COVID-19 Clinical Trial – Samaritan Health Services

Samaritan – OSU Research for COVID-19 Treatment

COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the world. We
at Samaritan Health Services want to contribute to the search for adequate
treatment options for this illness.

In collaboration with scientists from Oregon State
University, we have identified that a common supplement called inosine may be
beneficial in treating this virus. Weightlifters use inosine is primarily to
boost strength. However, inosine has been studied in several diseases, and
specifically has been shown to have some small benefit in respiratory viral
infections such as influenza.

COVID-19 infection appears to have two phases:

  1. The first phase is the milder presentation, which runs similar to many viral infections, where patients may feel a bit flu-like without feeling severely ill. Many patients recover while in this first phase.
  2. The second phase is what often leads to hospitalization and the need to be put on ventilators. It is felt that this second phase is primarily driven by an overreactive immune system, or, in other words, there is too much inflammation.

There is reason to believe that inosine
may be able to impact the disease in both of these phases.
We are conducting a study in patients who have
developed COVID-19 infection but who are not so sick that they are in the hospital. This study will compare the effect of inosine taken three times daily compared
to a placebo for 2 weeks.

If you are eligible and choose to participate in this
study, you can expect the following:

  1. We will ask you to get a blood draw on the first day, and then one and two weeks later, for three total blood draws.
  2. You will receive a bottle of pills in the mail. These will either be inosine or placebo. You will be asked to take two pills three times a day.
  3. You will need to keep a symptom diary recording such information as whether you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea or no symptoms at all.
  4. You will be contacted weekly by the research team for three weeks.

It is important to emphasize that inosine has never
been studied in the treatment of this novel coronavirus, so there is no
guarantee that it will help. It is possible that inosine could make your illness worse, although we think that is very unlikely.

Thank you for your interest in this study. If you
have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are interested in participating in
this study, please click the link below. This will take you to the study
consent form, where there will be some additional details that you need to
know. Clicking this link will also inform the research team of your interest
and they will contact you again to see if you have any further questions. The
sooner you can get on this treatment, the better.

If you are interested in participating, we would love to hear from you. Please fill out and submit this form, and we will reach out to you.

If you are still uncertain, and have additional
questions, please feel free to call the number below.

House Democrats Renew Investigation Into Trump-Era COVID-19 Response – NPR

House Oversight Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., is renewing an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images hide caption

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Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Oversight Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., is renewing an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Updated at 11:36 a.m. ET

House Democrats are renewing their investigation into the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, citing new documents and what they call evidence of political interference in the government response to the virus.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., sent letters to White House chief of staff Ron Klain and acting Health and Human Services Secretary Norris Cochran informing them of the investigations and additional evidence. Clyburn cites an internal HHS email that he says includes details of an effort to end testing of asymptomatic infections over concerns that people who test positive would quarantine and suppress the economy.

The letter focuses particularly on allegations that Trump administration adviser Dr. Paul Alexander tried to suppress scientific data and pressured members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to alter public information.

“The previous Administration refused to cooperate with the Select Subcommittee’s inquiries, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blocking documents and witnesses related to the politicization of public health information, testing and supply shortages, vaccine development and distribution, and other critical aspects of the nation’s virus response,” Clyburn wrote. “Documents recently obtained by the Select Subcommittee raise further questions about political interference with the coronavirus response during the previous Administration.”

The White House is currently reviewing the letter, according to a spokesman.

“We appreciate Chairman Clyburn and the Select Subcommittee’s diligent work to help ensure an effective, science-driven pandemic response on the part of the United States government,” the spokesman said in a statement. “The White House is focused on vaccinating the U.S. population efficiently and equitably and slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

Committee Democrats cite emails between Alexander and former Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Caputo pushing to reopen businesses based on information that contradicted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

The letter also outlines questions about the Trump administration’s approach to herd immunity, vaccine distribution and controversial treatments such as hydroxychloroquine. Democrats began investigating many of those issues last spring, and the letter details plans to continue that probe.

The House launched a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in April 2020. The bipartisan committee began investigative work last year, but the Trump administration largely refused to cooperate with its probe. The committee issued subpoenas for former HHS Secretary Alex Azar and then-CDC Director Robert Redfield in December 2020, but those subpoenas were ignored.

Democrats have vowed to continue their probe into the actions of the previous administration while providing oversight over the ongoing response to the crisis.

The Latest News on Covid-19: Live Updates – The New York Times

Football fans on Thursday in Tampa, Fla.
Credit…A.J. Mast for The New York Times

Just as the United States seems to have emerged from the worst of a surge in coronavirus cases that ravaged the country for months and peaked after Americans crowded indoors for the winter holidays, public health officials are concerned about another potential superspreader date: Super Bowl Sunday.

January was the country’s deadliest month so far in the pandemic, accounting for 20 percent, or 95,246, of the more than 460,000 coronavirus deaths the United States has recorded in the past 12 months. That’s more people than could fit into even the largest N.F.L. stadium.

Experts worry that football fans gathering on Sunday in Tampa, Fla., for the championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or at watch parties across the country, could set back the nascent progress of recent weeks. The daily reports of new cases and deaths remain high but have fallen somewhat. The seven-day average of new case reports in the U.S. dropped to 125,804 on Friday, the lowest level since Nov. 10. Reports of deaths, a lagging indicator because patients who die from Covid-19 generally do so weeks after being infected, averaged 2,913 a day, the lowest rate since Jan. 7.

The United States is administering 1.3 million vaccine doses a day on average, as the Biden administration pushes to speed distribution before more contagious variants that might evade vaccines can become dominant. The N.F.L. has offered President Biden all 30 of its stadiums for use as mass vaccination sites.

Officials like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Mr. Biden’s chief medical adviser for Covid-19, have warned Americans against gathering for Super Bowl parties with people from other households, especially in places without ideal ventilation.

“You’re really putting yourself and your family in danger,” Dr. Fauci said Friday on MSNBC.

“It’s the perfect setup to have a mini superspreader event in your house,” he added. “Don’t do that for now.”

While health experts worry about a rise in cases after the game, some said they don’t anticipate anything as deadly as the post-holiday wave that peaked in January. That is because Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to spur more domestic travel than the Super Bowl does, said Dr. Catherine Oldenburg, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Still, even parties pose a threat, said Carl Bergstrom, a professor of biology at the University of Washington.

“My sense is that it’s a really great year to watch it at home with your family, and not go to Super Bowl parties that you usually would, because we’re just starting to get this under control in this country,” Dr. Bergstrom said.

