First Edition: Sept. 1, 2020

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


Kaiser Health News:
Public Health Officials Are Our COVID Commanders. Treat Them With Respect.  


As a veteran who served back-to-back tours in Iraq, I initially cringed when commentators compared the COVID-19 crisis to wartime — no bullets, no blood and no one volunteered for this. But after my months of reporting on the pandemic, it has become painfully clear this is like war. People are dying every day as a result of government decisions — and indecision — and the death toll is climbing with no end in sight. (Hart, 9/1)


Kaiser Health News:
Tourists Tote Dollars — And COVID — To U.S. Caribbean Islands 


“What activities are open to do next week? Zip-lining? Jet ski? Anyone have recommendations on things still open?” a Facebook user asks. “Stay home!” another user replies.The Facebook group called “What’s Going on St. Thomas?” has been flooded with pointed, exasperated comments urging travelers to stay away. This is a marked change. Before the pandemic, the exchanges between vacationers and island residents resonated with promises of excitement and fun. Now, tour operators from the mainland who administer the Facebook page quickly try to delete any expressions of anger. (Giles and Heredia Rodriguez, 9/1)


The Hill:
WHO: We Can’t ‘Just Pretend The Pandemic Is Over’ 


The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that people can’t “pretend the pandemic is over” as countries lift restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that countries should not reopen economies if they don’t have control over the virus. (Klar, 8/31) 


The New York Times:
The Midwest Sees A Spike As Covid-19 Cases Decline Elsewhere 


Reports of new cases have fallen significantly around the country since July; they are now flat in 26 states and falling in 15 others. But in nine states, cases are still growing, and in some, setting records — especially in the Midwest.Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota all added more cases in a recent seven-day stretch than in any previous week of the pandemic. Together, they reported 19,133 new cases in the week ending Sunday, according to a New York Times database — 6.4 percent of the national total, though the five states are home to only 4 percent of the population. In each, some of the biggest surges in new case numbers have come in college towns. (8/31)


The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. New Coronavirus Infections Slow To Lowest Level In More Than Two Months 


The U.S. recorded its smallest number of daily coronavirus cases in months, continuing a slowdown in new infections. The number of new reported infections in the country fell below 34,000 on Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the lowest number since June 22. While Covid-19 cases remain elevated compared with the earliest days of the summer, they have been trending down in recent weeks. (Mendell, 9/1)


The Hill:
Teen And Children Hospitalizations, Deaths From Coronavirus Increasing: Report 


Coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths of children and teens are on the rise, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although data indicate younger children are less likely to catch or transmit the virus, the May 21-Aug. 20 dataset shows a similar rise across states. Complicating matters is the fact that states use different grouping strategies, with many putting infants and teens in the same category, The New York Times notes. (Budryk, 8/31)


Politico:
White House Privately Warned States Of Covid-19 ‘Red Zone’ Threat, Records Show 


Senior Trump administration officials in June privately warned seven states about dangerous coronavirus outbreaks that put them in the highest risk “red zone” while publicly dismissing concerns about a second wave of Covid-19, according to White House documents House Democrats released on Monday. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released eight weeks of previously confidential reports obtained from the White House coronavirus task force that Democrats said showed the administration acting over the summer to willfully cover up public health risks for political gain. (Miranda Ollstein, 8/31)


The Hill:
Private Coronavirus Task Force Reports Warned States Of Virus Spread 


Trump administration officials for months privately warned several states they were becoming “red zones” of coronavirus spread while publicly downplaying the severity of the outbreak, according to documents released by House Democrats on Monday. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released eight weeks of reports obtained from the administration’s task force that give a detailed look at how the virus spread across states. They include detailed state-level data on test positivity, as well as county-level data on case numbers. (Weixel, 8/31)


The Hill:
Trump Knocks Fauci: ‘I Inherited Him’ 


President Trump on Monday questioned the value of Anthony Fauci to the White House coronavirus task force, saying in an interview with Fox News that he “inherited” the government’s top infectious disease expert. “I disagree with a lot of what he said,” Trump told Laura Ingraham when asked if he would put Fauci “front and center” in the pandemic response if he could do it again. (Samuels, 8/31)


