First Edition: April 27, 2021

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

Pandemic Imperiled Non-English Speakers More Than Others

In March 2020, just weeks into the covid-19 pandemic, the incident command center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston was scrambling to understand this deadly new disease. It appeared to be killing more Black and brown patients than whites. For Latinos, there was an additional warning sign: language. Patients who didn’t speak much, or any, English had a 35% greater chance of death. Clinicians who couldn’t communicate clearly with patients in the hospital’s covid units noticed it was affecting outcomes. (Bebinger, 4/27)

Evaluating President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days In Office 

In the first 100 days, new presidents try to turn campaign promises into quick legislative victories, defuse lingering crises, set themselves apart from their predecessor and set a leadership tone for the next four years — all while avoiding blunders that could destroy their momentum. So how is President Joe Biden doing as he approaches this mark? Not bad, experts say, given the scale of the crisis he’s tackling and the political opposition he faces in Congress. (Jacobson, 4/27)

Big Investors Push Nursing Homes To Upgrade Care And Working Conditions 

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where 182,000 Americans perished during the covid pandemic, have taken heat from government regulators, residents and their families. Now the industry is hearing it from an unexpected source: their investors. Investors who own large shares of nursing home companies now are demanding that the operators improve staff working conditions and the quality of care. (Meyer, 4/27)

U.S. Will Share 60 Million Doses Of AstraZeneca Vaccine With Other Countries

The United States will release 60 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from drugmaker AstraZeneca to other countries over the next several months, the White House announced Monday. The vaccine, which has not been authorized for use in the U.S., will be released once it clears safety reviews by the Food and Drug Administration. That could happen in the “coming weeks,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. The White House did not specify which countries would receive the vaccine, but about 10 million doses are ready to ship once regulatory clearance has been granted, Psaki said. The remaining doses are expected to be distributed throughout May and June. (Sullivan, 4/26)

Fox News:
Canada Says AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines From Troubled Emergent Lab ‘Safe’

Canadian health authorities attempted to assuage concerns Sunday about the safety of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from a troubled Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, Md. The manufacturing facility, known as Bayview, saw 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine go to waste after a dosage mix-up last month. The U.S. FDA recently ran an investigation at the facility, and as a result, “cited a number of observations concerning whether the facility’s processes met our requirements and standard,” per a statement issued last week. (Rivas, 4/26)

European Commission Sues AstraZeneca For Vaccine Shortages 

The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against AstraZeneca for providing only a third of the supply of coronavirus vaccines agreed to in its contract, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. It’s the latest in a string of controversies related to the European Union’s vaccine rollout, which has been plagued by supply shortages, a slow pace of distribution, and concerns about potential rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. (Basu, 4/26)

Biden Will Announce New CDC Mask Guidance Tuesday, Sources Say 

President Joe Biden is expected to announce Tuesday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for wearing masks outdoors, three people familiar with the expected announcement said. Ahead of his first address to Congress on Wednesday, the President will give remarks on the state of the pandemic on Tuesday. The three people familiar with the expected announcement said Biden will announce new CDC guidance on whether vaccinated people need to wear masks outdoors, though the final language of the expected announcement is still unclear. (Collins and Sullivan, 4/26)

Biden Administration Advances Emergency Covid Workplace Safety Rules After Weeks Of Delay 

The Biden administration is advancing emergency workplace safety rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after weeks of delay and growing pressure from Democrats and safety advocates. The Labor Department sent the safety standards to the Office of Management and Budget for review Monday night, according to a DOL spokesperson, the first step before they are released publicly and go into effect. (Rainey, 4/26)

ABC News:
Biden Administration Expands USDA Summer Food Program To Feed Over 30M School Kids 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new effort on Monday that will feed more than 30 million children over the summer by expanding the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Low-income families struggle to put nutritious food on the table during the summer months when school is out of session, so these programs have acted as a lifeline for some families. (McCarthy, 4/26)

