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U.S. moves to prevent shortage of therapy as hospitalizing unvaccinated costs billions

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 9/14/2021 Meryl Kornfield, Lateshia Beachum, Bryan Pietsch, Annabelle Timsit
a person wearing a hat: A healthcare worker prepares to administer the CanSino vaccine during a Covid-19 outreach program on Sept. 5, 2021 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. © Annice Lyn/Getty Images A healthcare worker prepares to administer the CanSino vaccine during a Covid-19 outreach program on Sept. 5, 2021 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

The Biden administration has sought to avert shortages of monoclonal antibodies this week as an analysis published Tuesday found that treating the nation’s hospitalized, unvaccinated population topped an estimated $5.7 billion.

As of Monday, the federal government has taken over distribution of monoclonal antibody treatment and has purchased 1.4 million additional doses — a move likely to reduce the medication in parts of the country with high infection rates. The new move will temporarily allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement rules for distribution of the critical covid-19 therapy instead of permitting states, medical facilities and doctors to order them directly.

The president has expressed waning patience with country’s unvaccinated, and a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis shows that the unimmunized is leading to billions in “preventable costs,” with projections showing that hospitalization costs nearly doubled in August the estimates for June and July combined.

Here’s just how unequal the global coronavirus vaccine rollout has been

Here’s what to know

  • Senior advisers in the Trump administration in February 2020 privately discussed the government’s “critical mistakes” in preparing for the coronavirus, countering optimistic claims President Donald Trump made in public, according to emails obtained by the House select subcommittee on the pandemic.
  • Sixty percent of Americans support President Biden’s vaccine requirements for federal employees and businesses with more than 100 employees, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.
  • Pfizer expects to seek emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine from federal regulators to immunize children ages 5-11 in early October and ages 6-months to 5 the following month, CFO Frank D’Amelio said Tuesday.

10:30 PM: Poverty fell overall in 2020 as result of massive stimulus checks and unemployment aid, Census Bureau says

U.S. poverty fell overall in 2020, a surprising decline largely due to the swift and substantial federal relief that Congress enacted at the start of the pandemic to try to prevent widespread financial hardship as the nation experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported poverty fell to 9.1 percent in 2020 after accounting for all the government aid — the lowest rate on record and a significant decline from 11.8 percent in 2019.

Nearly 8.5 million people were lifted out of poverty last year, an unprecedented change in a single year that was largely attributed to the stimulus payments. Poverty in the United States is defined as a family of four living on less than about $26,250 a year.

Read the full story.

By: Heather Long and Amy Goldstein

9:57 PM: Biden wants 70 percent of the world to get vaccinated. It’s not even close.

President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, according to a list of targets obtained by The Washington Post. While many wealthy countries have reached or will soon reach that target, the rest of the world is very far behind.

Roughly one-third of people globally are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. Covax, the campaign led by the World Health Organization, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to distribute vaccines to the world, said last week that “only 20% of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80% in high- and upper-middle income countries.”

More than 41 percent have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while only about 2 percent of those live in low-income countries — meaning that the bulk of those who have received even partial protection live in developed nations.

Adding to the challenges that Biden is sure to face as the White House convenes a virtual summit next week, Covax has also warned that it would not be able to vaccinate as much of the world as it wants because wealthy countries bought much of the early supply, and because of obstacles such as “export bans” and “delays in filing for regulatory approval.”

Covax is the main mechanism through which poor countries can secure coronavirus vaccines but individual countries and regional organizations can also donate their spare doses or buy doses for others. In early August, the United States announced it had donated upward of 110 million doses to more than 60 countries — but experts told The Post that may have been “too little, too late.”

By: Annabelle Timsit and Bryan Pietsch

9:00 PM: DeWine says his fellow Republicans won’t allow masking in schools, even as pediatric cases rise

Mike DeWine holding a sign posing for the camera: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), speaks at a Nov. 18, 2020, news briefing. © Andrew Welsh Huggins/AP Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), speaks at a Nov. 18, 2020, news briefing.

