#childsafety | Wednesday, November 10, 2021 | California Healthline


Covid Vaccination Rate Within Los Angeles Police Department Increases Sharply: About 78% of LAPD employees have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, with 172 receiving their first dose just in the last week, officials said Tuesday. The increase came as police supervisors began hand-delivering notices to unvaccinated LAPD employees informing them that they must start paying for regular COVID-19 testing and be vaccinated by Dec. 18 unless they receive a medical or religious exemption. The department placed on leave at least three employees who refused to get vaccinated or to follow the city’s requirement to get tested weekly. Read more in the Los Angeles Times and the Southern California News Group.

Biggest Covid Outbreak Since January In Santa Clara County Jails: The Santa Clara County jail system is seeing its largest COVID-19 surge since a string of record-setting outbreaks in January, highlighting the infection risk in custody environments despite the widespread availability of vaccines. The surge began Nov. 2, when 15 new infections were recorded. In the next seven days, at least 84 new cases surfaced. That figure includes 29 new cases reported Monday, marking the largest one-day total in nine months. Read more from the Bay Area News Group.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

San Francisco Chronicle:
California’s COVID Fortunes Reverse As Cases Begin To Climb

California’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have stalled and reversed course, as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again trending upward across the state. “It’s not subtle, that’s for sure,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at UCSF. “The numbers are increasing. Cases are up over the past three weeks. We were down to as low as about 5,000 new cases per day. Now we’re up to 6,000 cases per day. Hospitalizations are up about 4% over two weeks. There have been some big spikes. To me, that is worrisome.” (Vaziri, 11/09)

Los Angeles Times:
‘Winter Is Coming,’ Newsom Warns, As COVID Threat Persists 

Gov. Gavin Newsom turned to a familiar phrase Tuesday to issue a warning about the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in California. “Winter is coming,” he said during remarks at the California Economic Summit in Monterey. “COVID is not taking the winter off.” (Money and Lin II, 11/09)

Modesto Bee:
Gavin Newsom Warns Of A Winter COVID-19 Surge In California

Californians hoping to ditch their masks should prepare to be disappointed, Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested Tuesday when he told attendees at an economic conference in Monterey that a winter COVID-19 surge is coming to the Golden State. “I know you’re sitting here with masks and going, ‘Why the hell I do I still have this mask on?’” Newsom said at the California Forward conference in Monterey. “For good reason.” (Bollag,11/09)

AP:
Gov. Newsom To Push Vaccines In Southern California Swing

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will visit a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot clinic in Los Angeles County on Wednesday to highlight the state’s ongoing efforts to increase vaccination rates heading into the winter season. Newsom has a full schedule again after after receding from public view for nearly two weeks. He said Tuesday that he chose to take his children trick or treating on Halloween instead of discussing climate change with world leaders in Scotland, explaining the decision to abruptly cancel his trip was driven by the simple desire of a working parent to spend more time with his kids. (Beam, 11/10)

Capital & Main:
The Cost Of COVID Hospitalization Is On The Rise

In California and across the country, the effort to contain COVID-19’s lethal spread has relied upon two cornerstones: accessibility and affordability of the tools to combat the virus. For almost everyone, COVID testing costs little or nothing. Immunization via one of the three vaccines approved for use in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — is free. The rollout of that campaign, though, has at times been wildly uneven, with vaccine distribution in California initially weighted heavily toward higher income and predominantly white communities. Right out of the gate, minority and lower income groups fell behind in the race to keep people safe. According to the California Department of Public Health, Latinos make up 38.9% of the state’s population, but currently account for 52.9% of its COVID cases and 45.6% of its deaths. (Kreidler, 11/9)

Los Angeles Times:
COVID-19 Has Cost L.A. Fire Department $22.5 Million In Overtime 

The Los Angeles Fire Department has spent more than $22.5 million on overtime related to COVID-19, much of it to backfill the shifts of employees who fell ill or had to quarantine after an exposure to the virus, data reviewed by The Times show. The numbers underscore the toll that the coronavirus is taking on Fire Department staffing amid a battle over the city mandate that employees receive vaccinations. Only about 70% of LAFD workers have been fully vaccinated, and some firefighters and union officials have warned of major staffing problems if large numbers of personnel refuse to comply with the mandate. (Rector, 11/10)

Orange County Register:
USC-Cal Football Game Postponed To Dec. 4 Due To COVID-19 Issues With Bears 

