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Trump, pressured over pandemic, says states will receive 150 million tests

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, under fire over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, announced on Monday the federal government would ship 150 million rapid tests to U.S. states and warned an increase in positive cases is likely in the days ahead.

Trump, at a Rose Garden event, said the tests would largely be used for opening schools and ensuring safety at centers for senior citizens. He has been pressuring state governors to do more to open schools for in-person learning.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and virus adviser Scott Atlas warned more positive cases may result from stepped up testing.

“With cases and positivity rising in 10 states in the Midwest and the near-West, and with this historic advance in testing that’s being distributed … the American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead,” Pence said.

The president has repeatedly suggested that more testing leads to more cases, when in fact testing uncovers cases that already exist. Other metrics like increased hospitalizations and deaths have no link to more testing.

The United States has the world’s highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at more than 7 million and the most coronavirus-related deaths, approaching 205,000.

Coronavirus task force members Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield were not at the event.

Two weeks ago Trump was irked when Redfield said in congressional testimony that wearing a mask may be just as important as a vaccine.

Trump said 50 million tests will go to the “most vulnerable communities” including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health and hospice care. Nearly 1 million will be sent to historically Black colleges and universities and tribal nation colleges.

He said 100 million tests would be given to states and territories to “support efforts to reopen their economies and schools immediately and (as) fast as they can.”

“The support my administration is providing would allow every state on a very regular basis test every teacher who needs it,” Trump said.

He said 6.5 million tests will go out this week and the rest in coming weeks.

Trump is trying to show progress in the battle against the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election on Nov. 3 against Democrat Joe Biden. The first presidential debate will be held on Tuesday night in Cleveland, Ohio.

The rapid tests announced by Trump were purchased from Abbott Laboratories <ABT.N> in August.

Abbott has said it would scale production capacity to 50 million tests per month by October, and that it could currently produce “tens of millions” of the tests, indicating it will take at least a few months for the tests to be fully distributed to states and territories.

Admiral Brett Giroir, who heads testing efforts for Trump’s coronavirus task force, demonstrated at the event how to conduct the Abbott rapid test, swabbing his nasal passages and dipping the swab into a solution. Results are produced

Pandemic AVR: Making Patients Wait May Do More Harm Than Good

Recent cardiac events suffered by patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis (AS) could be tied to whether their hospitals expedited aortic valve replacement (AVR) in select cases or paused these procedures in response to COVID-19, two reports suggested.

In the first, a Swiss hospital showed success selecting patients for expedited AVR despite safety concerns during the pandemic, whereas a New York City center that pushed these procedures back for everyone had a substantial number of patients subsequently die or require urgent transcatheter AVR (TAVR) while waiting, the second found.

Both reports were published online in JAMA Network Open.

“Taken together, these studies provide useful guidance. First, as we have known for many years, symptomatic AS is a life-threatening condition, and its treatment cannot be considered elective in any way. Patients with the most echocardiographically severe stenosis, clinically advanced symptoms, or comorbid coronary artery disease or lung disease belong at the head of the line,” according to Thoralf Sundt, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Whether one chooses to interpret the current state of the pandemic as an ongoing first wave — perhaps with a nadir in some regions — or as the quiet before a second wave, there is a clear need for tools permitting precise triage of patients by the urgency with which procedures should be performed,” he emphasized in an accompanying editorial.

Selective AVR in Switzerland

Certain people with critical AS were good candidates for expedited AVR during a nationwide ban on elective procedures, according to the prospective AS DEFER study.

A cohort of 71 patients referred for AVR from March 20 to April 26, a period when Switzerland banned elective procedures in all hospitals, were divided into two treatment groups according to a prespecified algorithm:

  • Expedited (n=25): Patients with critical AS (i.e., aortic valve area ≤0.6 cm2, transvalvular mean gradient ≥60 mm Hg, cardiac decompensation during the previous 3 months, or exercise intolerance with clinical symptoms on minimal exertion) who underwent TAVR at a mean 10 days after referral
  • Deferred (n=46): Patients with a larger aortic valve area and stable symptoms

Adverse cardiac outcomes were not statistically more likely for either group at an average 31 days after treatment allocation: the composite endpoint of all-cause mortality, disabling and nondisabling stroke, and unplanned hospitalization for valve-related symptoms or worsening heart failure reached 4.0% of the expedited group versus 19.6% of those deferred (log rank P=0.08), reported Thomas Pilgrim, MD, MSc, of Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, and colleagues.

