First Edition: Sept. 30, 2020

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


Kaiser Health News:
Post-COVID Clinics Get Jump-Start From Patients With Lingering Illness


Clarence Troutman survived a two-month hospital stay with COVID-19, then went home in early June. But he’s far from over the disease, still suffering from limited endurance, shortness of breath and hands that can be stiff and swollen. “Before COVID, I was a 59-year-old, relatively healthy man,” said the broadband technician from Denver. “If I had to say where I’m at now, I’d say about 50% of where I was, but when I first went home, I was at 20%.” (Appleby, 9/30)


Kaiser Health News and PolitiFact:
What We Know About The Airborne Spread Of The Coronavirus


The federal government did a quick pivot on the threat of the coronavirus spreading through the air, changing a key piece of guidance over the weekend. On Sept. 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that tiny airborne particles, not just the bigger water droplets from a sneeze or cough, could infect others. It cited growing “evidence.” By Sept. 21, that warning was gone from its website, with a note saying it had been posted in error and the CDC was in the process of updating its recommendations. (Greenberg, 9/30)


The Hill:
Trump, Biden Clash Over Health Care As Debate Begins 


President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden clashed in the opening moments of Tuesday’s debate over the Trump administration’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court. The opening question of the first presidential debate was about the vacancy on the Supreme Court but Biden immediately pivoted to the issue of health care, driving home a theme that Democrats have been hammering all week: that the future of ObamaCare is at risk in the Supreme Court. (Sullivan, 9/29)


Stat:
Debate Highlights Trump’s Hunger For An Election-Eve Vaccine


President Trump spoke on Tuesday as if his campaign depends on a Covid-19 vaccine. Specifically, a vaccine approval by Election Day. Throughout a turbulent, disorganized, and hostile debate, Trump highlighted his government’s efforts on vaccine development, pledging, dubiously, that the country is “weeks away from a vaccine” and contradicting high-level officials within his own government who have suggested it will be months, at least, before a vaccine is available. (Facher, 9/29)


Politico:
The Biggest Falsehoods And Exaggerations In The First Trump-Biden Showdown 


Trump defended his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by claiming a Covid-19 vaccine was only weeks away from being available. But several of his own health experts have cast doubt on that timeline. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a vaccine could be ready by next month, but it wouldn’t likely be available to the majority of Americans until the summer or fall of next year. Trump himself previously claimed a vaccine wouldn’t be available to “every American” until at least April — and that’s on an optimistic timeline. (Forgey and Choi, 9/30)


USA Today:
Presidential Debate: Trump, Biden Clash On Masks, Rallies


Asked why he continues to hold large rallies against the advice of his own health experts, Trump responded: “Because people want to hear what I have to say.” He claimed that his rallies have had no negative effect on Americans, explaining “so far, we have had no problem whatsoever.”  (Hayes, 9/29)


Stat:
Trump Claims Insulin Is ‘Cheap .. Like Water.’ But It Still Costs Just As Much


Not only has he lowered drug prices, President Trump claimed in the first 15 minutes of Tuesday’s debate — but he has helped lower the price of insulin, specifically, so that it is so cheap that it’s “like water.” In reality, insulin still retails for roughly $300 a vial. Most patients with diabetes need two to three vials per month, and some can require much more. (Florko, 9/29)


Vox:
It’s True: 1 In 1,000 Black Americans Have Died In The Covid-19 Pandemic


During a discussion on race in America in the first presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden cited a horrific statistic to punctuate his case that President Donald Trump has not been good for Black Americans: 1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died in the Covid-19 pandemic. “You talk about helping African Americans — 1 in 1,000 African Americans has been killed because of the coronavirus,” the Democratic nominee said Tuesday. “And if he doesn’t do something quickly, by the end of the year, 1 in 500 will have been killed. 1 in 500 African Americans.” (Scott, 9/29)