USC’s football game against Cal on Saturday has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Golden Bears, the Cal athletic department announced on Twitter on Tuesday. It is the first FBS game in the nation to be impacted by the pandemic this season. (Grosbard, 11/09)

Stat:
What Would Health Experts Do? 28 Share Their Holiday Plans Amid Covid-19

It has been nearly two years since Covid-19 reared its ugly head, as best we know. We’re fast approaching the first anniversary of the deployment of highly effective vaccines that arm us against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And you are asking yourself: When is it going to end? We at STAT have an unfortunate but truthful answer. We don’t know. But we do wonder: Surely, surely, things are getting a little bit better? With so many people having acquired some immune defenses, either through vaccination or infection, can’t we contemplate easing our way back, at least a little, toward pre-Covid normalcy? (Branswell, 11/10)

The Wall Street Journal:
California Scrutinizes Doctors As Parents Seek Exemptions From School Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

As some California parents scramble for ways around a new Covid-19 vaccine mandate for schools, the state is increasingly scrutinizing doctors issuing suspicious medical exemptions. Dr. M. Kelly Sutton is among them, accused by the Medical Board of California of improperly exempting several students from required school vaccines. She disputes the findings though acknowledges considering parent input when granting exemptions, not a recognized reason in the state. (Hobbs, 11/10)

AP:
Whistleblowers To Play Key Role In Enforcing Vaccine Mandate

To enforce President Joe Biden’s forthcoming COVID-19 mandate, the U.S. Labor Department is going to need a lot of help. Its Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have nearly enough workplace safety inspectors to do the job. So the government will rely upon a corps of informers to identify violations of the order: Employees who will presumably be concerned enough to turn in their own employers if their co-workers go unvaccinated or fail to undergo weekly tests to show they’re virus-free. (Wiseman, 11/9)

The Sacramento Bee:
‘An Island Floating Here’: How This Neighborhood Church Is Vaccinating Its Residents

Few are as frustrated by the low vaccination rates in North Highlands and Foothill Farms as Paris Dye, but she knows it’s complicated. As director of community outreach and engagement at Liberty Towers Church in Foothill Farms, she’s organized pop-up COVID-19 vaccine sites and testing for months. But the clinics haven’t been consistent, she said. Many residents here are low-income workers with inflexible schedules. Some feel disenfranchised, Dye said, disillusioned by the government, and mistrust medical institutions. (Yoon-Hendricks, 11/9)

Modesto Bee:
Do Fully Vaccinated People Who Had COVID-19 Need A Booster? 

COVID-19 booster shots are now available for certain fully vaccinated people after evidence revealed the initial series of shots — two doses for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and one dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — appear less effective against the delta variant as protection wanes over time. Older adults, people with weakened immune systems and those at high risk of COVID-19 exposure are the most likely to benefit from a booster dose, experts say. (Camero, 11/09)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Here’s Why People With Depression And Mood Disorders Now Qualify For COVID Booster Shots

Millions of people who experience mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia are now eligible for COVID booster shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added mood disorders to the eligibility criteria in October, a step seen by experts as an important addition that recognizes the linkage between mental and physical health, a connection too often overlooked by the public. Prior to this action, eligibility for booster shots was limited to adults 65 and older, people with immunocompromising diseases and those who work in high-risk or long term care settings. (Wu, 11/09)

The New York Times:
Pfizer Asks F.D.A. To Authorize Covid Booster Shots For All Adults

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to grant the request, perhaps before Thanksgiving and well ahead of Christmas travel and gatherings. The prospect of all 181 million fully vaccinated adults in the nation having access to extra shots is a turnaround from two months ago, when an expert advisory committee to the F.DA. overwhelmingly recommended against Pfizer-BioNTech’s request to authorize boosters for all adult recipients of that vaccine. (LaFraniere, 11/9)

The Washington Post:
Moderna Disputes NIH Invention Of Covid Vaccine

Moderna is disputing some claims by the National Institutes of Health that it was behind the invention of the company’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine, raising the stakes in the debate over the government’s ability to exert influence over the availability and price of the vaccine in the future. At the core of the dispute is the contribution of NIH-funded scientists who worked closely with Moderna at the dawn of the pandemic to develop the groundbreaking vaccine. The dispute was revealed in patent applications filed by Moderna that were reviewed by researchers for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. (Rowland, 11/9)

