First Edition: July 13, 2021

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

Teen Volunteers Get A Foot In The Door For Nursing Home Careers

Jasmine De Moya, 17, has dreamed for years of working in the medical field, and she yearned to spend time with older people, missing her grandparents, who live in the Dominican Republic. A program sponsored by the New Jewish Home health system in New York City that combines volunteering and free training for entry-level health jobs, career coaching and assistance on her college prep is helping make her hopes come alive. Over the past three years, Jasmine has learned a lot about caring for older people, from the importance of speaking slowly and being gentle with frail residents who may have hearing or comprehension problems to how to brush their teeth or bathe them. (Andrews, 7/13)

California Takes A Nibble At Offering Food Stamps To Undocumented Immigrants

One week the food pantry had frozen crabmeat; other weeks, deli meat or plant-based “meat.” The week before the Fourth of July, there was no meat at all, and a reminder that the pantry would be closed the next two weeks. Even though she never knows exactly what she’ll get, Lesli Pastrana is grateful for the Mercado El Sol food pantry. She has frequented it ever since she lost her job in January. On a recent Friday, she walked away with produce, eggs and staples like ramen noodles, pasta and oats. (Almendrala, 7/13)

U.S. Officials Say Fully Vaccinated Don’t Need Booster

HHS officials had a briefing from Pfizer on Monday regarding their latest, preliminary data on vaccinations and will continue to discuss when and if booster shots will be needed in the future, the spokesperson said. Pfizer said it planned to publish “more definitive data” in a peer-reviewed journal. “Both Pfizer and the U.S. government share a sense of urgency in staying ahead of the virus that causes COVID-19, and we also agree that the scientific data will dictate next steps in the rigorous regulatory process that we always follow,” said Pfizer spokesperson Sharon Castillo. (7/13)

The New York Times:
U.S. Officials Press Pfizer For More Evidence Of Need For Booster Shot

Representatives of Pfizer met privately with senior U.S. scientists and regulators on Monday to press their case for swift authorization of coronavirus booster vaccines, amid growing public confusion about whether they will be needed and pushback from federal health officials who say the extra doses are not necessary now. The high-level online meeting, which lasted an hour and involved Pfizer’s chief scientific officer briefing virtually every top doctor in the federal government, came on the same day Israel started administering third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to heart transplant patients and others with compromised immune systems. Officials said after the meeting that more data — and possibly several more months — would be needed before regulators could determine whether booster shots were necessary. (Gay Stolberg and LaFraniere, 7/12)

Top U.S. Officials See Booster Shots As Inevitable

Biden administration health officials believe the most vulnerable Americans will eventually need coronavirus booster shots — but they are still debating how quickly that should happen, two administration officials said. The internal deliberations have stretched on for months as health officials watch for signs of waning immunity among the vaccinated. The talks have included extensive behind-the-scenes coordination between the administration and drug companies manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines. (Cancryn, Owermohle and Banco, 7/12)

When And How Will We Know If We Need Covid-19 Booster Shots?

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the data behind Pfizer and BioNTech’s renewed push to change its two-shot Covid vaccination series to a three-shot regimen. But as the sides bicker about whether a third shot is going to be needed, one thing is certain: The final decision will not rest with the company. Public health officials, not pharmaceutical executives, will be making the final call on when and whether booster shots will be needed. (7/12)

WHO Director-General Slams Notion Of Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Doses

The director-general of the World Health Organization on Monday issued a stinging rebuke to Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers focused on developing — and selling — Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to high-income countries, saying they should focus instead on providing vaccine to nations that have had little access to first doses. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement came four days after Pfizer said it has data to support its repeated claim that a third dose of its vaccine will be needed to keep protection levels high. He also singled out Moderna, which, like Pfizer, is developing updated vaccines targeted at variants. (Branswell, 7/12)

WHO Warns Against Mixing And Matching COVID Vaccines

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist on Monday advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, calling it a “dangerous trend” since there was little data available about the health impact. “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match,” Soumya Swaminathan told an online briefing. “It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose.” (7/13)

The Wall Street Journal:
Medicare To Review Coverage For New Alzheimer’s Drug Aduhelm

There are a range of possibilities for what a national coverage decision could look like, including unrestricted coverage, non-coverage, or deferring to Medicare contractors, CMS said. The FDA’s approval of Aduhelm has drawn criticism from some doctors and health economists who contend the drug’s benefit is unproven and its estimated annual $56,000 per patient cost could add billions of dollars in government spending. (Walker, 7/12)

