First Edition: Aug. 21, 2020

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


Kaiser Health News:
DeSantis Says COVID Is A Lower Risk For School-Aged Kids Than Flu 


Even as his state is a hotbed for COVID-19, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been pushing schools to reopen so parents have the choice of sending children back to the classroom or keeping them home to learn virtually. The Republican governor has said children without any underlying health conditions would benefit from in-person learning and the stimulation and companionship of being among other young people. He has also made clear that he thinks these benefits far outweigh what he considers to be minimal risks. (Galewitz, 8/21)


Kaiser Health News:
Deadly Mix: How Bars Are Fueling COVID-19 Outbreaks


From the early days of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, states have wrestled with the best course of action for bars and nightclubs, which largely have their economic prospects tied to social gatherings in tight quarters. As the virus has pinched the industry’s lifeblood, bar owners in a handful of states are fighting in court against government orders that they stay closed.But public health experts and top health officials, including the nation’s top infectious diseases official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said: When bars open, infections tend to follow. (Stone, 8/21)


Kaiser Health News:
KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Democrats In Array (For Now) 


Democrats have shown a remarkably united front, including on health care, in their socially distant, made-for-TV convention this week. That’s likely due, at least in part, to the physical separation of party members who disagree on issues — this year they cannot chatter on live television — and to the party truly being united in its desire to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic continues to complicate efforts around the country to get students back to school, from preschool to college. And the Trump administration’s effort to eliminate anti-discrimination protections in health care for transgender people is put on hold by a federal judge. (Rovner, 8/20)


Kaiser Health News:
Democratic Convention, Night 3: Making The Party Lines Clear


The third night of the Democratic National Convention was all about one thing: Sen. Kamala Harris of California becoming the first Black and Indian American woman to accept a major political party’s vice presidential nomination. But key Democratic criticisms — many rooted in health care issues and the COVID-19 pandemic — were repeated throughout the evening. (8/20)


Stat:
In Acceptance Speech, Biden Rips Trump For Covid-19 Mismanagement


Former vice president Joe Biden excoriated President Trump’s Covid-19 response as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, casting the pandemic as the defining issue in the Nov. 3 election. Biden lambasted the president for continually downplaying the pandemic, even as it continues to spread throughout the country. (Facher, 8/20)


Politico:
Industry Campaign Targets Biden Health Plan During DNC 


Bernie Sanders threw Joe Biden a lifeline on health care this week. K Street is now trying to cut it away. A deep-pocketed health care coalition has launched an assault on the public option during the Democratic National Convention, previewing the intense level of industry opposition Biden’s health plan will face if he’s elected president. A new six-figure ad campaign from the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future — a group consisting of hospital, insurance and pharma lobbying heavyweights — decries the public option as an expensive quagmire that would undermine private health insurance. (Luthi, 8/20)


AP:
In Moving Speech, Boy Says Biden Helped Him Overcome Stutter


“It’s really amazing to hear that someone became vice president” despite stuttering, Brayden said. “He told me about a book of poems by Yeats that he would read out loud to practice.” Biden has spoken frequently about how overcoming a stutter was one of the hardest things he’s done in life. Brayden and Biden met at a February CNN town hall in Concord, where Biden spoke about overcoming a severe childhood stutter. He’s talked frequently publicly through the years about the anger and frustration of being mocked by classmates and a nun in Catholic school — and how that motivated him to work to overcome it.“It has nothing to do with your intellectual makeup,” he said at the town hall. (Weissert, 8/21)


Politico:
‘We Stutter’: Teen Wins Praise With Biden Speech


At least one featured speaker during the final night of the Democratic National Convention drew bipartisan approval, and he isn’t even old enough to vote in the November election. In a video segment ahead of Joe Biden’s acceptance speech Thursday night, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington recalled meeting the former vice president earlier this year during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. (Forgey, 8/21)