CalMatters:
COVID Misinformation Plagues California Indigenous Speakers

Often unvaccinated, with limited access to information about the vaccines, many of these immigrants are farmworkers who live in poverty, with low wages, less access to health care and crowded housing. Combined with the language barriers that allow pandemic misinformation to spread, they are particularly vulnerable to infection and serious illness. State and county officials have tried to reach them: They have provided COVID-19 materials translated into Mixteco and other Indigenous languages. And many counties teamed with Indigenous community groups to launch their own extensive outreach programs and clinics. (Getahun, 11/10)

The Washington Post:
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Says People Who Spread Vaccine Disinformation Are ‘Criminals’

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that people who spread disinformation about coronavirus vaccines are “criminals.” Bourla, in an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank, said a “very small” group has been responsible for spreading vaccine disinformation to the millions who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated. “Those people are criminals,” he said to Atlantic Council CEO Frederick Kempe about 40 minutes into a nearly hour-long interview. “They’re not bad people. They’re criminals because they have literally cost millions of lives.” (Bella, 11/9)

Modesto Bee:
Aborted Fetal Cells And COVID-19 Vaccine: What Science Says 

Dozens of states have filed legal challenges to President Joe Biden’s workplace vaccine and testing requirement, citing a lack of authority and government overreach. One company in Alabama, however, hinges its objection on different grounds — religion. FabArc, a steel fabricator based in Oxford, Alabama, with more than 100 workers, filed a petition in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 8 that argues the mandate violates the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring employers to comply with a standard they find objectional on religious grounds. The 11th Circuit encompasses Alabama, Florida and Georgia. (Fowler, 11/09)

AP:
Study: Fox Viewers More Likely To Believe COVID Falsehoods

People who trust Fox News Channel and other media outlets that appeal to conservatives are more likely to believe falsehoods about COVID-19 and vaccines than those who primarily go elsewhere for news, a study has found. While the Kaiser Family Foundation study released this week found the clear ties between news outlets that people trusted and the amount of misinformation they believe, it took no stand on whether those attitudes specifically came from what they saw there. (Bauder, 11/10)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Thousands Of Northern California Teachers And School Staff Are Still Unvaccinated For COVID

Thousands of Bay Area teachers and other school staff have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, and state officials have not explained why they’re waiting to make the shots mandatory for educators. Gov. Gavin Newsom has already made the vaccine a requirement for all K-12 students once it’s fully approved for those age groups by federal officials, but so far, the adults in classrooms and on public and private school campuses don’t have to get the shot, despite full authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for those 16 and older. (Tucker, 11/10)

Modesto Bee:
Stanislaus County School Chief Opposes COVID Vaccine Mandate

Scott Kuykendall, superintendent of schools in Stanislaus County, said Tuesday he will petition the state asking that COVID-19 vaccinations be a recommendation but not required for students and staff in schools. Kuykendall went on record in early October in saying the state should “pump the brakes” on a COVID vaccine mandate for California schoolchildren, which will take effect the school term after full FDA approval of COVID vaccine for school-age children. (Carlson, 11/09)

KQED:
COVID-19 Vaccines Are Rolling Out For Kids Ages 5-11

After a review process from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pediatric COVID-19 shots are now available for kids ages 5-11. It’s a long time coming for many kids and families who have been waiting for nearly a year. Today, we talk about what this means and answer some listeners’ big questions about the rollout. (Cruz Guevarra, Severn, Harven and Montecillo, 11/10)

EdSource:
What California Parents Need To Know About Covid Vaccinations For Children | Quick Guide

Now that Covid-19 vaccinations for children age 5 and older are available in California, many parents are eager to sign their children up for the vaccine. But widespread misinformation about Covid-19 and the vaccine has some parents wondering whether to get their child immunized. (Lambert, 11/10)

The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat:
Sonoma County Launches School-Based COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

Mason Keller had the perfect analogy for the pain he felt when he got the COVID-19 vaccine shot Tuesday. “The shot felt like I forgot to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day and someone took the pinching a little too far,” the smiling seven-year-old said as he moved his arm up and down to ease the discomfort. (Espinoza, 11/10)

Los Angeles Times:
Ventura County Teacher Removed After Anti-Vaccine Rant 

A Ventura County middle school history teacher was removed from her position after she was captured on video delivering a conspiracy-laden tirade against vaccinations and the family of President Biden during class. In footage recorded Oct. 18, which was brought forward to the Ventura Unified School District by Sarah Silikula, the mother of a student who recorded the video, an Anacapa Middle School teacher repeated falsehoods about vaccines, saying that they “do not prevent the virus from spreading” and “actually caused more variants.” (Martinez, 11/09)