Though pediatric coronavirus cases in Ohio are climbing, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he can’t implement a mask mandate for schools in his state due to opposition in the Republican-led legislature.

“If I could put on a statewide mandate, if the health department could do it, we would do it,” he said at a Tuesday news conference. “What the legislature has made very clear is that if we put on a statewide mandate, they will take it off.”

The governor said six children’s hospital representatives spoke with superintendents and school leaders across the state about the impact the virus is having on their systems. The hospitals pleaded with K-12 school leaders to implement mask usage among teachers, faculty and students, he said.

Approximately 54.4 percent of Ohio students are required to wear masks under local mandates, which the governor said is a “significant increase” in the percentage compared to when school started.

The delta variant has increased the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths around the state, straining the health-care system, according to DeWine.

“Every single county is red hot. Some counties are almost boiling over,” DeWine said, noting that even counties with relatively low coronavirus incidence data for Ohio exceed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. “Everywhere, no matter your school district, they’re red hot. There’s no place that you can run from the covid. Every school district is surrounded by numbers of cases that are very, very high.”

Ohio has seen more than a 2,000 percent increase in the number of pediatric coronavirus cases since early August, DeWine said.

Despite the worrisome number of child coronavirus cases, a plea from Ohio Children’s Hospital Association to implement statewide masking in schools, and overworked medical workers, the governor said the legislature has his hands tied.

DeWine said that ordering a mask mandate for schoolchildren only for it to be repealed by his party members in the state’s legislature could lead to public confusion about the need for masks.

The governor said he’s counting on the good will of school boards and Ohioans when they hear about facts concerning the coronavirus and children.

“I hope that when people hear those facts from the children’s hospitals that we’re going to see more and more of our schools do what is clearly necessary and that is to have masking in school,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be forever. Don’t want it to be forever, but we’re in a crisis right now.”

By: Lateshia Beachum

7:30 PM: Pfizer to seek FDA authorization for children ages 5 and older in early October

Pfizer expects to seek emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine from federal regulators to immunize children ages 5 to 11 in early October and ages 6 months to 5 the following month, said Frank D’Amelio, the company’s chief financial officer, on Tuesday.

The clarified timeline for the vaccine that Pfizer developed with German firm BioNTech comes as parents have expressed worry about their children’s exposure to the virus, especially since schools reopened.The delta variant has led to a surge in infections and hospitalizations across the country, including among younger children, who are currently ineligible to get any vaccine in the United States.

Phase 3 studies for children between 6 months and 11 years are underway, and safety and immunogenicity data for children between ages 5 and 11 are expected by the end of September, D’Amelio said at a fireside chat at the Morgan Stanley 19th Annual Global Healthcare Conference.

Officials from the Food and Drug Administration have said they are “eager” to see children vaccinated and the agency would “complete its review as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months.”

With the time to gather and review data, children may be able to get the vaccine by the end of the year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

By: Meryl Kornfield

6:07 PM: Biden administration moves to stave off shortages of monoclonal antibodies

The Biden administration moved this week to stave off shortages of monoclonal antibodies, taking over distribution of the critical covid-19 therapy while it tries to purchase more.

The policy change that went into effect Monday is all but certain to result in cuts of the medication to some states, especially seven in the Deep South with high infection rates that have been using about 70 percent of the national supply.

Soaring demand for the therapy represents a sharp turn from just two months ago, when monoclonal antibodies were widely available and awareness of them was low. Consumers, doctors and states, amid little government promotion, were obtaining just a tiny fraction of the available supply.

Read the full story.