Dr. Bergstrom said he was also concerned about the more than 20,000 people who are expected to attend the game in person at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa — about one-third of the stadium’s usual capacity.

“Any time you get 25,000 people together yelling and screaming during a pandemic, you’re going to have transmission,” Dr. Bergstrom said.

Public health experts worry that new, more contagious variants, like one first identified in Britain and known as B.1.1.7, will soon become dominant and drive a deadly surge this spring. At least 187 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in Florida, more than in any other state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bars will be open in Florida during the game, and some are advertising Super Bowl parties. Before the game, Tampa’s mask order was extended to apply to outdoor areas where people could gather.

Super Bowl ticket holders have not been discouraged by the pandemic. Jeremiah Coleman, a Chiefs fan from Wichita, Kan., said, “On my deathbed, this will probably be one of the top five days I remember in my life, you know?”

A woman uses a kit to swab herself for coronavirus at the Levine Science Research Center at Duke University last Wednesday in Durham, N.C. The C.D.C. believes the more transmissible coronavirus variant first detected in Britain is soon likely to become the dominant strain in the United States.
Credit…Pete Kiehart for The New York Times

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in Britain is spreading rapidly in the United States, doubling roughly every 10 days, according to a new study.

Analyzing half a million coronavirus tests and hundreds of genomes, a team of researchers predicted that in a month this variant could become predominant in the United States, potentially bringing a surge of new cases and increased risk of death.

The new research offers the first nationwide look at the history of the variant, known as B.1.1.7, since it arrived in the United States in late 2020. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that B.1.1.7 could become predominant by March if it behaved the way it did in Britain. The new study confirms that projected path.

“Nothing in this paper is surprising, but people need to see it,” said Kristian Andersen, a co-author of the study and a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “We should probably prepare for this being the predominant lineage in most places in the United States by March.”

Dr. Andersen’s team estimated that the transmission rate of B.1.1.7 in the United States is 30 percent to 40 percent higher than that of more common variants, although those figures may rise as more data comes in, he said. The variant has already been implicated in surges in other countries, including Ireland, Portugal and Jordan.

“There could indeed be a very serious situation developing in a matter of months or weeks,” said Nicholas Davies, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was not involved in the study. “These may be early signals warranting urgent investigation by public health authorities.”

Dr. Davies cautioned that U.S. data is patchier than data in Britain and other countries that have national variant monitoring systems. Still, he found results from some parts of the United States especially worrisome. In Florida, where the new study indicates the variant is spreading particularly quickly, Dr. Davies fears that a new surge may hit even sooner than the rest of the country.

“If these data are representative, there may be limited time to act,” he said.

A small but vocal band of demonstrators caused the Los Angeles Fire Department to shut down the vaccination site at Dodger Stadium for about an hour last weekend.
Credit…Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times, via Shutterstock

An out-of-work stand-up comic originally from New Jersey. An actor and conservative podcast host dressed in a white lab coat. A gadfly who has run several unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in Los Angeles. And at least a few who had been in Washington the day of the Capitol riot.

They were among the motley crew of vaccine skeptics who recently converged on the entrance of the mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to protest distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

The loosely formed coalition represents a new faction in California’s long-established anti-vaccine movement. Their protest was the latest sign that Californians have become the unlikely standard-bearers for aggressive opposition to the vaccine at a time when virus cases continue to spread in the state.

California, which has averaged 500 daily deaths tied to the virus over the past week, will soon become the state with the largest number of coronavirus deaths, surpassing New York.

For months, far-right activists across the United States have been rallying against mask-wearing rules, business lockdowns, curfews and local public-health officials, casting the government’s response to the virus as an intrusion on individual liberties. But as masks and lockdowns have become an increasingly routine part of American life, some protesters have shifted the focus of their antigovernment anger to the vaccine.

Last week at Dodger Stadium, the same small but vocal band of demonstrators who previously staged anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests in the Los Angeles area disrupted a mass vaccination site that gives an average of 6,120 shots daily. About 50 protesters — some carrying signs reading “Don’t be a lab rat!” and “Covid = Scam” — marched to the entrance and caused the Los Angeles Fire Department to shut down the entrance to the city-run site for about an hour.

Then vaccinations continued as scheduled.

Empty storefronts in Manhattan last month. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is urging lawmakers to pass a sizable coronavirus aid package for the sake of the economy.
Credit…Mohamed Sadek for The New York Times

The U.S. labor market is stalling and in a “deep hole” that could take years to escape if lawmakers do not quickly pass an aid package that gives workers a bridge to the end of the pandemic, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned on Sunday.

By contrast, passing the $1.9 trillion package that President Biden has proposed could allow the economy to reach full employment by next year, Ms. Yellen said.

She rebutted concerns that big spending would lead to inflation, and said that the economy would be stuck in the kind of long, slow recovery that followed the 2008 financial crisis if lawmakers do too little now.

“The most important risk is that we leave workers and communities scarred by the pandemic and the economic toll that it’s taken,” Ms. Yellen said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “We have to make sure this doesn’t take a permanent toll on their lives.”

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, argued in The Washington Post on Thursday that Mr. Biden’s proposal was so big that it might overheat the economy. But Ms. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, said on CNN that she had spent years studying inflation and that she was confident that policymakers had the tools to deal with it if it were to materialize.

Democrats in Congress moved last week to fast-track Mr. Biden’s plan, but the details of the legislation are still being worked out. Ms. Yellen said it was important to ensure that not just low-income workers but also those in the middle class, like teachers and police officers, receive the additional support they need.

“Of course it shouldn’t go to very well-off families that don’t need the funds,” Ms. Yellen said on the CBS program “Face the Nation,” adding that Mr. Biden was discussing with Congress where to set the income ceiling for eligibility.

After a pandemic aid package passes, Ms. Yellen said, Mr. Biden wants to pass a jobs bill built around infrastructure investment, worker training and addressing climate change.

Diann Ferril-Reader vaccinating Ramona Perez, 75, and her husband, Robert Occasio, 93, on Thursday at the Castle Hill Community Center in New York.
Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

Black Americans are being killed by Covid-19 at 1.5 times the rate of white Americans, yet many Black people are hesitant to line up for a vaccine.

According to a survey in January by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 43 percent of Black adults say they will most likely take a “wait and see” approach before deciding whether to get the vaccine. Eight percent say they will get it only if it is required.