Politico:
Trump Demands ‘Patriotic Education’ In U.S. Schools 


President Donald Trump said Monday that the nation must restore “patriotic education” in schools as a way to calm unrest in cities and counter “lies” about racism in the United States. Trump blamed violent protests in Portland, Ore., and other cities in recent months on “left-wing indoctrination” in schools and universities, while accusing his Democratic presidential challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, of giving “moral aid and comfort” to vandals. (Gaudiano, 8/31)


The Washington Post:
Twitter Deletes Trump’s Coronavirus Death Toll Retweet, Citing Misinformation 


After President Trump retweeted a claim that discounted the coronavirus death toll in the United States over the weekend, Twitter took down the post that spread false information. The tweet was originally posted by “Mel Q,” a follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon, which posits that the president is battling a cabal of Satan-worshiping child sex traffickers. It was copied from a Facebook post and claimed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had “quietly updated the Covid number to admit that only 6%” of reported deaths — or about 9,000 — “actually died from Covid.” (Shammas and Kornfield, 8/31)


The Hill:
Mnuchin Says McConnell May Introduce New Coronavirus Bill Next Week 


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will “hopefully” unveil a new coronavirus relief bill next week. In an interview on Fox Business Network, Mnuchin was asked about the collapse of talks with Democrats over COVID-19 response and stimulus legislation. The secretary responded that he and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have been regularly speaking with McConnell. “Hopefully Mitch will enter new legislation next week,” Mnuchin said. (Klar, 8/31)


The Hill:
Lawmakers Call For Bipartisan Push To Support Scientific Research


Lawmakers in both parties urged their colleagues Monday to invest in and work to develop a new, diverse generation of American scientists and researchers to help close the innovation gap with foreign rivals. In discussions held during The Hill’s “Science & American Advancement” event Monday, Democratic and Republican members of the House voiced support for boosting research funding and increasing the public interest in developing crucial technologies. (Lane, 8/31)


Politico:
Atlas Makes Florida Swing, Backing DeSantis On Schools And Sports


President Donald Trump’s newest Covid-19 adviser on Monday traveled to the swing state of Florida, where he said there is no need to test healthy people for infection and urged the state not to fear the virus, which has killed more than 182,000 people nationwide and infected more than 6 million. Scott Atlas, who Trump named to the White House coronavirus task force this month, said people who are asymptomatic don’t require testing for Covid-19. Backing the Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis at a briefing in Tallahassee, Atlas said schools should be open to classroom instruction and college athletes should take the field. (Sarkissian and Atterbury, 8/31)


The Wall Street Journal:
How Trump Sowed Covid Supply Chaos. ‘Try Getting It Yourselves.’ 


Sergio Melgar, the chief financial officer for the largest health-care system in central Massachusetts, was about to run out of medical-grade N95 masks. A Chinese company poised to replenish the supply wanted the money upfront. It was after midnight on March 20, too late to arrange a wire transfer. So Mr. Melgar took out his own credit card and authorized a $100,000 charge. “If I don’t do this,” he recalls thinking, “we will run out.” (Bender and Ballhaus, 8/31)


Politico:
Falling Covid-19 Cases Create Opportunity And Peril For Trump


Coronavirus infections are down in nearly every state. That could either give President Donald Trump just what he needs to prime his reelection odds or become another missed opportunity to capitalize on a lull during the pandemic. The positive trends are real. Covid-19 cases have been falling since late July, including in several battleground states. Hospitalizations have dropped 37 percent in the last month and the daily death count is leveling off. (Goldberg, 8/30)


AP:
CDC Has Not Reduced The Death Count Related To COVID-19


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not “backpedal” on the number of deaths caused by COVID-19, reducing the figure from nearly 154,000 to just over 9,000, as social media posts claimed.The term “Only 6%” trended widely on Twitter over the weekend as supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory promoted tweets that falsely suggested the CDC had updated its records to show that only 6% of U.S. deaths tied to COVID-19 were legitimate. President Donald Trump was among those who tweeted the information, which was later taken down by Twitter for violating platform rules. (Dupuy, 8/31)