The Hill:
Trump Downplays CDC Guidance On Masks 


President Trump on Tuesday downplayed the importance of wearing masks, saying the administration’s top scientists have changed their minds about it. During a segment of the presidential debate focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump was attacked by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his repeated questioning about the effectiveness of masks. (Weixel, 9/29)


NBC News:
Fact-Check: Trump Says GOP Health Plans Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions


Trump claimed: “Obamacare is no good. We made it better. And I had a choice to make very early on. We took away the individual mandate. We guarantee pre-existing conditions.” It’s true that Republicans eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a provision designed to force people to purchase health care coverage or pay fines through their taxes — as part of their 2017 tax bill. But Trump is wrong about pre-existing conditions. We’ve fact-checked this at length before, and it’s still false. (Timm and Kapur, 9/30)


Vox:
Presidential Debate: Joe Biden’s Plan To Beat Covid-19 In The US 


Joe Biden’s plan to beat back the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States is founded on a simple premise: leadership matters. President Donald Trump has badly botched the response thus far, according to most experts, and the numbers tell the tale: 200,000 Americans are dead. He’s tried to discredit the scientific institutions tasked with managing the response. Millions of people are still out of work. Thousands of businesses have closed that will never reopen. Biden’s campaign has spent the last six months coming up with its plan to fix it. (Scott, 9/28)


The Atlantic:
Why Trump Has No Real Health-Care Plan


There’s a reason Donald Trump has never produced a health-care plan that protects consumers with preexisting medical conditions: Ending protections for the sick is the central mechanism that all GOP health-care proposals use to try to lower costs for the healthy. Every alternative to the Affordable Care Act that Republicans have offered relies on the same strategy—retrenching the many ACA provisions that require greater risk- and cost-sharing between healthy and sick Americans—to lower the cost of insurance for healthier consumers. Put another way: Reducing protections for patients with greater health needs isn’t a bug in the GOP plans; it’s a key feature. (Brownstein, 9/29)


The Washington Post:
Pelosi, Meadows Say They’re Hopeful New Economic Relief Deal Is Within Reach 


Even though they have reengaged in talks, Democrats are preparing to move forward without a White House deal if necessary. They could vote as soon as Wednesday on their new $2.2 trillion plan, or they could hold off if the talks with Mnuchin pick up speed. “We’re in a negotiation, and hopefully we will come to a bipartisan agreement that will remove all doubt that the legislation will pass and be signed by the president,” Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC, when asked when the House would vote on the new bill. (Werner, 9/29)


Politico:
Schumer Aims To Squeeze GOP On Obamacare


It’s not often the minority leader takes control of the Senate floor. But that’s just what Chuck Schumer did Tuesday. Schumer moved to set up a vote on legislation that would block the Justice Department from supporting litigation to overturn Obamacare, a rare procedural step for Democrats. The move is a not-so-subtle rebuke of the Trump administration’s backing of a high-stakes lawsuit to strike down the entire law, which is slated to go up before the Supreme Court just one week after Election Day. (Levine and Luthi, 9/29)


Stat:
Drug Industry CEOs Set To Testify About Controversial Medicines


The House Oversight Committee will hold two days of hearings this week with six drug industry CEOs. The hearings are the presumptive climax of an 18-month investigation first launched by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings in 2019. The hearing could be the most perilous yet for drug makers, who have managed to avoid any major missteps at the multiple congressional drug pricing hearings that preceded this one. (Florko, 9/29)


Roll Call:
State, Local Aid The Chief Flashpoint In Coronavirus Relief Bill Talks


House Democrats are holding out hope for a bipartisan coronavirus aid deal but are preparing for a quick vote as soon as Wednesday on the $2.2 trillion aid package they unveiled Monday if an expected White House counteroffer falls short.  The stakes are high for both sides wanting to deliver more aid ahead of the Nov. 3 election, but it’s unclear if the political and moral imperative will be enough to bridge a $700 billion difference between Democrats’ latest bill and a $1.5 billion topline the White House has signaled it could support. (McPherson, 9/29)