But Kaiser also said that the numbers reflected “a rise in enthusiasm across racial and ethnic groups since December,” with more of the public now wanting to get the vaccine “as soon as possible.”

Still, the finding was troubling to Thomas A. LaVeist and Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, who wrote an opinion essay published on Sunday in The New York Times, urging Black Americans “to claim your place in line to get vaccinated.” The article is signed by 60 Black health experts.

“Our country is facing a public health crisis on a level not experienced for more than 100 years,” wrote Dr. LaVeist, dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, and Dr. Benjamin, a physician and the executive director of the American Public Health Association. “It should be reasonable to expect that all citizens can rely on their government and health institutions to protect them. But for many Black Americans, trust in the government does not come easily.”

They point to disinformation that has “pervaded social media” and to distrust in health institutions in Black communities as reasons that Black Americans are getting vaccinated at lower rates than white people.

In New York City, recent data show that of the nearly 300,000 city residents who have received their first doses of the vaccine, 11 percent were Black. (The city’s population is made up of roughly 24 percent Black people.)

“Vaccines are now available,” Dr. LaVeist and Dr. Benjamin wrote, adding: “We have reviewed the research and feel confident the research was done correctly. Most importantly, we know that the trials were conducted across a diverse group of Americans from all backgrounds — Black, Native American, White, Hispanic, Asian, and men and women. While we understand why there might be hesitancy about getting vaccinated, we need to weigh the risks of taking the vaccine versus being infected by the virus and the potential of health problems, hospitalization, even death.”

Black Americans are among the most affected in the country by the pandemic, mostly because of socioeconomic factors. Compared with white Americans, Black Americans tend to live in more crowded households and are more likely to have jobs that require them to work in close contact with others.

Those We’ve Lost

Albert Hale was elected the second president of the Navajo Nation in 1994, and later served in the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives.
Credit…Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Albert Hale was serving as president of the Navajo Nation when one of the most powerful political figures in the United States flared tempers by telling leaders in Indian Country that he had trouble understanding the concept of tribal sovereignty.

So in 1998, Mr. Hale, a trailblazing lawyer all too familiar with Washington’s methods of dealing with tribal nations, issued a retort to the official, Newt Gingrich, a Republican who was then speaker of the House of Representatives.

“When I come to Washington, you don’t send me to the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” said Mr. Hale, representing the largest Indian reservation in the United States, according to an article in The New York Times. “You have a state dinner for me.”

After a long political career, Mr. Hale died on Feb. 2 at a hospital in Mesa, Ariz. He was 70. The cause was Covid-19, his daughter April Hale said.

Mr. Hale was elected the second president of the Navajo Nation in 1994, not long after it created a three-branch system of government similar to many other democracies. He later served in the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives.

Mr. Hale’s death was a reminder of how the virus is devastating the Navajo Nation, which has been one of the hardest-hit places in the United States during the pandemic. At least 1,038 people have died from the virus in the nation, which spreads over parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, tribal officials said Wednesday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is among the players who have criticized the N.B.A.’s plans to hold an All-Star Game next month.
Credit…Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

Multiple N.B.A. stars, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, have added their voices to the growing chorus of players criticizing the league’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly plans to hold the All-Star Game in Atlanta next month.

“We’ve got to all follow the big dog,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on Friday night, referring to LeBron James, who said this week that holding the game as planned on March 7 would be “a slap in the face” for players. Echoing James, Antetokounmpo, the reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner, said he had “zero excitement, zero energy” for the game.

Following Antetokounmpo’s comments, Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers forward, said he was not surprised by the league’s plans, but that it was “just putting money over health right now, pretty much.”

“We all know why we’re playing it,” said Leonard, a four-time All-Star. “It’s money on the line. There’s the opportunity to make more money.”

The All-Star events are a chance to showcase the N.B.A.’s top talent. There is also a financial benefit, although how much is unclear. This year, the league, in conjunction with the players’ union, is planning to hold its 3-point contest and skills competition on the same day as the game to condense an affair that typically lasts days. The N.B.A.’s collective bargaining agreement requires those selected for the All-Star Game to play if they are healthy.

Nonetheless, a condensed schedule does not eliminate the added health risks of an event bringing together the game’s best players from across the country for an exhibition — and presents a sharp contrast to rules that bar players from sharing hugs and handshakes after games to help reduce the chances of spreading infection.

Floral tributes outside Wuhan Central Hospital in memory of Li Wenliang before the anniversary of his death. Dr. Li, one of the first to warn publicly about the coronavirus, died in the early hours of Feb. 7, 2020.
Credit…Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

One day. Two deaths. A year later, despite the hundreds of thousands of deaths that followed, the loss of two people — one in China and one in the United States — still reverberates in two countries where the pandemic took drastically different paths.

Saturday is the anniversary of the death of Dr. Li Wenliang in Wuhan, China, from the illness that he had sounded the alarm about, before being silenced by the authorities there.

At the end of December 2019, Dr. Li warned his medical school classmates, in an online chat room, of a lab report about a spreading virus that resembled Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, a coronavirus that had spread from China 17 years earlier. Shortly after that, he was summoned in the middle of the night by health officials, and later by the police, and forced to sign a statement disavowing his “illegal behavior.” Without naming Dr. Li, Chinese state television news reported that eight people in Wuhan had been punished for spreading “rumors” about the virus.

Dr. Li was 34, and expecting a second child with his wife. His silencing and his death set off rare waves of fury and revolt online in China, flooding Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform similar to Twitter, with an illustration of him muzzled by a barbed wire mask.

Though his initial warning wasn’t heeded, China reversed course, locking down Wuhan and offering the world a forewarning about the dangers of the virus. A year later, far from the long months of harsh lockdown, the city shows what awaits when the virus is contained: unmasked faces, joyous get-togethers and daily commutes.

The anniversary of Dr. Li’s death early on Feb. 7 in China (and Feb. 6 in the United States) inspired an outpouring of online messages in China, including many from people who warned that the lessons from his persecution should not be forgotten. Many left comments, some with emoticons of lit candles, on Dr. Li’s personal page on Weibo.

“So many people have visited here to thank you,” one message said. “We must not forget,” said another, a sentiment echoed by many other comments.

On Sunday in China, comments with a hashtag created in remembrance of Dr. Li had attracted over 410 million views on Weibo, and — even with censorship — many longer posts took aim at the official censorship and secrecy that led to his punishment.

Some mourning Dr. Li cited his own words in an interview days before he died: “I think a healthy society should not have just one voice.”