USDA Moves To Feed Millions Of Children Over The Summer

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new effort Monday to feed millions of children this summer, when free school meals traditionally reach just a small minority of the kids who rely on them the rest of the year. The move expands what’s known as the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, program into the summer months, and USDA estimates it will reach more than 30 million children. “If children and children’s learning and children’s health is a priority for us in this country, then we need to fund our priorities,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a Monday interview with NPR’s All Things Considered. “I think it’s an important day.” (Turner, 4/26)

The Wall Street Journal:
Prescription-Drug Price Cuts Set To Be Left Out Of White House Proposal 

The White House isn’t expected to include a measure aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs in its coming antipoverty package, according to people familiar with the matter, in an omission likely to disappoint top Democrats on Capitol Hill. President Biden will detail the roughly $1.8 trillion proposal during a speech to Congress later this week, rolling out another major spending plan weeks after he released a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. While officials are still finalizing the plan, it is set to include funding for child care, universal prekindergarten and tuition-free community college, among other measures. (Duehren and Peterson, 4/26)

New York Post:
Coronavirus Herd Immunity ‘Getting Close’ In Some Regions, NIH Director Says

The director of the National Institutes of Health on Sunday predicted that the U.S. could reach “herd immunity” from COVID-19 at 70% to 85% of people vaccinated or previously infected – and said some regions of the country are getting close to that. Dr. Francis Collins said experts “don’t really quite know” yet the exact rate of the population that needs some form of protection to achieve herd immunity, but the benchmark is likely “up there around 70, 85%.” “We’re not there yet. You can see some places in the country that are getting close to that with a combination of having had a lot of cases of COVID, which also provides you with some immunity, plus the vaccines,” Collins told NBC host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” (Salo, 4/26)

What Women Should Know About The Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on Friday. The agencies previously had decided to pause administration of the vaccine due to cases of an extremely rare blood clotting disorder found in six women between the ages of 18 and 49 who had gotten the shot. The initial pause was intended to inform health care providers about this rare disorder and its treatment, and to see if other cases would emerge. (Hetter, 4/27)

Studies Detail Likely COVID-19 Aerosol Spread In Vans, Car

Two new studies suggest infectious COVID-19 aerosols can travel in passenger cars and vans. The first study, from Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that two Cleveland-area van drivers traveling to a hospital 2 hours away most likely spread COVID-19 to their passengers. SARS-CoV-2 strains between infected passengers and their respective drivers were closely related, and in a simulation using fluorescent microspheres, airflow transported both small and larger droplets greater than 3 meters from the front to the back of the van. (4/26)

CBS News:
COVID-19 Outbreak Hits Pennsylvania School As Kids Fuel New Cases 

A suburb of Philadelphia has seen an alarming coronavirus outbreak among children and several fully vaccinated adults. Eight second-graders and two fully vaccinated family members from Penn Valley Elementary School are in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 — all are connected to a single classroom. “Since we’ve been open in September, this is the first time we saw this many cases in a single classroom,” said Amy Buckman, the director of school and community relations for the Lower Merion School District. (Battiste, 4/26)

San Francisco Chronicle:
First-Grader Dies Of COVID-19 Complications In Minnesota

A first-grader with no underlying health conditions has died from complications due to COVID-19, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health. “It is simply heartbreaking to hear that COVID-19 has taken the life of someone so young,” Gov. Tim Walz said in the statement Monday afternoon. The child was a first-grader at Park Side Elementary School, Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams told CNN in an email. “I recognize this is scary and concerning for many,” he wrote in a letter to parents, urging them to observe their children for signs of infection. “This sadly reinforces that the pandemic is not over and the precautions that we are taking are not just for our own safety, but for all Minnesotans — including our youngest students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” Heather Mueller, the state’s education commissioner, said in a statement. (Vaziri, Beamish and Fracassa, 4/26)

Rural Humboldt County Sees COVID-19 Spike Linked To Church

Humboldt County in rural Northern California is seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections that health officials say is linked to superspreader events, including one linked to a Pentecostal church.COVID-19 infections in the county, known for its beautiful landscapes and booming marijuana fields, had been declining for weeks but last week officials recorded 130 cases. In comparison, the county recorded 45 cases in the week of April 5. (4/27)

Could Enhanced COVID Tests Help U.S. Track Virus Variants?

