First Edition: Nov. 1, 2021

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

Nursing Home Residents Overlooked In Scramble For Covid Antibody Treatments 

Of the dozens of patients Dr. Jim Yates has treated for covid-19 at his long-term care center in rural Alabama, this one made him especially nervous. The 60-year-old man, who had been fully vaccinated, was diagnosed with a breakthrough infection in late September. Almost immediately, he required supplemental oxygen, and lung exams showed ominous signs of worsening disease. Yates, who is medical director of Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility 75 miles northeast of Birmingham, knew his patient needed more powerful interventions — and fast. (Aleccia, 11/1)

California Law Aims To Strengthen Access To Mental Health Services

The number of people with symptoms of depression and anxiety has nearly quadrupled during the covid pandemic, which has made it even more maddeningly difficult to get timely mental health care, even if you have good insurance. A California law signed Oct. 8 by Gov. Gavin Newsom could help. It requires that mental health and substance abuse patients be offered return appointments no more than 10 days after a previous session, unless their provider OKs less frequent visits. (Wolfson, 11/1)

If Congress Adds Dental Coverage To Medicare, Should All Seniors Get It?

William Stork needs a tooth out. That’s what the 71-year-old retired truck driver’s dentist told him during a recent checkup. That kind of extraction requires an oral surgeon, which could cost him around $1,000 because, like most seniors, Stork does not have dental insurance, and Medicare won’t cover his dental bills. Between Social Security and his pension from the Teamsters union, Stork said, he lives comfortably in Cedar Hill, Missouri, about 30 miles southwest of St. Louis. But that cost is significant enough that he’s decided to wait until the tooth absolutely must come out. (Sable-Smith, 10/29)

COVID-19’s Global Death Toll Tops 5 Million In Under 2 Years

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems. Together, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Brazil — all upper-middle- or high-income countries — account for one-eighth of the world’s population but nearly half of all reported deaths. The U.S. alone has recorded over 740,000 lives lost, more than any other nation. (Johnson, 11/1)

A World Remembers: Memorials Honor COVID-19’s 5 Million Dead

The Italian city that suffered the brunt of COVID-19’s first deadly wave is dedicating a vivid memorial to the pandemic dead: A grove of trees, creating oxygen in a park opposite the hospital where so many died, unable to breathe. Bergamo, in northern Italy, is among the many communities around the globe dedicating memorials to commemorate lives lost in a pandemic that is nearing the terrible threshold of 5 million confirmed dead. (10/30)

The New York Times:
FDA Clears Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine For Young Children 

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11, a move eagerly anticipated by millions of families looking to protect some of the only remaining Americans left out of the vaccination campaign. About 28 million children in the group will be eligible to receive one-third of the adult dose, with two injections three weeks apart. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off, as is expected, they could start getting shots as early as Wednesday. (Weiland and LaFraniere, 10/29)

USA Today:
FDA Delays Decision On Moderna Vaccine For Kids 12 And Over

Regulatory approval of Moderna’s emergency use authorization request for its vaccine for kids 12 to 17 years of age has been delayed until at least January, the company announced Sunday. The Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical firm said in a statement that the Food and Drug Administration blamed the delay on an ongoing evaluation of recent international analyses of the risk of myocarditis – inflammation of the heart – after vaccination. Moderna is working closely with the FDA and “is grateful to the FDA for their diligence,” the statement said. An increased risk of myocarditis from the vaccines has been discovered, particularly in young men following the second dose. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have said myocarditis following vaccination has been rare and generally mild. (Santucci, Bacon and Ortiz, 10/31)

The FDA Is Probing Whether The Moderna Vaccine Can Cause A Rare Side Effect In Teens

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will need more time to decide whether to approve Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 17, the company announced Sunday. The extended timeline is so the FDA can look into reports of a rare side effect — myocarditis, or the inflammation of the heart muscle — in those who’ve gotten the shot. Moderna said the FDA informed the company of the delay on Friday. “The safety of vaccine recipients is of paramount importance to Moderna. The Company is fully committed to working closely with the FDA to support their review and is grateful to the FDA for their diligence,” Moderna said in a statement. (Hernandez, 10/31)

Houston Chronicle:
Texas Children’s Taking Appointments For Kids’ COVID Vaccines With Emergency Authorization Imminent