Los Angeles Times:
L.A. Students Want COVID Mental Health Help, Reliable Tech 

Students in Los Angeles public schools said they have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed a “non-negotiable” need for academic success: mental wellness.Yet 1 in 3 students of color say they don’t have an adult at school with whom they feel comfortable enough to talk about how they are feeling, according to a survey released Wednesday. (Blume, 11/10)

Los Angeles Times:
Prosecutors Want To Charge Fentanyl Drug Dealers With Murder 

Some Southern California district attorneys are joining a growing national push to file murder charges against drug dealers who manufacture or sell fentanyl that ends up leading to deaths. The efforts are part of a controversial move by authorities to target drug dealers who sell opioids laced with a deadly load of fentanyl, which is as much as 100 times more powerful than morphine. They have faced pushback from some in the legal community, who say it amounts to prosecutorial overreach and goes beyond what the law allows. Winton, 11/10)

Orange County Register:
O.C., Riverside County Announce Crackdown On Fentanyl Dealers. But Not L.A. County 

Dealers who sell fentanyl-laced drugs that result in death can face murder charges under tough new policies announced by Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin on Monday, Nov. 9. “We have seen a 1,000% increase over the last five years as a result of overdoses and deaths by fentanyl,” Spitzer said. “Rich, poor, Black, White, Brown, men, women, children, hardcore drug users and first-time drug users who are exposed have died.” Spitzer will add an admonishment to plea deals, in which dealers acknowledge that fentanyl is in street drugs and can be deadly. If that dealer is involved in another fentanyl sale that results in death, second-degree murder charges can be filed. In Riverside County, Hestrin is prosecuting seven second-degree murder cases against alleged pill pushers on the theory of implied malice, and has several more in the pipeline. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed its first murder case against an alleged fentanyl dealer in July. (Sforza, 11/09)

AP:
Oklahoma Court Overturns $465M Opioid Ruling Against J&J

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a $465 million opioid ruling against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, finding that a lower court wrongly interpreted the state’s public nuisance law in the first case of its kind in the U.S. to go to trial. The ruling was the second blow this month to a government case that used a similar approach to try to hold drugmakers responsible for the national epidemic of opioid abuse. Public nuisance claims are at the heart of some 3,000 lawsuits brought by state and local governments against drugmakers, distribution companies and pharmacies, but it’s not clear that the legal theory is in trouble with so many more cases queued up to test it. (Miller, 11/9)

Sacramento Bee:
California Workers Raise Strikes In ‘Great Resignation’ 

Thousands of lecturers at the University of California. Tens of thousands of nurses and health care workers at Kaiser Permanente. Tens of thousands of workers in Hollywood.They are a few of the groups who are threatening to go on strike in California. With a historically tight labor market coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and spiking costs of living, more employees in the state are pushing to improve their pay and working conditions. (Park. 11/09)

CBS San Francisco:
Sonoma County Expands Flu Shot Requirement To Senior Care, In-Home Care Workers

Health officials in Sonoma County are expanding a requirement to receive this year’s flu shot to cover all employees in senior care, along with in-home care workers. According to the order issued by Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, the revised requirement covers workers in adult and senior care facilities, in-home care workers and home health aides, hospice workers and those at Regional Centers serving people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. (11/9)

The Bakersfield Californian:
Bakersfield Heart Hospital Hosts Awards To Recognize, Honor Nurses 

The Bakersfield Heart Hospital held an awards ceremony Tuesday to honor and recognize nurses for their continuous contributions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ICU nurse Teresa Ranfan won the Daisy Award — which stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System — out of the nine other nominees. She has worked at Bakersfield Heart Hospital for two years, and encounters some of the sickest patients in the hospital, she said. (11/9)

Bloomberg:
Clogged Ports Are Pushing Up Costs, Cardinal Health CEO Says

Cardinal Health Inc. is seeing congested ports and pricier commodities drive up the cost of manufacturing and distributing medical supplies such as gloves and syringes.  Container costs spiked ten times and commodity prices doubled from prepandemic levels during the drug distributor’s fiscal-first quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Chief Executive Officer Mike Kaufmann said in an interview Tuesday. International freight posed a major headache, Kaufman said, with the company’s shipping partners reporting packed ports and too few people to work through backlogs. (LaVito, 11/9)

