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Health CareFirst Edition: May 12, 2021 | #healthcare | #elderly | #seniors

First Edition: May 12, 2021 | #healthcare | #elderly | #seniors

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Covid Fears Keep Many Latino Kids Out Of Classrooms

For the past year, 13-year-old twins Ariel Jr. and Abraham Osorio have logged on to their online classes from their parents’ flower shop. Ariel nestles in a corner among flowers, bows and stuffed animals. Abraham sets up on a small table in the back, where his dad used to work trimming flowers and keeping the books. It’s not ideal for learning: It’s loud. It’s cramped. It’s bustling with people. Still, when the twins’ mother, Graciela Osorio, recently had the chance to send her kids back to Brightwood Elementary in Monterey Park, California, she decided against it. (de Marco, 5/12)

Don’t Eat The Yellowstone Snow: Elite Ski Resort Aims To Turn Sewage Into Powder

An exclusive Montana resort wants to turn sewage into snow so that its rich and famous members can ski its slopes in a winter season that’s shrinking because of climate change. The Yellowstone Club — a ski and golf resort just north of Yellowstone National Park that counts Bill Gates, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel among its members — has asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for a permit to allow it to use wastewater for snowmaking operations on its ski slopes. (Franz, 5/12)

Biden Boasts About Equitable Senior Vaccination Rate By Race Without Data To Back It Up

During May 3 remarks on the American Families Plan, President Joe Biden boasted that there was not much disparity in the vaccination rates for white Americans and Americans of color who are at least 65. “And what’s happening now is all the talk about how people were not going to get shots, they were not going to be involved — look at what that was — we were told that was most likely to be among people over 65 years of age,” said Biden. “But now people over 65 years of age, over 80%, have now been vaccinated, and 66% fully vaccinated. And there’s virtually no difference between white, Black, Hispanic, Asian American.” (Knight, 5/12)

ABC News:
CDC Director Grilled Over Mask Guidance In Heated Capitol Hill Hearing 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was forced to defend her agency’s guidance and even its integrity on Tuesday as Senate Republicans grilled her over CDC messaging on masks and other restrictions, arguing it’s frustrating and unreasonable as more Americans get vaccinated. The Senate Health Committee hearing came hours after the Food and Drug Administration authorized coronavirus vaccinations for children ages 12 and up, widening the U.S. population that will be protected against the virus and bolstering chances for a safe return to full-time school in the fall. (Cathey, Haslett and Ebbs, 5/11)

The New York Times:
CDC Chief Defends Coronavirus Pandemic Guidance As Impatience Mounts 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday defended the agency against accusations that federal scientists were being too slow to update their pandemic-control guidance and overly conservative with their recommendations, especially on outdoor mask wearing. At a Senate hearing with other top federal health officials on the federal government’s pandemic response, Republicans accused the C.D.C.’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, of accommodating special interests in the agency’s guidance for schools and of failing to recognize the low risk of outdoor transmission of the coronavirus. (Weiland, 5/11)

The Washington Post:
Rand Paul And The GOP Effort To Blame Fauci For The Coronavirus

For much of the past year, Republicans have decried lead government coronavirus expert Anthony S. Fauci’s prescriptions for mitigating the pandemic — including masks, social distancing and keeping society shut down. But increasingly in the past week, the effort has taken on a new flavor — with suggestions that Fauci might be personally to blame for the advent of the virus itself. (Blake, 5/11)

The Washington Post:
Ron Johnson’s Unscientific Use Of Vaccine And Death Data 

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) this year has been making scientifically dubious claims about covid-19 vaccines, arguing that U.S. health officials and agencies are not disclosing all the relevant risks and open questions to the public. (Rizzo, 5/12)

Fox News:
CDC Risk Of Coronavirus Transmission Outdoors Greatly Exaggerated, Bombshell Report Finds

A stunning New York Times report claims that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that the risk of coronavirus transmission while outdoors is around 10% is greatly exaggerated. The CDC has cited the estimate to back up its recommendation that vaccinated individuals do away with masks in certain outdoor situations, but should keep wearing masks during others. (Hein, 5/11)

Americans As Young As 12 Begin To Get Vaccinated Against Covid-19 After FDA’s Authorization 