Texas Children’s Hospital is now scheduling appointments to administer a Pfizer COVID-19 shot for children ages 5 to 11 years old, in anticipation of federal health agencies giving emergency authorization next week. Right now, appointments for Nov. 6 through Nov. 20 at campuses across the Houston area can be scheduled on the hospital’s website. Additional appointments also will be offered within 24 hours of emergency use authorization, which is expected to be finalized Tuesday, said Jermaine Monroe, co-chair of the Texas Children’s Hospital COVID vaccine task force. After the Food and Drug Administration issues the emergency use authorization, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel will meet to discuss any possible restrictions for the shot. The vaccine can be administered once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signs off on the authorization. (Gill, 10/29)

Parents Should Be Patient About Getting COVID Vaccines For Kids

Within minutes of the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Friday to authorize the lower-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, teams began packing up the vaccines to be shipped. The vials are being packed with syringes, dry ice and tracking labels and are being loaded into shipping containers that were specially designed for the pediatric vaccine. But a top White House official is cautioning that parents shouldn’t expect to be able to get their kids vaccinated the very next day if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine, as it is expected to on Tuesday. Patience may be needed, as it could take several days before shots are readily available. (Keith, 10/30)

Houston Chronicle:
Texas Abortion Ban Hearing Today Is First Test For U.S. Supreme Court’s Conservative Majority

The U.S. Supreme Court returns Monday for another look at legal challenges to the new Texas abortion law, this time in a public hearing that could reveal larger clues about the future of abortion access nationally. The justices will take up arguments in two lawsuits, one brought by abortion providers and the other by the Department of Justice. Both argue that the law, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and enlists private citizens to enforce it, violates longstanding Supreme Court precedent. (Blackman and Wermund, 11/1)

The Washington Post:
Supreme Court Embarks On Most Dramatic Reckoning For Reproductive Rights In Decades 

Monday’s hastily scheduled hearing opens the most dramatic month for reproductive rights at the Supreme Court in three decades. That was when a surprising majority of Republican-nominated justices did the unexpected and affirmed rather than renounced the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Such an outcome this time around — as the court considers the Texas law and, on Dec. 1, a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks, far earlier than current Supreme Court precedent allows — would be a bitter disappointment for antiabortion activists who feel this is their chance. (Barnes, 10/30)

5 Questions When The Supreme Court Takes Up The Texas Abortion Law 

Texas’ abortion ban goes back before the Supreme Court on Monday, where both abortion clinics and the Biden administration will argue that the law violates longstanding precedent protecting the right to terminate a pregnancy and threatens to unleash a stream of copycat laws that range far beyond abortion. Though the Court split 5-4 in declining to block the unique ban before it took effect in September, the justices now have before them evidence of the sweeping impact it’s had on the ground. After Monday’s showdown, they may come to a different conclusion. (Gerstein and Ollstein, 10/31)

The New York Times:
In Texas Abortion Law Case, A Spotlight On Brett Kavanaugh

Exactly two months after the Supreme Court let Texas effectively outlaw most abortions in the state, it will hear a pair of arguments on Monday that could allow it to reverse course. Much of the attention will be on Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. The court’s call for what amounts to a do-over suggests that something is afoot among the justices, said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University. “Someone who was not on the fence is probably back on the fence,” she said. (Liptak, 10/31)

Houston Chronicle:
Abortions Fell By Half After Texas Ban Went Into Effect, Study Says

The nearly 50 percent drop marks the largest recent downturn in accessibility to the procedure following major state-level policy changes, according to the study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. It found that 2,164 abortions were provided in September 2021 compared with 4,313 during that month in the previous year. “The fact that many facilities maintained pre-SB8 staffing levels in the face of reduced patient volume, coupled with the increased availability of financial assistance for abortion care, may have prevented even greater declines,” the study authors wrote. (Goldenstein, 10/29)

Dems See Progress In Adding Drug Cost Curbs To Budget Bill

Democrats have made significant progress toward adding compromise provisions curbing prescription drug prices to their massive social and environment package, two congressional aides said Sunday. Talks were continuing and no final agreement had been reached. But the movement raised hopes that the party’s 10-year, $1.75 trillion measure would address the longtime Democratic campaign promise to lower pharmaceutical costs, though more modestly than some wanted. (Fram and Mascaro, 10/31)

Dems Close In On Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation Compromise 