Politico:
Fauci Undergoes Surgery To Remove Vocal Cord Polyp


Anthony Fauci, one of the most recognizable members of the White House coronavirus task force, had surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cord Thursday morning, he confirmed to POLITICO. Fauci told POLITICO he would be “out of action” when it came to long speeches for two weeks but that he will be able to do short interviews after a week or so. (Choi and Owermohle, 8/20)


The Washington Post:
Fauci Recovering From Vocal Cord Surgery 


[Dr. Anthony] Fauci, 79, said by text message that the surgery was conducted under general anesthesia at George Washington University Hospital. Doctors have told him to rest, avoid speaking “for a few days” and then limit the time he spends doing interviews and other speaking for a week or two. Vocal cord polyps are usually noncancerous growths, according to Albert L. Merati, chief of laryngology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. They can cause hoarseness and almost always result from overusing vocal cords or trauma to the vocal cords, he said. (Bernstein, 8/20)


The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Data Will Once Again Be Collected By CDC, In Policy Reversal


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reversing course on a change to the way hospitals report critical information on the coronavirus pandemic to the government, returning the responsibility for data collection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, told hospital executives and government officials in Arkansas this week that the current system under which hospitals report new cases is “solely an interim system” and that the reporting would soon go back to the CDC. (Whelan, 8/20)


NPR:
CDC Could Soon Get Responsibility For Tracking COVID-19 Hospital Data Again


[Dr. Deborah] Birx made the remarks Monday during a visit to the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, but she did not provide a time frame for the change. Having the CDC run data collection again “would help us tremendously in getting back on track with respect to reporting and understanding what’s happening with this pandemic across the region, the state and the nation,” said Dr. Vineet Chopra, chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of Michigan and a member of a federal advisory committee on hospital infection prevention. (Huang, 8/20)


Politico:
Trump Blames California For Wildfires, Tells State ‘You Gotta Clean Your Floors’


President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed California for its raging wildfires and threatened to withhold federal money, reprising his attacks from previous rounds of catastrophic blazes. “I see again the forest fires are starting,” he said at a rally in swing-state Pennsylvania. “They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.” (White, 8/20)


Los Angeles Times:
At DNC, Newsom Criticizes Trump For California Fire Comments 


In a video appearance Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, Gov. Gavin Newsom tore into President Trump for threatening to strip federal funding for wildfire prevention in California after nearly 500,000 acres burned in storm-related lightning strikes, criticizing him further for trying to dismantle the state’s landmark vehicle emission standards. … “Just today, the president of the United States threatened the state of California, 40 million Americans who happen to live here in the state of California, to defund our efforts on wildfire suppression because he said we hadn’t raked enough leaves. I can’t make that up,” Newsom said in a three-minute video. (Willon, 8/20)


The Wall Street Journal:
California Wildfires Rage Despite Break In Heat Wave 


Firefighters took advantage of a break in extreme heat wave conditions to gain more control over numerous wildfires that have prompted evacuations and blanketed wide swaths of the state in smoke. Still, many of the major fires in and around the San Francisco Bay Area are no more than 7% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (Carlton and Ansari, 8/20)


CNN:
California Wildfires Kill At Least 4 People As Some Evacuees Weigh Coronavirus Risks


Even for a state prone to natural disasters, California’s had a catastrophic week. At least four people have died as a result of wildfires fueled by a heat wave and a blitz of lightning strikes in the state’s northern areas. The clusters of fires merged into orange infernos that are creeping up on residential areas, turning neighborhoods into ash and smoldering ruins. And as tens of thousands of people evacuate to shelters, they’re weighing the risk of coronavirus infections after California became first state to surpass 600,000 cases last week. (Karimi and Almasy, 8/21)


The New York Times:
As Wildfires Rage, Californians Fear The Coronavirus At Shelters 


A wildfire was raging outside, but inside the evacuation centers there were risks, too. Natalie Lyons and Craig Phillips had to make a decision Thursday morning as they sat in their ash-coated Toyota Tundra under the smoky orange sky in Santa Cruz. “There’s some people coughing, their masks are hanging down,” said Ms. Lyons, 54, who said she had lung problems. “I’d rather sleep in my car than end up in a hospital bed.” (Browning, 8/20)