Saturday is also exactly one year since the first known coronavirus-related death in the United States, where a unified pandemic strategy never existed under the Trump administration and the virus was never controlled.

On Feb. 6, 2020, weeks before there was evidence that the coronavirus was spreading in U.S. communities, Patricia Dowd, an otherwise healthy 57-year-old auditor at a Silicon Valley semiconductor manufacturer, developed flulike symptoms and abruptly died in her kitchen in San Jose, Calif. The startling discovery months later that her death was from Covid-19 rewrote the timeline of the virus’s early spread in the United States, and suggested that the optimistic assumptions that drove federal policies over the early weeks of the outbreak were misplaced.

“R.I.P. Patricia,” Pam Foley, a San Jose City Council member who represents Ms. Dowd’s district, wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “You are loved & deeply missed.”

A year and over 460,00 deaths later, about 1.3 million people in the United States are receiving a vaccine dose every day and the spread of the virus is finally slowing, but the threat of more contagious variants looms. A return to normalcy remains an aspiration, but only that, a notion that is far from reality.

Nancy Townsend and Herb Thomas, who met last March, on their wedding day, Sept. 6, 2020, at Harriet Wetherill Park in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Credit…Lili Ditmer

If the world is ending, who do you want by your side?

Nancy Townsend selected Herb Thomas: a man she met for lunch in early March, whom she FaceTimed later that month, dined with (outdoors) in April, and got engaged to the week after Easter. They married Sept. 6, 2020, at Harriet Wetherill Park in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

“We felt like we didn’t have time to waste,” said Ms. Townsend, 66, a widowed semiretired Salvation Army officer.

She and everyone else, apparently.

Snagging a coveted wedding license during the pandemic became more difficult than it used to be to get toilet paper, as singles have been grasping the person by their side and clinging to them for better or for worse.

Getting a marriage license in New York is now done via Project Cupid, which involves filling out paperwork online and trying to snag a virtual appointment (new spots are released Thursdays at 9 a.m.).

Historically, scary, stressful times have led to increased marriage rates. Following South Carolina’s Hurricane Hugo, marriage rates increased in the areas affected by the storm (these numbers had previously been trending downward). After the 9/11 attacks, the marriage rate didn’t change but couples were less willing to get a divorce: the number of couples in New York who filed for divorce decreased by 32 percent. It was a similar situation in Japan after the 2011 tsunami.

The pandemic was no different. According to an October Brides’ survey of 4,000 engaged couples, 82 percent said that living through the pandemic had made them even more eager to get married so they could weather this — and other storms — together. Fifty-five percent said the pandemic had changed their expectations for marriage, and that they were prioritizing their relationship above anything else.

It’s not surprising, said Rebecca Haney, a licensed professional clinical counselor in Cincinnati. When you’re scared, anxious or overwhelmed, you feel out of control. Your body and mind are experiencing sensations you don’t know how to manage, Ms. Haney said.

“So to compensate for this feeling, people tend to find other ways to feel in control,” she said. “This is why some people make big changes or major decisions during times of fear.”

Getting married during a pandemic feels like a guarantee of safety and stability, said Nick Bognar, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Pasadena, Calif.

There’s also the idea that if your relationship could survive the pandemic, then it could survive anything.

Angelica Gabriel, 47, and her husband, Felix Cesario, 50, at their apartment complex in Mountain View, Calif. The couple share their apartment with others to manage the rent.
Credit…Sarahbeth Maney for The New York Times

As the pandemic enters its second year, millions of renters are struggling with a loss of income and with the insecurity of not knowing how long they will have a home. Savings depleted, they are running up credit card debt to make the rent, or accruing months of overdue payments. Families are offsetting housing costs by moving in together.

Even before the pandemic, about 11 million households — one in four U.S. renters — were spending more than half their pretax income on housing, and overcrowding was on the rise.

Now, the pressure has grown worse. One study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed that tenants who lost jobs in the pandemic had amassed $11 billion in rental arrears.

On Friday, as monthly jobs data provided new evidence of a stalling recovery, President Biden underscored the housing insecurity faced by millions. The rental assistance in his $1.9 trillion relief plan, he said, is essential “to keep people in their homes rather than being thrown out in the street.” And $25 billion in federal rental aid approved in December is set to be distributed. That, and Mr. Biden’s extension of an eviction moratorium, should help many people.

But for every million or so households who are evicted in the United States each year, there are many more millions who move out before they miss a payment, who cut back on food and medicine to make rent, or who take up informal housing arrangements that exist outside the traditional landlord-tenant relationship. The federal rental aid may not reach these people, who are the most vulnerable to slipping into homelessness.

While rents have fallen in many big cities, vacancy rates for the cheapest buildings are essentially flat from last year, according to CoStar Group, a commercial property group. Before the pandemic there was already a longstanding shortage of affordable housing, so anyone who loses an affordable home will still have a hard time finding a new one.

The coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard on single people.
Credit…Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

The coronavirus pandemic has been rough on virtually everyone.

But those who have been single through the isolation, fear and upheaval say they’ve been confronted with a distinct set of challenges — not necessarily more or less severe than those who are coupled up, but different.

“The first few months I thought: ‘This is OK, I can work on myself,’” said Gagan Bhatnagar, 35, a clinical oncology consultant in London. “But then it just dragged on. One day I realized it had been three months since I had touched a human being.”

With a widely shared Twitter thread in December, Mr. Bhatnagar tapped into a wide range of single angst. The thousands of responses he received indicated single people often felt their needs were being overlooked or dismissed, and they frequently felt guilty about expressing them. What’s a bit of mopey loneliness when others are dying?

Being unable to date as usual has robbed people of the hope and excitement that can sustain them through typical rough patches, he said. (Many reported that socially distanced walks in the cold, one of the few Covid-safe ways to meet people after matching online, wasn’t conducive to forming connections.)

“The most physical contact I’ve had was with a cashier giving me change,” said Marc Fein, 35, an educator and mental health advocate in Jerusalem. “I don’t think I realized how much I needed it.”

Science supports the necessity of human touch: Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, said research had shown touch to be crucial as a mood stabilizer.