Hospitalizations were more likely in the deferred AVR arm than the expedited arm (19.6% vs 0.%, P=0.02) and accounted for all the primary outcome events in the former. No patient died.

Among deferred AVR patients, those who wound up requiring hospitalization for valve-related symptoms or worsening heart failure had more commonly presented with multivalvular disease (44.4% vs 8.6%, P=0.02), suggesting that this group in particular may benefit from expedited AVR, Pilgrim’s group said.

“I cannot tell if the authors considered

Winnipeg dentist says teeth-grinding a sign of pandemic stress



a blurry photo of a toothbrush: A Winnipeg dentist says he's seen an influx of patients complaining of grinding their teeth -- likely due to pandemic-related stress.


© Getty Images
A Winnipeg dentist says he’s seen an influx of patients complaining of grinding their teeth — likely due to pandemic-related stress.

A Winnipeg dentist says he’s seen a significant uptick in people grinding their teeth in recent months, and there’s an obvious culprit: stress caused by COVID-19.

Dr. Ken Hamin of Reflections Dental Health Centre told 680 CJOB his office is seeing unprecedented numbers of patients coming in with the same problem.

“It’s the first time in probably 30 years that I’ve seen a trend — and the only thing I can account it towards is the stress of COVID-19,” said Hamin.

“We’ve seen a huge increase, probably three to four patients a week, coming in and saying, ‘I’ve started clenching or grinding’, or ‘I’ve got headaches.'”

Hamin said a night guard helps people reduce teeth grinding since it often occurs while we’re asleep, but sometimes, patients will be referred to a sleep study.

Read more: 11 million Canadians could experience ‘high levels of stress’ due to COVID-19: Health Canada

Winnipeg psychologist Dr. Syras Derksen told Global News that added stress during the pandemic is normal — especially when traditional holiday gatherings people look forward to — like Thanksgiving — are being advised against this year.

“I think the first thing to know is that it’s OK to grieve,” said Derksen.

“It’s important to go through a process of emotions as you realize that things are going to be different — that you’re going to have plan things different.

“You’re hoping that it’s going to be the same… but then as that realization sets in, you’re going to experience loss and you’re going to go through a series of emotions — and it’s OK to allow those to happen, and you’ll get through them.”

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Bremerton dentist seeing more cracked teeth, jaw pain due to stress over pandemic

Dentists across the country have noticed increases in cracked teeth and jaw pain. (Unsplash)

With the added stress of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there’s been a cascading effect on many people, specifically involving cracked teeth, jaw pain, and other dental health issues.

According to Bremerton dentist Dr. Peter Ruff, he’s been seeing more and more instances of patients with cracked teeth and complaining of jaw pain, a direct result of frequent teeth-grinding.

“This is a stressful time, and we are seeing more issues,” Dr. Ruff told KIRO Radio.

Patients found to have lingering COVID symptoms for months after illness

That’s a trend that’s been consistent not just in Washington too, with one Winnipeg dentist describing a “huge increase” in patients who grind their teeth, seeing as many as three or four people a week with jaw pain and headaches.

A dentist in San Diego has seen similar problems among his patients too — prior to the pandemic, Dr. Paul Koshgerian told CNN he was treating roughly one cracked tooth a day. Nowadays, he sees anywhere from two to five cases a day. Iowa dentist Dr. Derek Peek spotted the same trend, treating twice as many cracked teeth in August and September as he did in those months last year.

To mitigate grinding and jaw pain, Dr. Ruff recommends preventative dental care, something he says many people have put off since the pandemic began.

“If early detection of the problem is available, then early treatment relates to less pain, less discomfort, and less expense,” he advised.

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The COVID crunch: Winnipeg dentist says teeth-grinding a sign of pandemic stress – Winnipeg

A Winnipeg dentist says he’s seen a significant uptick in people grinding their teeth in recent months, and there’s an obvious culprit: stress caused by COVID-19.