Democrats Demand Docs About Biogen, FDA Coordination On Aduhelm

Two powerful House Democrats on Monday demanded documents from Biogen about the approval process, marketing, and pricing of its controversial new Alzheimer’s drug. The letter is the latest move in a congressional investigation into Aduhelm’s approval and pricing spearheaded by House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). The request prominently references a STAT investigation that revealed Biogen had an off-the-books meeting with a prominent FDA regulator ahead of the drug’s unprecedented approval, and that the back-channel relationship between the two started earlier and was far more extensive than disclosed. (Cohrs, 7/12)

Medicare Starts Process That Could Limit Access To New Alzheimer’s Drug

The process, called a National Coverage Determination analysis, ensures that coverage for the drug is uniform across the country instead of leaving decisions to regional contractors. The tool is rarely used for drugs, and Medicare announced its decision to use it much more quickly than is typical — in just 12 days after receiving a formal request instead of the previous record of 36 days, according to Washington Analysis. Notably, if Medicare were going to pay for any Alzheimer’s patient’s treatment with Aduhelm, it likely would not need to use the tool. But its decision has enormous consequences since most of the patient population for the $56,000 therapy is covered by the federal health care program. (Cohrs and Silverman, 7/12)

Free Lunch, Immigration, More Medicare: What’s In The Mix For Democrats’ ‘Go-Big’ Bill

Top Democrats are finalizing the bones of a multitrillion-dollar partisan spending plan designed to ride alongside a bipartisan infrastructure deal — and attempting to squeeze as many priorities as they can into their GOP-free shopping cart. Masterminded by Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the public blueprint is expected as early as this week, setting an ambitious spending ceiling for passing the dream policies that won’t make it in any bipartisan infrastructure package. Because Democrats only get one more crack this year at passing a bill that doesn’t require any support from Senate Republicans, every lawmaker in the majority party is lobbying to push their priorities into the final package passed using the filibuster protections of so-called budget reconciliation. (Scholtes, Miranda Ollstein and McCrimmon, 7/13)

Biden Order Would Pause Rule Forbidding March-In Rights To Lower Drug Costs

In a little-noticed move, the Biden administration has hit the pause button on a rule that would prevent the federal government from using a controversial legal provision for combating the high prices of products developed with taxpayer dollars. The move amounts to an about-face after the White House left the rule, which was proposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, on its regulatory agenda last month. However, the latest decision suggests the Biden administration is responding to pressure to widen access to medicines and vaccines, especially those funded in part by the U.S. treasury, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Silverman, 7/12)

The New York Times:
Child Tax Credit Monthly Payments To Begin Soon

If all goes as planned, the Treasury Department will begin making a series of monthly payments in coming days to families with children, setting a milestone in social policy and intensifying a debate over whether to make the subsidies a permanent part of the American safety net.vWith all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent. (DeParle, 7/12)

Judge OKs $73M Payout To Alleged UCLA Doctor Sex Victims

A federal judge on Monday gave final approval to a $73 million settlement of a lawsuit that alleged some 6,000 women were sexually abused by a former University of California, Los Angeles gynecologist. The 2019 class-action suit involved allegations that from 1983 to 2018, Dr. James Heaps groped women, simulated intercourse with an ultrasound probe or made inappropriate comments during examinations at the UCLA student health center, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center or his on-campus office. (Jablon, 7/13)

‘Potentially A Death Sentence’: White House Goes Off On Vaccine Fearmongers 

The Biden administration is casting conservative opponents of its Covid-19 vaccine campaign as dangerous and extreme, adopting a more aggressive political posture in an attempt to maneuver through the public health conundrum. The White House has decided to hit back harder on misinformation and scare tactics after Republican lawmakers and conservative activists pledged to fight the administration’s stated plans to go “door-to-door” to increase vaccination rates. The pushback will include directly calling out social media platforms and conservative news shows that promote such tactics. (Korecki and Daniels, 7/12)

States With Low Vaccination Numbers Have Covid-19 Case Rates That Are Significantly Higher Than Others 

When you compare states with high vaccination rates to states that are lagging, the difference in the number of people getting Covid-19 is staggering. Over the past week, states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents have reported an average Covid-19 case rate that is about a third of that in states which have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (McPhillips, Almasy and Holcombe, 7/12)