Some vaccine sites began to inoculate 12-to-15-year-olds against Covid-19 on Tuesday morning, a day after the US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for the age group. Jacob Laney, 14, was in line at a Decatur, Georgia, vaccine site early Tuesday in hopes of getting the vaccine. “My friend got Covid and it looked really bad, and I just did not want to get it,” he told CNN. Once he gets both doses of Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine, “I think I’ll be less scared of getting it and less scared of having issues with Covid-19,” he said. (Holcombe, Levenson and Valencia, 5/12)

The Washington Post:
With Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Authorized For Adolescents, Some Parents Scramble To Make Appointments While Others Are Wary

Judy Fisher has been trying frantically to get a coronavirus vaccine appointment for her twin 12-year-olds. She has downloaded apps for every drugstore chain in New York City, is strategizing on multiple text chains and looking into out-of-state appointments, hoping to get her daughter and son fully vaccinated so they can see their friends and go to summer camp. “I’m foaming at the mouth to get them vaccinated so they can have some semblance of a normal summer,” Fisher said. “I cry when I think about all they have missed already.” (Wan, Sun and Meckler, 5/11)

This Is How Officials Are Trying To Rally Teens To Get Covid-19 Vaccinations

With a new demographic now eligible for Covid-19 vaccines, public health officials hoping to fight variants will have to adjust their strategy to convince 12 to 15-year-olds and their parents to sign up for inoculations. “Here we have to speak not only to the patient, the adolescent, but also their parents and guardians to make the case simultaneously to both,” Dr. Nirav Shah, president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said Tuesday. “It’s just an added nuance, it’s not any more difficult, it’s just something we’ve got to think through and get right.” (Holcombe, 5/12)

Los Angeles Times:
COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments For Californians 12-15 Could Begin Thursday

COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Californians ages 12 to 15 could become available as soon as Thursday. If everything goes to plan, California’s MyTurn site will begin making appointments available on Thursday morning, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said. The timing for when other vaccine providers will begin to offer appointments will vary. (Lin II, 5/11)

The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Vaccine Data On Children Under 12 Expected By Late Fall, Officials Say 

There will likely be enough evidence by late fall this year to potentially extend the use of Covid-19 vaccines to many children under age 12, Biden administration health officials told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday. “We expect to have data on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for children under 12” by that time, David Kessler, the administration’s chief Covid-19 scientific officer, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. (Burton, 5/11)

The Hill:
Medicare Requiring Nursing Homes To Report Weekly Vaccination Statistics

Federal health officials instituted a rule mandating long-term care facilities report residents’ and staff’s COVID-19 vaccinations every week to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) starting in two weeks. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the vaccination reporting requirement on Tuesday, directing the facilities to report the data to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), a national infection tracking system.  (Coleman, 5/11)

Modern Healthcare:
CMS Requires Nursing Homes To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines, Education

Long-term and intermediate care facilities will have to educate their residents, clients and staff about COVID-19 vaccines and offer such vaccines to those populations when available, according to a CMS interim final rule published Tuesday. If those facilities don’t provide the required education and vaccinations, the agency could bar them from participating in Medicare or Medicaid. The rule also requires long-term and intermediate care facilities to report the COVID-19 vaccination status of their residents and staff to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Brady, 5/11)

Roll Call:
Biden Health Team Plans For Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots 

Senators on Tuesday pressed President Joe Biden’s top health officials to address the slowing pace of COVID-19 vaccinations as an administration adviser raised the possibility that booster shots may be needed within the next year. “Everyone must have the opportunity to get vaccinated regardless of race, zip code, disability, primary language, or internet access,” said Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash. “We are also seeing the vaccination rate slow — a reminder that making sure people can get vaccines is just half the battle. We need to make sure they do get them.” (Kopp, 5/11)

ABC News and GMA:
McDonald’s Teams Up With Biden Administration To Share Vaccine Information

McDonald’s is teaming up with the White House to help get the word out on COVID-19 vaccines. The fast-food chain announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Biden administration to provide customers with access to trusted, independent information on vaccines. The partnership is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support communities and neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic. (McCarthy, 5/11)

