Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: NYC reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen | Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million | Pelosi cites ‘positive’ talk with White House on coronavirus aid


Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we are awaiting the health care questions at the first presidential debate tonight. 

Moderator Chris Wallace will ask about COVID-19 and the Supreme Court, so we expect questions about President Trump’s response to the pandemic and the looming oral arguments for a Trump-backed lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Also, New York City is reporting an uptick in cases, and the global COVID-19 death toll has passed 1 million. 

Let’s start with NYC…

New York City reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen

New York City reported that its daily positivity rate of coronavirus tests surpassed 3 percent on Tuesday for the first time since June, with the bulk of the increase coming from certain Queens and southern Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) called the 3.25 percent positivity rate “cause for real concern” in a Tuesday press briefing. The nine at-risk ZIP codes are predominantly Orthodox communities. De Blasio said the statewide rate is about 1 percent.

The city, an early U.S. epicenter for the pandemic, saw its numbers steadily fall over the summer but has seen an increase in recent weeks. 

The uptick is disrupting the city’s attempts to reopen schools, which de Blasio has already delayed. The mayor said that if the city’s seven-day rolling average reaches 3 percent, public schools will have to close again.

Read more here.

 Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million, with no end in sight 

 More than a million people worldwide have died after contracting the novel coronavirus less than a year after it first spilled over to humankind, a devastating toll that includes deaths in both the wealthiest and some of the poorest countries.

At least 33 million people have tested positive for the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the true number of infected is likely multiple times higher. Surveys in the United States and other nations have suggested that only about 1 in 10 people who contract the virus ever test positive.

According to a Johns Hopkins University count, the global COVID-19 death toll stood at 1,000,555 by Monday evening.

And the true number of deaths is likely substantially higher as well. Excess mortality rates across the world show more people have died this year than is typical — signs either that the virus is killing more people than currently known, or that people with other health issues are unable or unwilling to access the treatment they need.

Read more here.

Student gatherings, congregate living contribute to rapid coronavirus spread at universities: CDC

Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Universities that resume in-person learning should reduce the capacity of on-campus housing, increase consistent use of masks, increase testing for COVID-19 and discourage student gatherings, the authors of the CDC report concluded. 

The report looked at one university in North Carolina that experienced a “rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and clusters” within two weeks of opening campus to students. 

Between August 3 and 25, nearly 700 COVID-19 cases were identified, mostly among patients 22 or younger, suggesting most cases were among undergraduate students. 

While the report doesn’t name the university — a common practice for CDC reports — the demographics and statistics listed match up with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which ended in-person instruction two weeks after classes began following outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus. Students also were not required to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus.

Why it matters: “Although the risk of severe health outcomes from COVID-19 in young adults without underlying health conditions is relatively low, faculty, university staff, and close contacts of college students at home and in the community might be at a considerably higher risk for severe illness and death if they were to become infected,” CDC Director Robert Redfield wrote in an editorial published in JAMA Tuesday. 

Read more here.

Pelosi cites ‘positive’ talk with White House on coronavirus aid, but clock is ticking

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the recent talks with the White House over emergency coronavirus relief have been “positive” and that she remains hopeful the sides can strike a deal in the coming days.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for almost an hour on Tuesday morning, according to Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill, with another conversation scheduled for Wednesday.

“Our conversation was a positive one,” Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC. “We’ll get back together tomorrow to see how we can find common ground.” 

Yet moments before, White House senior economic adviser Larry Kudlow had rejected the Democrats’ most recent offer of $2.2 trillion, warning that it could actually creep higher than advertised. 

“We don’t think the numbers are right — $2.2 trillion — which is a very big number,” Kudlow told CNBC. “There’s some leftover spending that’s not included there and some tax cuts that are repealed. It might come to $2.6 trillion.”

Read more here

Tennessee governor ending all statewide restrictions on businesses, gatherings

Tennessee is ending all statewide coronavirus restrictions on businesses and gatherings but also extending its state of emergency over the pandemic, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced Tuesday.

Restrictions on businesses and gathering sizes in the 89 counties with a state-run health department have been removed. 

However, local authorities will retain the ability to impose mask requirements. 

“Tennessee’s response continues to be one of the most targeted in the country and a continued State of Emergency ensures we have access to additional federal funds, ensure our health care capacity is stable and loosen restrictions that would otherwise hinder our response time,” Lee said in a statement.  “COVID-19 is still a serious problem and I encourage every Tennessean to continue social distancing and doing their part to make wise choices and help mitigate the spread of the virus.”

The governor declared a state of emergency on March 12 and has extended it in 60-day intervals since then. 

Read more here.

What we’re reading

Titans, Vikings shut down in-person activities after NFL’s first Covid-19 outbreak (NBC News)

The US ranks at the top of the world’s coronavirus death toll of more than 1 million (CNN.com

Montreal heads into partial lockdown after coronavirus surge (NBC News)  

State by state

Spotlight Team probe: Potential Medicaid discrimination in Massachusetts nursing homes (The Boston Globe)

Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program hits record enrollment during pandemic (mlive.com)

Wisconsin’s September COVID-19 Spike ‘Couldn’t Have Come At A Worse Time’ (Wisconsin Public Radio

The Hill op-eds

Will winter bring a new round of COVID-19 outbreaks?

‘Model minority’ myth in the time of ‘China virus’ 


Tags Bill de Blasio Chris Wallace Donald Trump Larry Kudlow Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin

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