Genomic sequencing is one of the best defenses against potentially deadlier or more transmissible variants of the coronavirus. It’s also expensive, slow, and currently almost nonexistent in the United States. So some epidemiologists are advocating for an easier, cheaper, and faster way to help track variants’ paths through the country: a souped-up version of widely available COVID-19 diagnostic tests that can flag samples with any problematic genetic tweaks. (Renault, 4/26)

Higher Stroke Risk Linked To Asymptomatic COVID-19 In Younger Men

Men under 50 recovering from asymptomatic COVID have double the likelihood of acute ischemic strokes (AIS) compared with men of the same age without COVID infection, according to a study last week in JAMA Network Open. Eighteen South Asian men were treated in Singapore for AIS a median of 54.5 days after their initial COVID-19 diagnosis. Twelve (67.7%) had no known pre-existing risk factors. While AIS is a known neurologic complication from symptomatic COVID-19, none of these men experienced respiratory symptoms during their infection. (4/26)

The Washington Post:
D.C. To Ease Restrictions, Change Vaccine Sign-Ups As Cases Slowly Fall In Region 

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser confirmed Monday that the city will ease some coronavirus-related restrictions in May and said the District is transitioning away from its preregistration system in favor of “high-capacity” walk-up vaccination sites. With more than 237,000 residents now at least partially vaccinated, the city on Saturday will begin using 11 vaccination sites that don’t require an appointment, Bowser said. Hours and locations of the walk-up sites will be posted on Residents still can schedule appointments directly with city pharmacies, clinics and health-care providers, but D.C. will only accept preregistrations through its portal until Wednesday. (Brice-Saddler and Cox, 4/26)

West Virginia Giving People Under 35 $100 Savings Bonds For Getting Vaccinated 

West Virginia will give $100 savings bonds to residents ages 16 to 35 who get vaccinated against Covid, Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday. “Every single one of our young people — we’re going to give a $100 savings bond to every single one that steps up and takes their vaccines,” Justice, a Republican, said at a news conference. (Lobosco and Smith, 4/26)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
N.J. Relaxes Crowd Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Drop, Vaccinations Rise; Providers Resume Johnson & Johnson Shots

More people will be allowed at some indoor and outdoor gatherings in New Jersey next month, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday, saying he would increase crowd-size limits thanks to dropping coronavirus case numbers and a steady pace of vaccinations. Meanwhile, vaccine providers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were resuming the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will allow them to accelerate efforts to reach vulnerable populations. At the same time, they are assessing whether the 11-day pause on the shot has exacerbated public hesitancy about getting immunized. (McDaniel, McCarthy and Steele, 4/26)

Handwashing Falls To Pre-Covid Levels Despite Pandemic, Study Finds 

It’s the pandemic mantra: Wash your hands — often. Do it with lots of soapy bubbles, scrubbing for a full 20 seconds (or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). Rinse, dry and repeat as often as possible. And we did. A June 2020 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Americans said they were lathering up twice as often as they did in 2019. (LaMotte, 4/26)

The Washington Post:
Vaccinated? Great. You Should Still Wear A Mask When Gathering In Public, Experts Say. 

More than 94 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Despite so many invigorated immune systems, the populace still needs to keep wearing masks, public health specialists say. The country is not yet so protected it can forgo face coverings. Case counts have spiked in some hot spots. Meanwhile, it’s clearer than ever that masks protect wearers as well as those nearby. (Guarino, 4/26)

Alaska Airlines Bans State Lawmaker For Her ‘Continued Refusal To Comply’ With Mask Mandate 

An Alaska state lawmaker who had called flight attendants “mask bullies” and clashed with airline employees on video over mask rules is now banned from Alaska Airlines for her “continued refusal to comply” with the mask policy, the airline said in a statement. The restriction on Republican state Sen. Lora Reinbold will make her job more difficult: Alaska Airlines operates the only regular flights between her home north of Anchorage and the state capital in Juneau. (Bradner and Silverman, 4/26)