The New York Times:
Unemployment Claims Rise As Rollout Of $300 Benefit Lags 


The job market shows signs of softening, even as a move by President Trump to replace lost unemployment benefits is struggling to get off the ground. The Labor Department reported Thursday that new state unemployment claims jumped to 1.1 million last week, a sign that some employers continue to lay off workers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic while others remain reluctant to hire. (Schwartz and Hsu, 8/20)


The Hill:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Necessary To Maintain Nation’s Health


The $600 weekly Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has expired and is gone until Congress acts. Opponents of continuing the PUA cite a fictional entitlement myth, just like Reagan’s welfare queen — namely that people will refuse to work, staying at home and living off government largesse if they make more on unemployment than they did working. The problem with this position, in addition to being false, is that PUA detractors view these payments through an exclusively economic lens. A public health lens shows how necessary these payments are. (Dr. Audrey Provenzano, 8/20)


USA Today:
Unemployment Benefits: When Will The Extra $300 Unemployment Start?


The $400 in extra unemployment aid for millions of out-of-work Americans is actually $300 in most states. And it won’t arrive for weeks, experts warn. Americans may just get three weeks’ worth of payments, according to guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will run the relief program through its Disaster Relief Fund following an executive action from President Trump earlier this month. (Menton, 8/21)


Reuters:
House Speaker Pelosi Says She Opposes Smaller Coronavirus Relief Bill – Reuters


U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that now was not the time for the chamber to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill, after more than 100 House Democrats urged their leadership to pass enhanced unemployment benefits. “I don’t think strategically it’s where we should go right now because the Republicans would like to pass something like that and say forget about” other Democratic priorities, Pelosi said in an interview on PBS’s “NewsHour” program. (8/20)


The Hill:
Pelosi Axes Idea Of Saturday Vote On Additional COVID Relief 


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday rejected a push by some House Democrats to vote this weekend on standalone legislation to extend federal unemployment insurance payments that expired at the end of July, maintaining that it could undermine negotiations on other aspects of a coronavirus relief package… Pelosi said that she personally supports the idea of tying unemployment insurance payments to economic measures like the unemployment rate instead of allowing the benefits to expire on arbitrary dates. But she argued that voting on such a proposal at this stage could ultimately backfire in coronavirus relief negotiations. (Marcos, 8/20)


The Hill:
Senators Open Investigation Into Prescription Delays Through Postal Service 


Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) on Thursday announced an investigation into delays in mail-order drug prescriptions, which they attributed to “sabotage” of the United States Postal Service by the Trump administration. “Millions of Americans with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, asthma, and other chronic conditions, illnesses or health care needs rely on the USPS for delivery of their prescription drugs and are at grave risks if President Trump’s efforts to degrade the mail service results in delays and disruptions,” they wrote. (Budryk, 8/20)


The Hill:
VA Problems Raise Worries About Mail Slowdown, Prescriptions 


Concern is growing among Democrats and advocacy groups that slowdowns in the mail could leave millions of people without access to needed medications. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which fills about 80 percent of prescriptions by mail, has already reported problems, and has been forced to use alternative methods of shipping prescriptions in certain areas of the country. While only about 5 percent of all prescription drugs are delivered in the mail, pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers are increasingly using the mail to fill prescriptions for the most expensive drugs. (Weixel, 8/20)


Los Angeles Times:
USPS: Dead Animals, Rotting Food, And Chaos Amid Cutbacks 


Six weeks ago, U.S. Postal Service workers in the high desert town of Tehachapi, Calif., began to notice crates of mail sitting in the post office in the early morning that should have been shipped out for delivery the night before. At a mail processing facility in Santa Clarita in July, workers discovered that their automated sorting machines had been disabled and padlocked. And inside a massive mail-sorting facility in South Los Angeles, workers fell so far behind processing packages that by early August, gnats and rodents were swarming around containers of rotted fruit and meat, and baby chicks were dead inside their boxes. (Nelson and Lau, 8/20)