By: Lenny Bernstein

5:53 PM: Sixty percent of Americans support Biden’s vaccine mandates for federal workers, businesses, poll shows

Sixty percent of Americans support President Biden’s vaccine requirements for federal employees and businesses with more than 100 employees, highlighting continued political division around coronavirus-related mandates, according to an Axios/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

About 8 in 10 Democrats and 6 in 10 independents were in favor of Biden’s recent requirements. Yet only about 30 percent of Republicans expressed the same support, according to the poll.

There is also majority support for workplace requirements for vaccinations, with about 57 percent of employed Americans backing such efforts as more employers appear to be recommending mask usage while at work. The number of work requirements demanding vaccination is also slowly creeping up, based on answers from respondents. The survey found that 25 percent of workers said their employers are putting vaccine requirements in place, compared with 16 percent who answered the same question in mid-August.

As the country begins offering booster shots later this month, a 38 percent plurality of Americans believe the Biden administration’s focus should be on vaccinating the unvaccinated or providing vaccine supply to people in developing countries that lack access, according to the poll.

Nearly half of vaccinated Americans believe the unvaccinated should be a priority compared with just 10 percent of unvaccinated Americans.

By: Lateshia Beachum

5:10 PM: Conservative radio host who spurned vaccines, mocked AIDS patients dies of covid-19

For years, Bob Enyart used his conservative media platform in Denver to mock those who died of AIDS by name or call for women who receive abortions to face the death penalty. Recently, the radio talk-show host — who had successfully sued the state over mask mandates and capacity limits in Colorado churches last year — joined a chorus of conservative voices who have bashed the coronavirus vaccine and vowed to stay unvaccinated.

In Enyart’s case, he pushed for boycotting vaccination because of the debunked claim that the vaccines were developed using aborted fetal cells.

“While it is not inherently sinful to take an immorally-developed” vaccine, he wrote on his website last month, Enyart urged people to “boycott” the vaccines “to further increase social tension and put pressure on the child killers.”

Read the full story.

By: Timothy Bella

4:28 PM: Key coronavirus updates from around the world

Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating because of possible exposure to someone with a coronavirus infection, the Kremlin said. It denied that he was ill.
  • India’s covid-19 wave is receding. Now the world wants it to get back to exporting vaccines.
  • In China, an outbreak of the coronavirus in the southeast continues to spread: Health authorities in Fujian province reported 59 new cases Monday, up from 22 on Sunday.
  • Just ahead of the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, which opens Tuesday, leaders of the Gates and Rockefeller foundations are warning that without larger government and philanthropic investments in the manufacture and delivery of vaccines to people in poor nations, the pandemic could set back global progress on education, public health and gender equality for years.
  • After uncertainty over whether covid-19 would force South Africa to postpone local government elections, the courts have ruled that the crucial polls should move ahead.
  • In Israel, a prominent anti-vaccine activist died of covid-19. Before his death, he accused the Jerusalem police of trying to poison him, the Jerusalem Post reported.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added nine countries to its highest-risk category for travel amid the pandemic: Afghanistan, Albania, Serbia, Belize, Lithuania, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia and Mauritius.

By: Annabelle Timsit

2:56 PM: Trump advisers privately warned of ‘critical mistakes’ as pandemic loomed

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: White House trade director Peter Navarro alongside President Donald Trump during an April 2020 briefing from Trump's coronavirus task force. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post White House trade director Peter Navarro alongside President Donald Trump during an April 2020 briefing from Trump's coronavirus task force.

Senior advisers in the Trump administration in February 2020 privately discussed the government’s “critical mistakes” in preparing for the coronavirus, countering optimistic claims President Donald Trump made in public, according to emails obtained by the House select subcommittee on the pandemic.

“In truth we do not have a clue how many are infected in the USA. We are expecting the first wave to spread in the US within the next 7 days,” adviser Steven Hatfill wrote to Peter Navarro, the president’s trade director, on Feb. 29, 2020. “This will be accompanied by a massive loss of credibility and the Democratic accusations are just now beginning. This must be countered with frank honesty about the situation and decisive direct actions that are being taken and can be seen in the broadcast news.”

