Several people who attended a conference in Florida earlier this month where ivermectin was promoted as a treatment against COVID-19 have since contracted the virus.
Dr. John Littell, the Ocala-based physician who organized the Florida Summit on COVID at an equestrian center on Nov. 6, said one physician fell ill and that a “handful of others” had mild cases.
The Food and Drug Administration says ivermectin is approved to treat or prevent parasites in animals. In humans, ivermectin tablets are approved for the treatment of some parasitic worms and there are topical formulations for head lice and skin diseases. The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans or animals.
Littell, who is unvaccinated and believes ivermectin is effective in treating and preventing the virus, said he does not believe the infections were spread at the conference.
“Only one doctor got sick, and that’s because his father had been sick in the Florida Keys before he came,” Littell said. “In each case, everyone is healthy now and back in the saddle. And everyone got early treatment and ivermectin and the usual combination of therapies.”
– Dustin Wyatt, The Ledger
Also in the news:
►Boston’s temporary outdoor dining program designed to help boost struggling restaurants has been extended to Dec. 31, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday. The extension applies to private terraces and many public streets.
►Maryland will distribute 500,000 home COVID test kits to health departments across the state. Gov. Hogan said the kits will provide “Marylanders more options and more peace of mind as we enter the holiday season.”
►Honolulu and Maui counties will allow restaurants and bars to operate at 100% capacity and eliminate the requirement for groups to sit 6 feet apart in restaurants when Hawaii eases some nationwide restrictions by the end of the month.
►Social distancing became mandatory again throughout the Netherlands on Wednesday. The country’s leading intensive care physician, Diederik Gommers, called for even tougher measures – including the closure of schools – to stem the rising infection rates.
►Malaysia and Singapore said on Wednesday that they will partially reopen their borders next week for fully vaccinated citizens and some others after nearly two years of closure.
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded more than 48 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 775,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: More than 259.3 million cases and 5.17 million deaths. More than 196 million Americans – 59% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we read: COVID-19 has pushed a decades-long shortage of emergency medical staff in Michigan into a crisis. How much longer before people call 911 and it will take too long for help to arrive if it does at all?
Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch the free newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and sign up for our Facebook group.
Of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns, 65% are in the red alert level for COVID
Most cities and towns in Connecticut are now in the red alert level, the state’s highest of four levels for COVID-19 infections, according to state data released Wednesday.
Of the state’s 169 municipalities, 110, or 65%, were in the red zone – most since April 22.
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday urged residents to take steps to protect themselves, noting that New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont had higher infection rates than Connecticut.
“It’s just a reminder that we are not an island. That’s why we need to continue to be very careful,” he said.
Thanksgiving gatherings can add to the COVID congestion of many hospitals
As families prepare to gather over the Thanksgiving holiday, some hospitals across the country are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and staff shortages, and increases linked to holiday gatherings can make it worse. A potentially week-long closure of an emergency department in New York on Monday was triggered by a shortage of staff after unvaccinated health workers were not allowed to continue work due to a state rule. Mount Sinai South Nassau’s emergency room will direct patients to its Oceanside emergency room.
Denver officials said hospitals are filling up and about 80% of those admitted to COVID-19 are unvaccinated, 9News reported. Dr. Robin Wittenstein, CEO of Denver Health, told the business that their system is on the verge of collapse.
The University of Iowa Hospital is also concerned about difficulties as cases of COVID and influenza are on the rise. In Dubuque County, hospital admissions for COVID-19 are as high as they were a year ago before vaccines were available.
“It’s cold now and people are going to be indoors and everyone is tired of this,” said Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan. “People are hungry for human contact. And because of that, people are likely to be less strict about gathering, about masking, about distancing themselves than they were last year.”
Home testing strains efforts to detect viruses
Thousands of people traveling on vacation this week will first test themselves for COVID-19 without a doctor, lab or any medical supervision. While these quick home tests are hailed as a great convenience and a smart way to protect loved ones, they have also raised a significant challenge for public health officials. It is unclear how often customers report results from the dozens of authorized corona tests in the home, which typically deliver results within 15 minutes outside a laboratory or doctor’s office. Private test manufacturers are already doing more home antigen tests than standard laboratory tests – and the gap could almost double next month as new home tests flood the market. read more here.
“The whole issue of tracking every single case will just not be possible anymore with these (home) tests,” said Marcus Plescia, chief physician of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “We have to go for a different approach.”
– Ken Alltucker
Medical, other entities are seeking exemption from Tennessee’s COVID legislation
Dozens of Tennessee health care, higher education and consulting units applied last week for an official exemption from the state’s new law, which strictly restricts companies from imposing COVID-19 restrictions.
The legislation, which was signed into law earlier this month by Governor Bill Lee, bans most private companies from requiring COVID-19 vaccines or proof of vaccination. But the bill introduced a provision for entities at risk of losing large federal funds if they complied with the new Tennessee law, such as federal contractors, transportation authorities and health care providers treating Medicare or Medicaid patients.
The Tennessee inspector began accepting waiver applications on Nov. 15 and received 76 by the end of the week, though legitimate applications were slightly fewer due to some duplicate and erroneous submissions. So far, rejections have been rare.
Of the 76 applications, five were rejected and 44 are awaiting approval.
– Melissa Brown, The Nashville Tennessean
Starring: Associated Press
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