Democrats are zeroing in on a deal to lower prescription drug prices that the party hopes it could add to President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill as soon as Monday, according to sources familiar with the effort. The conversations involve a group of Senate Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, House leadership and rank-and-file, as well as the White House. Prescription drug reform was left out of last week’s draft proposal due to ongoing disagreements between moderates like Sinema and House Democrats like Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who is hoping for a more expansive effort to lower drug prices. (Everett, Ollstein and Caygle, 10/31)

Buttigieg: ‘We’re The Closest That We’ve Ever Been’ To Passing Infrastructure And Spending Bills

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sounded confident Sunday that the House is close to passing both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda spending bill. “What I know is that we’re the closest that we’ve ever been, and it looks like we’re teed up for major action soon,” Buttigieg said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And the president is sounding that note of urgency not just because the president needs it, but because the country needs it.” (Hooper, 10/31)

The Washington Post:
Inside The Last-Ditch Effort By Democratic Women To Pressure Manchin And Salvage Paid Family And Medical Leave 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand long has called on Congress to provide paid family and medical leave to the millions of Americans who don’t have it. So when she found out last week the plan had been dropped from her party’s landmark spending bill, she began an 11th-hour campaign to try to resurrect it. The New York Democrat targeted the chief objector to the program, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.). She hit the phones Friday and fired off a flurry of texts to her moderate-leaning colleague that continued into the weekend, saying she would be willing to “meet him in D.C. or anywhere in the country” to make the case for the benefits, she said in an interview. (Romm, 10/30)

Paid Leave’s Demise Tough On Backers In Manchin’s Home State

Jessi Garman, the mother of 3-year-old twin girls, has been searching for a job while also trying to have a third child with her husband, who’s in the military. Optimistic that Congress finally would approve paid family medical leave, she thought the time seemed right. But that was before opposition by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia torpedoed the proposal. Both having another baby and getting full-time work doesn’t seem feasible now, and Garman’s hopefulness has turned into anger. “It almost feels personal because Joe Manchin is my senator,” said Garman, of Milton. (Reeves, 10/31)

The New York Times:
Why Paid Family Leave’s Demise This Time Could Fuel It Later 

In late 2019, with bipartisan backing, including from the iconoclastic Senate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, President Donald J. Trump’s daughter Ivanka hosted a summit at the White House to promote her vision for paid family and medical leave. As with many domestic initiatives of the Trump years, the effort went nowhere, thanks in part to the former president’s lack of interest in legislating. But it also stalled in part because of opposition from Democrats like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who saw the plan not as a true federal benefit but as a “payday loan” off future Social Security benefits. Ms. Gillibrand believed she could do much better. (Weisman, 10/31)

U.S. Covid Cases Fall To Less Than Half Of Peak Delta Levels

U.S. Covid cases have fallen to less than half of the pandemic’s most recent peak, a sign that the country may be moving past the punishing wave brought on by the delta variant this summer. The U.S. reported an average of 72,000 new cases per day over the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, down 58% from the most recent high mark of 172,500 average daily cases on Sept. 13. Vaccination rates have also risen in recent months — albeit more slowly than when the shots were first rolled out — to nearly 58% of fully vaccinated Americans as of Thursday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows. (Rattner and Towey, 10/30)

The Wall Street Journal:
Delta Surge Of Covid-19 Recedes, Leaving Winter Challenge Ahead

The Delta wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is past its peak, with new cases, hospitalizations and deaths declining in most states. The approaching holidays and winter months will test whether the U.S. can sustain that momentum. New Covid-19 case numbers in the U.S. are close to levels recorded near this time last year, with a seven-day average at about 72,000 a day, Johns Hopkins University data show. But the trajectory is opposite. Last fall, cases were rising while hospitalizations and deaths, trailing indicators, were starting to follow. (Kamp and Abbott, 10/31)

The Washington Post:
How Does A Pandemic Start Winding Down? You Are Looking At It

The pandemic isn’t over. But new cases nationally have dropped below 75,000 a day, less than half the number in August. The United States will soon reopen land borders to vaccinated visitors and lift several international travel restrictions. More than 2 million people boarded flights last Sunday, not too far from pre-pandemic travel levels. Kids, many of them newly vaccine-eligible, are back in school, with no massive surge of new coronavirus infections. Some older students, forced to mask, wear their face coverings as if they were chin guards. (Achenbach and Abutaleb, 10/31)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Reveals She Has COVID-19

