Articles Posted in Testing

cmsseemav-150x150Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities now account for around 62,000 coronavirus deaths, 42% of the country’s total. So how is it possible that, months into the pandemic, owners and operators keep failing to fix well-known infection-control basics, like mixing healthy and infected residents and allowing poorly paid staffers to work at multiple facilities, carrying the disease from each to each?

On a side note, is it any comfort to frightened nursing home residents and outraged loved ones that Seema Verma, the nation’s chief regulator of long-term facilities, has obsessed, with taxpayer money, of course, on her image and public relations — spending on girls’ night bashes and face time with well-heeled patrons in her own party?

The independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Health News service deserves credit for piecing together various information sources to raise significant questions about not only nursing homes and long term care facilities but also hospitals and the care giving institutions’ infection-control procedures — notably whether, with all medical science knows now about Covid-19, facilities appropriately separate and isolate individuals with coronavirus diagnoses from others uninfected.

cdcinoculate-300x240The “warp speed” race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine has gotten hit with a yellow flag.

It could be a good thing that the product’s makers — Oxford University and AstraZeneca — followed medical-scientific protocols and paused their Phase III clinical trial due to a participant’s unexplained illness.

Officially, the company offered spare information about the occurrence, especially because it affects the private medical information of a single individual.

bobwbook-209x300Some fictional scenarios to contemplate:

  • What would happen to a military leader who was briefed and admitted to knowing of severe threats but downplayed them, resulting over a few months to the United States seeing its Indo-Pacific and European Commands wiped out — combined losses of roughly 180,000 in U.S. forces?
  • How would the governor of Maryland be treated if he was told of a public works problem but belittled it and in less than a year the cities of Columbia, Bethesda, and Annapolis and all the people in them were destroyed?

atlas-218x300The Trump Administration — yet again — has sowed confusion, frustration, and anger over the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic, creating potentially harmful credibility issues for a prospective coronavirus vaccine, the scientific concept of “herd immunity,” a possible blood-based treatment for the illness, as well as testing, contact tracing, and quarantines for the disease.

The White House follies would be considered bad farce, save for the reality that the U.S. death toll races toward 200,000 and infections have skyrocketed past 6 million. The U.S. has 22 percent of the world’s Covid death toll, but only 4 percent of the world’s population.

With schools reopening, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among children are on the rise.

marylandlogo-300x177It turns out there is more to be said about Maryland’s recently completed, pandemic-related checks on hundreds of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Three facilities, indeed, got expensive rebukes from state inspectors, but dozens more were hit with milder fines that also suggest widespread issues in the institutions, notably with the crucial concern of infection control.

In contrast to the Washington Post’s previous coverage of the sizable fines for Collingswood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($275,000) and Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($120,000), and Kensington Healthcare Center ($294,000), the Baltimore Sun said it, too, had obtained Maryland records indicating:

abe-150x150Boseman-150x150The world has received painful reminders about the adage about decision making that also applies to digestive health: “Always listen to your gut.”

Movie fans are mourning the tragic and early death of the brilliant actor Chadwick Boseman. He was 43 and battled colon cancer with courage, including as he starred as the “trailblazing Marvel superhero ‘Black Panther,’ “as well as “real-life icons Jackie Robinson in ‘42,’ James Brown in ‘Get on Up’ and Thurgood Marshall in ‘Marshall,’” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Japanese, in the meantime, dealt with sadness and uncertainty as Shinzo Abe, their nation’s longest serving prime minister, announced he would step down from office due to a relapse of ulcerative colitis, the bowel disease that led him to resign after just a year during his first stint in office, the New York Times reported.

cdcredfield-150x150fdahahn-150x150What the White House wants, it apparently will get — even if that hangs out to dry the prized nonpartisan reputations of the Federal Food and Drug Administration  and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The political meddling and leadership errors at two of the nation’s premier health agencies, critics say, will have disconcerting effects on the nation’s well-being, notably on science- and evidence-based efforts to combat the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those numbers keep soaring and changing almost as fast as they can be typed: 180,000-plus Americans have been killed by novel coronavirus, which also has infected more than 5.9 million of us in a little more than half a year.

demattos-150x150Maryland officials have wrapped up pandemic-prompted inspections of 226 nursing homes with a pricey rebuke to long-term care facilities that have failed still to safeguard the elderly, sick, and injured from Covid-19, putting them at “immediate jeopardy,” instead.

Three facilities were slapped with six-figure fines after state inspectors faulted them in June and July for improperly isolating potentially contagious residents, including new admissions: Collingswood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($275,000) and Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center ($120,000), and Kensington Healthcare Center ($294,000).

Inspectors also asserted that a patient died at Potomac Valley after a nurse failed to provide basic life support, and the Washington Post reported, based on state data, that “at least 78 residents from the three facilities have died since the spring of Covid-19 … and more than 270 have been infected with the virus.”

nhomehall-300x206Covid-19 infections and deaths are spiking anew in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, hitting worrisome levels not seen since months ago in the pandemic. The unchecked mess in centers nationwide, but especially in the South and West, is prompting more attention to them — from lobbyists boasting White House ties, health worker “strike teams,” and Big Pharma investigators.

But even as the nation’s top overseer of long-term care calls on institutions to step up their infection control and other coronavirus-fighting efforts, researchers say that 1 in 5 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities report they lack enough personal protective equipment and staff. This occurred as recently as in July — not just at the start of the pandemic.

Even as Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the owners and operators of care facilities that her agency has “deep concern … that even in nursing homes that are doing testing on a regular basis, we are still seeing significant spread,” experts from Harvard and the University of Rochester published findings on nursing homes in a health care policy journal, concluding:

chapelhill-300x169If the young are the nation’s future, they are getting a sorry eyeful now of how not to deal with widespread death and disease, uncertainty, and inequity. What will kids say years from now about how parents and politicians handled young folks’ schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The student journalists at the University of North Carolina (photo, right) captured in one vulgar term the shambolic response, labeling it a “cluster—” you-know-what.

That reaction summarized the anger and frustration as leading institutions of higher education, including UNC and Notre Dame re-opened, got thousands of young people sort of settled in, and then abruptly shut down, sending them packing and switching to online learning. The universities did so after coronavirus cases on campus exploded.

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