“To have well-being, you need to have touch,” she said. “And if you don’t have that, you go into these states of anxiety and depression.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: February 5, 2021 – FDA.gov

For Immediate Release:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the following actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) for Feb. 26, 2021, to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen Biotech Inc. The FDA intends to make background materials available to the public, including the meeting agenda and committee roster, no later than two business days prior to the meeting. In general, advisory committees include a chair, members with scientific and public health expertise, and a consumer and industry representative. Additional members with specific expertise may be added for individual meetings as needed. The members of the VRBPAC are independent, scientific and public health experts from around the country who provide advice to the agency, which may include advice on the safety and effectiveness data submitted in the EUA request. However, final decisions on whether to authorize the vaccine for emergency use are made by the FDA.
  • The FDA is alerting health care professionals and compounders of potential risks associated with compounding remdesivir drug products. The FDA cautions against compounding remdesivir drug products. The agency recommends health care providers utilize the FDA-approved drug for patients who are prescribed remdesivir. Compounded drugs are not FDA-approved. This means the FDA does not verify the safety, effectiveness, or quality of compounded drugs. Compounded drugs should only be used in patients whose medical needs cannot be met by an FDA-approved drug.
  • On Feb. 4, the FDA revised the Letter of Authorization for COVID-19 convalescent plasma to limit the authorization to the use of high titer COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 early in the disease course and to those hospitalized patients who have impaired humoral immunity and cannot produce an adequate antibody response. Data indicates that plasma with low levels of antibodies may not be effective in treating COVID-19. The revision was based upon data from new clinical trials analyzed or reported since the original EUA was issued in August 2020.
  • On Feb. 4, the FDA issued a statement noting that as part of its commitment to a public and transparent process, the FDA is developing guidances for diagnostic, therapeutic and vaccine developers to help guide ongoing medical product development as they evaluate the impact of COVID-19 variants on their products.
  • Testing updates:
    • As of today, 322 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These include 239 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 14 antigen tests. There are 35 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Announces Advisory Committee Meeting to Discuss Janssen Biotech Inc.’s COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate – FDA.gov

For Immediate Release:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Feb. 26, 2021, to discuss the request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen Biotech Inc. 

“A public discussion by the advisory committee members about the data submitted in support of safety and effectiveness of Janssen Biotech Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine will help ensure that the public has a clear understanding of the scientific data and information that FDA will evaluate in order to make a decision about whether to authorize this vaccine,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “The FDA remains committed to keeping the public informed about our evaluation of the data for COVID-19 vaccines, so that the American public and medical community have trust and confidence in FDA-authorized vaccines.” 

The FDA intends to make background materials available to the public, including the meeting agenda and committee roster, no later than two business days prior to the meeting. In general, advisory committees include a chair, members with scientific and public health expertise, and a consumer and industry representative. Additional members with specific expertise may be added for individual meetings as needed.

The members of the VRBPAC are independent, scientific and public health experts from around the country who provide advice to the agency, which may include advice on the safety and effectiveness data submitted in the EUA request. However, final decisions on whether to authorize the vaccine for emergency use are made by the FDA. 

In terms of timing for convening the VRBPAC meeting following the submission of the EUA request, this amount of time will allow the FDA to thoroughly evaluate the data and information submitted in the EUA request before the meeting and to be prepared for a robust public discussion with the advisory committee members.

While the FDA cannot predict how long its ongoing evaluation of the data and manufacturing information will take following the VRBPAC meeting to make a decision on the request for an EUA, the agency will review the request as expeditiously as possible, taking into consideration the discussion by the advisory committee, while still doing so in a thorough and science-based manner.

The FDA intends to issue a Federal Register notice as soon as possible with details of the meeting, which will include information about a public docket for comments. At that time, public comments can be submitted. These comments will be reviewed by the FDA.

The FDA intends to livestream the VRBPAC meeting on the agency’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels; the meeting will also be webcast from the FDA website.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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‘Just Cruel’: Digital Race For COVID-19 Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind – NPR

Seniors and first responders try to snag one of 800 doses available at a vaccination site in Fort Myers, Fla. Octavio Jones/Getty Images hide caption

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Octavio Jones/Getty Images

Seniors and first responders try to snag one of 800 doses available at a vaccination site in Fort Myers, Fla.

Octavio Jones/Getty Images

With millions of older Americans eligible for coronavirus vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty.

The efforts to vaccinate people who are 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems.

The struggle represents a shift from the first wave of vaccinations — health care workers in health care settings — which went comparatively smoothly. Now, in most places, elderly people are pitted against each other competing on an unstable technological playing field for limited shots.

“You can’t have the vaccine distribution be a race between elderly people typing and younger people typing,” says Jeremy Novich, a clinical psychologist in New York City, who has begun a group to help people navigate the technology to get appointments. “That’s not a race, that’s just cruel.”

While the demand is an encouraging sign of public trust in the vaccines, the challenges facing seniors also speak to the country’s fragmented approach that has left many confused and enlisting family members to hunt down appointments.

“It’s just maddening,” says Bill Walsh with AARP. It should be a smooth pathway from signing up to getting the vaccine and that’s just not what we’re seeing so far.”

Glitchy websites, jammed phone lines and long lines outside clinics have become commonplace as states expand who’s eligible — sometimes triggering a mad dash for shots that can sound more like trying to score a ticket for a music festival than obtaining a life-saving vaccine.

After being inundated, some public health departments are trying to hire more staff to handle their vaccination hotlines and to specifically target seniors who may not be able to navigate a complicated online sign up process.

“Just posting a website and urging people to go there is not a recipe for success,” says Walsh.

“Terribly competitive”

Like many seniors, Colleen Brooks, 85, had trouble sorting through the myriad online resources about how to find the vaccine where she lives, on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound near Seattle, Wash.

“It was an overwhelming amount of information,” she says. “I knew it was here some place, but it wasn’t easy to find out how to get it.”

After making calls, Brooks eventually got a tip from a friend who had spotted the vaccines being unloaded at their town pharmacy. When she dropped by her health clinic to inquire about how to sign up, it happened they were giving out shots on that same day.

That was totally serendipitous for me, but I actually personally know several seniors who just kind of gave up,” says Brooks.

Finding out how to get a vaccine appointment was more straightforward for Gerald Kahn, 76, who lives in Madison, Conn.

Kahn got an email notice from the state’s vaccine registration system telling him to make an appointment, but he ran into problems at the very end of the sign up process.

“As much as I would pound my finger on the face of my iPad, it didn’t do me any good,” he says.

So Kahn did what many have and called a younger family member who was able to help him finish the sign up process.

“I think there are a lot of people my age, maybe the preponderance, who can only go so far into the Internet, and then we’re not only stymied but also frustrated,” he says.

When Helen Francke, 92, logged on for a vaccine at the designated time, she discovered the spots available in Washington D.C. filled up almost instantaneously.