Long Covid Treatments Crop Up At Luxury Wellness Resorts 

To beat long Covid, the version of the virus where symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks, you can employ the same tried-and-true tactics that help overcome the flu: Stay well-rested, guzzle clear fluids, and hope for the best. Or you can channel your inner Gwyneth Paltrow and pay $3,500 to have a therapist cake a paste of turmeric, galangal, and kaffir lime on your chest, cover it with an alcohol-doused towel, and set it all on fire. The latter technique—a traditional Ya-Pao detoxification therapy used for centuries in Thailand—is believed to balance the wind, water, and fire elements in the body. According to the practitioners who prescribe it, it’s also a great way to alleviate long Covid symptoms such as inflammations and coughs. (Schalkx, 7/13)

Summer Camps Hit With COVID Outbreaks — Are Schools Next?

The U.S. has seen a string of COVID-19 outbreaks tied to summer camps in recent weeks in places such as Texas, Illinois, Florida, Missouri and Kansas, in what some fear could be a preview of the upcoming school year. In some cases the outbreaks have spread from the camp to the broader community. The clusters have come as the number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reversed course, surging more than 60% over the past two weeks from an average of about 12,000 a day to around 19,500, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. (Hollingsworth, Franko and Tanner, 7/13)

Houston Chronicle:
Men Die From COVID At A Higher Rate. Why Are Women More Likely To Get A Vaccine?

In Texas, nearly 1 million more women and girls are vaccinated from COVID than men and boys, according to the Department of State Health Services. Women between the ages of 16 and 49 account for more than a quarter of the 12 million Texans who are fully vaccinated, the agency reported Thursday. And it’s not just in Texas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 53 percent of Americans who have received at least one dose identify as female. (Garcia, 7/12)

Flu Vaccine Linked To Better COVID-19 Symptoms

People who received the flu vaccine prior to having COVID-19 had less risk of sepsis, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and disease requiring emergency or intensive care, according to a study presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) this year. The researchers looked at 74,754 patients in the international TriNetX research database: All had been diagnosed as having COVID-19, but half had received flu shots 2 weeks to 6 months prior to the infection. Patients were matched across COVID risk factors (eg, age, ethnicity, health conditions) and followed up at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days post-diagnosis. (7/12)

COVID-19 Vaccines Shown To Protect At-Risk Patients

The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines are as effective at preventing symptomatic illness in people with underlying medical conditions as in the rest of the population, finds a real-world study of more than 1 million at-risk UK residents. In the observational study, published late last week on the khub preprint server, a team led by Public Health England (PHE) researchers mined the electronic medical records of more than 700 general-practice clinics across the country, representing 10% of the population. They also conducted sentinel antibody testing from December 2020 to May 2021. (Van Beusekom, 7/12)

Most Fully Vaccinated People Who Get Covid Delta Infections Are Asymptomatic, WHO Says

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are still getting infected with the delta variant, but global health officials said the shots have protected most people from getting severely sick or dying. “There are reports coming in that vaccinated populations have cases of infection, particularly with the delta variant,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said at a press briefing Monday. “The majority of these are mild or asymptomatic infections.” (Mendez, 7/12)

Azithromycin Doesn’t Help Mild-To-Moderate COVID-19, Study Finds

A randomized clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom found that use of the antibiotic azithromycin in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 did not reduce the risk of subsequent hospital admission or death. The results were presented last week at ECCMID and published simultaneously in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. In the open-label, randomized trial conducted at 19 UK hospitals from Jun 3, 2020, to Jan 29, 2021, adult COVID-19 patients considered suitable for initial ambulatory management were assigned to receive either standard care plus 500 milligrams of azithromycin once a day for 14 days or standard care alone. The primary outcome was hospital admission or death from any cause within 28 days of randomization. (7/12)

The Boston Globe:
CholeraMap: Using NASA Satellite Data To Help Warn People When Their Water Is Unsafe 

Cholera, an infectious bacterial disease often contracted through contaminated water, is a major threat to public health, particularly in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The bacteria can kill within hours if it’s left untreated, and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. Dr. Ali Shafqat Akanda, an engineer whose expertise is in the intersections of water security, climate change, and global health, recently helped a team of researchers at various universities in the U.S. to develop CholeraMap. The app creates early-warning risk maps based on environmental conditions obtained from NASA satellite observations. The risks are then communicated to users. (Gagosz, 7/12)