Hatfill, a virologist who began advising the Trump White House in February 2020, blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for rolling out flawed coronavirus tests and urged Navarro to begin purchasing additional testing supplies, develop alternative ways to immediately screen for virus infections and deploy additional emergency response staffers. His warning to Navarro came hours after Trump boasted of his administration’s “pretty amazing” response to the coronavirus.

Read the full story

By: Dan Diamond

2:25 PM: Army outlines policy for mandatory vaccines, including punishments for soldiers who refuse them

The Army is giving its active-duty soldiers until late this year to be fully vaccinated, with a longer grace period for National Guard members and reservists to meet requirements — or face punishment for refusal.

The largest military branch said Tuesday its nearly half a million soldiers on active duty must receive a full vaccination by Dec. 15, or receive exemptions if they have a “legitimate medical, religious or administrative reason.” The policy allows for a June 30, 2022, deadline for Guard members and Army Reserve soldiers.

Vaccine requirements have come as the military faces a growing number of deaths among personnel who are fitter and younger than Americans overall. Last month was the deadliest among service members since the pandemic began, Military Times reported, as the delta variant surges worldwide.

The vaccine was encouraged by the Pentagon but voluntary until last month, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Soldiers who refuse the vaccine face initial counseling from leaders and medical providers, the Army said, but further refusal “could result in administrative or nonjudicial punishment — to include relief of duties or discharge.”

Commanders and senior enlisted leaders who refuse face harsh consequences, such as being relieved of their duties and suspended, the Army said.

The Air Force released similar guidance earlier this month with a faster timeline. Active-duty airmen must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 2, officials said, with a deadline of Dec. 2 for Air Guard members and Air Force reservists. Refusal will lead to punishment within the military justice system, officials said.

The Navy’s requirement is also sooner, with active-duty sailors expected to be vaccinated by late November.

By: Alex Horton

1:49 PM: Hospitalizing unvaccinated covid-19 patients cost an estimated $5.7 billion in three months, researchers say

a group of people sleeping on the bed: Army 1st Lt. Blaine Woodcock, a critical care nurse, provides care to a covid-19 patient at Kootenai Health regional medical center in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Sept. 6. (Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt/DVIDS U.S. Army via AP) Army 1st Lt. Blaine Woodcock, a critical care nurse, provides care to a covid-19 patient at Kootenai Health regional medical center in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Sept. 6. (Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt/DVIDS U.S. Army via AP)

The “preventable” costs for treating hospitalized, unvaccinated covid-19 patients reached an estimated $5.7 billion over the past three months, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis published Tuesday.

The KFF researchers, who warned that their analysis was “a conservative estimate,” projected that hospitalization costs for unvaccinated covid patients in August nearly doubled the estimates for June and July combined as more Americans have been hospitalized in a recent surge of infections. Analysts estimated that the hospitalization of about 287,000 adults over the past three months would have been prevented by vaccinations based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that has found that vaccines are largely effective at reducing serious illness.

Estimating that a hospital visit costs roughly $20,000, on average, the KFF researchers noted that a small portion of that expense is generally covered by patients themselves, while insurers, including public programs, pick up most of the bill.

The “ballpark figure” is also “likely an understatement,” researchers wrote, pointing to the additional costs of outpatient treatment and other research that has indicated that hospitalizations might be more expensive.

“Additionally, although breakthrough infections and hospitalizations are rare, unvaccinated people are also more likely to spread the virus to those who have taken measures to protect themselves and others, and those costs are not included in these estimates,” researchers added.

The new analysis comes as U.S. officials have aimed to inoculate more Americans and curtail a wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths driven by the Delta variant.

The researchers said that the number of vaccinated people who were hospitalized has risen as of last month, but that number among unvaccinated has also increased. More than 98 percent of people hospitalized with a covid diagnosis between June and August were unvaccinated.