The New York Times:
Federal Program To Supply Coronavirus Tests To Nursing Homes Led To Unexpected Costs And ‘Testing Hell’ 


After months of enduring a dearth of protective medical gear and staggering death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic, nursing home operators and employees across the United States experienced something close to elation as rapid-result test machines paid for by the federal government began arriving last month at 14,000 residential facilities that serve the elderly. The hand-held testing devices, which spit out results in as little as 15 minutes, were intended to quickly diagnose and isolate patients, and alter the deadly calculus of a contagion that has taken the lives of 77,000 nursing home residents and workers, more than 40 percent of the nation’s fatalities from Covid-19. (9/30)


Politico:
HHS Ad Blitz Sputters As Celebrities Back Away 


They made a list of more than 30 celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and Billy Joel to appear in their ad campaign to “inspire hope” about coronavirus, but they ended up with only Dennis Quaid, CeCe Winans and Hasidic singer Shulem Lemmer. The health department’s $300 million-plus, taxpayer-funded vehicle to boost confidence in President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic is sputtering. Celebrities are refusing to participate, and staff are arraying against it. (Diamond, 9/29)


Politico:
The Surprisingly Limited Success Of Trump’s Signature Anti-Poverty Program 


Donald Trump has spent months on the campaign trail touting his signature anti-poverty program as a way to attract support from Black voters. Opportunity zones, he has said, have drawn “$100 billion of new investment … into 9,000 of our most distressed neighborhoods” and created “countless jobs.” … Opportunity zones were created in 2017 to allow wealthy investors to avoid the federal capital gains tax by reinvesting their profits in funds that invest in designated census tracts that are high poverty or low income, or next door to a tract that meets those standards. (Trickey, 9/29)


AP:
Even Before Pandemic Struck, More US Adults Were Uninsured


About 2.5 million more working-age Americans were uninsured last year, even before the coronavirus pandemic struck, according to a government report issued Wednesday. The study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 14.5% of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2019, a statistically significant increase from 2018, when 13.3% lacked coverage. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/30)


Reuters:
Regeneron Says Its COVID-19 Treatment Reduces Viral Levels, Improves Symptoms


Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday said its experimental two-antibody cocktail reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, enhancing its chances of becoming a treatment for the disease that has killed over a million people worldwide. “We hope these data will support an EUA” (emergency use authorization) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Regeneron Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos said on a conference call. (9/29)


CNN:
Regeneron’s Antibody Cocktail For Coronavirus: Early Data Shows Promising Results 


The greatest improvements were seen in patients who hadn’t already mounted a natural response to the infection, the company said. The results only involve 275 patients of the 1,000 they have enrolled in this particular trial, but appear “very promising,” Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, the director of the division of infectious diseases at University of Alabama at Birmingham, told CNN. (Christensen, 9/29)


Reuters:
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Appears Safe, Shows Signs Of Working In Older Adults 


Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19. (Steenhuysen, 9/29)


NPR:
How Operation Warp Speed’s Big Vaccine Contracts Could Stay Secret


The Trump administration has compared Operation Warp Speed’s crash program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to the Manhattan Project. And like the notoriously secretive government project to make the first atomic bomb, the details of Operation Warp Speed’s work may take a long time to unravel. One reason is that Operation Warp Speed is issuing billions of dollars’ worth of coronavirus vaccine contracts to companies through a nongovernment intermediary, bypassing the regulatory oversight and transparency of traditional federal contracting mechanisms, NPR has learned. (Lupkin, 9/29)


Fresno Bee:
COVID-19 Twice As Contagious Than Thought Early In Pandemic 


During the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization estimated that each sick individual was infecting an average of two others. This “basic reproductive number” — or (R0) and pronounced “R naught” — reveals how contagious a disease is. Now, new research from Duke University says the number was likely twice as big, with one infected individual bringing down an average of 4 to 5 people with them, according to a study published Sept. 24 in the journal PLOS One. (Camero, 9/28)