“It was evident that I was much too slow,” she says. “It’s terribly competitive and clearly favors those with advanced computer skills.”

The next week, Francke tried calling and going online — this time with the help of her neighbors — without success.

“If I had had to depend on the D.C. vaccination website and telephone, I’d still be anxious and unsuccessful,” says Francke, who only got a shot after finding information on her neighborhood listserv that directed her to a local hospital.

In Arizona, Karen Davis, 80, ended up on a roundabout quest through state and hospital websites with no clear sense of how to actually book an appointment.

I kept trying to do it and kind of banged my head against the wall too many times,” she says.

Davis, who’s a retired nurse, called her doctor and the pharmacy, and then eventually turned to a younger relative who managed to book a 5 A.M. appointment at a mass vaccine site.

“I’m sure they did not expect older people to be able to do this,” she says.

Meanwhile, Miguel Lerma, who lives in Phoenix, says his 69-year-old mother has been unsuccessful in finding a shot.

“She’s not an English speaker and doesn’t know technology well, and that’s how everything is being done,” says Lerma, 31.

Lerma says it’s especially painful to watch his mother struggle to get the vaccine — because he lost his father to COVID-19 last year..

“She’s mourning not only for my dad, but she’s also suffering as an adult now because she depended on him for certain tasks,” Lerma says. “He would’ve handled all this.”

“Desperate” for a shot, seniors look for help

When the vaccine rollout began it lacked federal coordination, which resulted in a patchwork of different rules and systems that vary state-to-state and even county-to-county.

Seniors feel those shortcomings acutely because of the reliance on digital systems and other barriers to access like transportation, says Vivian Nava-Schellinger at the National Council on Aging and National Institute of Senior Centers.

Nava-Schellinger thinks the government should be more aggressively recruiting senior centers and community organizations to help reach older adults.

“When you don’t have a coordinated effort, you will leave seniors behind and most likely they will be seniors who are in the more vulnerable populations,” she says.

Philip Bretsky, a primary care doctor in Southern California, says his older patients would typically call him or visit their local pharmacy for vaccines like the annual flu shot, rather than rely on online scheduling systems.

“That’s not how 85-year-olds have interacted with the health care system, so it’s a complete disconnect,” Bretsky says. “These folks are basically just investing a lot of time and not getting anything out of it.”

California’s recent decision to change its vaccination plan and open it up to those over 65 only adds to the confusion.

Bretsky says his patients are being told to call their doctor for information, but he isn’t even sure when his office, which is authorized to give the vaccine, will receive any.

Patients in this age group want to know that they’re at least being heard or somebody is thinking about the challenges they have,” he says.

There are some local efforts to make that happen.

In the village of Los Lunas, New Mexico, public health workers held an in-person sign-up event for seniors who needed assistance or simply a device connected to the internet.

A Florida senior center recently held a vaccination registration event and a clinic specifically for people over 80 who might not have a computer.

Jeremy Novich, the clinical psychologist in New York, teamed up with a few people to create an informal help service for older adults. It began as a small endeavor, advertised through a few synagogues and his Facebook page. They’ve now helped more than 100 people get shots.

“We have a huge number of requests that are just piling up,” says Novich.

“People are really desperate and they’re also confused because nobody has actually explained to them when they are expected to get vaccinated… it’s a big mess.”

The ongoing shortage of vaccines has led Novich to halt the service for now.

This story is from NPR’s partnership with Kaiser Health News.

news Two Chiefs players clipped by barber’s positive COVID-19 test – NFL.com

TAMPA, Fla. — A barber who recently cut the hair of two Chiefs players received a positive test result for COVID-19 on Sunday, per sources, leading to receiver Demarcus Robinson and center Daniel Kilgore landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, six days before Super Bowl LV.

Neither Robinson nor Kilgore has tested positive and all parties were masked during the encounters, lowering the chance of transmission, sources say. But given the duration and proximity, both were deemed high-risk close contacts of the barber and had to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

If Robinson and Kilgore continue to test negative, both will be eligible to return to the Chiefs’ active roster in time to face the Buccaneers prior to Sunday, though they won’t be able to practice before the weekend because of the mandatory five-day isolation period. The Chiefs aren’t traveling to Tampa until Saturday.

Sources say the barber tested negative five consecutive days before he was allowed to enter the Chiefs’ facility — including a Saturday PCR test that came back negative Sunday. The barber took an additional rapid test as a precaution before entering the facility Sunday, but the results were delayed briefly because of a line of friends and family also getting tested. He was wearing double PPE and was still cutting Kilgore’s hair — the first in a line of players waiting for haircuts — when the positive result came back. The barber was immediately removed; in a follow-up interview with NFL officials, the barber said he’d also cut Robinson’s hair the previous day away from the facility.

On Dec. 18, the NFL sent a memo with several updates to COVID protocols, noting that “non-club service providers such as barbers, personal chefs, chiropractors, masseuses and stretching assistants who are employed by individual players” frequently contribute to positive cases and strongly encouraged clubs to have them tested prior to performing services.

Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill made note of the team’s cautious approach during Super Bowl Opening Night festivities Monday, telling reporters: “The Chiefs are bringing in barbers to the facility and getting ’em tested. So, like, they are really following protocol.”

Players are being tested for COVID-19 twice daily in advance of Super Bowl LV. No player on either team has tested positive in more than a week, and no Chiefs player or staffer tested positive in the latest round of testing available Tuesday.

Robinson has played in every game this season, totaling 45 catches for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season. He started the AFC Championship Game win over the Bills, but wasn’t targeted. Kilgore appeared in seven games (four starts) in the regular season and also played as a backup in the AFC title game. He could be in line for a larger role this week because of injuries along the offensive line.

New diabetes cases linked to covid-19 – The Washington Post

Many of those patients had no prior history of diabetes. Some who developed elevated blood sugar while they had covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, returned to normal by the time they left the hospital. Others went home with a diagnosis of full-blown diabetes. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in patients who are newly diagnosed,” Zilbermint said.

Although covid-19 often attacks the lungs, it is increasingly associated with a range of problems including blood clots, neurological disorders, and kidney and heart damage. Researchers say new-onset diabetes may soon be added to those complications — both Type 1, in which people cannot make the insulin needed to regulate their blood sugar, and Type 2, in which they make too little insulin or become resistant to their insulin, causing their blood sugar levels to rise. But scientists do not know whether covid-19 might hasten already developing problems or actually cause them — or both.

