Welcome to Overnight Health Care on Monday.
Vaccinations are increasing, but many long-term care facility workers are still not ready for a chance. In the meantime, the Biden government is not changing its two-dose strategy, despite concerns about the variants. Senate Democrats are pushing their COVID relief bill, and the White House is investing in a quick, over the counter COVID-19 test.
We start with the new COVID test:
The White House is giving away $ 230 million in rapid COVID-19 over the counter tests
The Biden administration is funding the mass production of a rapid, over the counter COVID-19 test, White House officials said Monday.
White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said the administration will provide nearly $ 232 million to an Australian company called Ellume, which received approval for the test in December.
The company was part of the National Institutes of Health’s RADx initiative to advance test development and received $ 30 million from the program.
“With this contract, they can scale their production to more than 19 million test kits per month by the end of this year,” Slavitt told reporters.
Importance: It’s unlikely you’ll see these tests on store shelves at CVS tomorrow, but the move is a significant step forward in expanding the reach of rapid coronavirus home testing, which experts have advocated for months.
Timed coordination: Under the agreement, the US will finance an American manufacturing facility. From February to July, Ellume will be able to ship 100,000 kits per month from the Australian facility until the US facility is expected to be built. At full capacity, the US plant can run up to 19 million tests per month. The new contract guarantees the US 8.5 million kits, but not until the end of the year.
Price barrier: The test costs $ 30 each, which may seem inexpensive compared to the current options. However, the appeal of a quick home test is that it can be used several times a week to help people get back to work and school.
Schumer swears that the Senate will take up the “bold” coronavirus bill and reject the GOP offer
Democrats are pushing COVID relief with or without a GOP.
Before meeting at the White House with a group of 10 Senate Republicans, Senate majority leaders Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCongress Democrats are on the wrong side of impeachment policy Proposal for permanent capitol fence triggers bipartisan backlash The immigration reform can hardly wait MORE (DN.Y.) vowed the Senate would pick up a “brave” coronavirus aid package that appears to be rejecting a smaller Republican offer.
“Congress has to take a bold and robust approach. There is no point in pinching a few cents when so many Americans are in trouble,” said Schumer from the Senate.
Schumer and house spokesman Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden meeting with GOP senators on Monday for coronavirus relief Portman says Republican leadership should “fight back” against Greene’s comments Congress Democrats are on the wrong side of impeachment policy MORE (D-Calif.) Filed a joint budget decision on Monday. This is a first step that would allow Democrats to pass coronavirus bill through reconciliation to avoid a filibuster with 60 votes in the Senate.
The budget resolution includes instructions for creating a coronavirus package worth $ 1.9 trillion according to the top-line number proposed by President Biden.
meanwhile: Has a Senate GOP group proposed a coronavirus relief package worth $ 618 billion, about a third the size preferred by Democrats. You should meet with Biden on Monday to discuss their ideas, but not to make offers or counter-offers.
Biden officials defend the two-dose strategy fearing variations
Don’t expect British emphasis on first doses in the US in the near future.
Top Biden government health officials made it clear on Monday that they are not changing their strategy to give people only one dose of vaccine instead of two to speed up the process. At the same time, they urged health care providers not to be too careful when placing second cans in reserve.
Some health experts said the US should prefer to get the first dose of vaccine in as many people as possible as soon as possible, before more contagious variants have even more of an impact in the coming weeks.
Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, said the US should “beep” and prioritize first doses, even if it means delaying the second doses as there is a risk of a new variant, first in the United Kingdom has been identified and the hospitals could burden themselves even more.
But senior government officials from Biden said Monday they are not changing their strategy, noting that the clinical trials were done with two doses, so this has been shown to work.
“We said we would follow science in introducing these vaccines and that is our intention,” said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyJanuary saw the highest average of coronavirus hospital stays House Democrat calls for a demographic breakdown of COVID-19 vaccines Overnight health care: Coronavirus mutations give the vaccine breed a new urgency MORE.
Only 37 percent of the nursing staff were vaccinated under the federal program
According to a federal study, only 37 percent of employees in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated against COVID-19 through a federal partnership with local pharmacies analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who have further concerns about low vaccination rates in people who work with people who are at high risk of serious illness or death from the virus.
The CDC analyzed data from nearly 11,500 long-term care facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic residents between December 18 and January 17, the first month of the program where CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies conduct staff and vaccination on-site.
During this period, according to the CDC analysis published on Monday, 78 percent of residents and 37.5 percent of employees were vaccinated through the program, equivalent to a million people.
The low vaccination rates among employees are worrying given the work they do to put them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, according to the authors.
The staff also work with a population that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Long-term care facility deaths account for about a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths.
Why it matters: Surveys have shown that healthcare workers, particularly those in nursing homes, are not immune to vaccine reluctance. The report’s authors emphasized that “targeted health communication messages” address the safety and effectiveness of approved COVID vaccines.
What we read
Many who have received the coronavirus vaccine are wondering: what can I safely do? (Washington Post)
How Rich Hospitals Benefit From Patients In Car Accidents (The New York Times)
Eric Lander is brilliant, connected, and controversial. Now Joe BidenJoe BidenThe president has changed, but Washington has not New administration offers hope to survivors of sexual violence Will Biden continue NASA’s Artemis program to return to the moon? MORE wants him to “reinvigorate” American science (Stat)
State by state
Kansas Governor Proposes Paying for Medicaid’s Expansion by Legalizing Medical Marijuana (Kansas City Star)
Young and healthy people were dosed in St. Louis’ first major COVID-19 vaccination event, while the most at risk were excluded (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Head-scratches over Newsom’s choice of Blue Shield to lead the vaccination boost (Kaiser Health News)
The Hill op-eds