The New York Times:
New York State Will Allow Voters To Cast Mail-In Ballots 


New York State will allow most voters to cast their ballots by mail in the November general election, joining a growing list of states that have expanded mail-in voting to address the potential spread of the coronavirus at polling places. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, signed a bill on Thursday allowing voters to request an absentee ballot if they cannot show up at a polling location because of the risk of contracting or spreading an illness, effectively permitting the state’s more than 12 million registered voters to vote by mail. (Ferre-Sadurni, 8/20)


Reuters:
Exclusive: Top FDA Official Says He Would Resign If Agency Rubber-Stamps An Unproven COVID-19 Vaccine 


A top U.S. health regulator who will help decide the fate of a coronavirus vaccine has vowed to resign if the Trump administration approves a vaccine before it is shown to be safe and effective, Reuters has learned. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, made the statement in response to concerns raised on a conference call late last week of government officials, pharmaceutical executives and academics who serve on a vaccine working group organized by the National Institutes of Health, according to three sources familiar with the matter. (Levine and Taylor, 8/20)


AP:
UN: Discussions With Russia On COVID-19 Vaccine Under Way


The World Health Organization’s Europe office said it has begun discussions with Russia to try to obtain more information about the experimental COVID-19 vaccine the country recently approved.Last week, Russia became the first country in the world to license a coronavirus vaccine when President Vladimir Putin announced its approval. But the vaccine has not yet passed the advanced trials normally required to prove it works before being licensed, a major breach of scientific protocol. Russian officials claimed the vaccine would provide lasting immunity to COVID-19 but offered no proof. (Cheng, 8/20)


The Hill:
Russia Says It Will Test Coronavirus Vaccine On 40,000 People 


Russia said Thursday that its coronavirus vaccine, which is the first to be registered worldwide, will be tested on more than 40,000 people as it looks to ramp up production. The vaccine, dubbed “Sputnik V,” has received skepticism from international observers over its potential efficacy, particularly given the rapid speed of its approval, but Moscow maintains that it is safe after granting it domestic regulatory approval earlier this month. (Axelrod, 8/20)


Politico:
Russians Ask: Is Putin’s Coronavirus Vaccine The Real Deal? 


Svetlana Zavidova, the executive director of the Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO) in Russia, warned against the untested vaccine in an interview with Bloomberg. “The rules for conducting clinical trials are written in blood. They can’t be violated,” Zavidova said. “This is a Pandora’s Box, and we don’t know what will happen to people injected with an unproven vaccine.” (Maheshwari, 8/20)


The Hill:
COVID-19 Fatality Rates Fall As Treatments Improve 


The percentage of those infected with the coronavirus who die of COVID-19 is falling in most states, a sign that the battle against the virus is entering a new phase. Across the nation, that percentage — known as the case fatality rate — has been on the decline for weeks, and in some states for months. It is a hopeful indicator, but one that health experts caution is layered with uncertainty. (Wilson, 8/20)


Reuters:
Singapore Scientists Find Coronavirus Variant With Milder Infections


Researchers in Singapore have discovered a new variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus that causes milder infections, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal this week. The study showed that COVID-19 patients infected with a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 had better clinical outcomes, including a lower proportion developing low blood oxygen or requiring intensive care. (8/21)


CIDRAP:
COVID-19 Not Likely Passed From Moms To Babies Through Breast Milk


University of California researchers studying the breast milk of 18 women with COVID-19 found coronavirus RNA—but not live virus—in 1 of 64 samples, suggesting that babies aren’t likely to be infected through that route. The research letter, published yesterday in JAMA, described studying self-collected and mailed samples and clinical data gathered through phone interviews from Mar 27 to May 6. The mothers’ babies ranged in age from newborn to 19 months, and each mother provided 1 to 12 breast milk samples. (8/20)


AP:
CDC Study Suggests Inmates Should Have Been Tested In Mass


Correctional facilities that resisted mass coronavirus testing for inmates erred in their decision to only test inmates with symptoms, leading to large initial undercounts, a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggested. The study released this week examined 13 prisons and jails in California, Colorado, Ohio and Texas, and three federal prisons in states that weren’t identified. (Welsh-Huggins, 8/20)