As early as January 2020, doctors in Wuhan, China, noticed elevated blood sugar in patients with covid-19. Physicians in Italy, another early hot spot, wondered whether diabetes diagnoses might follow, given the long-observed association between viral infections and the onset of diabetes. That association was seen in past outbreaks of other coronavirus illnesses such as influenza and SARS.

A year after the pandemic began, the precise nature and scope of the covid-diabetes link remain a mystery. Many of those who develop diabetes during or after covid-19 have risk factors, such as obesity or a family history of the disease. Elevated blood glucose levels also are common among those taking dexamethasone, a steroid that is a front-line treatment for covid-19. But cases also have occurred in patients with no known risk factors or prior health concerns. And some cases develop months after the body has cleared the virus.

John Kunkel, a 47-year-old banking executive in Evening Shade, Ark., was one of the surprise cases. He was hospitalized with covid-19 in early July. During a follow-up visit with his doctor, he learned he had dangerously high blood glucose levels and was readmitted. Kunkel has since received a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

“I had no preexisting health issues,” he said. “I was blown away. Why?”

Kunkel has had five emergency room visits and three hospital stays since getting covid-19. He recently lost his job because he was unable to return to work, given his continuing health problems. “Will you get your life back?” he asked. “Nobody knows.”

As many as 14.4 percent of people hospitalized with severe covid-19 developed diabetes, according to a global analysis published Nov. 27 in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. The international group of researchers sifted through reports of uncontrolled hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, in more than 3,700 covid-19 patients across eight studies. While those diagnoses might be the result of a long-observed response to severe illness, or to treatment with steroids, the authors wrote, a direct effect from covid-19 “should also be considered.”

Concerns that covid-19 might be directly implicated also were supported, they said, by the exceptionally high doses of insulin that diabetes patients with severe covid-19 often require and the dangerous complications they develop.

Researchers do not understand exactly how covid-19 might trigger Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or whether the cases are temporary or permanent. But they are racing to find answers to these and other questions, including whether the novel coronavirus may have spawned an entirely new type of diabetes that might play out differently from the traditional forms of the disease.

Francesco Rubino, a diabetes surgery professor at King’s College London, is convinced there is an underlying connection between the diseases.

Over the summer, he and a group of other diabetes experts launched a global registry of patients with covid-19-related diabetes. After they spread the word with an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 350 institutions from across the world responded, he said.

The database is accumulating patients — over 150 so far — although it will take months for researchers to sift through the data to draw any conclusions. “We really need to dig deeper,” Rubino said. “But it sounds like we do have a real problem with covid and diabetes.”

Some of the cases reported to his database do not fit the usual profile of Type 1 diabetes, in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, or Type 2, in which people become insulin resistant, he said. Usually, a patient with one type of diabetes will experience specific complications; for instance, those with Type 1 may burn through their fat stores, or those with Type 2 may experience a syndrome that can involve severe dehydration and coma as the body pumps excess blood sugar into the urine. In some patients with covid-19, though, complications cross types.

“There’s a good chance that the mechanism of the diabetes isn’t typical,” Rubino said. “There could be a hybrid form. It’s concerning.”

Rubino is especially worried about reports of diabetes diagnoses after mild or asymptomatic coronavirus infections. As the number of novel coronavirus infections continues to rise, he said, “you could see a significant new volume of diabetes diagnoses.”

Diabetes already is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States. An estimated 34.2 million people, or 10.5 percent of the population, have the disorder, according to federal health data. And approximately 1 in 3 Americans, or 88 million people, have prediabetes, which indicates they are on a path to Type 2. If left uncontrolled, the disease can damage many parts of the body and is associated with serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage.

But whether those with diabetes that is newly diagnosed after covid-19 will have a lifelong problem is unclear. After the 2003 SARS pandemic, Chinese researchers tracked 39 patients with no history of diabetes who had developed acute diabetes within days of hospitalization with SARS. For all but six, blood sugar level had fallen by the time they were discharged, and only two still had diabetes after two years. The researchers also found evidence that the SARS virus might attack insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

Beta cells play starring roles in both types of diabetes: The bodies of those with Type 1 attack and destroy the cells altogether, halting insulin production. Type 2 diabetics become resistant to the insulin they produce, so the beta cells make more and more, and eventually are worn out.

“If scientists could figure out how or if viral infection can damage beta cells, or what role viruses play in the development of the disease, it would be a real turning point,” said Katie Colbert Coate, a diabetes researcher and research instructor in medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Though people with diabetes are no more susceptible to contracting covid-19 than those without, they are at much higher risk of severe complications or death once they do. In the early days of the pandemic, just over a third of those who died of covid-19 in British hospitals had preexisting cases of diabetes. Doctors in Wuhan also noticed that those with newly diagnosed diabetes were more likely to need intensive care than those who had diabetes before they contracted covid-19.

New diagnoses of diabetes in people with no classic risk factors also are scattered throughout case reports: A 37-year-old, previously healthy Chinese man who went to the hospital with a severe, and in some cases fatal, diabetes complication; a 19-year-old German who developed Type 1 diabetes five to seven weeks after a novel coronavirus infection but who lacked the antibodies commonly associated with the autoimmune disease.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, meanwhile, noticed an increase in the number of Type 2 diagnoses in children, as well as a severe complication of diabetes. After some of them showed evidence of past coronavirus infections, Senta Georgia, an investigator in the hospital’s Saban Research Institute, began looking deeper. Her research, which repurposes tissue from primates used in vaccine tests, is undergoing peer review.

“Only with the scientific public square can we put all of this data out there, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses … until we really get the information we need,” Georgia said.

Such reports also have increased the sense of urgency for researchers like Coate, who dropped other work and began looking for keys to understanding the mechanism of the disease by examining how covid-19 might damage beta cells or other structures in the pancreas. She and others are asking whether certain covid symptoms predict whether a patient is vulnerable to diabetes and, most important, whether the disease’s onset is an effect of the immune response or a result of the virus directly attacking insulin-producing cells.

ACE2 receptor cells, the novel coronavirus’s entryway into the body, could provide one answer. When the spike proteins that surround the virus latch onto a host cell with an ACE2 receptor, they open up a cellular doorway that allows the virus to hijack the cell.

Strong evidence of ACE2 receptors on beta cells could confirm the long-standing suspicion that viruses trigger diabetes. But the research findings are inconclusive: Since the pancreas breaks down quickly after death, obtaining good samples from autopsied humans is difficult. And each study has its own limitations.

