As of May 16, the US has officially reached 1 million deaths from covid-19. May 15 experienced the highest new covid cases on a 14-day average in over a month. There were over 86,000 new cases on a 2-week average as of May 15. This poses a threat of covid continuing to linger around the US.
On a brighter note, the FDA has cleared a covid booster shot for healthy 5–11-year-olds. This authorization opened up the third shot to elementary-aged kids. The next step is for the CDC to review this recommendation and decide whether the CDC should follow suit the FDA. Currently, Pfizer is the only manufacturer to produce this vaccine booster. Still, it is expected that Moderna will soon have a booster shot. According to a new study, the likelihood of long-term covid symptoms decreased after receiving a second dose of the vaccine. The research also suggests that a longer follow-up is needed.
The federal government has distributed covid vaccines and treatments for free, but this won't last forever. The question remains- what will happen when these resources are no longer free? The issue has grown over the past couple of weeks as Congress has been skeptical about providing the Biden administration with more funds to combat the pandemic. Some common concerns include access to vaccines, rising prices, whether unapproved products will start to be sold, and who does the negotiating. This follows suit with the common theme of the pandemic- uncertainty.
2. Policy Updates
Colorado's Governor, Jared Polic, has signed a new law requiring hospitals to form nurse committees to help develop staffing plans. The law requires hospitals to submit annual reports of the baseline number of beds they can staff and the current bed capacity. With penalties of up to $10,000 per day, hospitals are expected to avoid fines.
The Interoperability and Patient Access final rule allows patients better access to their care and medical records. This also gives organizations a chance to put their patients first and help make healthcare better. The regulations for this rule are outlined in a 4-step process. We are currently stuck between step 3 (the private sector deciding how the policies will be implemented) and step 4 (companies create products that leverage the approaches. There are many incentives for providers and patients to use a patient data API, and several companies are taking notice.
The National Rural Health Association CEO believes telehealth has significant potential to save the future of rural healthcare. He shared that "there is no future of rural healthcare without telehealth." With less access to care and proximity to the nearest health service provider can be lengthy, rural Americans have turned to virtual assistance.
4. HPV Vaccinations
HPV vaccination rose during the first 12 years of its implementation. Since then, common sexually transmitted infections and diseases have decreased tremendously!