White Home Sounds Alarm Over Looming Winter Covid Surge

Due to new omicron subvariants, the Biden administration estimates that the US could see 100 million covid infections this coming fall and winter. Officials say that additional funds are urgently needed to combat the wave.

Politico: White House Warns Of Covid Surges In The Winter

Covid cases surged during the last two winters and are likely to again this year — unless the country can prepare and act, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said Sunday morning. “If we don’t get ahead of this thing, we’ll have a lot of waning immunity, this virus continues to evolve and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter,” Jha said on ABC’s “This Week.” (Farrow, 5/8)

In other news about the spread of covid —

New Hampshire Public Radio: Wastewater Surveillance For COVID-19 Is About To Take Off In NH

This week, state health officials met with the leaders of dozens of wastewater treatment plants in New Hampshire to discuss plans for a new COVID data tracking project. With so many Granite Staters testing for COVID-19 at home, state data on new cases isn’t as useful an indicator of COVID-19 levels as it used to be. People who are asymptomatic or who don’t have easy access to testing may not test at all, which has always been a pitfall of counting individual test results. “This approach, [tracking wastewater data] is really helpful because we can actually see what’s happening without necessarily needing to have the individual test data,” said Dr. Paula Mouser, director of the COVID Wastewater Program at the University of New Hampshire. (Fam, 5/6)

Capitol News Illinois: Illinois Public Health Department Failed To Intervene In Early Days Of LaSalle Veterans’ Home Outbreak

A new report from the state’s auditor general found more fault with the Illinois Department of Public Health in its response to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a state-run veterans home than was found by a previous watchdog report that investigated the matter. A November 2020 COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home resulted in 36 resident deaths, leading the Illinois House to pass a resolution in April 2021 requesting an audit of the outbreak from Auditor General Frank Mautino’s office. The outbreak also led to the firing or resignations of LaSalle home administrator Angela Mehlbrech, then-director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Linda Chapa LaVia and IDVA chief of staff Tony Kolbeck. (Nowicki, 5/7)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: COVID-19 State Of Emergency Coming To An End In Nevada

Nevada’s COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency will soon be no more. Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Friday that he plans to end the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic on May 20, more than two years after he issued the emergency declaration. The governor declared the emergency on March 12 in response to the pandemic when the state had detected just 11 total positive cases of COVID-19. That order granted the governor the authority to take extraordinary measures to combat the virus, from closing businesses to easing licensing requirements for some health care workers. (Lochhead, 5/6)

The New York Times: Gov. Kathy Hochul Tests Positive For Covid

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York announced on Sunday that she had positive for the coronavirus — the worst tested sort of Mother’s Day surprise for the state’s first mom governor. Aides said that Ms. Hochul was asymptomatic, and that the virus had been detected as part of the governor’s testing routine in Albany. (Ashford, 5/8)

Wyoming Public Radio: As COVID-19 Maintenance Grows More Individualistic, The Uninsured Find Themselves In A Familiar Situation

It might seem like COVID-19 is over in Wyoming. It’s true that transmission and hospitalizations have dropped, but people are still getting sick. Vaccines and tests are still a vital part of dealing with this public health problem. In Wyoming, it’s still possible to get tests for free, but COVID maintenance could be getting pricier for many people. The entirety of COVID-related healthcare – from testing to treatment to vaccines – has been offered free of charge to most Americans since the beginning of the pandemic. But now, the way we handle COVID could start to look more like the way we handle the flu – with less government support for testing and treatment, and a focus on “personal responsibility.” (Victor, 5/6)

Axios: Medical Centers Create New Long COVID Clinics

Dozens of health systems across the country have opened new clinics in the past two years to provide care to long COVID patients. These long COVID clinics are providing a multidisciplinary approach that cuts across medical specialties to treat the wide range of symptoms patients face — but some providers say their resources are stretched thin in the face of a mounting public health crisis. (Cirruzzo, 5/7)

Axios: Axios-Ipsos Poll: Americans Support Long COVID Protections

Most Americans think long COVID is a disability and approve of giving stronger support to people who have it, including workplace protections and free medical care, according to an Axios-Ipsos poll. And they overwhelmingly favor requiring health insurance companies to cover treatment for it. There are some partisan differences, but overall the poll suggests that Americans have sympathy for people battling long COVID and that they’d support moves to strengthen the safety net for them. (Nather, 5/7)

Also —

NBC News: More People Now Incorrectly Blame Asian Americans For Covid Than At Height Of Pandemic

More Americans are now blaming Asian Americans for Covid-19 than at the height of the pandemic in 2021, according to a report released Wednesday by Asian American advocacy groups. More than 20 percent of respondents said this year that people of Asian descent are at least partly responsible for Covid-19, compared to 11 percent who said last year that the community was to blame. The study, released by Leading Asian Americans United for Change (LAAUNCH.org) and The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), also showed higher levels of distrust of Asian Americans. (Bellamy-Walker, 5/5)

Axios: Misinformation Spurring US Life Expectancy “Erosion,” FDA Chief Says

US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf told CNN on Saturday evening “almost no one” in the US should be dying from COVID-19, but misinformation was impacting the death toll. Nearly 998,000 people have died of COVID in the US since the pandemic began as of Sunday night, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the US in 2021 for the second consecutive year, behind heart disease and cancer. (Falconer, 5/7)

The Washington Post: After 1 Million Deaths, Covid Leaves Millions More Forever Changed

One million dead: The US death toll from the covid-19 pandemic will hit that unfathomable number this week, and yet there is a far larger number that reflects the true impact this virus has had on Americans over the past two years. That number is 9 million — the number of Americans who have lost spouses, parents, grandparents, siblings and children to covid. Sociologists at Penn State and the University of Southern California came relatives up with a “bereavement multiplier,” a way to calculate how many close each covid death leaves behind and bereft. The answer, on average, is nine — not including extended family or close friends, longtime co-workers or next-door neighbors, many of whom, the study said, are deeply affected, too. (Fisher, Johnson, Spolar and Aspinwall, 5/7)

AP: Nearly 1 Million COVID-19 Deaths: A Look At The US Numbers

Doug Lambrecht was among the first of the nearly 1 million Americans to die from COVID-19. His demographic profile — an older white male with chronic health problems — mirrors the faces of many who would be lost over the next two years. The 71-year-old retired physician was recovering from a fall at a nursing home near Seattle when the new coronavirus swept through in early 2020. He died March 1, an early victim in a devastating outbreak that gave a first glimpse of the price older Americans would pay. The pandemic has generated gigabytes of data that make clear which US groups have been hitting the hardest. More than 700,000 people 65 and older died. Men died at higher rates than women. (Johnson and Forster, 5/6)

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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