October 19, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Keisha Rowe – Gov. Tate Reeves announced Monday that a mask mandate will be reinstated for nine counties in an effort to combat the rise of COVID-19 cases in the state. The following counties will be under the mandate. View Story.
October 18, 2020, Modern Healthcare, Associated Press – After struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. can now screen several million people daily, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results. All U.S. testing sites are legally required to report their results, positive and negative, to public health agencies. But state health officials say many rapid tests are going unreported, which means some new COVID-19 infections may not be counted. View Story.
October 16, 2020, The Hill, Peter Sullivan – State public health officials are urging Congress to provide at least $8.4 billion in emergency funding for distributing a coronavirus vaccine, warning that they do not currently have enough money to carry out the immense logistical effort. The letter to bipartisan congressional leaders came from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), a group that represents state public health departments, and the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), which represents states’ vaccination officials. While much attention has been placed on the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, there is also the daunting challenge of distributing that vaccine and getting shots into the arms of more than 300 million people in the United States. View Story.
October 16, 2020, NPR, Will Stone – Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in many states as the U.S. heads into the winter months. And forecasters predict staggering growth in infections and deaths if current trends continue. It’s exactly the kind of scenario that public health experts have long warned could be in store for the country, if it did not aggressively tamp down on infections over the summer.”We were really hoping to crater the cases in preparation for a bad winter,” says Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University. “We’ve done basically the opposite.” After hitting an all-time high in July, cases did drop significantly, but the U.S. never reached a level where the public health system could truly get a handle on the outbreak. Now infections are on the rise again. View Story.
October 16, 2020, MPB News, Desare Frazier – Twenty-two percent of children ages 10 to 17 in Mississippi are obese according to Jamie Bussel. She’s with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which just released the study. She says the data reviewed is from 2018 and 19. Bussel says this year, researchers are concerned that obese children are at a greater risk of contracting the coronavirus and suffering more severe symptoms just like obese adults. “There are certainly a lot of hypotheses being made by the experts around the impact of the COVID pandemic on childhood obesity prevalence rates but it’s going to take some time before we can actually do that and attribute it,” said Bussel. View Story.
October 16, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Keisha Rowe – State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Friday that residents not following general safety precautions is likely the largest factor in the state’s current spike in new cases of COVID-19. During a news conference Friday, Dobbs said the fact that so many people seem to have stopped using masks following the expiration of the governor’s executive order has him concerned.”Why we would move away from that … has me perplexed and I’m extremely disappointed,” he said. Following the news of Thursday’s number of new cases, Anita Henderson, a pediatrician in Hattiesburg and president-elect of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tweeted a screenshot of the daily numbers from the state health department. View Story.
October 16, 2020, SunHerald, Anita Lee – Because of high COVID-19 spread, Harrison and Jackson counties will be prime candidates for new mask mandates if the governor decides to take that route, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. Dobbs and state Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, the top public health officers at the Mississippi State Department of Health, are clearly dismayed because Mississippi’s COVID-19 cases are on a dangerous upward trend since Gov. Tate Reeves rescinded a statewide mask mandate a little more than two weeks ago. View Story.
October 14, 2020, The Hill, Jordain Carney – Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday signaled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could survive a court challenge from the Trump administration.Top senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee quizzed President Trump‘s nominee on a looming case that could determine the fate of the ACA. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel, kicked off the third day of Barrett’s hearing pressing her on the health care case, and if the individual mandate, nixed by Congress in 2017, can be stuck down without tanking the entire law. View Story.
October 12, WLBT, Courtney Ann Jackson – While Medicaid expansion wasn’t brought up by lawmakers, the president of the state medical association ended his remarks with this request. “Inexcusably, we have forgone billions in federal assistance that would’ve helped our most vulnerable citizens,” said Dr. Mark Horne. “We ask the legislature to act on expanding coverage in the upcoming session.” The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program points to Medicaid expansion gaining new ground in other states that previously rejected it. “COVID 19 has caused us to re-evaluate our healthcare policies and choices,” said Roy Mitchell, MHAP Executive Director. “So, it’s time we re-evaluate our position on Medicaid expansion as well. Medicaid expansion has proven to save lives. We’ve got so far to go in correcting all the health inequities of this state. Let’s start with Medicaid expansion.” View Story.
October 13, 2020, Associated Press, Jessica Gresko and Mark Sherman – The case before the court this year stems from Congress’ decision in 2017 to eliminate the law’s unpopular fines for not having health insurance. Despite repealing the fines, lawmakers left in place the law’s requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage. Texas and other conservative-led states argue that the change makes the requirement unconstitutional and also dooms the rest of the law because the mandate was so central to it. But the court could simply “sever” the mandate from the law and leave the rest of the law alone. Many observers see that as a likely outcome and note the upheaval that would result across the American healthcare system if the law were to be struck down in its entirety. Before the Supreme Court’s term began in October, Paul Clement, who argued in the 2012 Affordable Care Act case, said he wasn’t sure that the addition of a new justice would change the outcome of the case. He suggested that it is unlikely that the whole statute will fall. View Story.