President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki said on Sunday that she has tested positive for COVID-19, the highest-ranking White House official to have publicly revealed a case in this administration. Psaki, who is fully vaccinated, said she has experienced only mild symptoms. In a statement, she said she had not had contact with senior White House officials since Wednesday — four days before she tested positive — and last saw Biden on Tuesday, when they were wearing masks and were more than six feet apart from each other, outdoors. (Keith, 10/31)

Colorado Lets Hospitals Turn Away Patients As Covid Surges Anew

The state of Colorado, where the Covid-19 vaccination rate is one of the highest in the U.S., will allow overwhelmed hospitals to turn away new patients, the governor’s office announced Sunday. The executive order by Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, authorizes the state health department to “order hospitals and freestanding emergency departments to transfer or cease the admission of (and redirect) patients to respond to the current COVID-19 Disaster Emergency in Colorado.” The governor’s order also brings the state closer to full-blown rationing of medical care. It allows for implementation of so-called crisis of care standards, a detailed protocol for health care workers to decide in an emergency who should be treated first. (Del Giudice, 10/31)

The Boston Globe:
Vermont, The Most Vaccinated State In The Nation, Has Been Weathering A Spike In COVID Cases. But Why?

Throughout the pandemic, Vermont has been a beacon for the country, with its highest-in-the-nation COVID-19 vaccination rate, and often one of the lowest infection rates, too. On several days last summer, the state reported close to zero new COVID cases. But since August, Vermont has been grappling with an alarming spike, often topping 200 new cases per day. The unexpected turn has triggered a sharp debate — at least by Vermont’s polite standards — over how forcefully to respond. The surge has leveled off in recent days but the case count remains high, tied with Maine for the most per capita in New England. (Lazar, 10/30)

NBC News:
2,000 FDNY Firefighters Take Medical Leave As Vaccine Sanctions Loom

More than 2,000 New York City firefighters have taken medical leave in the past week as unvaccinated municipal workers face the start of sanctions Monday. Frank Dwyer, deputy commissioner of the New York City Fire Department, said by email that the number of firefighters on medical leave was “very unusual.” The department employs roughly 11,000 firefighters. (Romero, 10/31)

Los Angeles Times:
Sheriff: Vaccine Mandate Causing ‘Mass Exodus’ Among Ranks

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva continues to rail against the county’s vaccine mandate, warning it is causing a “mass exodus” in his department and threatens public safety at a time when violent crime is on the rise. “I have repeatedly stated the dangers to public safety when 20% to 30% of my workforce is no longer available to provide service, and those dangers are quickly becoming a reality,” Villanueva said in a statement that he posted on social media last week. “We are experiencing an increase in unscheduled retirements, worker compensation claims, employees quitting, and a reduction in qualified applicants.” (Vega, 10/21)

New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Ochsner Health Temporarily Stopped From Firing Some Employees Over COVID Vaccination Status

A panel of three judges in Shreveport has issued a temporary restraining order preventing Ochsner Health from firing employees in north Louisiana who have not complied with a COVID-19 vaccination requirement. The employees, 39 of which filed a lawsuit in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, would have been dismissed Friday under a policy Ochsner enacted for all 32,000 employees in August: get vaccinated or an exemption by Oct. 29 or lose your job. The ruling from the state court of appeals came Thursday, one day before the deadline. (Woodruff, 10/29)

Commerce Secretary: Delaying Vaccine Mandate Until After Holidays Would Be “Big Mistake” 

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that delaying the establishment of vaccine mandate deadlines until after the holidays would be a “big mistake.” In September, the Biden administration announced it would be working with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees. (Saric, 10/31)

Mississippi Clarion Ledger:
Mississippi’s State-Funded Health Care Workers’ Contracts To Expire

The state-funded contracts of over 900 health care workers brought in by Mississippi’s governor to support overcrowded and understaffed hospitals during the Delta surge of COVID-19 will expire Sunday. Gov. Tate Reeves in late August requested over 1,000 health care workers to bolster care at Mississippi hospitals, which were inundated with COVID-19 cases and short-staffed. Malary White, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, said Friday the number of contracted health care workers peaked in September as the Delta variant raged across the state. Since then, staffing needs in Mississippi hospitals have declined as COVID-19 cases have dropped, she said. (Haselhorst, 10/30)

