State warns residents may not get care they would normally expect as case numbers rocket as governor urges people to take vaccine
Idaho public health leaders have activated “crisis standards of care” allowing health are rationing for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.
The move allows hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive and make other dramatic changes to the way they treat patients. Other patients will still receive care, but they may be placed in hospital classrooms or conference rooms rather than traditional hospital rooms or go without some life-saving medical equipment.
At Kootenai Health – the largest hospital in northern Idaho – some patients are waiting for long periods for beds to open up in the full intensive care unit, said Robert Scoggins, the chief of staff. Inside the ICU, one critical care nurse might be supervising up to six patients with the help of two other non-critical care nurses. That’s a big departure from the usual one ICU nurse for one ICU patient ratio, he said.
Other states are preparing to take similar measures if needed. Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, quietly signed an order last week releasing hospitals and healthcare workers from liability if they have to ration healthcare.
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The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a
rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully
vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on
at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard
(ETS) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in
private sector businesses with 100+ employees
Biontech founders expect vaccine for five to eleven-year-olds in a few weeks
The first children under the age of 12 could be vaccinated with Biontech's vaccine in Germany as early as mid-October.
"We will already present the results from our study on five to eleven-year-olds to authorities worldwide in the coming weeks and apply for approval of the vaccine for this age group, including here in Europe," Biontech chief medical officer Özlem Türeci told SPIEGEL. "We are already preparing production. The vaccine is the same, but less highly dosed, and there is less to be filled."
The study results are available and only need to be prepared for the regulatory authorities. "It looks good, everything is going according to plan," Biontech CEO Uğur Şahin told SPIEGEL. By the end of the year, the study data on the younger children from six months onwards are also expected.
At the same time, the two Biontech founders are calling for every effort to be made in the coming weeks to convince people who are still undecided about vaccination.
"We still have about 60 days left as a society to avoid a harsh winter," Şahin said. "We should do what we can to mobilise as many people as possible in these almost two months." Türeci stressed, "Every additional person vaccinated helps. We should not resign."
A New Hampshire state representative “reluctantly” switched his party affiliation to Democratic on Tuesday, citing state Republicans’ opposition to masks and coronavirus vaccines.
Rep. William Marsh, a former Republican, said party extremists are edging out moderates like him, and that he had planned to quietly retire but felt his hand was forced by what he called Republicans’ refusal to take reasonable health precautions.
“Politics, I'm afraid, is a team sport,” he told The Washington Post. “You’ve got to work with other people, and if nobody's interested in what you have to say, you might as well go home.”
Marsh, an ophthalmologist who has served as his town’s health officer for 20 years, said his tipping point was when New Hampshire House Republicans organized a rally Tuesday opposing President Biden’s new vaccine mandates for federal and private sector workers. Marsh has repeatedly identified public health as his top legislative priority.
“It’s not in the interest of the public to allow covid to spread in New Hampshire as it has in Florida,” Marsh said. “I’m a doctor first, so I stood up for my patients and said, ‘I’m done with this.’ And I left.”
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Rationing has long been a dirty word in US health policy, used as an attack on any socialized health program that more centrally determines which medical services will be covered and for whom. The US health system has always rationed care through cost: It’s de facto rationing when a patient doesn’t get the medical care they need because they can’t pay out-of-pocket costs or because they live in a rural community without a facility nearby.
“We’re so used to rationing by ability-to-pay in this country that classic capacity rationing feels a bit foreign,” Hannah Neprash, a health economist at the University of Minnesota, said in an email.
NEW YORK and MAINZ, Germany, September 20, 2021—Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE, “Pfizer”) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX, “BioNTech”) today announced results from a Phase 2/3 trial showing a favorable safety profile and robust neutralizing antibody responses in children 5 to 11 years of age using a two-dose regimen of 10 µg administered 21 days apart, a smaller dose than the 30 µg dose used for people 12 and older. The antibody responses in the participants given 10 µg doses were comparable to those recorded in a previous Pfizer-BioNTech study in people 16 to 25 years of age immunized with 30 µg doses. The 10 µg dose was carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety, tolerability and immunogenicity in children 5 to 11 years of age. These are the first results from a pivotal trial of a COVID-19 vaccine in this age group.
“Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine. We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the Delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination. These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”
“We are pleased to be able to submit data to regulatory authorities for this group of school-aged children before the start of the winter season,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. “The safety profile and immunogenicity data in children aged 5 to 11 years vaccinated at a lower dose are consistent with those we have observed with our vaccine in other older populations at a higher dose.”
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As the forum has grown, entries have started following a fairly standard format: The first few screenshots typically feature the individual in question deploying a remarkably consistent set (there are 30 or so) of memes. Some vilify Dr. Anthony Fauci or champion the right to be unvaccinated. Others warn people they’re experimental rats or offer scripts that will properly punish wait staff for daring to inquire about vaccination status. Some deride masked liberals as “sheep” and the unvaccinated as proud free lions or refer to immigrants as vectors of disease or compare vaccination requirements to the Holocaust. Most of them treat the pandemic as a joke and frame ignoring it as brave or clever or both. The final few screenshots typically announce the disease, its progress, and the eventual death announcement, frequently followed by a GoFundMe for the family. If someone is merely hospitalized, the flair on that entry reads “Nominated.” When they die, it changes to “Awarded.” It is cruel, a site for heartless and unrepentant schadenfreude. This is a place where deaths are celebrated, and it is not the only one.
I began reading because I wanted to understand how pro-social impulses could get coarsened to the point where advocates for lifesaving measures like vaccines—people who think of themselves as the good guys—are literally celebrating deaths. I’m no closer to understanding that, but something very strange did happen because I read these records: Despite reading loads of statistics and case histories and news articles about the pandemic, r/HermanCainAward became my most thorough source on what it’s like for a person to die from COVID. I understand the disease more deeply because I have read so many viciously curated “stories” in which ordinary people blathering about politics end up narrating their decline from it—with help from their families—as optimistically as they can. They are younger than COVID patients used to be. Trying to put a positive spin on things. Soliciting prayers. Generally avoiding conversions. They do not expect to die. It’s relentless reading. And it keeps ending up the same way. Only health care workers have seen this many people decline and die.