States Won’t Get Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Next Week

States won’t receive any doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine next week, the latest sign of how production problems are hurting output of the single-dose shot, according to four sources with knowledge. White House officials told governors on a private call Tuesday that new supply of the J&J shot wasn’t immediately available for ordering, POLITICO has learned. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the federal government would ship out J&J doses through federal distribution channels, such as those for pharmacy chains and community health centers. (Roubein, 5/11)

Uber And Lyft Will Give Free Rides To COVID-19 Vaccination Spots, White House Says

Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. “The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4,” the White House said. People who want to use the program would need to select a vaccination site near them and then redeem the companies’ offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps. (Chappell, 5/11)

ABC News:
In NYC, Vaccinations Are Coming To A Subway Station Near You 

In an effort to meet New Yorkers where they are, the state is offering pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites at some subway and commuter stations this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. The eight sites include Penn Station, Grand Central, Coney Island, Myrtle-Wyckoff in Brooklyn, E.180 St. in the Bronx, 179 St. in Queens, LIRR Hempstead and MetroNorth Ossining. They will be open from May 12 to May 16. (Schumaker, 5/11)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Nearly Half Of Philly’s Firefighters, Police Have Skipped COVID-19 Vaccines, Unions Say

Nearly half of Philadelphia’s fire and police workers are unvaccinated despite being eligible to receive the shot for months, according to unions representing both groups. Philadelphia Firefighters Local 22, which represents about 2,800 firefighters and EMTs, reported 51% of its members have been vaccinated. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Five reported 3,562 members have been vaccinated, more than half the force. The union did not offer any demographic breakdowns of that number and was not able to distinguish between officers and civilian employees. (Laughlin and Orso, 5/12)

Los Angeles Times:
Hundreds In Orange County Protest COVID Vaccine Passports

On the same day that Orange County recorded some of its most positive coronavirus statistics to date — nearing the least restrictive yellow tier in the state’s reopening blueprint — hundreds of protesters gathered to blast the Board of Supervisors for a proposal to create “vaccine passports,” or digital records that document COVID-19 vaccination status. The public backlash began in April after the county announced plans to launch a pilot program for credentialing. Almost immediately, a vocal group of opponents expressed concern that the digital records would be used to “track” people and reveal private healthcare information. Opponents also said it would allow the county to favor residents who chose to get vaccinated. (Smith and Vega, 5/11)

USA Today:
Most Unvaccinated Adults Don’t Want The Shot

Vaccine hesitancy has become the predominant mindset of Americans who have not yet been inoculated, making the drive for herd immunity ever more elusive. Just 11% of American adults who remain unvaccinated for COVID-19 say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won’t, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Another 27% say they probably will and 27% say they probably won’t. The vaccination rush has slowed, and President Joe Biden met virtually with six governors Tuesday to discuss how to revive momentum. Biden wants 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July. That’s about what some experts say is needed to get the pandemic under control. Right now less than half of Americans have received at least one shot. (Bacon, Ortiz and Aspegren, 5/11)

The Mercury News:
Videos Show ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Stealing Vials Of COVID-19 Vaccine. He Posted The Videos On Social Media

A 32-year-old St. Paul man twice last week recorded and posted videos on social media that showed him pretending that he wanted a COVID-19 vaccine, but instead walking off with the vials that he said were “poison” and wanted to have tested in a lab. Thomas Edward Humphrey, who touts his involvement with an anti-governmental group, has gained national attention since making the videos and posting them on Facebook. He also has the attention of local law enforcement. (Ferraro, 5/11)

4th Wave Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hits Washington State

As the coronavirus outbreak recedes in many parts of the U.S., the Pacific Northwest has emerged as an outlier — gripped by a late spring surge that has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle and Portland. In recent weeks, the governors of both states have hit the brakes on reopening plans in hopes of countering the rapid spread of the more contagious B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the U.K. In Washington state, new hospital admissions for COVID-19 have been higher during this current surge than at any other time, except for this past winter. (Stone, 5/11)

New York Post:
New Mutation Of Brazilian Coronavirus Variant Found In Florida

A new mutation of the highly contagious Brazilian COVID-19 variant has emerged in Florida, health officials said. The newest variant, dubbed P2 or P.1.1, has a slightly different sequence than Brazil’s P1 strain, which has been found to be more likely to reinfect people who have already had the virus, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The variant has been detected in a 74-year-old man in Broward County and a 51-year-old woman in Duval County, according to the state Department of Health. (Salo, 5/11)