Scientific American:
COVID Has Created A Perfect Storm For Fringe Science 

The explosion of disinformation about COVID has been a defining aspect of the pandemic. Alongside the virus itself, we’ve been shadowed by what the World Health Organization has called an infodemic. This is widely known, of course, but much less discussed is the role of ostensible “experts” in perpetuating dangerous fictions. Since the dawn of the crisis, a disconcerting number of eminently qualified scientists and physicians have propagated falsehoods across social media, elevating themselves to the status of gurus in order to lend a veneer of seeming scientific legitimacy to empty, dangerous claims. And these bogus claims, like their pathological namesake, have gone uncontrollably viral. In March of last year, for example, physician Thomas Cowan insisted that COVID-19 was caused by 5G radio frequencies. Although this assertion was both devoid of evidence and physically impossible, this proved no impediment to widespread acceptance, with anti-5G sentiment accounting for at least 87 arson attacks on cell-phone towers in the U.K. alone. The ostensible documentary Plandemic, starring Ph.D. virologist Judy Mikovits, ratcheted up millions of views with the central thesis that coronavirus is a planned hoax. Even Nobel laurates in medicine have been culpable; Luc Montagnier’s statement that COVID was likely manufactured earned him both the enthusiastic embrace of conspiracy theorists and the enmity of scientific peers who refuted the conjecture as utterly false. (David Robert Grimes, 4/26)

The Covid-19 Vaccine: How To Add It To Your Medical Record 

Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and receiving a vaccination card has become a rite of passage for many Americans who have endured the pandemic for the last year. Securing a vaccination card, however, doesn’t necessarily mean your Covid-19 vaccine status is in your medical records. (Marples, 4/26)

The Wall Street Journal:
Want That Job Offer? A Covid-19 Vaccine Is Now Required. 

At the New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, a recent job posting for a sommelier lists a string of necessary skills, including exceptional wine knowledge and an ability to lift 50 pounds. The last requirement on the list: a Covid-19 vaccination. As the U.S. job market heats up, positions operating machines in Louisville, Ky., working in offices in Houston and waiting on diners in Manhattan now require that candidates be vaccinated—or be willing to get their Covid-19 shot within 30 days of hire. (Cutter, 4/26)

The New York Times:
Florida Private School Bars Vaccinated Teachers From Student Contact 

A private school in the fashionable Design District of Miami sent its faculty and staff a letter last week about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. But unlike institutions that have encouraged and even facilitated vaccination for teachers, the school, Centner Academy, did the opposite: One of its co-founders, Leila Centner, informed employees “with a very heavy heart” that if they chose to get a shot, they would have to stay away from students. In an example of how misinformation threatens the nation’s effort to vaccinate enough Americans to get the coronavirus under control, Ms. Centner, who has frequently shared anti-vaccine posts on Facebook, claimed in the letter that “reports have surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated.” (Mazzei, 4/26)

The Washington Post:
College Graduation Ceremony Safety: Virtual And In-Person 

College graduation-day ceremonies have never felt so up in the air. Last year, the vast majority of schools held only virtual graduations, so students knew they wouldn’t be able to walk across a stage to cheers from their families. But this year, with just weeks to go, some schools are still determining whether they will be able to hold an in-person commencement. And if they can, who will be able to attend? And where will it be held? And what will it look like? (Heim, Andersona nd Strauss, 4/26)

Is It Safe To Go To Basketball Games And More In A Pandemic? A Guide 

As more of the population gets Covid-19 vaccines, you may be wondering whether the time to trade your couch for a stadium seat is finally here. The factors that made pre-pandemic sporting events fun — excited people crowding together, cheering, talking, eating, drinking and sometimes doing all of these things indoors — make games potentially problematic now. (Rogers, 4/26)

Is It Safe To Go To Playgrounds In A Pandemic? A Guide 

Playgrounds seem like — and in many cases are — a relatively safe pandemic activity, but there are factors that can complicate the issue. Playgrounds are “a great opportunity to get families together and be outside and enjoy, but do so in a safe way,” said Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Safety precautions are also important because the Covid-19 vaccines currently aren’t authorized for children under 16. (Rogers, 4/27)