Non-Antibiotic Drugs May Be A Risk For Resistant Bacteria

A study of hospital patients in Israel found a link between multidrug-resistant gut bacteria and exposure to commonly used non-antimicrobial drugs (NAMDs), researchers reported last week at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID). Out of 1,807 patients admitted to Tel Aviv Medical Center from Jan 1, 2017, to Apr 18, 2019, who had upper urinary tract infection, positive urine or blood culture growing Enterobacterales, and exposure to any of 19 NAMDs prior to admission, 994 patient samples (52.2%) contained drug resistant organisms and 431 (23.8%) had multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). Univariate analysis found that exposure to seven drug classes was associated with a resistant organism, and three drug classes—proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), beta-blockers, and antimetabolites—were significantly associated with MDROs. (7/12)

Resistant Bacteria Found In More Than Half Of Dog Food Samples

In another study presented at ECCMID last week, researchers from Portugal reported that samples of commercially available dog food contained MDR Enterococci, including isolates that were genetically identical to bacteria isolated from hospital patients. The researchers analyzed 55 samples of dog food (22 wet, 8 dry, 4 semi-wet, 7 treats, and 14 raw-frozen) and found that 30 samples (54%) contained Enterococci that expressed resistance to erythromycin (73%), tetracycline (63%), quinupristin-dalfopristin (60%), streptomycin (53%), chloramphenicol (50%), ampicillin or ciprofloxacin (47% each), gentamycin (40%), linezolid (23%), or vancomycin and teicplanin (2% each). MDR isolates were found in all the raw-frozen samples and three of the non-raw samples. (7/12)

Pesticide Caused Kids’ Brain Damage, California Lawsuits Say

Lawsuits filed Monday in California seek potential class-action damages from Dow Chemical and its successor company over a widely used bug killer linked to brain damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is approved for use on more than 80 crops, including oranges, berries, grapes, soybeans, almonds and walnuts, though California banned sales of the pesticide last year and spraying of it this year. Some other states, including New York, have moved to ban it. (Thompson, 7/12)

Women Say There Are Too Many Barriers To Accessing Postpartum Depression Drug 

When Miriam McDonald decided she wanted to have another baby at age 44, her doctor told her she had a better chance of winning the lottery. So when she got pregnant right away, she and her husband were thrilled. But within three days of giving birth to their son, in September 2019, everything turned. “I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, what did I do?’ I just brought this baby into this world and I can barely take care of myself right now,” she says. “I feel exhausted. I haven’t slept in three days. I haven’t really eaten in three days.” As the weeks went by, her depression got worse. She felt sad, but also indifferent. She didn’t want to hold her baby, she didn’t want to change him. She says she felt no connection with him at all. (Dembosky, 7/13)

The Wall Street Journal:
WHO Panel Issues Gene-Editing Standards Aimed At Averting DNA Dystopia

A World Health Organization expert advisory panel Monday issued two new reports recommending the implementation of global standards aimed at preventing unscrupulous, inequitable and potentially dangerous uses of Crispr and other gene-editing technologies. The reports call for efforts to develop global standards, the establishment of an international registry of gene-editing experiments and a way for whistleblowers to report concerns. Their release comes more than two years after a Chinese researcher triggered international outrage when he revealed that he had used Crispr to produce the first gene-edited babies. (Dockser Marcus, 7/12)

Dozens Of Generic Makers Won’t Face Zantac Cancer Risk Lawsuits

A federal court judge dismissed all claims against dozens of generic manufacturers and retailers in sprawling litigation over allegations that the Zantac heartburn pill may contain a carcinogen, although brand-name drug makers will continue to face more than 1,400 lawsuits over the issue. The ruling is the latest chapter in an ongoing saga over the safety of the widely used heartburn medicine, which is also known as ranitidine. The pills were recalled by numerous manufacturers in 2019 after the Food and Drug Administration found some contained higher than acceptable levels of NDMA,  an organic chemical that is part of a carcinogenic group of compounds called N-nitrosamines. (Silverman, 7/12)

States And Insurers Resurrect Barriers To Telehealth, Straining Patients

Telemedicine is here to stay. But its free-for-all era may be coming to an end. State-issued emergency declarations and insurer policies that were issued at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and that were meant to encourage the use of telemedicine are being phased out across U.S. states, one by one. And as they fade away, rules that make telemedicine more complicated — and costly — are setting back in. (Palmer, 7/13)