Dr. Ken Hamin of Reflections Dental Health Centre told 680 CJOB his office is seeing unprecedented numbers of patients coming in with the same problem.

“It’s the first time in probably 30 years that I’ve seen a trend — and the only thing I can account it towards is the stress of COVID-19,” said Hamin.

“We’ve seen a huge increase, probably three to four patients a week, coming in and saying, ‘I’ve started clenching or grinding’, or ‘I’ve got headaches.’”

Hamin said a night guard helps people reduce teeth grinding since it often occurs while we’re asleep, but sometimes, patients will be referred to a sleep study.

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Winnipeg psychologist Dr. Syras Derksen told Global News that added stress during the pandemic is normal — especially when traditional holiday gatherings people look forward to — like Thanksgiving — are being advised against this year.

“I think the first thing to know is that it’s OK to grieve,” said Derksen.

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“It’s important to go through a process of emotions as you realize that things are going to be different — that you’re going to have plan things different.

“You’re hoping that it’s going to be the same… but then as that realization sets in, you’re going to experience loss and you’re going to go through a series of emotions — and it’s OK to allow those to happen, and you’ll get through them.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Alabama governor extends pandemic rule requiring face masks

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey and health officials extended an order requiring face masks in public Wednesday, arguing that the requirement — while unpopular among many — has proven effective at helping control the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

The five-week extension, announced during a Capitol news conference, means the mask requirement will be in effect on Election Day and through much of the remaining high school and college football seasons.


Ending the mask ordinance could harm the state by leading to a “false sense of security,” Ivey said, and a “safe environment” is needed for in-person voting.

The mask rule, which took effect in mid-July, was set to expire Friday but will continue through Nov. 8 under a health order released by Ivey. It requires anyone over the age of 6 to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when it’s impossible to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.



In a move aimed at combatting isolation among people in nursing homes and hospitals, residents and patients will now be allowed one visitor or caregiver at a time.

More than 2,500 people in Alabama have died of COVID-19, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, giving the state the nation’s 21st high death count. Alabama has reported 153,554 positive results out of 1.1 million tests for an overall positivity rate of 13.7%, according to the COVID Tracking Project.


But the illness caused by the new coronavirus has spread at a slower pace since the state enacted the

Catholic Chaplains Corps supports patients, hospital workers in Montgomery County during pandemic

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When members of The Woodlands-Conroe branch of the Catholic Chaplains Corps could no longer enter the local hospitals to support patients and staff due to the pandemic, they got to work on other ways they could help.

The Catholic Chaplains Corps is a program of the The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Bishop John Markovsky, of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, began the program to support the Texas Medical Center in 1967 to better serve the sacramental and spiritual needs of Catholic patients and families. The TMC was just too large for the priests to make visits to all patients.


A The Woodlands-Conroe branch was launched as a pilot program in February 2018 to provide support to those hospitalized in Montgomery County. The program is carried out in partnership with three Montgomery County Catholic churches including Sacred Heart, St. Anthony of Padua and Sts. Simon and Jude.



Pre-pandemic, trained volunteers with the Catholic Chaplains Corps were able to visit both Catholic and non-Catholic patients in the hospital, nursing home or in a home-bound situations. But COVID-19 halted the volunteers work inside the hospitals.

“They are hungry for ministry. They feel a grief because they were very active in these efforts,” said Nanette Coons, Lay Chaplain for Region One, Conroe and The Woodlands. “They had these intimate encounters with people in their hospitals rooms and nursing homes and now that’s gone.”


Coons said there are 66 trained pastoral visitors in this region who can serve the five Montgomery County hospitals that have approximately 1,600 beds.


She said the pastoral visitors wanted to know what they could do to help when they couldn’t physically enter the hospitals and nursing homes.

Two different ways of assistance emerged.

About six weeks to two months into the pandemic, Houston Methodist The Woodlands

CDC study: More Americans were uninsured even before pandemic

The number of working-age Americans without health insurance was rising even before the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. and left millions unemployed, according to a new study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Wednesday.