Abbott CEO Says It Has A Team Of ‘Virus Hunters’ On New Covid Variants

Abbott Labs has a team of “virus hunters” working with health officials around the world to monitor Covid-19 variants, as some mutated strains show an ability to evade detection, CEO Robert Ford said during an interview that aired Tuesday as part of CNBC’s Healthy Returns event. “They’re constantly looking for new viruses, and in this case we set up a team to be able to monitor all the mutations that could exist,” he said of its pandemic defense coalition. “It can’t just be a U.S. thing, you have to partner with all the countries, all the universities, all the different collection sites, then I think that’s the way to go.” (Mendez, 5/11)

Data Show 2% Of COVID Patients May Carry 90% Of Community’s Virus

Just 2% of COVID-19–infected individuals could carry 90% of the SARS-CoV-2 virions circulating within communities, according to a Proceedings of the National Academy of Science study comparing presymptomatic and asymptomatic patients with hospitalized patients. The results, published yesterday, included 1,405 positive COVID-19 cases from the University of Colorado Boulder’s 2020 fall semester testing program and compared them with 404 data points from previous research on hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Overall, more than 72,500 saliva samples were tested for COVID-19 on the college campus, all from people who were asymptomatic or presymptomatic. (5/11)

COVID-19 Death Rates Low In Pregnant, Hospitalized Women, Study Finds

Compared with non-pregnant women hospitalized with COVID-19, pregnant women with COVID-19 had lower in-hospital death rates, according to a research letter in the Annals of Internal Medicine today. University of Texas (UTHealth) and University of Maryland researchers looked at 1,062 pregnant and 9,815 non-pregnant patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and viral pneumonia from April to November 2020. All were 15 to 45 years old. (5/11)

Covid Vaccines Do Not Harm Placenta, Contrary To Social Media Misinformation, Study Finds 

There’s no biological basis behind ongoing social media claims that Covid-19 vaccines can harm the placenta, the organ that provides a growing baby oxygen and nutrients during pregnancy. “There’s no theoretical reason to believe these vaccines would be harmful,” Dr. Richard Beigi, who sits on the Immunization, Infectious Disease, and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told CNN in a Q&A on the subject. “There’s never been any vaccine that’s been linked with infertility,” he said. (LaMotte, 5/11)

Those With Mild COVID-19 Seek More Primary Care Than Uninfected Peers

Although nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients are at low risk for delayed complications, they visit their general practitioner or clinic more often than their uninfected peers in the 6 months after testing positive, finds a population-based study published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study, led by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, involved comparing 8,983 living, nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients with 80,894 Danish residents who tested negative for the virus from Feb 27 to May 31, 2020. Both groups were followed for 2 weeks to 6 months after testing. (Van Beusekom, 5/11)

The New York Times:
Is It Covid Or The Flu? New Combo Tests Can Find Out. 

In January, a man in his 60s with heart disease and diabetes went to a South Dakota hospital with a cough and fever, worried he had Covid. A nurse swabbed the inside of his nose, and the sample went into a small device resembling an inkjet-printer cartridge, which was then placed into a machine about the size of a printer. This so-called quad test, now available at thousands of hospitals and clinics around the country, could detect not only the coronavirus, but two types of influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus, or R.S.V. A little more than a half-hour later, Dr. Blake Gustafson had the patient’s result: He had the flu. (Khamsi, 5/11)

AMA Pledges In New Plan To Dismantle Causes Of Health Inequities 

Saying it needs to “pivot from ambivalence to urgent action” and hold itself accountable for deeply embedded health inequities, the American Medical Association has vowed in a new strategic plan to use its influence as one of the world’s most powerful medical organizations to fight and dismantle white supremacy and racism in the U.S. health care system — and within its own walls. The 83-page report on racial justice and health equity, which is the culmination of two years of work and was scheduled to be released on Wednesday, was obtained by STAT and has now been released by the AMA. (McFarling, 5/11)

US Doctors Group Issues Anti-Racism Plan For Itself, Field

The nation’s largest doctors group Tuesday released a comprehensive plan aimed at dismantling structural racism inside its own ranks and within the U.S. medical establishment. The American Medical Association’s plan has been in the works for more than a year. The group’s leaders said health inequities highlighted by the pandemic, ongoing police brutality and recent race-based crimes have given the effort a sense of urgency. (Tanner, 5/11)