Modern Healthcare:
Intermountain Closes Most Of Its Retail Pharmacies After CVS Deal

Intermountain Healthcare plans to close 25 of its 26 retail pharmacies in Utah by August, citing declining business and a new deal with CVS Health.The health system will only keep its pharmacy at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City open as a home delivery, retail, and specialty pharmacy for the area’s residents. (Gellman, 7/12)

Hospitals Launch Antitrust Lawsuit Against Intuitive Surgical 

Several hospitals have mounted a legal battle against the company that makes the da Vinci surgical robot, alleging its monopoly position forces hospitals to buy its maintenance services and replacement parts at inflated prices even though cheaper options exist. In one allegation, a hospital says Intuitive Surgical remotely shut down a hospital’s surgical robot “in the middle of a procedure” which forced the surgeon “to convert the procedure to open surgery with the patient on the operating table,” after the hospital said it was considering a service contract with a third party. (Herman, 7/13)

Modern Healthcare:
Atlantic Health, NYU Langone Health Form Transplant Alliance

Atlantic Health System and NYU Langone Health will coordinate heart and liver transplant care via a clinical affiliation, the New Jersey and New York not-for-profit health systems announced Monday. Atlantic clinicians will provide pre- and post-transplant care at Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute and Overlook Medical Center while physicians at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute will perform the surgeries. (Kacik, 7/12)

The Wall Street Journal:
Related Cos., CareMax Partner Up To Develop Senior Health Centers In Underserved Communities

Related Cos., one of the largest owners of affordable housing in the U.S., is acquiring as much as a 9% stake in healthcare provider CareMax Inc. as part of its plan to develop scores of senior health centers in underserved urban communities throughout the U.S. Related, a developer of office buildings, malls and upscale apartments as well as affordable housing, will act as an investor, adviser, developer and, in some cases, landlord of CareMax health centers. As part of the deal, Related will buy $5 million in CareMax stock and receive warrants to purchase up to 8 million shares at $11.50 a share. (Grant, 7/13)

Modern Healthcare:
UnitedHealth Claims Policy Won’t Dent 2021 Finances

MultiPlan Corporation said Monday that it doesn’t expect a UnitedHealth Group policy change to have a “material impact” on the New York-based cost management company’s financial performance for 2021. The company still expects to generate up to $1.1 billion in revenue for the full year, despite its stock price diving 25% over the past week due to “ongoing discussions in the media and among the investor community” over the Minnetonka, Minn.-based health giant’s insurance subsidiary plan to no longer pay some out-of-network claims. Starting July 1, UnitedHealthcare will no longer pay out-of-network claims when fully insured customers seek non-emergency care outside of their local coverage area. (Tepper, 7/12)

Pay Gaps Persist In Academic Internal Medicine Specialties 

Women who teach internal medicine specialties still get paid less and have less representation in leadership, according to a new study from JAMA Internal Medicine. In their analysis across 154 medical schools in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019, researchers found women were paid at least 90% of men’s median annual salary in 10 of 13 internal medicine specialties. (Fernandez, 7/13)

Modern Healthcare:
Safety-Net Hospitals Hit Hard By Pandemic Could Lose Access To 340B Drugs

Some hospitals serving large volumes of low-income patients are at risk of getting kicked out of a popular federal discount drug program as the fallout from the pandemic’s unprecedented impact on healthcare providers continues. The 340B program, which allows qualifying hospitals and providers to buy deeply discounted drugs from manufacturers, has strict eligibility requirements and an annual recertification process. Providers must show that a certain percentage of patients they served in the year prior were low-income or on Medicaid. (Hellman, Brady, and Broderick, 7/12)

Judge Nears Decision On Future Of State Mental Health System

When Michael Hogan was appointed by a federal judge to help craft a road map for the future of Mississippi’s embattled mental health care system, he planned to tour community mental health centers in-person to see the state’s services in action. He hoped to speak to patients and employees — perspectives he said would be vital in charting the Department of Mental Health’s path forward. That was in early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogan, a mental health care veteran with 40 years of experience working across the country, said Monday in federal court his ability to work on the ground has been severely limited in the past year and half. “I don’t know anything about the situation on the ground, which troubles me some,” he said. (Willingham, 7/13)