NPR:
As Young Adults Get Infected With Coronavirus, Older Adults At Risk Of COVID-19 


Young adults are driving coronavirus infections in the U.S. and are likely spreading the virus to older, more vulnerable populations, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults were more likely to get infected, but when researchers analyzed cases from June to August, they found that people in their 20s accounted for the largest share of confirmed cases compared to other age groups. And public health experts say this is a worrying trend. (Stone, 9/29)


Stat:
New Research Shows Older Adults Are Still Often Excluded From Clinical Trials


For years, researchers have called out a glaring gap in many clinical trials: Despite having far higher rates of many diseases, older adults are largely excluded from studies testing new therapies that might help them. For how extensively experts have studied the issue of age disparities, though, it remains a significant problem — and one that has grown all the more pressing during the Covid-19 pandemic, given that the virus has hit older adults particularly hard. (Gopalakrishna, 9/30)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
FDA Grants Emergency OK Of Hologic’s Asymptomatic COVID-19 Test


The FDA has granted emergency authorization to Hologic’s COVID-19 test to treat asymptomatic people. It’s the first test widely available specifically for screening asymptomatic people and those without other reasons to suspect COVID-19 infection. Hologic said it expects the test to play a key role in identifying early infection and helping to reopen schools, workplaces and the broader economy. The test, called the Panther Fusion test, can return results in about three hours, and machines can process more than 1,000 test results in 24 hours, Hologic said. (Anderson, 9/29)


FiercePharma:
Johnson & Johnson Signs On Michigan’s Grand River To Help With COVID-19 Vaccine Finishing Work 


With all eyes on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine, drugmakers like New Jersey’s Johnson & Johnson are scouring the market for manufacturing partners to help meet what would be global demand for their shots. With a couple already in hand, J&J is now turning to a Michigan CDMO to help keep up. Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Michigan’s Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) to handle fill-finish duties for the New Jersey drugmaker’s recombinant COVID-19 vaccine, the partners said last week.  (Blankenship, 9/29)


The New York Times:
Studies Begin To Untangle Obesity’s Role In Covid-19


In early April, Edna McCloud woke up to find her hands tied to her hospital bed. She had spent the past four days on a ventilator in a hospital in St. Louis County, Mo., thrashing and kicking under sedation as she battled a severe case of Covid-19.“They told me, ‘You were a real fighter down there,’” recalled Ms. McCloud, a 68-year-old African-American retiree with a history of diabetes and heart problems. She weighed close to 300 pounds when she caught the coronavirus, which ravaged her lungs and kidneys. Nearly six months later, she feels proud to have pulled through the worst. “They said people with the conditions I have, normally, this goes the other way,” she said. (Wu, 9/29)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
Employees Describe Chaotic Scene At UHS Hospitals Amid IT Incident


The attack began on Sept. 27, and one nurse told CNBC the computers slowly stopped working. The health system issued a statement on Sept. 28 acknowledging an “IT security issue” and noted its facilities turned to downtime protocols. Employees are now stepping forward to describe the scene inside facilities. A Washington-based clinician working in a UHS facility said medical staff couldn’t easily see lab results, imaging scans and medication lists to make treatment decisions, according to a CBS News report. The facility also reverted to hand-delivering lab orders and phone issues made it challenging for care team communication. “These things are life or death,” the clinician said. (Dyrda, 9/29)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
Piedmont Cancer Institute Email Phishing Incident Exposes 5,226 Patients’ Info


