Overnight Health Care – Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19

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In the midst of a barrage of new initiatives, some Democrats are putting pressure on President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi proposes filibuster supporters ‘disgrace’ MLK’s legacy on voting rights Sanders calls Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE to step up its COVID-19 response in areas such as masking and testing.

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Dems urges Biden to increase the virus response

The Biden administration is facing increasing pressure from congressional Democrats to step up its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House last week announced a slew of initiatives, including the purchase of an additional 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests, and said a plan is coming this week to make high-quality masks available to the public for free.

But some Democrats and health experts are both pushing for more – and questioning why these actions were not taken months ago before the current rise, driven by the omicron variant, took hold.

Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, also said that last year “the delta increase should have been the warning shot” to get more tests.

View from the White House: Asked why the administration did not carry out more test actions earlier, said White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiPsaki claps back to Youngkin over school mask mandates. Clyburn says he ‘wholeheartedly’ supports Biden’s suffrage remarks Democrats urge Biden to step up virus response MORE said Thursday that actions on testing have been a “building process” over time.

The White House notes that it previously invested $ 3 billion to increase rapid testing, and that the supply of rapid testing in the United States was more than $ 300 million in December, up from $ 24 million in August. It also has a new test coordinator, Tom Inglesby, an expert from Johns Hopkins University.

read more here.

FAUCI: TOO SOON ABOUT OMICRON FINAL WAVE OF PANDEMI

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci: Too early to say whether omicron is the latest wave of pandemics. The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirements Public health expert: Biden administration must have agencies on ‘same page’ on COVID MORE said on Monday that it is too early to say whether omicron is the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House chief medical adviser said while speaking at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda online conference that “it is an open question whether it will be the live virus vaccination that everyone is hoping for.” according to CNBC.

“I would hope that is the case. But that would only be the case if we do not get another variant that evades the immune response from the previous variant,” he added.

Omicron is the most transmissible variant that has emerged so far, but appears to cause fewer hospitalizations and deaths than previous mutations of the virus, which has led many to question whether the pandemic is finally nearing an end.

The new variant already accounts for over 94 percent of cases in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which shows how quickly the highly transferable variant has displaced the previously dominant delta variant.

Fauci’s comments come a week after Europe’s summit regulatory agency for medical products said that the COVID-19 omicron variant can push the pandemic to become endemic.

read more here.

Walensky is committed to improving communications

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyWalensky says she wants to improve CDC messages amid criticism. Public health expert: Biden administration must have agencies on ‘same page’ about COVID Children’s hospital admissions reach record highs in mid-omicron rise: WSJ MORE in a new interview with The Wall Street Journal committed to communicating the agency’s coronavirus pandemic policy more clearly in the future, but defended its recent changes to the isolation guidelines.

Walensky, who is now a year into her term as CDC director, said she should have made it clearer to the public that the agency’s guidelines and recommendations could change rapidly depending on the nature of the virus.

“I think what I have not conveyed is the uncertainty in many of these situations,” Walensky said said in the interview, which was published on Monday.

Link: Walensky is under fire for not communicating the agency’s guidance adequately. The criticism, most recently about the agency’s guidelines for isolation and quarantine, comes from people both outside and inside the agency, reflecting growing frustration at an uncertain moment for both Walensky and the CDC.
Insulation confusion: While promising to improve communication, Walensky also defended the update of the agency’s guidance on isolation and quarantine. Walensky said science was entitled to a rapid change of policy, but admitted that much of the research came before the omicron variant took over as the dominant strain.

“We felt the need to act before we had omicron-specific data,” she told The Journal.

Read more here.

SCOTUS handcuffs Biden on vaccinations

The Supreme Court’s ruling last week against vaccine or test rules for companies gave a major blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic, leaving them without many more tools to increase the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19. .

Private companies can decide for themselves whether to impose a mandate, but without the legal coverage, it is unlikely that many more will do so, especially in GOP-led states that have made mandates illegal. A federal rule would have preceded state policy, allowing companies to keep their mandates in place.

Health experts said there is clear evidence that mandates work in getting more people vaccinated, and they fear that without one for nearly 80 million workers, more people would be at risk of being hospitalized and dying.
President Biden has indicated that he is running out of patience with Americans who refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus. Cash giveaways, dating app partnerships and even free college tuition barely moved the needle, so the rules were necessary to force the issue forward and make jobs safer.

But the Supreme Court said the biggest stick is unconstitutional and it is not clear that the White House has any tools left that officials want to use.

Read more here.

UNVACCINATED GREEKS 60 AND OVER ARE NOW FINE

Persons aged 60 and over living in Greece risk fines from Monday if they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Elderly people who are not vaccinated will be fined 50 euros, equivalent to 57 dollars, in January, according to the Associated Press. If they still do not get shot, they will be fined 100 euros, equivalent to $ 114, every month from now on.

The new policy that was announced in November, comes as Greece’s vaccination rate is below the EU average. About two-thirds of Greece’s 10.7 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the EU has an inoculation rate of just over 70 percent, according to the AP.

People with valid health problems will be exempted from the new policy, said government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou, according to the AP. This includes people who have recently been infected and people who have experienced delays with their home vaccination applications.

Oikonomou said, however, that “the law will be fully enforced,” according to the AP.

read more here.

WHAT WE READ

  • Democrats worry about living up to health care promises ahead of midterm terms (Washington Post)
  • ‘Not an acceptable situation’: Patient groups target CMS over Alzheimer’s coverage decision (Political)
  • Omicron rise shows signs of relief in states affected early by the fast-spreading variant (CNBC)

STATE BY STATE

  • Omicron originates from the marijuana supply chain (Boston Globe)
  • New majority in the GOP House looks set to roll back COVID protocols in Virginia (Virginian pilot)
  • Missouri parents are still reluctant to get their children the COVID-19 vaccine (NPR)

OP-EDS IN THE SLOPE

If we remain divided, we will never defeat COVID

USAID’s $ 400 million global VAX initiative may work, but only if it pays for gunshots

That was it for today, thank you for reading along. Check out The Hill’s health care page for the latest news and coverage. I’ll see you tomorrow.

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