The Hill:
HHS Seeks To Spend $250M On Campaign To ‘Inspire Hope’ On Pandemic: Report 


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking to spend $250 million on a communications campaign aimed to “inspire hope” about the coronavirus pandemic, Politico reported Monday, citing an internal document. The department sent a number of communications firms a “performance work statement” laying out what work would be expected of the company that secures the bid, stating that the vast majority of the money will be spent from now until January, Politico reported. (Klar, 8/31)


USA Today:
Hurricane Laura: Louisiana Governor Wary Of COVID-19 Spike


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is wary of a COVID-19 spike as displaced Hurricane Laura victims scatter across the state and first-responders and volunteers flow into the most damaged areas to help. The concern comes as more than 300,000 households and businesses remain without power and another 176,000 remain without running water as victims dig out from the damage under a blistering summer sun pushing the heat index to 108. (Hillburn, 8/31)


The Washington Post:
Excessive Heat Warning In Areas Ravaged By Hurricane Laura, Power Outages 


Large portions of southwestern Louisiana remain without power four days after Hurricane Laura struck the region as the strongest storm on record for this part of the state, with gusts topping 150 mph. Now, the areas hit hardest are dealing with dangerous levels of heat and humidity that could last several more days, according to the National Weather Service. One extreme weather event layered atop another makes the region’s arduous recovery process even more difficult. Many residents are without air conditioning and lack running water while stifling heat, among the most lethal weather hazards, takes hold. (Samenow and Cusick, 8/31)


CIDRAP:
Yet More Data Support COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission 


Two studies published late last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases highlight the role of airborne spread of COVID-19 and the importance of efficient ventilation systems. One study found that patients can exhale millions of viral RNA particles per hour in the early stages of disease, and the second tied an outbreak affecting 81% of residents and 50% of healthcare workers at a Dutch nursing home to inadequate ventilation. (Van Beusekom, 8/31)


The Washington Post:
What Is Herd Immunity And Why Are Trump Officials Pursuing An Idea WHO Calls ‘Dangerous’? 


Trump administration officials are starting to move towards coronavirus policies that are in line with a “herd immunity” strategy — a controversial approach that involves deliberately allowing the coronavirus to spread to build up population resistance more quickly while protecting the most vulnerable. In theory, as the number of survivors with immunity increases to a certain level, the virus’s spread would slow and eventually stop. The only problem: A whole lot of people would die before that point. (Wan, 8/31)


CIDRAP:
Multicenter Study Suggests Stealthy COVID-19 Spread By Children


Twenty of 91 children (22%) diagnosed as having COVID-19 in a South Korean study had no symptoms, and most symptoms in clinically ill children went unrecognized or developed only after diagnosis, suggesting that this age-group may silently spread coronavirus in the community. The study, which involved pediatric contacts of people with COVID-19 at 22 medical centers from Feb 18 to Mar 31, was published late last week in JAMA Pediatrics. Of the 71 symptomatic children, 47 (66%) had symptoms that went unrecognized as coronavirus symptoms, and 18 (25%) developed symptoms only after diagnosis, while only 6 (9%) were diagnosed at the time of illness onset. (8/31)


The Washington Post:
Boosting Early Immune Defenses Called Interferons Might Be A Way To Fight Covid-19, Experts Say 


Researchers across the planet are racing to harness one of our immune system’s front-line defenders as an early treatment for covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus that has killed more than 800,000 people globally.Until now, early-stage treatments have remained elusive. But an improved understanding how the virus disarms some of the body’s immune fighters, called interferons, is creating excitement among scientists who theorize they might be able to counter that process and prevent infections from developing into severe disease. (Guarino, 8/31)


CNN:
What We’ve Learned About Covid-19 Seven Months After The First US Case 


It has now been almost six months since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in the United States. For all researchers have learned, there’s still so much more to understand. The key to moving forward is understanding where Covid-19 has spread around the country and what the science tells us about what to do next. (Simon, 8/31)