Modern Healthcare:
Amedisys To Buy Visiting Nurse Association’s Home Health And Hospice Services

Visiting Nurse Association signed an agreement to sell its home health and hospice services to Baton Rouge, La.-based Amedisys. The deal is expected to close around July 1, according to a news release. VNA, which provides home health and hospice care in Omaha, Neb. and Council Bluffs, Iowa, said company leadership has realized they would need external investors to ensure the home health and hospice programs would remain financially strong. As a provider of home health, hospice and personal care, Amedisys fit the bill. (Christ, 5/11)

Modern Healthcare:
Most Medical Residents Prefer Hospital Employment In Urban Areas, Survey Shows

Most medical residents are interested in practicing for hospital systems in metro areas, which will exacerbate staffing shortages in rural communities, new survey data show. Nearly half of 103 final-year medical residents surveyed preferred to work for hospital systems, while only 10% wanted to partner with another physician, according to Merritt Hawkins’ April poll. That marks a drastic shift from the staffing firm’s 2011 survey, when almost an equal share of residents preferred hospital employment versus partnering with another physician. (Kacik, 5/11)

Boston Globe:
Dana-Farber Receives $50 Million Gift To Study Pancreatic Cancer 

Dr. Laurie Glimcher often gets calls from people she knows around the world asking if Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she is CEO, can help a friend or relative with pancreatic cancer. It’s a rare cancer but one that is almost always fatal, with silent tumors that tend to go undetected until they’re too advanced to treat. “It’s devastating. … We can help for a while, but ultimately these people are going to die,” Glimcher said. Now, Dana-Farber’s effort to better understand, detect, and treat pancreatic tumors is getting a big boost with a $50 million donation. (McCluskey, 5/11)

NIH Vaccine Designer Takes Coronavirus Research To Harvard

The U.S. government scientist who helped design one of the first COVID-19 vaccines and then tackled skepticism of the shots in communities of color is moving to Harvard in June. Kizzmekia Corbett of the National Institutes of Health will take her research into next-generation vaccines for coronaviruses to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the school announced Tuesday. (Neergaard, 5/11)

A Health Care Leader Pushes For A Patient-Centric Approach To Technology

Each step in the career of Ashwini Zenooz is less comfortable than the last. She started as a radiologist, moved to toil over government medical records, and then took a leading health care role at the cloud technology company Salesforce. Now she is joining a California startup called Commure, hoping to agitate for the change that has eluded her. (Ross, 5/11)

How Digital Pharmacies Can Expand Access To Specialized Care

Even the most aggressive proponents of telehealth must concede that while technology can open the door to health care for some, it can also become an obstacle for others. “It’s true, the technology is not accessible to everyone,” A.G. Breitenstein, the CEO and co-founder of FOLX Health, said Tuesday at the STAT Health Tech Summit. “But it’s a lot more accessible than the system that we have today.” (Aguilar, 5/11)

Telehealth Companies Fuel Lobbying Frenzy To Protect Covid Boom 

Telehealth companies, flush with cash after the Covid-19 pandemic spiked both demand and investment, are now embarking on massive lobbying efforts to secure their interests on Capitol Hill. The goal is clear: Lawmakers are weighing whether to permanently loosen regulations that were temporarily eased during the pandemic. Among other changes, providers have been allowed to practice in states where they are not licensed, and Medicare has been permitted to pay providers the same for virtual visits as in-person ones. Lobbyists for the rapidly growing industry are determined to keep those changes intact. (Cohrs and Ross, 5/12)

Illumina CEO Insists GRAIL Merger Won’t Harm Competition

Before the pandemic, most people had never heard of Illumina, the California-based sequencing behemoth whose machines generate upwards of 90% of the world’s DNA data. And while Illumina might still not be a household name, over the last 15 months the technology it sells has become standard dinner table fare. Genetic vaccines, coronavirus variants, wastewater surveillance — never before has the world of sequencing spilled over so forcefully into mainstream public consciousness. (Molteni, 5/11)