Gov. Inslee Lets Eviction Moratorium Expire On Sunday

After more than 18 months of pandemic-driven eviction limits, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he will allow the latest version of Washington’s eviction moratorium to expire on Sunday. That move will open the door for an influx of new eviction cases and test key tenant protections for the first time since the pandemic upended the legal process last year. (10/31)

2 Of Florida’s Largest School Districts Ease Up On Masks

Two of Florida’s largest school districts are easing up on their masks requirement this week. Starting Monday, Orange County students can stop wearing face masks if their parents provide a note opting them out. In Broward County, high school students can choose to wear a mask starting Monday, and it’s strongly encouraged, but it will still be mandatory for middle and elementary school students. (10/31)

Anchorage Daily News:
Investigation Finds Dozens Of Unqualified Florida Doctors Tried To Get Emergency Licenses In Alaska

Dozens of unqualified Florida doctors applied for emergency licenses in Alaska this year and a Chile-based company intentionally tried to recruit at least some of them, according to an ongoing investigation conducted at the request of the Alaska State Medical Board. The board that polices the state’s medical providers is expected to reevaluate the emergency licensing process in the coming months to address any potential for problems. Fourteen of the unqualified doctors actually got licensed, though none practiced medicine in person or via telehealth before the oversight was discovered, state officials say. While looking into the situation surrounding the Florida doctors, investigators also realized the Chilean company was trying to get doctors to Alaska by intentionally recruiting unqualified physicians and asking them to pay additional fees to get licensed, officials say. (Hollander, 10/29)

Crain’s New York Business:
New York Medical Schools See Record-High Diversity

More than 21% of first-year students last year at medical schools in the state were from diverse backgrounds, according to a new report by the Associated Medical Schools of New York. The consortium, a nonprofit that represents the state’s 17 public and private medical schools, said it was the first time the rate exceeded 20% since it has been tracked. The statistic captures the share of medical students who come from groups underrepresented in medicine, meaning they identify as American Indian or Alaskan native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or a combination. (Kaufman, 10/29)

Modern Healthcare:
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Intervenes In CVS Class-Action

A group of patients with HIV and AIDS gained another ally in their class-action against CVS Health’s Caremark on Thursday, with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the pharmacy benefit manager’s patient steering practices violated federal disability law. AHF’s amicus brief supports a suit at least five patients brought against the retail health giant in 2018, claiming the company’s blanket requirement that all customers receive prescriptions from a CVS mail-order pharmacy or retail pharmacist threatened their health and privacy. The patients receive their drug benefits through their employers, which have contracted with CVS to administer their benefits. They argue that they are being disproportionately impacted by a CVS requirement that applies to all plan participants. (Tepper, 10/29)

The Purdue Bankruptcy Plan Was Approved. Where Is The Money?

Nearly two months ago, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge approved a controversial Purdue Pharma plan that would funnel billions of dollars to pay for the harm caused by the OxyContin opioid painkiller. At the core, the deal calls for some members of the Sackler family — which controlled Purdue — to contribute more than $4.3 billion over nearly a decade to compensate individuals, state and local governments, and tribal communities for the cost of the opioid crisis. (Silverman, 11/1)

New Case In Salmonella Outbreak, While Probe Into Another One Ends

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added 1 case and 3 hospitalizations to a multistate Salmonella outbreak—now at 21 cases—tied to salami sticks sold at Trader Joe’s and Wegmans, and earlier this week the agency declared its investigation into a Salmonella outbreak tied to Italian-style meats over after 40 cases in 17 states. The salami outbreak involved eight states, with California (8 cases), Illinois (3), Michigan (3), and Minnesota (3) hit hardest. Six of the 21 patients have required hospitalization, but no deaths have been recorded. The outbreak strain is Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:-. (10/29)

Fox News:
Pandemic Uptick In Cigarette Sales Is Over, Report Suggests

Although U.S. cigarette sales slightly increased for the first time in 20 years during the pandemic, total cigarette industry purchases fell 6.5% in the most recent quarter, compared with the same period last year, according to a recent report. The report noted the Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc., who makes almost half of cigarettes purchased in the U.S., said the decline was steeper than in the first and second quarters of this year. Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Cigarette Report reported a 0.4% increase in cigarette sales from 202.9 billion in 2019 to 203.7 billion cigarettes sold in 2020, but industry experts describe this pandemic fueled increase a phenomenon unique to the United States, not the rest of world. (Sudhakar, 10/30)