Atlanta-based Piedmont Cancer Institute began notifying more than 5,000 patients in September that their personal health information may have been exposed as the result of a recent email phishing incident. The medical center reported the breach to HHS as affecting 5,226 individuals and posted a data security incident notice to its website stating that an unauthorized individual gained access to a Piedmont Cancer Institute employee’s email account between April 5 and May 8. (Drees, 9/29)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
UnitedHealth Acquires Competitor To Amazon’s PillPack


UnitedHealth Group has acquired DivvyDose, a startup that delivers medications in presorted packages, CNBC reported. The deal was valued at just over $300M, according to CNBC. A spokesperson for UnitedHealth declined to comment. Retailers have increasingly been acquiring pharmacy startups, with Amazon acquiring PillPack, a competitor to DivvyDose, in 2018, and Walmart recently acquiring medication management technology from CareZoe.  (Anderson, 9/29)


Stat:
Telehealth Startup Ro Expands Generics Partnership With Pfizer


Telehealth startup Ro is expanding its partnership with pharma giant Pfizer’s generics arm to offer its generic versions of commonly prescribed blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Through its virtual mail-order pharmacy, Ro will supply Pfizer-produced generics of Lipitor, a cholesterol drug, and Norvasc, a hypertension medication. The medications will be made available through Ro’s $5-per-month prescription drug service, which launched earlier this year and which doesn’t take insurance. (Runwal, 9/30)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
Baptist Hospitals CEO To Retire


David Parmer is retiring as CEO of Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, hospital officials announced on Twitter Sept. 29. Mr. Parmer will helm the organization through June 30 and then serve in an advisory role, the officials said. (Gooch, 9/29)


NPR:
Parents Who’ve Lost Jobs Struggle To Manage Their Own Stress — And Their Kids’ 


“We’re seeing skyrocketing rates of job losses and food insecurity and stress,” says Anna Johnson, a developmental psychologist at Georgetown University. “I think it will be very hard for these families who’ve lost income and jobs to get back to where they were. I think there will just be a lot of stress and turmoil in the household for the foreseeable future … that takes a toll.” That toll isn’t just on the parents, who’re struggling to make ends meet, but also on their children, says Johnson. With stressed-out parents at home, no school to escape to and a lack of in-person interaction with friends, children have fewer ways to cope with their circumstances, says psychologist Archana Basu of the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health. Neither Basu nor Johnson were involved with the poll. (Chatterjee, 9/30)


North Carolina Health News:
Pandemic Increases Hardships On Children 


Child advocates are worried that increased hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic could have long-term negative physical and mental health impacts for kids. In July, 30 percent of North Carolina adults with children reported that they were behind on their rent or mortgage payments and/or they could not afford enough food for their families, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. (Knopf, 9/30)


The Washington Post:
Should Kids Go Trick-Or-Treating During A Pandemic? Experts Share Their Advice. 


The question many households are asking during Halloween 2020 — Should we let kids go trick-or-treating during the pandemic? — has no easy answer, like seemingly all questions related to the novel coronavirus. Outdoor activities are generally said to be safer than indoor ones. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidance on Halloween, saying that collecting candy door to door is high-risk. This year’s holiday had all the hallmarks of a perfect night: It’s on a Saturday, and there will be a full moon. But with pandemic numbers predicted to spike in autumn, how should parents handle eager children who crave old-fashioned fun and normalcy during Halloween? (Patel, 9/28)


The New York Times:
Coronavirus Pandemic Drives Hike In Opioid Deaths 


On the first Friday in June, Jefrey Cameron, 29, left his home around midnight to buy heroin. He had been struggling with addiction for seven years but had seemingly turned a corner, holding down a job that he loved at Basil’s Pizzeria, driving his teenage sister to the mall to go shopping and sharing a home with his grandmother. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit. When he returned home that night and tried the product, it was so potent that he fell and hit his head in the bathroom. Mr. Cameron texted a friend soon after, saying that he had messed up and would go to a 12-step meeting with a friend that weekend. (Swift and Goodnough, 9/29)