AIDS Virus Used In Gene Therapy To Fix ‘Bubble Baby’ Disease

A gene therapy that makes use of an unlikely helper, the AIDS virus, gave a working immune system to 48 babies and toddlers who were born without one, doctors reported Tuesday. Results show that all but two of the 50 children who were given the experimental therapy in a study now have healthy germ-fighting abilities. (Marchione, 5/11)

Fox News:
Mediterranean Diet Could Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, Study Suggests

Following a Mediterranean-like diet could help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, suggest the findings of a new study. The study, published May 5 in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, concluded that eating a Mediterranean-like diet — one that is rich in fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and low in dairy and red meat, can have a “cleansing” effect on the brain, helping to rid the organ of proteins that are linked to memory loss. For the study, researchers analyzed more than 500 seniors with an average age of 69. About 343 of the 512 participants were considered high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, per the study. (Farber, 5/11)

NBC News:
Prescription Sleep Pills Not Likely To Help Women In The Long Run, Study Finds

Prescription sleep medications can help women struggling with occasional insomnia but probably won’t help with chronic sleep problems, new research finds. Two years of data from nearly 700 middle-age women showed that long-term use of medications such as Ambien, Lunestra or some anti-anxiety prescriptions didn’t help women sleep better in the long run compared to women who didn’t use prescription pills, according to the report published Tuesday in BMJ Open. (Carroll, 5/11)

The Washington Post:
Michigan Failed To Act On Warning Signs As Doctor Molested Athletes For Decades, Report Finds

A longtime University of Michigan doctor, now dead, molested hundreds of patients, including many former athletes, and top university officials failed to act on warning signs and ignored complaints dating from 1975, according to a law firm’s report released by the university Tuesday. The 240-page report, produced by D.C. law firm WilmerHale, largely supports allegations made in lawsuits and news accounts over the past year against Robert Anderson, who worked for the university from 1966 to 2003 and died in 2008. (Hobson, 5/11)

The Washington Post:
Former VA Nursing Aide Sentenced To Seven Life Sentences For Killing Veterans With Insulin At West Va. Hospital 

A former nursing aide was sentenced Tuesday to seven consecutive life terms and an additional 20 years in federal prison after confessing to injecting lethal doses of insulin into frail, elderly veterans in her care at a West Virginia Veterans Affairs hospital. “You’re the monster that no one sees coming,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh told Reta Mays before announcing the sentence in a courtroom in Clarksburg, W.Va., dismissing her lawyers’ arguments that she deserved leniency because of a long history of medical and mental health issues stemming from her childhood and military service. (Rein, 5/11)

The Washington Post:
Prosecutor To Seek Hate-Crime Charges Against White Man Accused In Atlanta-Area Spa Killings

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty and hate-crime charges against the White man accused of fatally shooting eight people — mostly Asian women — in a March rampage across Atlanta-area spas that authorities are calling domestic terrorism. Robert Aaron Long, 22, was indicted on murder charges Tuesday by grand juries in Fulton County and Cherokee County, where authorities say Long fired on employees and customers at three Asian-run businesses. (Knowles and Willis, 5/11)

COVID-19 Pet Boom Has Veterinarians Backlogged, Burned Out

During the gloomiest stretches of the pandemic, Dr. Diona Krahn’s veterinary clinic has been a puppy fest, overrun with new four-legged patients. Typically, she’d get three or four new puppies a week, but between shelter adoptions and private purchases, the 2020 COVID-19 pet boom brought five to seven new clients a day to her practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. Many are first-time pet owners. Like many veterinarians across the country, she’s also been seeing more sick animals. (Kennedy, 5/12)

California Governor Announces $12 Billion Homeless Plan 

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said he was committing $12 billion toward the state’s seemingly intractable homeless problem in what he said was the largest amount of money spent at one time to get individuals and families off the streets. The move comes as Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, along with smaller cities and towns, grapple with mushrooming homeless populations and the spread unsanitary conditions and disease in blighted communities. (Whitcomb, 5/11)

San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Is Rapidly Losing Care Facilities For The Mentally Ill And Elderly. But A Plan To Save Them Is Promising