By: Meryl Kornfield

12:30 PM: WHO: Africa has been ‘left behind’ in immunization effort

a group of people wearing costumes: A health worker shows off a syringe containing a vaccine before administering it during the launch of the South African leg of a global Phase III trial of Sinovac's coronavirus vaccine in children and adolescents, in Pretoria, South Africa, on Sept. 10, 2021. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters) © Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters A health worker shows off a syringe containing a vaccine before administering it during the launch of the South African leg of a global Phase III trial of Sinovac's coronavirus vaccine in children and adolescents, in Pretoria, South Africa, on Sept. 10, 2021. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Wealthy countries and vaccine manufacturers have not done enough to aid in vaccinating people in Africa, officials at a World Health Organization briefing Tuesday said, sharing dismal numbers on the progress of the effort.

About 3.5 percent of eligible Africans are fully immunized, a lagging rate that indicates the continent won’t reach a goal of 60 percent until February, according to officials.

After pleading last week that wealthy countries hold off on offering booster shots until other countries are able to catch up with offering first and second doses, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus once again echoed that call. He reiterated the global health consequences of leaving a large swath of the world unprotected against the coronavirus.

“I may sound like a broken record,” he said. “I don’t care. I will continue to call for vaccine equity until we get it.”

Tedros said a WHO-backed initiative to offer global access to vaccines, COVAX, has faced several challenges, including many high-income countries tying up the global supply of vaccines.

But the officials speaking at the roundtable also pointed fingers at manufacturers, which they said could do more to make the technology behind the vaccines more accessible.

Their calls come as Reuters reported Tuesday that an African base to replicate Moderna’s shot has faltered as the company won’t come to the table to offer information about how African countries could copy their mRNA vaccine.

“The talks have not yielded any results,” Martin Friede, WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research coordinator, told Reuters.

Officials at the WHO briefing were not specifically asked about the progress of those conversations with Moderna, but they said intellectual property rights on the vaccines should be waived, saying they would bring that request to a virtual summit the Biden administration will convene next week.

“It was a great miracle to have these vaccines,” said Strive Masiyiwa, an African Union envoy for the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team. “Now let this miracle be available to all mankind.”

By: Meryl Kornfield

11:40 AM: Speakers at DeSantis news conference promoted false vaccine claims while governor stood by

Ron DeSantis wearing a suit and tie: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Feb. 26. (Joe Skipper/Reuters) © Joe Skipper/Reuters Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Feb. 26. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Monday that cities and counties in the state could face millions of dollars in fines for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, he stood silently next to a Gainesville city employee who spread misinformation about the vaccines.

“The vaccine changes your RNA, so for me that’s a problem,” said Darris Friend, a 22-year city employee who is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Gainesville government over its vaccine requirements for all municipal employees. “We don’t want to have the vaccine. It’s about our freedom and liberty.”

DeSantis, who looked to the ground and appeared uncomfortable with the employee’s false claim at the news conference, did not correct Friend’s vaccine misinformation, which an infectious-disease expert described to the Tampa Bay Times as “false and wrong.”

Another city employee, Christine Damm, suggested at the DeSantis event, without evidence, that she would die if she got vaccinated.

Read the full story

By: Timothy Bella

9:25 AM: British government to start booster shots for vulnerable populations next week

LONDON — The British government announced Tuesday that it will be offering booster shots to 30 million people in the country to protect front-line health workers, those over 50 and any other medically vulnerable people.

The news that booster jabs are coming follows the announcement Monday night that the government would offer vaccines to all healthy children and teens ages 12 to 15.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the booster program would begin next week in England, with the rest of the country expected to follow suit.

The government also announced its Plan A and Plan B for getting through the challenging autumn and winter months in the face of a stubborn pandemic.

Read the full story

By: Karla Adam and William Booth

8:12 AM: Nicki Minaj tweets coronavirus vaccine conspiracy, spotlighting struggle against misinformation

Nicki Minaj standing in front of a crowd: Nicki Minaj attends the 2019 Met Gala in New York City. © Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Nicki Minaj attends the 2019 Met Gala in New York City.

