The Health 202: Coronavirus relief proposal on Capitol Hill would put billions toward vaccine distribution

Of the $908 billion proposal, $16 billion would go toward vaccines, testing and contact tracing.

The package has a growing number of Democratic and Republican backers, after a bipartisan group led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) rolled out the compromise measure earlier this week. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have both said it should be used as the basis for negotiations, renewing hopes for fresh aid for small businesses, state and local government, unemployment benefits, and dozens of other priorities. A number of Senate Republicans also signaled openness to the package yesterday.

But it’s far from final: “Although there has been a sudden burst of bipartisan momentum for the package since Tuesday, it remains an incomplete legislative proposal that has not been drafted as a formal piece of legislation yet,” Jeff Stein, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim report. “Still, the rapid mobilization

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Health experts on COVID-19 vaccine: Americans have ‘a lot of distrust’

“We get vaccines to the American people and they don’t take them,” Gen. Gus Perna told CBS “60 Minutes” of his worst nightmare in November. “Shame on us. ‘Hey, I was already sick, I don’t need it.’ Shame on us. ‘Hey, I don’t believe in vaccines.’ Shame on us.”

Pfizer and Moderna have submitted requests to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA is set to review Pfizer’s request on Dec. 10 and Moderna’s on Dec. 17. Both companies have announced vaccine efficacy rates of more than 90%.

The government’s Operation Warp Speed has said there will be “shots in arms” within 24 hours of authorization.

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Getting the right health team as virus rages

WASHINGTON (AP) — Up soon for President-elect Joe Biden: naming his top health care officials as the coronavirus pandemic rages. It’s hard to imagine more consequential picks.

Already two Democratic governors seen as candidates for health and human services secretary have faded from the frame. Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo told reporters Thursday that she would not be the nominee and is staying to help her state confront a dangerous surge of COVID-19 cases.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was offered another Cabinet post — interior secretary — and turned it down, a person close to the Biden transition said Wednesday. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.


Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus made a fresh push during a virtual conference call Thursday for Biden to nominate Lujan Grisham as HHS secretary. One lawmaker, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico — a distant

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Neighborhood health | Editorials | The Journal Gazette

It’s no secret residents on Fort Wayne’s southeast side face challenges largely absent in other parts of the city.

The area is among our poorest, healthy food is sometimes hard to find and its residents often struggle with health problems. There also are few options for health care.

A newly opened clinic at 2700 Lafayette St. is no cure-all, but it does provide a welcome oasis within what in recent years has become a medical desert.

Alliance Health Centers saw its first patient this week, and the facility inside the Lafayette Medical Center offers primary care for adults and children and access to other needs such as mental health treatment. A sliding fee scale based on income is available, and a worker is on site to help patients with sometimes hard-to-decipher applications for coverage programs such as Medicaid.

It’s a fresh approach to serving theunderserved that ties local health care

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Restore the CDC, prioritize health across the globe

A who’s who of health officials published a commentary Wednesday outlining their wish list for the incoming Biden-Harris administration, starting with their desire for the U.S. to rejoin the global public health community.

CDC committee: Health care workers, nursing home residents should get COVID vaccine first

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“A threat anywhere is a threat to all of us,” said Dr. Michelle Williams, dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an author of the commentary, published in The Lancet. 

Basic scientific research needs more government funding, according to the group, which also included former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Democratic Congresswoman and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University.

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The writers said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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Health technology firm started by Dallas native lands $175 million investment to expand

Austin-based health technology company Everlywell has raised $175 million to expand its digital health offerings and its workforce.

Everlywell was founded by Dallas native Julia Cheek in 2015, and the company moved to Austin in 2016.

Everlywell focuses on home health care diagnostics, including at-home tests for food sensitivity, allergies, thyroid issues, hormones and vitamins. The company also has received authorization for an at-home test kit for COVID-19.

New investors in the financing round include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, the Chernin Group, Foresite Capital, Greenspring Associates, Lux Capital, Morningside Ventures and Portfolia, as well as existing investors Goodwater Capital, Highland Capital Partners and Next Coast Ventures.

This investment brings the total capital raised by the company to more than $250 million.

“The pandemic has shed light on the challenges of lab testing for Americans, from unknown costs to confusion and inconvenience,” Cheek said. “We’ve been empowering people with

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Utah health department orders 1st round of COVID-19 vaccines

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s health department on Thursday placed the state’s first order for coronavirus vaccines that could arrive as early as mid-December.

Doses will be shipped directly to hospitals in Utah as soon as the Food and Drug Administration issues its final approvals, the agency posted on Twitter. Health officials did not provide any additional information.

The first doses in Utah will go to front-line workers such as doctors and nurses in emergency departments, urgent care facilities and COVID-19 units, as well as housekeeping workers, said Dr. Jeanmarie Mayer, chief of infection prevention at the University of Utah Health hospital.

“It’s just so incredibly important to make sure that we keep our health care systems intact and able to care for the most vulnerable in our populations,” Mayer told reporters.

Public health experts have warned that if people do not follow masking and social distancing guidance, COVID-19

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Household-grown food leads to improved health for children

Children grow taller in rural households where their mothers are supported to grow their own food – according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The research, which looked at households in low- and middle-income countries, showed growing their own food helped mothers to prevent stunting, wasting and underweight in their children. Their children’s food was more varied, meaning they had access to different classes of food nutrients.

The study, ‘Impact of home food production on nutritional blindness, stunting, wasting, underweight and mortality in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials’, is published today in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

The team from the Norwich Medical School and the School of International Development at UEA analysed studies that introduced women to home farming in African and Asian countries including Nigeria, Ghana, India, Cambodia, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Burkina Faso. The

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Bipartisan health care panel is Cooper’s pitch for consensus

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper was blocked from expanding Medicaid in his first term by Republicans in the legislature, and any repeated push could again face more stalemates with the GOP after the status quo election results of November.

Now shifting to his second term, Cooper is unveiling a high-powered bipartisan blue ribbon commission he hopes will plow aside acrimony with the still Republican-controlled General Assembly and improve health care access through consensus legislation in 2021. The extended COVID-19 pandemic also has made coverage gaps more acute with job losses and illness.

“I think that there are core principles that we can agree to, like the fact that more people in North Carolina deserve health insurance,” Cooper said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “This is not just purely a Medicaid expansion issue.”

The North Carolina Council for Health Care Coverage, which

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Iowa health care workers, nursing homes to get 1st vaccines

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Health care workers and residents and staff at nursing homes are expected to be the first to get COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa later this month, state officials said Thursday.

Iowa expects to receive 172,000 doses of vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna over the next month, assuming they receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Each vaccine requires people to get two shots weeks apart.

Iowa will use a portion of its initial allocation for health care workers, storing the vaccines at six health care sites across the state, Iowa Department of Human Services director Kelly Garcia said. The state will reserve the rest for a federal program that will use pharmacies to vaccinate residents and employees at skilled nursing facilities.

Iowa outlined its distribution plan for the earliest doses as the state reported a single-day record number of virus deaths, 70.

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