From NPR

Biden Administration Moves To Undo Trump Abortion Rules For Title X

April 14, 2021

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic “gag rule” for reproductive healthcare providers.

The proposal published on Wednesday would largely return the federal Title X family planning program to its status before Trump took office. The current rules, implemented in March 2019 under Trump, forbid any provider who provides or refers patients for abortions from receiving federal funding through Title X to cover services such as contraception and STD screenings for low-income people.

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic “gag rule” for reproductive healthcare providers.

The proposal published on Wednesday would largely return the federal Title X family planning program to its status before Trump took office. The current rules, implemented in March 2019 under Trump, forbid any provider who provides or refers patients for abortions from receiving federal funding through Title X to cover services such as contraception and STD screenings for low-income people.

“As a result of the dramatic decline in Title X services provided, the 2019 Final Rule undermined the mission of the Title X program by helping fewer individuals in planning and spacing births, providing fewer preventive health services, and delivering fewer screenings” for sexually transmitted infections, said the proposed rule published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services….

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Drugs Targeting Immune Response to COVID-19 Show Promise

April 8, 2021

Researchers are reporting some progress in their search for drugs that tamp down the overwhelming immune reaction that can kill a patient with COVID-19.

These reactions are triggered by coronavirus infections and can veer out of control in some people. It’s this reaction, rather than the virus itself, that is the real peril for people seriously ill with COVID-19.

Doctors last year recognized that a cheap and readily available steroid drug called dexamethasone can often rein in this overreaction, which is a form of inflammation. In fact, it’s the only COVID-19 drug so far that clearly saves lives.

Researchers are reporting some progress in their search for drugs that tamp down the overwhelming immune reaction that can kill a patient with COVID-19.

These reactions are triggered by coronavirus infections and can veer out of control in some people. It’s this reaction, rather than the virus itself, that is the real peril for people seriously ill with COVID-19.

Doctors last year recognized that a cheap and readily available steroid drug called dexamethasone can often rein in this overreaction, which is a form of inflammation. In fact, it’s the only COVID-19 drug so far that clearly saves lives.

“Dexamethasone is a really powerful anti-inflammatory,” says Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, but, “there are still people who need more….”

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Inside the CDC’s Battle to Defeat the Virus

April 1, 2021

It’s been a long year for basically everyone — and especially for Dr. Henry Walke. For months on end, Walke has been pulling 13-hour work days as the COVID-19 incident response manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a job he took on last July.

He never expected the job to last this long. “The scale of this pandemic is mind-boggling, and it’s affected all of us — every facet of our work and home,” he says.

It’s been a long year for basically everyone — and especially for Dr. Henry Walke. For months on end, Walke has been pulling 13-hour work days as the COVID-19 incident response manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a job he took on last July.

He never expected the job to last this long. “The scale of this pandemic is mind-boggling, and it’s affected all of us — every facet of our work and home,” he says.

Walke is heading up the largest and most challenging outbreak response in the agency’s history — an all-agency effort involving more than 8,000 employees, working to guide the U.S. out of a public health emergency that has claimed more than 550,000 lives….

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White House Announces Expanded COVID-19 Testing, Manufacturing and Virus Sequencing

February 17, 2021

The White House plans to increase testing capacity in the U.S. through multiple channels, officials said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administration says it will spend $650 million to expand testing for K-8 schools and settings where people congregate such as homeless shelters, via new “hubs” created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Regional coordinating centers will work to increase testing capacity, partnering with labs and universities to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.

The White House plans to increase testing capacity in the U.S. through multiple channels, officials said in a media briefing on Wednesday.

The administration says it will spend $650 million to expand testing for K-8 schools and settings where people congregate such as homeless shelters, via new “hubs” created by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. Regional coordinating centers will work to increase testing capacity, partnering with labs and universities to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.

The plan could mean an additional 25 million tests per month, and it’s intended to aid President Biden’s effort to open schools for in-person learning….

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‘Kind of a Chess Game’: for States, Distributing COVID-19 Vaccine Poses Myriad Hurdles

December 10, 2020

The first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. could get authorized for emergency use in a matter of days. But for state health officials, any excitement over any potential breakthrough is tempered by an overwhelming logistical test: distributing a vaccine to millions of Americans.

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, said there’s “no shortage of challenges” for the people charged with planning the vaccination rollout for their state.

The first COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. could get authorized for emergency use in a matter of days. But for state health officials, any excitement over any potential breakthrough is tempered by an overwhelming logistical test: distributing a vaccine to millions of Americans.

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, said there’s “no shortage of challenges” for the people charged with planning the vaccination rollout for their state.

“The big question that program managers have is: Exactly how much vaccine am I gonna get?” Hannan said in an interview Wednesday with NPR’s All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro….

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