CIDRAP:
US Cell Phone Data: Staying Home Amid Lockdowns May Stem COVID-19


US counties with large declines in cell phone activity at workplaces, transit stations, and stores and concomitant increases in home activity during COVID-19 lockdowns had lower rates of coronavirus infections 5, 10, and 15 days later, according to a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The researchers made 22,124 to 83,745 daily observations of cell phone location data from 949 to 2,740 counties, depending on data availability, from Jan 22 to May 11 and compared them with COVID-19 growth rates. (8/31)


Politico:
What Happens If China Gets The Covid-19 Vaccine First? 


David Fidler has a nightmare scenario: In three months, China announces one of its Covid-19 vaccines has successfully completed Phase III trials. The World Health Organization is enthusiastic. Beijing doles out doses to countries in Latin America and Africa and those with claims to the South China Sea. The United States is nowhere to be found. “If China wins the race, exploits that advantage and we don’t have anything equivalent yet, what do we do?” he asks. “That to me is what concerns me the most.”


The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Vaccines: What’s Coming And When? 


Some 170 Covid-19 vaccines are in development around the world, according to the World Health Organization, each one promising to protect people from the deadly coronavirus and allow them to go back to work and school. Now, a handful are starting or nearing the final stage of testing. Depending on the results, some companies say their vaccines could be greenlighted for use as soon as this year. (Rivas, Loftus and Cervantes, 8/31)


The New York Times:
Dizziness Upon Standing Can Lead To Falls And Fractures – The New York Times


Orthostatic hypotension — to many people those are unfamiliar words for a relatively common but often unrecognized medical problem that can have devastating consequences, especially for older adults. It refers to a brief but precipitous drop in blood pressure that causes lightheadedness or dizziness when standing up after lying down or sitting, and sometimes even after standing, for a prolonged period. The problem is likely to be familiar to people of all ages who may have been confined to bed for a long time by an injury, illness or surgery. It also often occurs during pregnancy. But middle-aged and older adults are most frequently affected. (Brody, 8/31)


Stat:
Mylan Launches Low-Cost Biosimilar Insulin, But Many Patients May Not Save


Amid a national outcry over the cost of insulin, one of the largest generic companies launched a biosimilar version at a wholesale price it claimed is 65% less than comparable treatments, although experts say the move is more likely to benefit payers than many patients. Mylan (MYL) is marketing a long-acting version of the best-selling Lantus insulin — which the company named Semglee — for adults with Type 2 diabetes, and adults and children with Type 1 diabetes. But Mylan maintained the price for a package of 5 pens is equivalent to what Lantus sold for in 2007, and that a 10 ml vial is listed at the same price for which Lantus was sold a decade ago. (Silverman, 8/31)


The Wall Street Journal:
Anthem-Cigna Fight Over Failed Merger Ends In A Draw 


Cigna Corp. and Anthem Inc. won’t have to pay damages to one another over their failed $48 billion merger deal, a Delaware judge decided Monday, potentially resolving a bitter, yearslong legal battle that had the two insurance giants trading accusations of skulduggery. In dueling lawsuits, each of the health-insurance giants sought billions of dollars in damages from the other. Both companies argued that its erstwhile partner had sabotaged their proposed combination, which foundered in 2017 after court rulings against the merger on antitrust grounds. Cigna wanted damages of $14.7 billion, along with a breakup fee of about $1.8 billion, from Anthem. Anthem sought damages of $21.1 billion from Cigna. (Wilde Mathews and Brickley, 8/31)


Stat:
Vir And GlaxoSmithKline Begin Pivotal Study Of Covid-19 Antibody Drug


Vir Biotechnology, a San Francisco-based firm focused on infectious disease, and GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, said Monday that they are beginning a study of an antibody drug aimed at treating Covid-19. The study will enroll 1,300 patients around the world who have early symptomatic infection, and will test whether the treatment, VIR-7831, can prevent those patients from being hospitalized. (Herper, 8/31)


Reuters:
AstraZeneca, Oxford Biomedica Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Tie-Up 