Utah Governor Admits Mistake On Vaccination Milestone

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Monday that the state’s Covid data team “screwed up” and that Utah has not yet hit the 70 percent goal for adult vaccinations, admitting the error just days after celebrating the milestone. “Welp. We screwed up. Because of a reporting error we have not yet hit 70% on our adult vaccinations,” Cox, a Republican, posted on Twitter Monday. “I promised to admit our mistakes and hold us accountable. I hope you will forgive us — and know we have made changes to ensure it won’t happen again.” (Ward, 7/12)

Los Angeles Times:
L.A. County Sees New Significant Rise In COVID-19 Cases, 99% Involved The Unvaccinated 

Los Angeles County officials reported the fourth straight day of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, more troubling evidence that the disease is increasing its spread among the unvaccinated. The county Department of Public Health reported 1,059 new cases Monday. On Friday, 1,044 coronavirus cases were reported countywide, followed by 1,069 more on Saturday and an additional 1,113 Sunday, according to data compiled by The Times. (Money and Lin II, 7/12)

California’s Mask Rule For Schools Prompts Controversy

California announced new coronavirus rules for public schools on Monday that let students and teachers sit as close to each other as they want while making sure no one will miss class time even if they are exposed to someone with the virus. But those changes from the last school year were overshadowed by news the state would continue to require all students and staff to wear masks while indoors, reigniting criticism of Gov. Gavin Newsom as he faces a recall election in September. (Beam, 7/13)

Los Angeles Times:
California Budget Includes Financial Help, Eviction Protections 

As California emerges from the pandemic, state leaders have approved a $100-billion plan to spur the recovery, with checks going out for rent relief, state stimulus payments and grants to businesses. On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom capped a series of recent actions on what he is calling his California Comeback plan by signing budget legislation that will trigger a massive distribution of cash to struggling residents and businesses. (McGreevy, 7/12)

Ohio Church Retreat Sparks COVID Outbreak 

A Baptist church retreat in Ohio attended by 800 people from June 27 to July 3 has resulted in 30 COVID-19 cases so far, Dayton & Montgomery County public health officials said Monday. This is the second COVID-19 outbreak triggered by a multi-day church event in the past week. Last week it was revealed that a Texas church summer camp had resulted in at least 125 coronavirus infections and left “hundreds more” exposed to the virus. (Saric, 7/12)

The Washington Post:
France And Greece Announce Mandatory Vaccinations For Health Workers Amid Delta Variant Surge

France and Greece have both announced plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for health-care workers as the more virulent delta variant gains ground across Europe, threatening nations that had gotten a grasp of the virus through vaccination. French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address Monday that France was “facing a strong resumption of the epidemic” and that a slowing vaccination campaign could lead to rising hospitalizations later this summer. (Cunningham, 7/13)

The New York Times:
France Orders Health Workers To Be Vaccinated To Stave Off Another Wave

Hoping to combat a possible new wave of coronavirus infections, President Emmanuel Macron of France on Monday announced new vaccination requirements, including mandatory inoculation for health care workers and proof of immunization or a recent negative test to enter restaurants and cultural venues. But it was highly uncertain whether the measures would be enough to avoid a fourth wave of the virus powered by the fast-spreading Delta variant, which already accounts for about half of new infections in France. (Méhut, 7/13)

Immunized But Banned: EU Says Not All COVID Vaccines Equal

After Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor and his wife received two doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in Nigeria, they assumed they would be free to travel this summer to a European destination of their choice. They were wrong. The couple — and millions of other people who have been vaccinated through a U.N.-backed effort — could find themselves barred from entering many European and other countries because those nations don’t recognize the Indian-made version of the vaccine for travel. Although AstraZeneca vaccine produced in Europe has been authorized by the continent’s drug regulatory agency, the same shot manufactured in India hasn’t been given the green light. (Cheng, 7/13)

Delta Variant Cases In Turkey Nearly Triple In A Week – Minister

The number of Delta variant COVID-19 cases in Turkey has risen to some 750 from 284 seven days ago and overall cases climbed 20% at the weekend compared to a week earlier, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Turkey eased most coronavirus-related restrictions on July 1 after daily cases tumbled from a peak above 60,000 in April to around 5,000, but Koca said new figures pointed to a rise. “These increases have emerged more in places where the level of inoculations is low,” Koca told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday, noting rising cases in provinces of southeast Turkey. (7/13)

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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