America’s Substance Use Crisis Has Spiraled During The Pandemic

The forced isolation, disruption to treatment and resource demands created by the pandemic have set America back in its efforts to end the opioid epidemic. It’s not just opioids. The use of other substances, particularly alcohol, increased over the last year and a half, and experts say this may lead to more people struggling with addiction. “Addiction is a disease of isolation,” said Caleb Alexander, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. (Owens, 10/30)

Fox News:
Western Diet Tied To Cognitive Decline, Neurodegeneration In Mouse Study

Researchers announced earlier this month that they had found a link between a western diet and cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in a study using mice. Published in the Cell Press journal iScience, the Marshall University authors said that the diet creates these impacts on the brain through increased Na,K-ATPase signaling in adipocytes. Na,K-ATPase is a cellular sodium-potassium pump and adipocytes are fat cells and are the major energy storage sites in the body. To reach these conclusions, the group used a gene-altered mouse model, feeding the mice either a normal diet or a western diet for 12 weeks. (Musto, 10/30)

Mosquito Testing Concludes, Residents Asked To Prevent Bites

Environmental officials in Rhode Island said they’ve finished testing mosquitoes for diseases this year, but they’re still urging residents to prevent bites until the first hard frost. The state Department of Environmental Management said Thursday that the final round of mosquito testing confirmed no new positive findings of either West Nile virus or eastern equine encephalitis. DEM collected 158 samples of mosquitoes from 45 traps set statewide from Sept. 29 to Oct. 12. (11/1)

Bangor Daily News:
Therapists Are Treating More Mainers For ‘Climate Anxiety’

The impacts of climate change, as humans have experienced so far, can be terrifying — warming waters, multiplying wildfires, intensifying hurricanes and, in general, the transformation of the world as we once knew it.
So terrifying that for some, these fears can become overwhelming. In a state where most people have some connection to the natural world, Maine therapists are seeing more clients reporting experiencing “climate anxiety,” a sense of foreboding about the future related to climate change. A 2020 poll conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that Americans who agree climate change is probably or definitely affecting mental health increased from 47 percent in 2019 to 68 percent in 2020. (Schipani, 11/1)

The Washington Post:
CDC Says Unvaccinated Foreign Children Won’t Need To Quarantine On Arrival

Foreign-national children who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will not need to self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival in the United States, health officials said Saturday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an amended order clarifying its position Saturday after some international travelers raised concerns about their children needing to self-quarantine for that long under new rules that will apply once a travel ban on visitors from 33 countries is lifted on Nov. 8. (Pannett, 10/30)

Oramed To Start Oral Covid-19 Vaccine Trial In South Africa

Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. won approval to run an initial clinical trial for its orally delivered Covid-19 vaccine candidate in South Africa. The U.S.-listed company has been given permission by the South African Health Regulatory Products Authority to start enrolling patients in Phase 1 of tests, it said in a statement on Friday. A similar trial is planned in Israel and a Phase 2 trial in the U.S., Nadav Kidron, Oramed’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. While South Africa has hosted a number of Covid-19 vaccine trials, this would be the first of an oral treatment. Delivery by mouth would surmount some hurdles confronting Africa, such as the need to keep injectable shots refrigerated, sometimes at ultra-low temperatures, in the effort to improve inoculation in the least-vaccinated continent. (Sguazzin, 10/29)

Shanghai Disneyland Tests 33K, Closes 2 Days Over 1 Contact

Fireworks boomed as the visitors at Shanghai Disneyland waited for their COVID-19 test results, surrounded by healthcare workers dressed from head to toe in the white protective suits. Shanghai Disneyland suddenly announced Sunday evening that they were no longer accepting any visitors and they were cooperating with an epidemiological investigation from another province. They then locked down the park, as Shanghai city healthcare workers and police rushed to the scene to conduct a mass testing. (Wu, 11/1)

Israel Opens To Solo Tourists For 1st Time Since Pandemic

Israel on Monday began welcoming individual tourists for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities hope that opening the country’s gates to solo travelers will breathe new life into the struggling tourism industry. Before the pandemic, the Christmas season saw hundreds of thousands of people visit Bethlehem, believed to be birthplace of Jesus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (11/1)

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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