AstraZeneca has expanded its previous agreement with Oxford Biomedica to mass-produce the British drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as it looks to scale-up supply ahead of a possible fast-track approval from the United States. Gene and cell therapy firm Oxford Biomedica said on Tuesday AstraZeneca would give it 15 million pounds ($20 million) upfront to reserve manufacturing capacity at its plant and that it could get an additional 35 million pounds plus other costs until the end of 2021 under the new 18-month deal. (9/1)


Stat:
Small Vape Makers Seek Extension On A Looming FDA Application Deadline


Vaping companies have just nine days until they must submit formal marketing applications to the Food and Drug Administration, or risk being kicked off the market. Now, small vapor companies are requesting an extension, setting off a flurry of activism in recent days from both vaping advocates and tobacco control groups. (Florko, 9/1)


The Wall Street Journal:
An Alzheimer’s Quest: Enrolling More Black People In Clinical Trials 


Brian Van Buren applied to five Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials after being diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and losing his mother and aunt to the illness. He wanted to participate despite a painful family history with medical research: His grandfather died from syphilis after involvement with the infamous Tuskegee study, in which African-American men were deliberately left untreated. (Ansberry, 8/31)


Stat:
Advocacy Coalition Urges Justice Department To Charge Opioid Executives


A coalition of advocacy groups and families is asking the Department of Justice to pursue criminal and civil charges against the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, as well as executives of other companies for their role in fomenting the opioid crisis in the U.S. In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, the organizations argue that various companies — both manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers — created what they call a “man-made plague” and that executives should be held accountable. (Silverman, 8/31)


The Washington Post:
The Nation’s Public Health Agencies Are Ailing When They’re Needed Most 


At the very moment the United States needed its public health infrastructure the most, many local health departments had all but crumbled, proving ill-equipped to carry out basic functions let alone serve as the last line of defense against the most acute threat to the nation’s health in generations. Epidemiologists, academics and local health officials across the country say the nation’s public health system is one of many weaknesses that continue to leave the United States poorly prepared to handle the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 180,000 lives in the country. (Janes and Wan, 8/31)


PBS NewsHour:
Is U.S. Health Care The Best Or ‘Least Effective’ System In The Modern World?


And the idea was to look at the state of American health care, how it is today. And, as you know, this is a country with remarkable innovation in that field, remarkable innovation. And yet this is also a country with incredibly stark disparities. There’s over 30 million people who have no health care insurance whatsoever. And so we thought, can we learn something about — can we learn something from other nations that do a better job of covering everybody? (Brangham and Kane, 8/31)


AP:
Missouri Schools Report More COVID Cases As Classes Resume


Missouri schools ranging from universities to a kindergarten continue to grapple with an increase in COVID-19 cases as classes resume. The University of Missouri reported Monday that it had 415 active cases of COVID-19 on campus, an increase from the 306 reported Friday after the first week of on-campus classes. (8/31)


AP:
University Of Arkansas Reports 151 New Coronavirus Cases


The University of Arkansas on Monday reported 151 more confirmed cases of coronavirus at its campus in Fayetteville and a White House report said the state continued to have one of the highest rates of positive tests in the country. The new infections reported at the university over the weekend brings its total number of active cases to 222 and comes days after the state’s top health official expressed concerns about outbreaks at Arkansas’ college campuses. (DeMillo, 8/31)


AP:
School Stops Face-To-Face Teaching Due To COVID-19 Exposure


An elementary school in southeast Louisiana will cease in-person instruction for two weeks in response to what’s being called a “potential” coronavirus exposure. WDSU-TV reports parents at Wesley Ray Elementary School in Angie were notified by Washington Parish officials that the shutdown was “out of an abundance of caution” in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health. (8/31)


NPR:
Playing The Blame Game: The Uphill Battle To Prevent College Partying


As the fall semester gets underway, college students are reuniting with their friends, getting (re)acquainted with campus and doing what college students often do: partying. But in the time of the coronavirus, as more parties surface university administrators have been quick to condemn — and even berate — the behavior of students. “Be better. Be adults. Think of someone other than yourself,” pleaded a letter to students at Syracuse University following a large gathering on campus. (Nadworny, 8/31)