Bloomberg:
Apple Adds Johnson & Johnson CEO to Board in Health Push

Apple Inc. named outgoing Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky to its board, underscoring a push to become a bigger force in health services. Gorsky, 61, will become the ninth member of Apple’s board and the second new director named this year. In January, Apple appointed Monica Lozano, the president of the College Futures Foundation, to its board. Gorsky, who has worked at Johnson & Johnson since 1988, is stepping down from the CEO job in January. He has overseen efforts to innovate in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer health services — experience that could be useful to Cupertino, California-based Apple. (Gurman, 11/9)

Reuters:
How Drugmakers Pushed Diabetes Patients Into A Danger Zone

Pharmaceutical giants launched years-long marketing campaigns for a treatment target they helped create, and as their sales of diabetes drugs soared, so did incidents of low blood sugar, a potentially deadly medication risk. (Respaut, Terhune and Nelson, 11/4)

Reuters:
Biogen Probes Death Of Aduhelm User After Brain Swelling

Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) said on Tuesday it was investigating the death of a 75-year-old patient who had taken the company’s newly approved Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, adding that it was not yet known whether it was related to the treatment. The drugmaker’s shares were down about 1.2% in afternoon trading. The patient was hospitalized after taking Aduhelm and was diagnosed with swelling in the brain before dying, the company said. (11/9)

Bay Area News Group:
Elizabeth Holmes Trial Witness: Theranos Tests Showed Male Protein In Women’s Blood

Theranos’ blood-testing machines were showing women with a male protein in their blood, and company founder Elizabeth Holmes gave an “implausible” excuse for the apparent errors, a former lab director testified Tuesday in Holmes’ criminal trial before revealing that he voided at least 50,000 test results from the startup’s “malperforming” machines. Former Theranos lab director Dr. Kingshuk Das was testifying for the prosecution in U.S. District Court in San Jose about a federal regulatory report that found deficiencies in Theranos’ testing that the regulator alleged put patients in “immediate jeopardy” of serious harm or death. Das testified that he told Holmes about women’s blood showing significant levels of prostate-specific antigen — a protein typically found only in trace elements in women — because those results provided an “easily digestible” example of Theranos’ machines “propensity” for errors. Holmes responded by providing Das with “an article or two” describing a rare phenomenon of breast cancer tumors in women producing the protein. (Baron, 11/09)

Politico:
Facebook Places New Restrictions On Ad Targeting

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced on Tuesday that it would place further limits on ad targeting on its platform, eliminating the ability to target based on users’ interactions with content related to health, race and ethnicity, political affiliation, religion and sexual orientation. The changes will go into effect on Jan. 19, 2022, when it will no longer allow new ads to use those additional targeting tools. The change will be fully implemented by March 17, 2022, at which point ads that were already running using those targets will no longer be allowed. (Schneider, 11/9)

CBS News:
Pregnancy And Climate Change: COP26 Looks At What’s At Stake For Women 

World leaders turned their focus to gender Tuesday at the U.N. global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Globally, women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men, as they make up a majority of the world’s poor and depend most on natural resources, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the United States, one subgroup of women are particularly at risk: pregnant women.As global temperatures and emissions rise, so does the impact of climate change on public health. More pollutants from automobiles, fossil fuel plants and smoke from wildfires degrades air quality. This means at-risk populations, such as pregnant women and developing fetuses, are more likely to suffer from cardiac disease, respiratory disease and stress on mental health. (Korte, 11/09)

Los Angeles Times:
Metropolitan Water District Declares Drought Emergency

Southern California’s largest urban water district declared a drought emergency on Tuesday and called for local water suppliers to immediately cut the use of water from the State Water Project. (James. 11/9)

California Healthline:
Western Boom Cities See Spike In Harmful Ozone

The reduction of harmful ground-level ozone across most of the U.S. over the past several decades has been an air pollution success story. But in some parts of the country, especially in the heavily populated mountain valleys of the West, the odorless, colorless gas has remained stubbornly difficult to reduce to safe levels. Meanwhile, a growing body of research shows that the levels considered safe may still be too high and should be substantially lowered. (Robbins, 11/10)

Axios:
Veterans Died At Lower Rates In 2020 Compared To The General Population 

More U.S. veterans died in 2020 than in previous years, but the increase was less than among the general population during the pandemic, according to a new study published in The Lancet Regional Health. Veterans tend to have higher risks of severe health outcomes from COVID-19 due to their age, and other conditions like hypertension, diabetes and obesity. (Fernandez, 11/10)

