Articles Posted in Infections

gorsuch-150x150What is good for geese is not for ganders, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided.

The justices ruled 5-4 that the Biden Administration may force health employers to require their staff to get vaccinated or lose important federal funds, but in a 6-3 vote they rejected a vaccine-or-test mandate for companies with more than 100 employees for their workers in close contact with others.

The high court majority, assailed by dissenting justices, sided with conservative Republican state officials’ legal challenges and ripped away an important, proven way to quell the worst public health crisis in a century — a pandemic that is slamming the U.S. health system and is on its way to killing at least 850,000 Americans and infecting more than 65 million of us in recent months.

emergencysign-300x134Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are playing a sad, familiar, and disturbing role in the U.S. health system’s teetering on the verge of collapse in too many parts of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The owners and operators of the care facilities for the aged, sick, and injured insist they have done as well as they could have under unusual, calamitous conditions. But after taking in billions of dollars of emergency taxpayer assistance, they apparently have not moved with the needed alacrity to deal with their previous problems or to assist in positive ways with the crisis now slamming the health care system.

Just a reminder that the U.S. health system has its own “supply chain” nightmare. Hospitals offer intensive care, and their beds and other treatment spaces are among the system’s most costly, and, in the pandemic, in the highest demand.

dccovidcasessoarnyt-300x186The coronavirus pandemic is tearing up the country with the Omicron variant shattering infection records and rates and this viral strain and the Delta variant overwhelming hospitals and threatening to break the already exhausted U.S. health care system.

Uncertainty has returned to conversations about the pandemic’s course, as educators decide whether to return students at least temporarily to online learning, travel has been disrupted, and businesses make tough health safety decisions.

dec22deathsvaxvunvaxnyt-300x180Patients and experts alike are pondering basic questions in dealing with the disease and its risks. These include whether deaths, a lagging indicator, will spike with Omicron as they did with the Delta surge, and are current responses — such as cloth or “surgical” face coverings, isolation, quarantine, and rapid testing — as effective with highly contagious Omicron?

The Omicron variant swiftly has become the nation’s dominant strain, with coronavirus infections skyrocketing from coast to coast.

Officials are anxiously awaiting data to gauge the severity of Omicron infections and if the sharp rise in cases involving this variant will mean overwhelming numbers of patients requiring care in hospitals, too many of which already have been swamped, treating those infected with the deadly Delta variant.

It’s that time of year to offer seasonal greetings and best wishes for happiness, prosperity, hope, peace, and goodwill.

xmasvax-300x217May many good things especially go to the courageous, beleaguered, and stalwart folks struggling with the coronavirus pandemic 24-7 (including through the holidays), notably in health care, as first responders, and, of course, in service for our country.

To everyone who reads this blog, of course, all the best and, once more, a major appeal in these uncertain times:

nhomehall-300x200The battle to safeguard the elderly, sick, and injured residents of the nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is far from over — and the fight may be even tougher than advocates for the vulnerable may have imagined.

That’s because the facilities employ aggressive tactics to contest safety and other violations found by state and federal regulators in a system that favors them and shuts out the aggrieved while also keeping crucial information hidden from the public, the New York Times reported.

The newspaper said it investigated what happens when inspectors write up homes, finding a little-known system that owners and operators play to the max to protect a financially lucrative aspect of their operations: the “stars” awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its web site.

anxietygal-300x200Not all grievous injuries are apparent to the eye, as anyone who has experienced catastrophic illness or injury can attest. And now we’re learning a lot more about the hidden costs — mental, emotional, social, and spiritual — inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporters Emily Baumgartner and Russ Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times surfaced intriguing points of view on what has now become normalized but widely aberrant behaviors in the age of Covid. They did so, as they dug into the reasons for the unacceptable increase in road fatalities at a time when the public, overall, drove less and many people had open byways. The deadly toll that took in 2020 was expected to, but did not, reverse in 2021.

It got worse — and the reasons why need urgent attention, sources told the newspaper, which reported:

coviddeathspreventable-300x140
The coronavirus pandemic is nearing another grim mark: 800,000 deaths in this country in its two-year run, with 1 in 100 of the fatalities occurring among those 65 and older.

The pandemic toll exceeds the population of cities like Washington, D.C., Seattle, Denver, Boston, and Memphis, and is heading toward the equivalent of spots like Charlotte and Fort Worth. The virus for some time now has proven to be deadlier than the military casualties the country experienced combined in World War II plus the Vietnam and Korean wars.

Still, millions of shoppers are cramming into stores and malls seeking seasonal bargains and gift-giving wonders. Tens of millions of travelers are ready to jump into cars, trains, buses, and planes for holiday and year-end journeys,  to gather with friends and family.

covidshots-241x300The steady, global spread of the Omicron variant and the huge uncertainty about what menace it may pose also may provide a powerful prod for anyone still fence-sitting to finally get those coronavirus vaccinations, including booster shots.

Experts are furiously researching and may not know for weeks or longer whether Omicron will be worse than the Delta variant, which rages still in parts of the country, overwhelming health systems in the cooling North, notably in New HampshireMichigan and Minnesota.

But the Biden Administration and governments around the world are racing to get ahead of vigorous responses to Omicron.

covidpic-300x247Americans’ Thanksgiving holiday traveling, socializing, and  shopping resumed with vigor, near pre-pandemic norms. And yet:

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