Last year, Cornell University researchers grew human pancreas cells and managed to infect them with SARS-CoV-2, as the novel coronavirus is technically known. They found ACE2 receptors on the cells, but the cells had been cultivated in a laboratory, not a human body.

Coate and her colleagues at Vanderbilt University were able to confirm the presence of ACE2 receptors in the physical structures of the pancreas, but their study focused on patients without covid-19 and found no evidence of the receptors on the insulin-producing beta cells. An Italian study did find the receptors in beta cells, but the donors did not have covid-19, either. Until receptors in pancreatic beta cells in tissue from covid-19 patients can be consistently confirmed by other researchers, the hunt for the mechanism underlying the diabetes-covid-19 connection continues. So does research on ways covid-19 might harm other parts of the endocrine system, which also might play a role in the disease mechanism.

For newly diagnosed patients such as nurse practitioner Tanisha Flowers, the answers can’t come soon enough.

Infected in April while working in a covid-19 ward in a Richmond hospital, the 40-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes in October. She now takes daily medications, watches her diet and is all too aware that she may be diabetic for life.

“I’m not myself anymore,” Flowers said. “No one knows what the lasting outcomes are.”

10 Senate Republicans Plan To Detail Slimmed-Down COVID-19 Counteroffer – NPR

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, seen here at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, is leading a group of GOP senators who have written to President Biden with a request to detail a COVID-19 rescue counterproposal. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, seen here at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, is leading a group of GOP senators who have written to President Biden with a request to detail a COVID-19 rescue counterproposal.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ten Republican senators are requesting a meeting with President Biden to detail a smaller counterproposal to his administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, an alternative they believe could be approved “quickly by Congress with bipartisan support.”

The outreach from more moderate GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, comes as many Democrats look to a process called budget reconciliation to pass Biden’s relief package, something that would enable Democrats to approve the president’s plan without any Republican support.

We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis,” the letter dated Sunday reads.

Republicans have balked at the price tag of Biden’s $1.9 trillion package, especially coming weeks after former President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion relief measure into law. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who also signed the letter, told Fox News Sunday the counterproposal would cost about $600 billion.

The GOP senators plan to detail their plan Monday.

That 10 Republicans signed on is notable because that’s the number that would be needed to combine with Senate Democrats’ 50 votes to reach the 60-vote, filibuster-proof threshold in order to pass legislation under regular Senate rules.

Brian Deese, Biden’s top economic adviser at the White House, told CNN’s State of the Union the White House will review the letter on Sunday.

“We’re certainly open to input from anywhere where we can find a constructive idea to make this package as effective as possible, but the president is uncompromising when it comes to the speed that we need to act at to address this crisis,” he said.

On Friday, Biden himself told reporters at the White House: “I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it. But the COVID relief has to pass.”

In the letter Sunday, the senators note that earlier COVID-19 relief packages passed with bipartisan support and that their proposal includes some similar elements to Biden’s plan, including allocating $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and personal protective equipment.

“Our proposal also includes economic relief for those Americans with the greatest need, providing more targeted assistance than in the Administration’s plan,” the letter reads. “We propose an additional round of economic impact payments for those families who need assistance the most, including their dependent children and adults.”

The lawmakers say their plan also includes extending enhanced federal unemployment benefits and deploying additional resources to help small businesses.

Notably, the letter did not mention state and local aid, which was a key sticking point in past rounds of relief negotiations. Biden’s package includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments.

The letter was also signed by Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Mitt Romney of Utah and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Portman had previously warned the Biden administration of moving forward on a new round of relief legislation without GOP support, saying it “poisons the well.”

“My hope is that we won’t go down this path of trying to circumvent the supermajority and just jam something through,” Portman told NPR’s Susan Davis. “I think that would set the tone for the administration that would be really problematic for the country and frankly, bad for the Biden administration.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: January 29, 2021 – FDA.gov

For Immediate Release:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the following actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • This week, the FDA added a new frequently asked question (FAQ), “Can the FDA help me get a COVID-19 vaccine,” to our COVID-19 FAQs, under the vaccine section. The answer is no. The FDA’s authority includes authorizing or approving COVID-19 vaccines for use in the United States. The FDA is not responsible for vaccine distribution. Go to the CDC website to find your state and local health departments who are responsible for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. If you are contacted directly by someone who says they are from the FDA about a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, it is a scam.
  • The FDA has added content to the question-and-answer appendix in its guidance titled “Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The updated guidance includes a new question-and-answer regarding whether FDA considers receipt of medical products authorized under an emergency use authorization for use in clinical care, such as a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, or a monoclonal antibody to treat COVID-19, to be receipt of “investigational” medical products. This information may be relevant when sponsors are considering eligibility criteria that exclude patients from enrolling in clinical trials if they have received certain medical products.    
  • On Jan. 27, the FDA approved an abbreviated new drug application for furosemide injection, indicated for the treatment of edema (fluid retention) associated with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and renal disease. Common side effects of furosemide injection include hypokalemia (low potassium level), hypotension (low blood pressure), and dizziness. This drug is included in the FDA’s Drug Shortage Database. The FDA recognizes the increased demand for certain products during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and we remain deeply committed to facilitating access to medical products to help address critical needs of the American public.
  • The FDA updated the immediately in effect guidance: Enforcement Policy for Coagulation Systems for Measurement of Viscoelastic Properties During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. The policy remains unchanged from the initial publication of this guidance; however, this update provides a minor clarification for one of the labeling recommendations.  Specifically, the revised guidance recommends that the labeling for devices modified as descried in the guidance include, in addition to other elements, a prominent and clear statement for users that results generated by the device are adjunctive (supporting) and should not be solely or primarily relied upon to diagnose or treat COVID-19 associated coagulopathy.
  • As part of the FDA’s effort to protect consumers, the agency issued warning letters jointly with the Federal Trade Commission to Allimax Us and to AusarHerbs, for selling unapproved products with fraudulent COVID-19 claims.
  • The FDA placed all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico on a country-wide import alert to help prevent entry of violative and potentially dangerous products from entering the U.S. until the agency is able to review the product’s safety. FDA analyses of alcohol-based hand sanitizers imported from Mexico found 84 percent of the samples analyzed by the agency from April through December 2020 were not in compliance with FDA’s regulations. FDA, with its Latin American office, continues to work proactively with regulatory counterparts in Mexico.
  • Testing updates:
    • As of today, 320 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These include 238 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 69 antibody tests, and 13 antigen tests. There are 33 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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