The study from the CDC found that 14.5 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2019, a rise from 13.3 percent in 2018. In total, 28.8 million adults were uninsured last year, compared to 26.3 million in 2018.

Coverage was split along racial and gender lines, with just over 30 percent of Hispanic adults lacking health care, compared with 10.2 percent of white adults and 14.3 percent of Black adults. 

Men were also more likely to lack coverage than women by a 16 percent to 13.1 percent margin.

The most common reason people gave the CDC for not being insured was that coverage was “not affordable,” with nearly 74 percent of those surveyed saying health care was too expensive. Other reasons respondents gave for not being insured included not being eligible for coverage, not needing or wanting it or saying they could not find a plan that meets their needs.

The results of the study mark a reversal of improvements that were made in expanding coverage under ObamaCare. The percentage of uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. had dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 13.3 percent in 2018.

The number of uninsured people is expected to have risen during the pandemic, which led to mass job losses and likely forced people to lose the coverage they received through their employment. The exact number of people who have become uninsured due to the pandemic remains unclear. 

The study comes out as health care emerges as a top issue in the 2020 election cycle in the midst of the pandemic. President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE has repeatedly sought to revoke the Affordable Care Act, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE wants to expand the law and add a public option to try to cover more people.

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Most American Families Facing Financial Danger During Pandemic: Poll | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — More than 60% of households with children in the United States have struggled with serious financial problems during the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows.

Black and Hispanic households with children have borne the brunt of the hardships, which include struggles to afford medical care, depletion of household savings and difficulty paying debts, the poll found.

Conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the poll surveyed more than 3,400 adults, 1,000 of whom were living with children under the age of 18, between July 1 and Aug. 3.

Of the Hispanic households with children that responded, 86% reported these difficulties; in Black households, 66% reported them. In white households, the number hovers around 50%.

The stark racial differences were surprising, as they surfaced after federal and state governments invested heavily in programs for communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic, Robert Blendon, a director of the study behind the report and a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told The New York Times.

“So much money was spent to put a cushion under households,” Blendon said. Still, “the numbers of people in trouble, that is the shock,” he added.

Experts worry that the financial fallout from the pandemic could be even worse than the poll depicts, as government measures to support households run out, Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told the Times.

“It’s a very large number of people who can’t pay the basics,” Blendon told the Times. “You have unbelievably vulnerable people over the next six months.”

But on Tuesday, there were also signs of hope that more government relief might be on the way: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows both said they’re hopeful they can reach agreement on a new economic stimulus bill, the Washington Post reported.

The new bill extends payroll support for the airline industry and includes new small business money, an additional round of $1,200 stimulus checks for individuals, an extension of expired $600 weekly unemployment benefits, around $500 billion for cities and states, support for schools and COVID-19 testing and tracing, and more. There is also money in the bill to support election security and the U.S. Postal Service, as well, the Post reported.

Globally, COVID death toll passes 1 million

The global coronavirus pandemic reached a grim new milestone on Tuesday: One million dead.

Americans made up more than 200,000 of those deaths, or one in every five, according to a running tally comprised by Johns Hopkins University.

“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan, told the Associated Press. He’s an adviser to government officials on how best to handle the pandemic — and he lost his 84-year-old

Salesforce.com adapts its software for pandemic vaccine distribution

(Reuters) – Salesforce.com on Wednesday said it has adapted some of its business software to help healthcare organizations and government entities distribute vaccines for the novel coronavirus once they become available.

The San Francisco-based company said the offering, called Work.com for Vaccines, will help cities, states and health-care groups track vaccine inventory levels, create online appointment portals and track how patients fare after being vaccinated.

Multiple companies and nations around the world are racing to develop a vaccine to provide some degree of immunity to the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, on Tuesday said she was optimistic the industry will be able to make vaccine widely available next year.

Salesforce.com’s efforts build on tools rolled out in May aimed at modifying the company’s business software to help governments make re-opening decisions based on public health data and carry out contact tracing and other tasks related to the pandemic.

The company said pricing of the new tools will be “based upon the unique requirements of each public agency or private healthcare organization.”

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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