Nicki Minaj tweeted on Monday night about her cousin’s hesitancy to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, setting off a slew of critiques that she was spreading coronavirus misinformation.

Minaj tweeted that her cousin in Trinidad, where the rapper is from, “won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.”

Medical experts have said that claims about infertility linked to vaccinations are unsubstantiated.

Read the full story

By: Adela Suliman and Bryan Pietsch

7:35 AM: Vladimir Putin self-isolates after covid exposure but has not tested positive, Kremlin says

a man in a suit and tie: Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Moscow on 13 September 2021. © Mikhael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Moscow on 13 September 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will self-isolate after individuals close to him tested positive for the coronavirus.

The news came from the Kremlin in a transcript of a call between Putin and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, in which Putin said he will attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, planned later this week in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, virtually instead of in-person.

The Kremlin also said Putin is “absolutely healthy” and has so far not tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Russian president met in person with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin on Monday. Assad said he and his wife had and recovered from covid-19 in March.

By: Annabelle Timsit

6:45 AM: CDC adds more countries to its highest-risk category for travel

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added nine countries to its highest-risk category for travel amid the pandemic on Monday, warning U.S. travelers to “avoid travel to these destinations.”

Afghanistan, Albania, Serbia, Belize, Lithuania, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia and Mauritius were added to the public health organization’s Level 4 list of countries and territories with “very high” covid risk.

Countries and territories fall under this category in one of two ways:

  • For small countries of less than 100,000 people, if they have recorded more than 500 cumulative new cases over the past 28 days, and if new cases have been on an upward trend during that time.
  • For larger countries of more than 100,000 people, if they have recorded more than 500 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 28 days, and if new cases have been on an upward trend during that time.

Travelers across the United States are facing roadblocks as demand for testing increases amid the delta variant surge, school requirements and workplace rules, The Washington Post’s Hannah Sampson reports. The Biden administration said Thursday that it has taken steps to expand access to testing.

By: Annabelle Timsit

5:57 AM: Kentucky hospital has ‘no idea’ how it will manage after team of federal emergency workers departs

The head medical official at a Kentucky hospital said he has “no idea” what the facility will do Friday when it loses a team of emergency medical employees sent by the federal government, highlighting the fragile balancing act that health-care facilities across the country are facing under a surge in coronavirus cases.

“The only reason we are holding this lifeboat together is I have a federal disaster medical assistance team here, 14 people who have just been heroes to us,” William Melah, chief medical officer of St. Claire HealthCare, which operates a hospital in Morehead, Ky., said Monday on CNN.

“Unfortunately, their deployment is over on Friday,” Melah said. “I’m going to lose 14 health-care professionals, and I literally have no idea what we’re going to do on Friday.”

Kentucky has the largest portion of its population hospitalized for covid-19 in the country. Nationally, 29 of every 100,000 people are in the hospital for covid-19; in Kentucky that figure is 57, according to Washington Post data.

The team of health-care workers, which had been requested by the governor, arrived at St. Claire Regional Medical Center on Sept. 4 with a set departure date for Friday. On Sept. 4, Kentucky was averaging more than 4,200 new coronavirus cases each day. On Monday, the state was averaging more than 5,400. Hospitalizations often increase days after cases do — meaning that the situation is likely to get worse in the coming days before it gets better.

The Kentucky hospital is one of many across the country that have had teams of medical workers deployed by the federal government as facilities have struggled to keep up with the surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the delta variant.

Over the past month, Hawaii has received more than 500 “health-care surge staff” deployed with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Last week, the U.S. Army said it had deployed three 20-person teams of military medical personnel to Idaho, Arkansas and Alabama to support hospitals treating covid-19 patients. They join six other teams already working in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. An Army representative and a spokesperson for the governor of Hawaii did not immediately respond to requests for comment about how long the deployments would last.