Becker’s Hospital Review:
FDA Opioid Approvals Relied On Short Trials, Patient Exclusions, Study Contends


None of the clinical trials for opioids the FDA approved to treat chronic pain from 1997 to 2018 lasted longer than three months, according to research published Sept. 29 in Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers discovered that only 21 of the 39 opioids approved by the FDA from 1997 to 2018 were supported by at least one pivotal trial. The median length of the trials conducted for opioids during this time was 84 days. (Adams, 9/29)


Stat:
For Two Decades, The FDA Approval Process For Opioids Had Numerous Shortcomings, Study Finds


Over more than two decades, the Food and Drug Administration approved opioid painkillers based on relatively brief pivotal clinical trials that relied on narrowly defined patient groups and rarely assessed key safety outcomes, according to a new study. Specifically, the study found that, for opioids approved between 1997 and 2018 as treatments for chronic pain, none of the trials lasted longer than three months. Moreover, the trials often excluded patients who could not tolerate the painkillers and generally failed to systematically evaluate such known risks as tolerance, drug diversion and so-called non-medical uses. (Silverman, 9/29)


NPR:
‘Freedges’ Offer Free Food In Neighborhoods To Those In Need 


Marina Vergara has been involved in distributing food to Los Angeles’ large homeless population for years through her work with a nonprofit that supports the chronically unhoused. But this spring, she heard about something new. Free food refrigerators, or “freedges,” were springing up all over New York as the deadly pandemic fueled a striking rise in wider food insecurity and hunger. Vergara reached out to the members of the collective who were setting up them up. (Westervelt, 9/29)


The New York Times:
‘Super Healthy’ College Student Dies Of Rare Covid-19 Complications 


Chad Dorrill was in “tremendous shape.” Tall and slender. Played basketball. Ran long distances. But the 19-year-old college student died on Monday night, apparently of neurological complications related to Covid-19. Mr. Dorrill, a sophomore at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., had been living off campus and taking classes online when he became ill with flulike symptoms, the school’s chancellor, Sheri Everts, wrote on Tuesday in a statement to students confirming his death. “His mother encouraged him to come home, quarantine and be tested,” Dr. Everts said. (Hubler, 9/29)


The Baltimore Sun:
Pikesville Rabbinical College Reports More Than 50 Students Tested Positive For Coronavirus And ‘Many More Have Been Exposed’ 


More than 50 students have tested positive for coronavirus at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Pikesville, and the school expects “this number to climb,” according to a campus-wide email. “As of tonight over 50 of our Talmidim [the Hebrew word for “disciple”] have tested positive for Covid-19, and many more have been exposed,” read the email, which was sent Saturday. (Deville, 9/29)


AP:
Mississippi Middle School In Quarantine After Virus Outbreak


An entire middle school in Mississippi is in quarantine after more than a dozen students tested positive for coronavirus. Long Beach Middle School ordered Tuesday that all students be quarantined for two weeks beginning Wednesday, according to the school’s website. Students will return to the classroom on Oct. 14. (9/29)


AP:
COVID-19 Cases Rising Among US Children As Schools Reopen


After preying heavily on the elderly in the spring, the coronavirus is increasingly infecting American children and teens in a trend authorities say appears fueled by school reopenings and the resumption of sports, playdates and other activities. Children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S cases, up from 2% in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the incidence of COVID-19 in school-age children began rising in early September as many youngsters returned to their classrooms. (Tanner, 9/29)


The Hill:
Student Gatherings, Congregate Living Contribute To Rapid Coronavirus Spread At Universities: CDC 


Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Universities that resume in-person learning should reduce the capacity of on-campus housing, increase consistent use of masks, increase testing for COVID-19 and discourage student gatherings, the authors of the CDC report concluded. (Hellmann, 9/29)