The Lessons The World Can Learn From Epidemics That Were Contained

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage, a new report urges the world not to allow itself to be taken down this road again. The report, called Epidemics That Didn’t Happen, makes the case for improved pandemic preparedness by highlighting infectious diseases outbreaks that the world was able to contain. (Branswell, 4/27)

Modern Healthcare:
Healthcare Investing Millions In Staff COVID-19 Vaccine Bonuses

A staff petition at Houston Methodist denouncing the healthcare system’s move to “take this basic American right away” by threatening to fire staff who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine has attracted the support of more than 4,150 signatories, reflecting thin line payers and providers walk when thinking of how to promote vaccination among employees. “Many employees are scared that they lose their job or be forced to inject the vaccine into their body against their will to keep their jobs and feed their family,” the petition reads. “We just want the power to choose for ourselves and not take this basic American right away from us!” (Tepper, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare:
Study: Quality Declines When Hospitals Have Trouble Borrowing

Hospital quality drops off when hospitals have trouble borrowing money, researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of South Carolina reported on Monday. In the first paper to directly study the effects of a credit crunch on hospital quality, researchers found that hospitals tend to deliver lower-quality care and worse patient outcomes when they respond to tightening credit by making up the difference through increased patient revenue. (Brady, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare:
Tripathi: Hospitals Should Be Preparing To Share Unstructured Data

Hospitals need to start preparing to share and use unstructured patient data as the next phase of information-blocking regulations from HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology go into effect next year, the Biden administration’s top health information-technology official said at an event Monday. The first phase of requirements from a landmark data-sharing rule from ONC went into effect April 5, under which healthcare providers, health information exchanges and certain software developers must share patient data with one another and with patients as requested, unless they meet an exception outlined in the rule. (Kim Cohen, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare:
Employers, Payers Seek Transparent Pharmacy Benefit Models

More employers and healthcare payers are carving out their pharmacy benefit management as they seek more transparency, business groups said. Health plans typically administer pharmacy benefit services internally or contract pharmacy benefit managers, which negotiate rebates and discounts with drug manufacturers and pocket an undisclosed share. More employers and payers are contracting directly with PBMs, increasingly working with more transparent managers that pass all the drug rebates and discounts to employers and payers for a set fee. (Kacik, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare:
UHS Returning CARES Act Grants Received In Q1

For-profit Universal Health Services said Monday it plans to give back the COVID-19 stimulus grants it received in the first quarter of 2021. The King of Prussia, Pa.-based acute-care and behavioral health provider said it will return all $188 million in grants recorded during the quarter ended March 31. The grants were part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’s Provider Relief Fund. UHS said it has begun coordinating the return—expected to take place in the second quarter—using a portion of its cash and cash equivalents held on deposit. (Bannow, 4/26)

Pharma’s Reputation Among Patient Groups Is Climbing

Thanks to the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines, nearly two-thirds of patient advocacy groups believe the pharmaceutical industry was effective at tackling the pandemic, boosting its reputation last year to the highest level in a decade. But at the same time, a majority of the groups also found that, other than research and development, drug makers were lacking in most other areas of operation. (Silverman, 4/26)

Bristol Myers Squibb Fights An ‘Unreasonable’ Australian Law Over Patents

Two big drug makers are challenging a provision in Australian patent law that they argue is “unreasonable,” and the outcome could determine the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry continues to find the Australian market attractive. In a recent complaint, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) and Ono Pharmaceutical (OPHLY) maintain that existing law unfairly restricts the ability of a company to win a five-year patent extension for a product and, moreover, is out of step with the prevailing standards in many other countries. (Silverman, 4/26)