In San Francisco, the number of assisted living facilities for seniors and adults with disabilities dropped 38% since 2012, with beds dropping 17%, according to city reports. Hardest hit were the smallest facilities serving low-income residents. At least 100 people were waiting to get a spot in a facility, according to the most recent count. Advocates say the shortage means more people are sent out of county, which is hard for families, or end up on the streets. “If we are serious about ending homelessness for seniors and people with disabilities, we need residential care facilities,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said. (Moench, 5/11)

The Advocate:
Proposal To Limit, Ban Doctor Non-Competes Moves Forward; Here’s What’s Next In The Process

The state House on Tuesday approved legislation to roll back the use of noncompete agreements for doctors, amid a fierce battle between Ochsner Health System, which is fighting the bill, and doctors groups and other hospital systems pushing for it. The House voted 56-38 to approve House Bill 483, by Rep. Mark Wright, to restrict the use of noncompete provisions for doctors. Members voted 68-23 for another bill by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, to ban their use entirely for public employees – a bill that arose out of LSU Health Shreveport’s use of the provisions at that public institution, which is run in conjunction with Ochsner. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder voted in favor of both bills. (Karlin, 5/11)

Maine Gives Nurse Award Award To All School Nurses

Maine has decided to hand its “School Nurse of the Year” award to all the school nurses in the state. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, and the Maine Department of Education said Wednesday they and the Maine Association of School Nurses are recognizing all school nurses as the “School Nurse of the Year” for the 2020-21 school year. Mills said school nurses “have helped adapt with grace and grit to protect the health of our children.” (5/12)

The New York Times:
Covid Desperation Is Spreading Across India 

Dozens of bodies washed up on the banks of the Ganges this week, most likely the remains of people who perished from Covid-19. States in southern India have threatened to stop sharing medical oxygen with each other, fiercely protective about holding on to whatever they have as their hospitals swell with the sick and infections skyrocket. (Gettleman and Raj, 5/11)

Virus Strain Behind Deadly India Outbreak Detected In 44 Nations

The more-infectious coronavirus driving a catastrophic Covid-19 epidemic in India was detected in 44 countries, according to the World Health Organization, which urged more studies to understand its severity and propensity to cause reinfections. The strain, identified in October, spawned three versions — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 — amid an unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases that made the South Asian country the site of world’s worst coronavirus crisis. (Shrivastava, 5/12)

Fox News:
Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Likely Effective Against Indian Coronavirus Variant, Researchers Suggest

Coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna appeared to remain effective against a subtype of the Indian virus variant, according to early findings presented Tuesday from researchers at Emory University. The findings, posted to bioRxiv late Monday ahead of peer review, suggested the B.1.617.1 variant dealt an approximate seven-fold reduction in protection from prior infection and vaccination. However, the majority of blood samples from prior infection and all samples from vaccinated individuals appeared to remain effective at blocking the variant. (Rivas, 5/11)

Fox News:
Brazilian States Halt AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine For Pregnant Women After Death

Several Brazilian states halted AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations among pregnant women Tuesday after the national regulator, Anvisa, recommended an immediate suspension following a death in Rio de Janeiro. Anvisa issued a statement late Tuesday, citing “constant monitoring of adverse events on Covid vaccines in use in the country.” Sao Paulo state halted COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women with comorbidities and Rio state suspended inoculations of all women, citing the Anvisa guidance, Reuters reported. (Rivas, 5/11)

Covid-19 In Canada: Trudeau’s ‘One-Dose Summer’ Pitch Raises Hope For Reopening

Justin Trudeau began to set the stage for looser public-health restrictions, but cautioned that Canada must first focus on getting past a third wave of Covid-19. With the country’s most populous province under a stay-home order, the prime minister said keeping tougher rules in place now is necessary to lower case counts. Offering everyone a first dose of vaccine by summer, however, should allow Canadians to enjoy more social interactions and set the stage for a return to schools and offices in the fall after second shots are administered. (Bolongaro, 5/11)

U.K. Unveils Junk Food Ad Ban Online To Help Curb Obesity

Junk food commercials will be banned on British television before 9 p.m. and outlawed completely online, under new government proposals to curb rising obesity levels. Boris Johnson’s administration will also force firms with more than 250 employees — including restaurant and pub chains — to list calories on food. Promotions like “buy one get one free” on high fat, salt and sugar food and drinks will be restricted in supermarkets from next April. (Ashton, 5/11)

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