CIDRAP:
Long COVID Symptoms May Have Causes Other Than SARS-CoV-2

A French study finds that, of 20 persistent physical symptoms reported by adults who said they had recovered from COVID-19, only 1 was linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as indicated by the presence of antibodies to the virus. The researchers, however, said that the results don’t discount the presence of symptoms but rather underscore the importance of considering all possible causes in addition to COVID-19, such as other diseases, anxiety, or deconditioning related to the pandemic but not the virus itself. (Van Beusekom, 11/9)

NPR and California Healthline:
Hormone Blocker Sticker Shock — Again — As Patients Lose Cheaper Drug Option

Kids who need a hormone-blocking drug to delay puberty have lost an off-label option. The nearly identical drug the company still sells costs eight times more. (Lupkin, 11/10)

Stat:
Psilocybin Trial Finds Psychedelic Is Effective In Treating Depression 

Eagerly awaited results of the largest-ever study of psilocybin were announced Tuesday, with Compass Pathways revealing the psychedelic drug was highly efficacious as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Still, the company’s stock price dropped 16.4% by the close of trading, perhaps because of safety concerns among investors. The Phase 2b study is the largest randomized, controlled, double-blind trial of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms. The company said it found that patients who were given the highest dose, 25 milligrams, had a significant decrease in depressive symptoms compared to those given 1 milligram, which is such a low dose it functions as a placebo. (Goldhill, 11/9)

AP:
US Food Banks Struggle To Feed Hungry Amid Surging Prices

U.S. food banks already dealing with increased demand from families sidelined by the pandemic now face a new challenge — surging food prices and supply chain issues walloping the nation. The higher costs and limited availability mean some families may get smaller servings or substitutions for staples such as peanut butter, which costs nearly double what it did a year ago. As holidays approach, some food banks worry they won’t have enough stuffing and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Har, 11/10)

Orange County Register:
Here Are A Few Tips To Help Your Immune System During Flu Season 

Even without the threat of COVID-19, keeping your immune system strong is important during the colder months we call flu season.COVID-19 is not the only virus that has a lot of asymptomatic people. The flu does too. A 2009 report in the National Institutes of Health found that one in three influenza-infected individuals is asymptomatic. However, asymptomatic individuals may shed influenza virus, but are less likely to transmit influenza than asymptomatic people with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, according to 2020 reports by UCHealth. (Snibbe, 11/09)

Axios:
U.S. To Buy $1 Billion Worth Of Merck’s Antiviral COVID Pill 

The Biden administration will buy 1.4 million additional courses of a pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to prevent or treat COVID-19, a purchase worth around $1 billion, the companies announced Tuesday. The U.S. has now committed to acquiring about 3.1 million courses of molnupiravir for $2.2 billion after the drug receives an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. (Knutson, 11/9)

AP:
Biden To Continue FEMA Virus Aid For States Until April 1

President Joe Biden is extending the federal government’s 100% reimbursement of COVID-19 emergency response costs to states, tribes and territories through April 1, 2022, the White House is announcing Tuesday. On a conference call Tuesday morning, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients informed governors that Biden is approving the extension of Federal Emergency Management Agency support to help continue FEMA-backed efforts like vaccination clinics and public education campaigns surrounding the shots. (Miller, 11/9)

Roll Call:
Lobbyists, Advocates Seek To Revise Budget Bill’s Drug Price Changes

Lobbyists and advocates are pressing for a number of changes to a drug pricing overhaul as the focus on a $1.75 trillion budget bill shifts from the House to the Senate. The lobbyists are angling for tweaks on everything from the time period of drug exclusivity to the tax treatment of rare disease drugs and provisions affecting the pharmacy benefit managers that manage prescription drugs for insurance companies. (Clason and McIntire, 11/10)

The Washington Post:
Pharmaceutical Industry Likely To Shatter Its Lobbying Record As It Works To Shape Democrats’ Spending Bill

The ads targeting Kim and others were one strand of a massive, months-long advertising, lobbying and political donation blitz undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry and its allies, perhaps the strongest of all corporate voices in Washington, to kill a Democratic proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs by empowering the federal government to negotiate their prices. That provision to control drug prices became a focal point of the $1.75 trillion spending package Democrats are trying to move through Washington. The measure was in, then out, then watered down, going through a fierce ping-pong of backroom negotiations that is likely to continue once the Senate considers the bill in coming weeks. (Torbati and O’Connell, 11/5)

California Healthline:
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Is Open Season For Scammers

Medicare officials say complaints are rising from seniors lured into private plans with misleading information or enrolled without their consent. In response, officials have threatened to penalize the private companies selling Medicare Advantage and drug plans if they or agents working on their behalf mislead consumers. (Jaffe, 11/10)



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