Biogen To Make Experimental ALS Drug Available To Dying Patients

Biogen Inc. said it will make an experimental medicine for Lou Gehrig’s disease available to some people who are dying of the incurable illness starting in July, following months of pressure from patients who had no other treatment options. The drug, known as tofersen, will be offered to the most rapidly progressing patients after researchers complete a key study this summer, the company said in a statement posted on its website. Tofersen hasn’t been reviewed or approved by regulators in any country. It will be given on a compassionate-use basis after everyone who was given a placebo during the clinical trial has been offered the medicine, Biogen said. (Fay Cortez and LaVito, 4/26)

Microbiome Therapeutics Drugs Still Face A Wave Of Challenges

Even as drug makers are poised to introduce actual medicines to change a person’s microbiome and make them healthier, there’s a lot we don’t know about the billions of organisms that live inside us. We don’t know all their names, let alone everything they’re capable of doing. In a deep new report, STAT examines what we do know about this field — the science powering this new array of therapies, the companies already charging toward new drug applications, and, critically, the many challenges still to come. (Sheridan, 4/26)

What’s Next For Diagnostic Labs, A ‘Bright Spot” During Covid-19? 

As U.S. diagnostic labs began confronting the Covid-19 pandemic in early March 2020, they faced monumental challenges to quickly build laboratory capacity. That included ramping up staffing and finding sources for the equipment and supplies needed to handle an unpredictable surge in the volume of Covid-19 testing. (White, 4/26)

Fox News:
VA’s Implant Tests Could Help Paralyzed Veterans To Walk Again

Medical professionals at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Virginia are using the latest technology to try to turn paralyzed service members into “cyborgs” – an electrical implant in the spine is designed to stimulate the body’s sensorimotor networks, allowing the vets to walk again. Dr. Ashraf Gorgey, chief of spinal cord injury research at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, said a study will try to see if epidural stimulators can help paralyzed vets improve motor activity and operate their cardiovascular and bladder functions. (Miles, 4/26)

The New York Times:
Crohn’s Disease Is On The Rise 

Crohn’s disease was first described in 1932 by Dr. Burrill B. Crohn and colleagues and is one of two chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis is the other) that have no specific cause. Together, they afflict about three million people in the United States. Crohn’s in adults starts on average at age 30, with peak incidence between ages 20 and 30 and a second peak around age 50. The disease tends to run in families, but the genetic risk is not large. One in 10 to one in four patients have a close family member who is affected, and only half of identical twin pairs get it. (Brody, 4/26)

Adoptees Press States For Access To Original Birth Certificates

Peggy Klappenberger of Crownsville, Maryland, has a little game she plays with her two teenage sons. Every time she drives by the hospital where they were born, she points to the window of the room where their birth took place. She makes a point of telling them, over and over, that they are seeing the building where they came into the world. It may seem like a harmless quirk, but there’s a reason it’s so important to her: Klappenberger doesn’t know the name of the hospital where she was born. She doesn’t know her original name, either. (Povich, 4/26)

Call For New Approach To End Silence Over Miscarriage 

Miscarriages are common. Some 23 million pregnancies worldwide end in miscarriage every year — that’s 15% of all pregnancies or 44 each minute, according to new estimates published in The Lancet medical journal on Monday. However, existing care and support for women and couples is “inconsistent and poorly organized” and amounts to little more than patients being told to “just try again,” said the authors of three new studies on the causes, treatment and scale of miscarriage around the world. A new system is needed to ensure miscarriages are better recognized by health care practitioners and women are given the physical and mental health support they need, the researchers said. (Hunt, 4/26)

The Washington Post:
You Can Get The Abortion Pill By Mail For Now, The FDA Ruled. But It’s Still An Ongoing Legal Battle. 