AP:
Coronavirus Cases In Missouri Prisons Spike 50% This Month


Confirmed coronavirus cases in Missouri prisons have spiked more than 50% so far this month, an increase a spokeswoman attributes to heightened testing. There have been 333 new cases among prisoners and Department of Corrections staff so far this month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Previously, the prison system reported 661 cases cumulatively. (8/20)


CIDRAP:
More Teens Got Routine Vaccines In 2019, But Doctor Orders Dropped Amid COVID


More US teens received at least one dose of two of the three vaccines recommended for their age-group in 2019 than in 2018, but vaccination orders dropped after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to a study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that 11- and 12-year-old children be vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough); meningitis (swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) types A, C, W, and Y (MenACWY); and human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers. Teens 16 years and older are urged to receive a booster dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and those 16 to 23 years old can be vaccinated against meningitis B (MenB), if appropriate. (8/20)


CIDRAP:
Study Finds Antibiotic Time-Outs Not Tied To Lower Overall Antibiotic Use


Implementation of a pharmacist-led antibiotic time-out (ATO) at an academic medical center was feasible and well-accepted, but did not change overall antibiotic use, researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center reported today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. In the two-phased cluster-randomized study, three academic inpatient medical teams were randomly selected in the first phase (ATO-A) to implement the pharmacist-led time-out, in which initial antibiotic therapy in a patient is reassessed, and three teams maintained usual care (UC-A). In phase B, the usual-care teams implemented the ATO process (UC ATO-B), while ATO use continued in the other group (ATO-B). (8/20)


AP:
Pandemic Pushes Expansion Of ‘Hospital-At-Home’ Treatment


As hospitals care for people with COVID-19 and try to keep others from catching the virus, more patients are opting to be treated where they feel safest: at home. Across the U.S., “hospital at home” programs are taking off amid the pandemic, thanks to communications technology, portable medical equipment and teams of doctors, nurses, X-ray techs and paramedics. That’s reducing strains on medical centers and easing patients’ fears. (Johnson, 8/20)


The Wall Street Journal:
Bayer Settles Essure Birth-Control Litigation For $1.6 Billion 


Bayer AG said Thursday it will pay $1.6 billion to settle claims that its birth control device Essure causes serious health complications, the latest in a string of settlements by the German company to resolve litigation it faces in the U.S. Nearly 39,000 women had sued Bayer or hired lawyers over their use of Essure, a fallopian tube implant that prevents pregnancies. Bayer said it has already reached deals with lawyers representing 90% of those plaintiffs, and that the money is expected to cover the entirety of the claims. (Randazzo, 8/20)


Stat:
Pfizer-BioNTech Favored Covid-19 Vaccine Has Fewer Side Effects 


Pfizer and BioNTech surprised many industry watchers on July 27 when they announced they would conduct a large-scale study of a vaccine for Covid-19. The surprise? The vaccine that would be tested in a 30,000-patient trial wasn’t the one for which the companies had presented data on July 1. The reason, the companies said, was that a second vaccine seemed to generate a similar immune response, but fewer side effects. (Herper, 8/20)


Stat:
Boehringer To Pay $379,000 To Settle Charges Of Wage Discrimination Against Female Employees 


Following a review by the Department of Labor, a unit of Boehringer Ingelheim agreed to pay more than $379,000 in back pay and interest to dozens of female employees who were paid less than male employees. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleged the wage discrimination occurred at the company’s Animal Health unit following an audit conducted in 2015, according to a settlement agreement. The company was acting as a federal contractor. (Silverman, 8/20)


Stat:
Wary Hemophilia Patients Are Willing To Wait Longer For A Safe Gene Therapy


The Food and Drug Administration’s rejection of a gene therapy for hemophilia A on Wednesday surprised many hematology researchers and Wall Street watchers who expected speedy approval for the one-time treatment to end the inherited bleeding disorder. For one family in Indianapolis active in the hemophilia patient community, the decision was disappointing, but also appreciated. (Cooney, 8/20)