The Washington Post:
What To Know About NFL’s First Covid-19 Outbreak 


Even though most games have been played without fans in the stands, the NFL had navigated the novel coronavirus pandemic with relative smoothness through three weeks of the regular season. That changed Tuesday, when news broke that eight members of the Tennessee Titans — three players and five staff members — had tested positive for the coronavirus in the aftermath of their game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, injecting uncertainty into the schedule for the first time since the summer, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of preseason games and required teams to significantly alter how they went about their daily operations. (Bonesteel, 9/29)


Fox News:
Kentucky Army Reservist Dies Of Coronavirus; Military Fatalities Now At 8


A 48-year-old Army Reservist has become the eighth military service member to die of the coronavirus, the Pentagon said this week, according to reports. Sgt. 1st Class Mike A. Markins, of Kentucky, was a nearly 30-year military veteran, first having served as an active duty member of the Air Force from 1990-1997. He joined the Army Reserve in 2000. He also worked as a full-time civilian employee for the Army Reserve for nearly 20 years, according to the Courier-Journal of Louisville. (Stimson, 9/30)


The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Cases Tick Up In New York As U.S. Infections Edge Down 


The daily share of people tested in New York City who are positive for Covid-19 hit 3.25% for the first time since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday, just as most public schools began reopening and limited indoor dining is set to begin. The rise in cases was fueled by hot spots in nine ZIP Codes in southern Brooklyn and Queens, which have seen more than a threefold increase in cases in the past two weeks. (Grayce West and Ansari, 9/29)


AP:
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Dies From COVID-19


An Oklahoma Highway Patrol captain has become the first state trooper in Oklahoma to die of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Capt. Jeffery Sewell, 58, of Atoka died Saturday at a Denison, Texas, hospital where he had been treated for the virus for about three weeks, OHP spokesperson Sarah Stewart said Tuesday. (9/29)


NPR:
Florida’s Miami-Dade Pushes Back On Loosening Of Coronavirus Restrictions


Miami-Dade County says it will not fully comply with a decision by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to lift most restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus, saying it’s too soon to safely reverse the precautions. County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, speaking Tuesday with local medical advisors, and in a conference call with White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that the number of COVID-19 cases in the county has declined because it has reopened very slowly. (Allen, 9/29)


The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Cases Jump In Canada, Prompting New Restrictions 


Canada is seeing a sharp rise in cases of Covid-19, alarming health officials and triggering a second round of lockdowns and strict distancing recommendations. Average daily case counts have nearly reached the peak levels set in April, according to the country’s chief public-health officer. Confirmed cases for the past seven days—9,636 ended Sept. 28—rose 29% from the previous seven-day period, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and are roughly triple the tally from the last seven days in August. (Vieira, 9/29)


The Guardian:
World Bank Announces $12B Plan For Poor Countries To Buy Covid Vaccines


The World Bank has announced plans for a $12B initiative that will allow poor countries to purchase Covid-19 vaccines to treat up to 2 billion people as soon as effective drugs become available. In an attempt to ensure that low-income countries are not frozen out by wealthy nations, the organization is asking its key rich-nation shareholders to back a scheme that will disburse cash over the next 12 to 18 months. (Elliott, 9/29)


The New York Times:
Vilified Early Over Lax Virus Strategy, Sweden Seems To Have Scourge Controlled 


Normalcy has never been more contentious than in Sweden. Almost alone in the Western world, the Swedes refused to impose a coronavirus lockdown last spring, as the country’s leading health officials argued that limited restrictions were sufficient and would better protect against economic collapse. … For their part, the Swedes admit to making some mistakes, particularly in nursing homes, where the death toll was staggering. (Erdbrink, 9/29)


AP:
Child Poverty Likely To Increase In EU Amid Virus Pandemic


Child poverty has reached an “unacceptable” level across the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc, a situation likely to worsen during the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s external auditor said Tuesday. According to EU data, almost 23 million people under 18 — approximately one in four children — are at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the 27-nation bloc. (Petrequin, 9/29)


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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