Last week, Jamie Phifer, a Seattle-based family physician, did something she has done regularly for the past decade: She had an appointment with a patient seeking an abortion. But this appointment was different from many of the others that came before, because it was virtual. The woman was in another state, sitting in her car in her driveway, while her kids were inside on virtual school, Phifer said. The two spoke by video call. About 36 hours later, abortion pills arrived at the woman’s doorstep. (McShane, 4/26)

Oklahoma Governor Signs Near-Total Abortion Ban Into Law 

Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a near-total abortion ban and two other abortion restrictions into law on Monday, sending a sweeping message that the state-level fight over access to the procedure is far from over. The Sooner State became the second state this year to enact a so-called heartbeat ban — a law barring most abortions at the onset of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and before many people know they are pregnant. (Kelly, 4/26)

Modern Healthcare:
AMA Urges Governors To Stop Bills Barring Care For Trans Youth

In a letter to the National Governor’s Association, the American Medical Association urged opposition to state legislation barring physicians from providing transgender minors with care related to their transition. “We believe it is harmful for any state to legislatively dictate that certain transition related services are never appropriate,” wrote AMA CEO and Executive Vice President Dr. James Madara. (Gellman, 4/26)

CBS News:
Mississippi Prisons End Contract With Controversial Food Provider

A company accused of serving rotten and spoiled meals to inmates in Mississippi is no longer providing food in the state’s correctional facilities. The state began a new, three-year deal with the company Merchants Foodservice on March 1 to provide meals to 15 prisons, youth centers and other facilities across the state, according to an agreement signed by Burl Cain, the state’s prison commissioner. The deal ends the state’s five-year, multimillion-dollar relationship with the company Aramark. (Carissimo, 4/26)

House Passes Bill Allowing Cameras In Nursing Home Rooms

The Connecticut House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly passed legislation that will let residents of nursing homes install cameras in their rooms, allowing them to be monitored virtually by their families. While the issue had been raised in previous legislative sessions, it took on new life this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a visitation ban at nursing homes across the state to prevent the spread of disease. (4/27)

Measles Infects 2 Children In Connecticut Household

Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently reported two measles cases in a Fairfield County household, the first of which was linked to international travel. State officials reported the first case on Apr 9, which involved a child who wasn’t yet vaccinated against measles and contracted the infection during international travel. On Apr 23, it reported a second case in a child from the household. The CDPH said it is working with local partners to identify contacts and implement control measures and that the cases mark the state’s first measles reports since 2019. (4/26)

Maine Eyes Creation Of COVID-19 Memorial

Maine might create a memorial for victims of COVID-19 in its state capital city. Democratic Sen. Ben Chipman has introduced a proposal that would lead to the creation of the memorial on the grounds of the Maine State House. The proposal would direct the Legislative Council to fund and design the memorial, the Maine Legislature Senate Majority Office said on Monday. (4/27)

Medical Supplies Flow Into India As COVID-19 Deaths Near 200,000 

Vital medical supplies poured into India on Tuesday as hospitals starved of oxygen supplies and beds turned away coronavirus patients, while a surge in infections pushed the death toll towards 200,000.Supplies from Britain, including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators, arrived in Delhi, said Reuters partner ANI, while France is sending oxygen generators able to provide 250 patients with a year’s supply of the gas, its embassy said. (Jain, Jamkhandikar and Miglani, 4/27)

Bay Area News Group:
Coronavirus-Ravaged India To Receive Help From California

California is sending “life-saving oxygen equipment” to India to help the country contend with a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday. As early as Tuesday, the state will ship out 440 oxygen cylinders, 275 oxygen concentrators, 240 oxygen regulators, 210 pulse oximeters and one deployable oxygen concentrator system, or DOCs, the governor’s press office said in a statement. (Green, 4/26)

Gilead To Ship 450,000 Remdesivir Vials To India As COVID-19 Cases Surge 

Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) said on Monday it will give India at least 450,000 vials of its antiviral drug remdesivir and help boost production, as the world’s second-most populous country reels from surging coronavirus cases. Remdesivir is approved in India for restricted emergency use to treat severe COVID-19 cases, but hospitals are facing supply shortages due to indiscriminate use and the drug is being sold at over 10 times its listed price in the black market. (4/27)

ABC News:
How To Help India Amid COVID-19 Surge That’s Devastating The Country 

As India faces an overwhelming surge of record-breaking COVID-19 cases and deaths, humanitarian organizations are offering ways to help the country in dire need of resources. Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), a global humanitarian agency that helps in delivering emergency relief, has been working with its India chapter to provide on-the-ground resources during the crisis. (Yamada, 4/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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