Overnight healthcare – White House: Test website coming soon
Welcome to Friday Night Health Care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
The CDC may want to tap Coach Cal as a new spokesperson; University of Kentucky basketball coach released a video calling on people to wear KN95 masks.
Starting January 19, you can log into COVIDTests.gov and order tests…but not too many.
Website for home rapids coming January 19
This decision makes available the 500 million rapid tests President BidenJoe BidenCarville advises Democrats to ‘stop being a whiny party’ said his administration bought last month.
Limits: Each residential address will be limited to four tests. Tests should also take 7 to 12 days to ship once ordered, the White House said.
People will be able to order the tests on a new website, COVIDTests.gov, which will go live on January 19. The White House is partnering with the US Postal Service to ship the tests to people’s homes.
Mounting pressure: The move comes as the White House comes under pressure from lawmakers and health experts to take stronger action to address testing shortages across the country.
Many health experts say the administration should have done tests like this months ago, before the omicron wave hit.
The four test limit per address will mean that this channel alone will be nowhere near enough to enable the kind of frequent testing that many experts have called for.
Asked about the limitation, a senior administration official said the initiative was “one of many programs we’re running” on testing. Other avenues include allowing people to be reimbursed by private health insurers for tests they buy from a retailer.
Learn more here.
The White House threatens to recover funds
The Biden administration is threatening to claw back federal COVID-19 relief funding from Arizona unless the state stops directing money to schools without a mask mandate.
In a letter sent Friday, the Treasury Department said Arizona’s $163 million Education Plus-Up grant program and its COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefits program were undermining efforts to stop the coronavirus.
The programs, funded by payments from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, impose conditions that discourage mask-wearing compliance in schools, the letter said.
The funds are intended “to mitigate the fiscal effects arising from the COVID-19 public health emergency, including supporting efforts to stop the spread of the virus,” Treasury noted in the letter.
What Arizona does: The state’s Plus-Up grant program only directs funding to schools that don’t have mask requirements, and the $10 million Education Recovery Benefits program Dollars provides up to $7,000 per student to parents facing financial and educational barriers due to children attending schools known to impose “unnecessary school closures and mandates.”
The threat: Govt. Doug DuceyDoug DuceySome GOP members begin testing party loyalty to Trump Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated voter fraud allegations at first Trump 2022 rally to make campaign demands center stage in Arizona MOREThe Office of (R) has 60 days to redirect federal funds to eligible users or modify both programs to be compliant. Otherwise, the federal government has said it will act to recover the relief money. The Treasury Department also threatened to suspend the next tranche of aid.
Learn more here.
FAUCI: NOT YET CLEAR IF ANNUAL BOOSTERS ARE NEEDED
Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden Antoine FauciAnthony FauciPublic health expert: Biden administration must have agencies on ‘same page’ over COVID Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated voter fraud allegations at first rally of 2022 said in an interview that it’s not yet clear if people will need annual booster shots of COVID-19, even though chief executives of several drugmakers have indicated a fourth dose of the vaccine may be needed.
“We only reinforced people recently. We’ll find out if the booster gives you a long-lasting degree of protection and should actually be the standard regimen of three doses of mRNA and two doses of J&J,” Fauci said in a statement. interview with NBC News published Thursday.
“Or – and that’s a big ‘or’ right now – will we need to boost people every year or so?” He continued.
Fauci said that while it was a good thing that the original ancestral strain of COVID-19 was used in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine – because “we were lucky that even though [strains] were different, they weren’t so different that the vaccine didn’t cover it well” — omicron confused the situation.
“We were doing pretty well with a primary shot and a boost with delta. Then all of a sudden omicron came along,” Fauci told the network. “And if you look at the efficiency against the delta versus the omicron, it’s gone down to about 30 percent.”
The leading infectious disease expert said he wanted a vaccine that would ideally be effective against all sorts of variants of COVID-19.
Learn more here.
‘PHARMA BRO’ BANNED FOR LIFE
Martin Shkreli, the ‘Pharma Bro’ who dramatically raised the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim, was told by a judge on Friday that he could no longer work within the pharmaceutical industry and was ordered to pay almost 65 million dollars “in net profits from his misdeeds.”
U.S. District Judge Denise Côté called her plan to increase the price of Daraprim “particularly cruel and coercive” in her decision on Friday.
“He cynically took advantage of the demands of a federal regulatory system designed to protect the health of a nation by ensuring that its people have access to medicines that are not only effective but also safe,” Cole said in his ruling.
In his strong rebuke, Cole also said that Shkreli expressed no remorse for his actions. She noted that “the risk of recidivism here is real.”
“Shkreli’s anti-competitive conduct at the expense of public health was flagrant and reckless. He is unrepentant. To deny him the ability to repeat that conduct is nothing if not in the interests of justice,” Cole said.
Learn more here.
Increase in cases in long-term care facilities
Coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities have skyrocketed in three weeks due to the omicron variant.
The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living, which represent more than 14,000 nursing homes across the country, found that cases increased between Dec. 19 and Jan. 9.
COVID-19 cases for nursing home residents on December 19 were 4,361 and cases on January 9 were 32,061. For nursing home staff, cases rose from 5,919 on December 19 to 57 243 on January 9.
“As soon as the news of Omicron broke in December, we were very concerned that this variant would lead to an increase in cases in the United States and, consequently, an increase in cases in nursing homes and, unfortunately, c It does,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA and National Center for Assisted Living, said.
“We have urged members of the public to help us protect our country’s elderly ahead of the holiday season, and we are repeating that call today. Help support our frontline caregivers and protect our most vulnerable by getting vaccinated, boosted and masked,” he added.
The group reported that the death rate was 10 times lower among nursing home residents in December 2021 compared to 2020, attributing the decrease in severity to vaccines and boosters.
Learn more here.
WHAT WE READ
- No one knows how much older people might pay for a new Alzheimer’s disease drug (Stat)
- As Omicron surges, efforts to vaccinate young children stagnate (Kaiser Health News)
- Open Obamacare enrollment ends Saturday as interest grows (CNN)
STATE BY STATE
- Texas schools struggle to stay open as teachers and bus drivers call in sick with COVID-19 (Texas Tribune)
- As Massachusetts hospitals flounder with COVID outbreak, Governor Charlie Baker announces emergency actions (Mass Live)
- New Virginia Governor Youngkin to lift school mask mandate, change COVID policies (NBC Washington)
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you Monday.