AP:
Alert System For Mental Health Crises Advanced By Lawmakers


A Virginia Senate committee has approved legislation that would establish an alert system to dispatch mental health providers along with police to help stabilize people in crisis situations, a move prompted by the police killing of a high school teacher in Richmond police two years ago. The bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday is named after Marcus-David Peters, a 24-year-old Black man who was killed while he was undergoing a mental health crisis. Peters, who was naked and unarmed, was fatally shot after he charged at an officer and threatened to kill him. (Lavoie, 8/20)


The New York Times:
School Nurses Are On The Coronavirus Front Lines. But Many Schools Don’t Have One. 


As the lone nurse for her school district in central Washington State, Janna Benzel will monitor 1,800 students for coronavirus symptoms when classrooms open this month, on top of her normal responsibilities like managing allergies, distributing medications and writing hundreds of immunization plans. “I’ll have to go to these schools and assess every sniffle and sneeze that could potentially be a positive case,” she said. “I just don’t know if I can do it alone.” (Levin, 8/20)


AP:
Dozens Of California Elementary Schools Allowed To Reopen


Dozens of California elementary schools have been approved to reopen with in-person instruction under special waivers approved by health officials in counties that were placed on a state monitoring list because of high numbers of coronavirus infections. State health authorities haven’t said how many have been approved statewide. But data from San Diego and Orange counties on Thursday showed together they have had 50 schools approved, all of them private and mostly religious, along with two small public school districts. (Taxin, 8/21)


AP:
Nevada County Ditches Plans For Classroom Teaching For Now


The Elko County School Board in Nevada has decided to follow the lead of the state’s largest school district in Las Vegas and begin the new school year with only distance learning to help guard against the spread of the coronavirus.The board voted unanimously to push back the beginning of the school year until Sept. 8. (8/20)


The Hill:
School Reopenings With COVID-19 Offer Preview Of Chaotic Fall 


Thousands of students and teachers across the country are quarantining just days into the new school year, highlighting the challenges of resuming in-person instruction during a pandemic. While many schools aren’t scheduled to reopen until later this month or September, those that have are offering a preview of the chaos that awaits districts this fall, particularly in hot spots in the South and Midwest where the virus is spreading uncontrollably. (Hellmann, 8/20)


Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus Cases So Low L.A. May Soon Try To Reopen Schools 


Despite disturbing numbers of young people dying of COVID-19, Los Angeles County’s chief medical officer said Thursday that new coronavirus cases may soon drop enough to allow officials to apply for waivers to reopen elementary schools. During an online news conference, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser noted that waivers can be sought to reopen schools when cases are below 200 for every 100,000 people for two weeks. (Dolan and Blume, 8/20)


The Wall Street Journal:
Reopening Schools Is So Complicated, New York Is Struggling To Schedule Classes


Jonathan Halabi, a math teacher who creates the course schedules for his Bronx high school, faces a daunting puzzle: Trying to match changing numbers of students to teachers and rooms while obeying class size limits required by the new coronavirus. His high-achieving public school, the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, has about 400 students, and so far 25% have asked to attend virtually. He expects that percentage to grow, a trend citywide. And it is still unclear how many of the 26 teachers will come to campus, he said: Several have gotten medical accommodations to work from home, and more may do so. (Brody, 8/20)


The New York Times:
College Officials Clamp Down On Student Behavior Over Covid-19 Fears 


Syracuse University and Vanderbilt fired warning shots across the bow of newly arrived students who seem intent on having an ordinary campus experience in a year that is anything but ordinary. The warning at Syracuse came after a campus gathering alarmed officials.

