However on the similar time, the covid-19 caseload is beginning to rise once more, and public well being specialists fear that enhance might be accelerated by the unfold of extra transmissible virus variants that may not be lined by the accessible vaccines. Nonetheless, Republican governors in a number of states, together with Texas, are rolling again some public well being precautions, together with masks mandates, over the objections of federal well being officers.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Name, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet.
Among the many takeaways from this week’s podcast:
- The Meals and Drug Administration’s authorization final week of a covid vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson might be a recreation changer for public well being outreach efforts in some areas. Along with being simpler to retailer and transport, the J&J vaccine wants just one shot, as a substitute of the 2 doses required by the 2 older varieties.
- Some customers have been postpone by the efficacy numbers for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as a result of they don’t seem to be as excessive as those made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. However these numbers could also be deceiving. The J&J model was examined later, when extra covid variants had been being transmitted, which might have affected the efficacy within the trials. Nonetheless, the J&J shot prevented 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, that are the most important markers researchers are on the lookout for.
- President Joe Biden promised this week that by the top of Could there could be sufficient vaccine for each grownup in the USA. However he didn’t say every of these adults could be vaccinated. Public well being officers will nonetheless doubtless be coping with some hesitancy in sure teams of individuals by then. A significant publicity marketing campaign about the advantages of getting vaccinated is deliberate by the federal government as soon as provide is enough.
- Federal efforts towards the coronavirus might be hampered by selections in some states to start reopening with out sustaining security protocols akin to obligatory masking and limits on indoor capacities. One option to persuade states to maintain such public well being precautions in place is perhaps to financially reward those who meet the suggestions from federal well being officers.
- California Legal professional Normal Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee to be the secretary of Well being and Human Providers, obtained a tied, party-line vote within the Finance Committee this week. However that doesn’t essentially imply he gained’t get some Republican assist when the nomination goes to the Senate ground for affirmation.
- The Senate is poised to attempt to push out the president’s covid aid plan with an arduous course of that may permit passage with solely 51 votes. Already Democrats have been compelled to surrender provisions that may increase the minimal wage and have scaled again the stimulus checks to higher-income staff. Up to now, no Democrats have abandoned the invoice, however it’s nonetheless a piece in progress.
- Because the covid pandemic took maintain within the nation, one situation that has gotten brief shrift is psychological well being. There was a 20% enhance in overdose deaths in 2020 and lots of well being specialists are frightened that kids have suffered psychological well being repercussions from being dwelling so lengthy. The problem is prone to generate new considerations and methods because the instant menace from covid diminishes.
Additionally this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Jordan Rau, who wrote the most recent KHN-NPR “Invoice of the Month” function — about a world faculty pupil whose psychological well being disaster was not helped by an sudden hospital invoice. If in case you have an outrageous medical invoice you’d prefer to share with us, you are able to do that right here.
Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists advocate their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume it’s best to learn too:
Julie Rovner: Reveal/KHN’s “Into the COVID ICU,” by Jenny Gold
Joanne Kenen: Politico’s “A Complicating Think about Combating Covid Sizzling Spots: Warmth,” by Victoria Colliver and Nolan D. McCaskill
Mary Ellen McIntire: Stat’s “The Trump Administration Quietly Spent Billions in Hospital Funds on Operation Warp Velocity,” by Rachel Cohrs
Sarah Karlin-Smith: The Atlantic’s “5 Pandemic Errors We Hold Repeating,” by Zeynep Tufekci
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