USA Today:
COVID College Fall 2020: Students Surprised To Find Class Is Online


Tyrel Henry would rather be at home. Instead, the junior at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho spends his days mostly alone in his room or working out at a local gym. There isn’t much to do in Lewiston, and he is losing money by being there. If he had stayed home in Kamiah, Idaho, he could be living with his grandmother and saving money. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The university had told him his courses would be offered in a “hybrid” format, one where students take both in-person and virtual classes. Days into his semester, he realized his classes were mostly online. (Quintana, 9/1)


The New York Times:
Does My Kid Have A Cold Or Is It Covid-19? 


It’s inevitable. In the fall and winter your child is likely to develop a fever, runny nose or cough. Maybe even all three. In past years, that probably wouldn’t have been so worrisome. Usually children are sent back to school as soon as they are well enough to attend. But now parents are bound to wonder: Are those symptoms a sign of Covid-19? Should my child stay home? Does she need to be tested? If so, how often? The rules at different schools may vary. (Caron, 8/28)


AP:
Can I Use A Face Shield Instead Of A Mask?


Can I use a face shield instead of a mask? No. Health officials don’t recommend the clear plastic barriers as a substitute for masks because of the lack of research on whether they keep an infected person from spreading viral droplets to others. However, those who want extra protection may want to wear a face shield in addition to a mask. (9/1)


AP:
Teen Siblings Send Cards Thanking Health Care Worker Heroes


Every day on every news channel, teenage siblings Prabhleen and Mantej Lamba watched the sacrifices of medical workers around the world who risk their physical and mental health on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.“We were really moved by this,” said Prabhleen, 15, “and we knew that we had to involve our community and take action. ”So in the spirit of the Sikh faith’s core principle of “seva,” or selfless service, the San Francisco Bay area teens launched an initiative they called Cards 4 Covid Heroes to let health care workers know how much they’re appreciated. (Andres Henao, 8/31)


AP:
A Zoom Thanksgiving? Summer Could Give Way To A Bleaker Fall


As the Summer of COVID draws to a close, many experts fear an even bleaker fall and suggest that American families should start planning for Thanksgiving by Zoom. Because of the many uncertainties, public health scientists say it’s easier to forecast the weather on Thanksgiving Day than to predict how the U.S. coronavirus crisis will play out this autumn. But school reopenings, holiday travel and more indoor activity because of colder weather could all separately increase transmission of the virus and combine in ways that could multiply the threat, they say. (Johnson, 8/31)


The New York Times:
Helping Children With Pandemic Grief 


Between travel restrictions and limits on visitors to hospitals, parents may get the news of a loved one’s death over the phone and find themselves having to tell children who may be unprepared. At the end of March, doctors in the child and adolescent psychiatry group at Oxford University, led by Alan Stein, published an editorial in the journal The Lancet: Child and Adolescent Health, arguing that honest and effective communication with children about the pandemic, including about death and dying, and about parental stress and sadness, was vital for children’s psychological health and well-being. (8/31)


The New York Times:
A Quick Virus Test? Sure, If You Can Afford It 


As major laboratories struggle to meet surging demand for coronavirus tests, wealthier people and others in privileged professions are avoiding long waits for results — anywhere from four days to more than two weeks in New York City — by skipping the lines. Some are signing up for concierge medical practices that charge several thousand dollars a year for membership and provide quick turnaround testing. Others have turned to smaller laboratories or doctors’ offices that have their own equipment and can give results in a few hours or less. (Goodman, 8/31)


AP:
Free Coronavirus Testing Program Begins In Las Vegas Area


Health officials in Las Vegas are launching a drive-thru coronavirus testing blitz, with help from the federal government and a goal of reaching 60,000 people. The “surge testing” event arrives as Nevada nears 70,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Health officials reported 320 additional confirmed cases and three additional deaths on Monday, bringing the statewide totals to 69,223 cases and 1,305 deaths. About 86% of both cases and deaths have been in the Las Vegas area. (8/31)