“Last night,” one Syracuse official said in a letter, “a large group of first-year students selfishly jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University — that is, a chance at a residential college experience. I say this because the students who gathered on the Quad last night may have done damage enough to shut down campus, including residence halls and in-person learning, before the academic semester even begins.” (8/20)


USA Today:
‘Living In My Car’? Fall Semester Online Means College Students Are Scrambling For Housing, Wi-Fi


When California State University announced May 12 its schools would be online for the fall semester, Graciela Moran thought she might end up homeless.The San Bernardino student is immunocompromised and had been living in her dorm as a residential assistant. But with the Cal State announcement, her contract ended and her stipend was taken away. Her father, a carpet installer, had to keep working during the city’s increase in coronavirus infections, so she couldn’t move home without putting herself at risk. (Aspegren, 8/21)


NPR:
Colleges’ Plans To Test For Coronavirus Are All Over The Map 


Yousuf El-Jayyousi, a junior engineering student at the University of Missouri, wanted guidance and reassurance it would be safe to go back to school for the fall semester. He tuned into a pair of online town halls organized by the university hoping to find that. He did not. What he got instead from those town halls last month was encouragement to return to class at the institution affectionately known as “Mizzou.” The university in Columbia would only be testing people with symptoms. In addition, university officials were saying that people who tested positive off campus were under no obligation to inform the school. (McAuliff, Martinez Valdivia, Herman and O’Neill, 8/20)


CNN:
Thousands Of Hasbro Water Guns Sold At Target Recalled Due To Lead 


More than 52,000 water guns which are sold only at Target are being recalled by Hasbro, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a notice. “The decorative sticker on the water tank of the water blaster toys contain levels of lead in the ink that exceed the federal lead content ban,” the notice said. Lead exposure in children can lead to impaired cognition and behavioral disorders, among other health effects. and is toxic if ingested. (Maxouris, 8/21)


AP:
Washington Coach Ron Rivera Has A Form Of Skin Cancer


Washington Football coach Ron Rivera has a form of skin cancer, which the team called “very treatable and curable” because it was discovered at an early stage.A team spokesman confirmed Thursday night Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. The team said Rivera detected it in a lymph node from a self-care check and that the prognosis is good for him to make a full recovery. Rivera, 58, is expected to continue coaching for now after consulting with doctors and oncology specialists. (Whyno, 8/21)


USA Today:
Masks In Public Restrooms? Urinals May Shoot ‘Plumes’ Of Inhalable Coronavirus Particles Into The Air


Wearing a mask in public restrooms should be mandatory during the pandemic, researchers say, because there’s increasing evidence that flushing toilets – and now urinals – can release inhalable coronavirus particles into the air. The coronavirus can be found in a person’s urine or stool, and flushing urinals can generate an “alarming upward flow” of particles that “travel faster and fly farther” than particles from a toilet flush, according to a study published in the journal Physics of Fluid Monday. (Hauck, 8/18)


The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Caseload Falls Again In D.C. Region As Maryland Marks Testing Milestone


The daily coronavirus caseload in the greater Washington region tumbled again Thursday, hovering at a multiweek low, while Maryland officials celebrated a milestone in the state’s declining test positivity rate. The seven-day average number of new infections in D.C., Maryland and Virginia fell to 1,531, a number last recorded in mid-July. That is down from 2,083 average daily cases earlier this month, as officials were announcing new restrictions to avoid the kind of caseload spikes being recorded elsewhere in the country. (Hedgpeth and Moyer, 8/20)


The Washington Post:
D.C. Report Shows Drop In HIV Infections, Other Progress Ending AIDS Epidemic 


The District has reached new milestones in its effort to end a decades-long HIV epidemic, according to a report released Thursday, with a reduction in new cases and the overwhelming majority of those who have the virus in effective treatment. In 2019, the city recorded its largest decline in new infections since Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) took office in 2015 and crafted a strategy for ending the epidemic, which has afflicted nearly 2 percent of city residents. (Nirappil, 8/20)


AP:
Utah Sets Pandemic Safeguards For People With Disabilities


Utah became the fifth state Thursday to overhaul crisis guidelines that could have deprived people with disabilities of doctors’ care if hospitals become overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes approved by federal officials settle a complaint from disability advocates and set a new standard for other states, said Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Whitehurst and McCombs, 8/20)


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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