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The FDA released guidance Tuesday on the criteria it will use to approve any coronavirus vaccine. Any candidates must prevent or decrease disease severity in at least 50% of the people inoculated. Temporary authorizations may be considered on a “case-by-case basis,” the agency said.
The pandemic has revealed many realities of nursing homes, including the vital role family still plays in a resident’s care and well-being. As facilities attempt to reopen to visitors, the industry faces calls for major changes as well as legal action.
The pharmaceutical giant says the regulations keep Pfizer from helping seniors to pay for an expensive heart condition drug. In other pharmaceutical news, drugmakers are teaming up in a new $1 billion for-profit venture to invest in small antibiotic companies.
Republican lawmakers said they wished that in some instances President Donald Trump would wear a mask so that the general public would follow his example. Meanwhile, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas — a state where cases are skyrocketing — say they don’t understand the administration’s decision to cut federal support of drive-thru testing sites.
If the Supreme Court invalidated the health law, more than 20 million Americans could lose their coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats seized on the Trump administration’s move, calling it an “unfathomable cruelty.”
By CDC Director Robert Redfield’s estimate, that means that up to 24 million Americans may have been infected by the virus. “Our best estimate right now is for every case reported there were actually 10 other infections,” Redfield said.
The federal government plans to withdraw support for COVID-19 testing sites located in five states by the end of this month. Trump administration officials say that operations of facilities still open will be transferred to state or local governments. Seven of those sites are in Texas, where a record number of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are being reported.
The ruling said that “motivated by profits, defendants disregarded the safety of consumers despite their knowledge the talc in their products caused ovarian cancer.” More than 19,000 plaintiffs had talcum-powder lawsuits pending against J&J in U.S. courts as of March 29.
In other administration news: President Donald Trump taps appointees to the Census Bureau; CMS creates a new Health Informatics office; and a VA telemedicine office spent nearly $39 million during the pandemic.
“You need these H-1B physicians who are willing to go to Alabama, Georgia, you know, parts of the beltway that just don’t have enough doctors,” said Mahsa Khanbabai, an attorney with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The health care worker exemption in the order only applies to people who are caring for COVID patients or doing research on the coronavirus.
The American Hospital Association argued that the administration did not have the legal authority to force facilities to reveal prices that were negotiated with insurers. The outcome of the negotiations have long been closely guarded by both sides, but the Trump administration sees transparency as a way to force down health care costs.
News on the development of coronavirus vaccine and treatment is reported.
The latest report showing that Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the pandemic comes from CMS. The agency’s administrator, Seema Verma, said the numbers show the need to value-based care, rather than fee-for-service models that don’t focus on quality of care for patients.
Hospitals and other medical facilities need to prioritize protective gear and safety measures for their workers, experts say. Although there’s been a sharp increase in deaths linked to the pandemic, the underlying causes is more systemic, experts say. Meanwhile, the lives of front-line workers are remembered.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has faded from public view as the White House shifts its messaging toward reopening, but the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is still speaking out about his concerns for the country. Meanwhile, in other administration news, The Wall Street Journal fact checks Vice President Mike Pence’s claims about Project Airbridge.
Hospitals are arguing for more time to repay federal aid, but experts say many of them will be fine if everything goes according to schedule. Meanwhile, Politico looks at the role consulting firm McKinsey is playing in the distribution of CARES Act funds for hospitals.
The Washington Post and ProPublica report on stories of how U.S. efforts to test for the coronavirus have been hampered by bad equipment that yielded false results. Meanwhile, other testing questions persist, such as, who pays? News outlets report on other tracking and test developments.
Nursing homes are being offered financial incentives to take on COVID patients, but it might be backfiring for other residents who are being cleared out to make room. Nursing home officials, however, insist that the evictions are warranted. Other nursing homes news comes out of West Virginia, New York, Georgia and Michigan.
Tyson revealed that 481 employees across its northwest Arkansas facilities have tested positive for COVID-19 this month. The outbreak has prompted China to halt poultry imports from the Springdale, Arkansas plant.
Officials also said that they expect health insurers to cover the vaccine without any copays and that the administration plans to distribute a vaccine on a tiered system, prioritizing those who are most at risk of infection.