Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: White House signals new COVID-19 strategy as delta variant spreads | McConnell urges vaccinations | Maryland says all COVID-19 deaths last month were among unvaccinated

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Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care. We hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend! Check out these photos from The Washington Post of the fireworks in the District.  

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Today: The Biden administration is shifting to even more of a grassroots strategy in an effort to make COVID-19 vaccination as easy as possible. Mitch McConnell urges vaccinations in Kentucky, and Maryland said 100 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the past month were unvaccinated people.


With July 4th over and after falling short of the vaccination goal, Biden pushes a new strategy to reach the unvaccinated

President Biden on Tuesday pleaded with Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the White House signaled a shift toward grassroots tactics to reach those who have yet to get a shot.

Biden, who just days earlier hosted more than a thousand people at the White House for an outdoor Independence Day gathering, cautioned against getting overconfident in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as the delta variant contributes to rising case counts in less vaccinated parts of the country.

“Our fight against this virus is not over,” Biden said in prepared remarks delivered from the White House. “Right now, as I speak to you, millions of Americans are still unvaccinated and unprotected. And because of that, their communities are at risk. Their friends are at risk, the people that they care about are at risk. This is an even bigger concern because of the delta variant.”

The president laid out a series of steps his administration is taking to make the vaccine more accessible, with a focus on getting the shot to young people in particular. The White House coronavirus response team is planning to direct more vaccines to doctors’ offices and pediatricians so that individuals, specifically those ages 12-18, can have access to the shots.

Biden also highlighted door-to-door, community level outreach and mobile vaccination clinics as ways to bring the vaccine to more Americans this summer.

In addition, the White House is deploying federal “surge response teams” to help local officials mitigate the spread of the fast-moving delta variant areas of the country with low vaccination rates.

Read more here.


While McConnell is often against Biden, on vaccinations they are aligned

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday pushed for more Americans to get vaccinated amid growing concerns about the delta coronavirus variant.

“There’s no good reason not to get vaccinated. We need to finish the job. And I know there’s some skepticism out there, but let me put it his way: It may not guarantee you don’t get it but it almost guarantees you don’t die from it if you get it,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky.

McConnell has long publicly advocated for Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine, but his latest comments come as a USA Today analysis found that COVID-19 cases were up in nearly half of U.S. states and there are worries about the spread of the delta variant.

He warned on Tuesday that the United States isn’t in the “end zone” yet on getting vaccinated.

“The only solution ultimately is the vaccine. … We’re in the red zone with the vaccines, but we’re not quite in the end zone,” McConnell said.

Read more here.


If you need a reason to get vaccinated: Maryland says 100 percent of COVID-19 deaths last month were among unvaccinated

All COVID-19 deaths in Maryland last month were among unvaccinated people, the state said on Tuesday.

“June 2021 data: 100% of COVID-19 deaths in Maryland occurred in people who were unvaccinated,” tweeted Michael Ricci, communications director for Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Ricci also said that 95 percent of new COVID-19 cases were in unvaccinated people and 93 percent of new coronavirus hospitalizations consisted of individuals who have not received the vaccine.

Experts say that the new COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in the United States are largely avoidable now that vaccines are widely available.

Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that on a national level, 99.2 percent of coronavirus deaths in June were among unvaccinated individuals, compared to just 0.8 percent among those who were vaccinated.

“No vaccine is perfect,” Fauci told NBC News host Chuck Todd. “But when you talk about the avoidability of hospitalization and death, Chuck, it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable.”

Read more here.


COVID-19 cases up in nearly half of US states: analysis

COVID-19 cases are trending upward in nearly half of all states in the U.S., according to a new analysis of Johns Hopkins University data by USA Today.

Coronavirus infections in Alaska and Arkansas more than doubled in the last week, according to USA Today. Cases in South Carolina and Kansas have increased by more than 50 percent.

The number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 spiked by almost 30 percent over the July 4 weekend in a hard-hit Missouri area, according to USA Today’s analysis.

The increase in hospitalizations in the area, which has a low vaccination rate, caused a temporary shortage of ventilators and a plea for help from respiratory therapists, USA Today reported.

The state of Missouri has seen the highest number of new cases per capita over the past two weeks in the U.S., according to USA Today. Only 39.4 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated.

Read more here


New poll points to support for drug price negotiation in key districts

The Democratic group Protect Our Care is out with new poll results seeking to put pressure on a group of House Democrats to support Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) signature legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, known as H.R. 3. 

The group released polling from the districts of 10 House Democrats who signed a letter in May signaling concerns with H.R. 3. The poll from the left-leaning firm Public Policy Polling finds that 76 percent of voters in those 10 districts support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. 

The 10 Democratic members who signed the letter and whose districts were surveyed are Reps. Tony Cardenas (Calif.), Lou Correa (Calif.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Frank Mrvan (Ind.), Jake Auchincloss (Mass.), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.) and Marilyn Strickland (Wash.). 


What we’re reading

COVID vaccines to reach poorest countries in 2023 — despite recent pledges (Nature)

These parts of the US could become ‘breeding grounds’ for potentially more Covid-19 variants, expert says (CNN

Juul is fighting to keep its e-cigarettes on the U.S. market (New York Times) 

Their neighbors called COVID-19 a hoax. Can these ICU nurses forgive them? (Washington Post)

Is the Alzheimer’s Association really pushing Biogen to lower its new drug’s price — or is it lip service? (Stat)


State by state

Amarillo was vaccinating people at double the state’s pace. Then the effort hit a wall. (Texas Tribune)

‘Cause for alarm’: COVID-19 hospitalizations worsen for Black L.A. County residents (L.A. Times)

Missouri mayor who required masks faces recall vote (Associated Press)


The Hill op-eds

Olympics: Unanswered questions about serious COVID-19 risks 

COVID-19 pandemic may be winding down but Americans are still sick and dying

Tags Anthony Fauci Chuck Todd Joe Biden Josh Gottheimer Kathleen Rice Kurt Schrader Lou Correa Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Scott Peters Stephanie Murphy Tony Cardenas
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