The Army’s announcement came on the same day Idaho officials moved to start rationing medical care at hospitals in the northern part of the state amid a surge of coronavirus patients that had pushed the facilities beyond their limits.

By: Bryan Pietsch

5:06 AM: Yes, you can get a covid booster and a flu shot together. Here’s what you need to know.

a woman with pink hair taking a selfie: Soon after it was cleared by regulators, a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is prepared in South Los Angeles on March 11, 2021. © Mario Tama/Getty Images Soon after it was cleared by regulators, a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is prepared in South Los Angeles on March 11, 2021.

With flu season swiftly approaching in a country already battling a resurgence of the coronavirus, experts are urging Americans to avail themselves of any and all vaccines they are eligible for — whether it’s their first coronavirus vaccination, a booster vaccine dose to combat waning immunity or a flu shot.

“It’s terribly important” to get both the flu and coronavirus vaccines, said William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “They are both very nasty respiratory viruses that can make many people very, very sick.”

And because the coronavirus and flu vaccines “train your immune system to protect you against completely different viruses,” getting a shot that protects you against one virus will not offer any protection against the other, said Kelly Moore, president and CEO of the Immunization Action Coalition.

Read the full story

By: Allyson Chiu

4:20 AM: India’s covid wave is receding. Now, the world wants it to get back to exporting vaccines.

India is facing growing pressure to lift its ban on exporting coronavirus vaccines, months after curbs were imposed to tackle a massive domestic outbreak that has since relented.

The world’s second-most populous country — and also one of its biggest vaccine manufacturers — imposed the ban this spring as India raced to raise its immunization rate. Now, officials in the United States and with Covax, the United Nations-backed coronavirus vaccine distribution initiative that had counted on India to supply around a billion shots this year, hope a more stable health situation will persuade the country to resume exports. The pressure comes as wealthy nations, including the United States, move to offer booster shots to their own vaccinated residents.

But Indian officials have not committed to a firm date. Instead, mixed messaging has clouded production forecasts, even as President Biden plans to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September.

Read the full story

By: Andrew Jeong

4:09 AM: Hospitalizations up in Washington region as patients seek treatment for coronavirus, delayed care

a sign on the side of a building: Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. © Earl Neikirk/For The Washington Post Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va.

Hospitalizations directly and indirectly related to the coronavirus — are up across the region, especially in Virginia, stressing staffing and prompting some hospitals to pause elective surgeries for the first time since cases spiked last winter.

Ballad Health, which serves Southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee, and two hospitals in Maryland have delayed elective surgeries because of the increased workload.

Other hospitals find themselves tackling myriad issues all at once: an increase in covid-19 patients, care for those who put off treatment or who developed new issues during the pandemic, and transfers from places with fewer clinical resources.

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By: Jenna Portnoy and Lola Fadulu

4:07 AM: Experts worry other vaccine requirements could be swept up in GOP condemnation of Biden covid mandate

Kevin McCarthy wearing a suit and tie: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, saying they go too far. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, saying they go too far.

Republicans’ sweeping denunciations of President Biden’s plan to force more people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are raising concerns among public health experts that this heated criticism could help fuel a broader rejection of other vaccine requirements, including those put in place by schools and the military, as the issue of inoculations becomes increasingly political.

Over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared on Twitter that there should be “NO VACCINE MANDATES.” More than a dozen other prominent Republicans in Congress and in the states have made similarly defiant statements in recent days, often using inflammatory rhetoric.

Many of these elected officials have declined to elaborate on their views about vaccine requirements and whether they object only to Biden’s federal plan or also think other mandates put in place by school districts, the military and private employers should be rethought or banned. The sharp rhetoric and failure to clarify their broader views on vaccines are worrying some public health experts.

Read the full story.

By: Felicia Sonmez, Marianna Sotomayor and Mariana Alfaro

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