The New York Times:
How To Help Someone Who Lost Their Job 


Losing a job is always a dispiriting experience, but losing a job when jobless claims have reached record highs can be especially traumatic. Competition among job seekers is stiffer than ever, and experiencing it during a global pandemic when you can’t even commiserate in person? Even worse. Still, there are ways to reach out to newly unemployed friends from a distance and make the experience slightly less awful. (Chevlen, 8/30)


AP:
Reports On Trinity Test Fallout, Cancer Cases To Be Released


After years of research, the National Cancer Institute was poised Tuesday to finally release a series of papers related to radiation doses and cancer risks resulting from the U.S. government’s detonation of the first atomic bomb during a test at a military outpost in the New Mexico desert in 1945. Government scientists never discounted the potential for radioactive fallout before moving ahead with the Trinity Test, which was the culmination of work done at installations around the country as part of the once-secret Manhattan Project. The detonation forever changed the course of history, ensuring the end of World War II and marking the dawn of the atomic age. (Montoya Bryan, 9/1)


AP:
Hawaii Health, Public Safety Chiefs Retire Amid COVID Surge


Directors leading Hawaii’s health and public safety department are retiring amid a surge in coronarvirus cases on Oahu and an ongoing outbreak at the state’s largest jail. Gov. David Ige announced Monday the retirements of Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson and Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda. (8/31)


AP:
Kemp Extends COVID-19 Orders As Cases Fall In Georgia


Georgia’s governor is extending the two main executive orders that govern Georgia’s response to COVID-19. Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday signed a 15-day extension of the order that mandates requirements on social distancing, bans on gatherings of more than 50 people unless there is six feet between each person and lists other rules about operating businesses and nonprofit groups. Those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as people deemed medically fragile, must continue to shelter in place through Sept. 15. (Amy, 9/1)


AP:
Ducey Pushes Flu Vaccine Amid COVID-19 Pandemic


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and public health officials on Monday urged people to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible, warning hospitals face potential overcrowding with flu patients while still trying to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Free vaccines will be made available to people who are uninsured or underinsured, Ducey said, and the state will increase payments to health care providers who vaccinate people on Arizona’s Medicaid plan in hopes of increasing availability of the vaccine. (9/1)


AP:
Vermont Officials Following Outbreak After Private Party


Click to copyVermont officials following outbreak after private partyThe Associated PressyesterdayThe Vermont Department of Health said Monday officials are investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases associated with people who attended a private party in Killington on Aug. 19. So far officials have identified 14 cases among people who attended the event at the Summit Lodge and their close contacts. The state says Summit Lodge followed state protocols and guidance and has been a cooperative partner. (8/31)


AP:
Officials: Tennessee Prison Has Nearly 1,000 COVID Cases


Nearly 1,000 inmates at a Tennessee prison have tested positive for COVID-19, corrections officials said Monday. Officials tested 1,410 inmates at South Central Correctional Facility late last week after several inmates and staff began showing symptoms, the Tennessee Department of Correction said in a news release. As of late Monday afternoon, 974 of the inmates had tested positive for the disease while another 189 results were pending, according to TDOC statistics. The prison in Wayne County is run by private prison company CoreCivic. (8/31)


The Hill:
Dozens Of Inmates At West Virginia Prison Test Positive For Coronavirus 


Nearly 150 inmates at a correctional facility in West Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 as prison officials across the country continue to struggle with outbreaks. Data released by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday revealed that 138 positive cases have been confirmed at the Mount Olive Correctional Complex, where just over 2,100 inmates are housed. Close to 200 inmates were still waiting for test results as of Sunday. (Bowden, 8/31)


AP:
Detroit Turns Island Park Into COVID-19 Memorial Garden


A Detroit island park was transformed Monday into a drive-thru COVID-19 victims memorial as policy makers across the U.S. moved forward with plans to reopen schools and public spaces. Hearses led processions around Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River, where more than 900 large photos of local coronavirus victims provided by relatives were turned into posters and staked into the ground. (9/1)


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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