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Hospitalizations For Covid Are The Highest Ever

KHN Morning Briefing

NPR reports that 145,982 people are hospitalized due to the effects of covid, beating the previous record from January 2021. Meanwhile, a study of California covid patients shows omicron seemingly does cause less severe disease than other variants, aligning with data found in other countries.

Lab Study Finds Certain Cannabis Compounds May Block Covid Infection

KHN Morning Briefing

An Oregon State University study analyzing a range of botanical compounds discovered that two found in hemp can bind to the virus that causes covid and prevent it from infecting human cells. In the lab tests, researchers used the original virus and the alpha and beta variants, but no subsequent strains. Smoking cannabis does not offer any protection, the lead researcher said.

A Dire Forecast From Health Officials: Most Of Us Will Get Covid

KHN Morning Briefing

Acting FDA head Janet Woodcock told senators during a hearing Tuesday that “most people are going to get covid.” Dr. Anthony Fauci repeated the warning in an interview. And, in yet another heated exchange between the two men, Fauci called out Sen. Rand Paul’s personal attacks and false claims, saying they’ve led to death threats against him and his family.

Biden Administration’s Covid Strategy Questioned During Edgy Senate Hearing

KHN Morning Briefing

As omicron infections rage in the U.S., Biden administration health officials faced pointed questions — from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — as they defended the federal pandemic response to a Senate panel Tuesday. Testing, school safety and access to covid treatments were among the points of contention.

Medicare To Limit Coverage Of Contentious And Costly Alzheimer’s Drug

KHN Morning Briefing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says it will pay for Adulhelm, Biogen’s $28,000-a-year treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but initially plans to restrict coverage to patients with early-stage symptoms who enroll in a clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health. The move reflects ongoing concerns over safety and effectiveness of the drug.

Left Behind: Medicaid Patients Say Rides to Doctors Don’t Always Come

KHN Original

States are required to set up transportation to medical appointments for adults, children and people with disabilities enrolled in the Medicaid program, and contracts can be worth tens of millions of dollars for transportation companies. But patients say the companies that deliver those rides are showing up late — and sometimes not at all — leaving them in bad weather, disrupting their care and even causing injuries.

CDC Warns Against Travel To Omicron-Hit Canada

KHN Morning Briefing

Canada is now at level four, or “very high” on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention travel alert list. Meanwhile the World Health Organization has looked at the trajectory of omicron infections in Europe and concluded over half of Europe’s population may test positive within weeks.

A Pig’s Genes Were Tweaked So A Maryland Man Could Get Its Heart

KHN Morning Briefing

Reporting on the remarkable news, USA Today notes the 57-year-old recipient of the donor pig’s heart has lived for three days now. The transplant is the first successful one achieved, and the patient had no other options. Stat reports that inevitably ethical questions have been raised.

California Wants Medicaid Coverage Regardless Of Immigration Status

KHN Morning Briefing

The plan is part of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $286.4 billion budget. The governor also plans to use some of California’s multibillion-dollar surplus to address homelessness and affordable housing problems, as well as housing for mentally ill people.

Becerra Tells Medicare To Review Premiums After Aduhelm Price Drop

KHN Morning Briefing

The demand from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is “highly unusual,” Stat reports. Becerra’s actions could lead to lower Medicare Part B costs — after standard premiums jumped 15% for 2022.