Pandemic Resurgence in Michigan Prompts Whitmer to Ask for Two-Week Shutdown of Indoor Dining, School Sports, in-Person Learning

Closed storefront

 A surge in COVID-19 cases in Michigan has prompted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to promote a two-week, voluntary lockdown of indoor dining, suspension of school sports and a full return to remote education.

Although she noted more than five million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, the governor added the pandemic continued to wreak havoc in the state.

For example, Michigan hospitals reported 3,508 COVID-19 patients on Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released data on Thursday that revealed the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 492.1 cases per 100,000 people, the highest positivity case rate in the nation.

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Bill Aims to Ban Minnesota Vaccine Passports

Senator Michelle Benson

As Minnesota returns to a semblance of normalcy with an increasing number of injected COVID-19 vaccines, one Republican aims to ban “vaccine passports.”

 SF 1589 aims to ban forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced digital contact tracing, and required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering a government business.

“Your personal health information should not be made public. I stand against the special interests that want your private health information,” Senate Health Committee Chair Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, posted on Facebook.

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Measure Granting Tennessee School Boards Sole Authority to Close Schools Heads to Lee’s Desk

Gov. Bill Lee

A bill that will give local school boards the sole authority to close schools was approved Thursday by the Tennessee House and is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee.

Senate Bill 103, which passed the House, 85-2, makes it clear local school boards can close public or charter schools in the state, not the governor through executive orders or local health departments.

The bill, sponsored in the House by Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville, aimed to clarify who had the authority because during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unclear in some locales whether the county health department or local school board held the authority.

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Ohio Shows Worst Unemployment Recovery in Nation

Ohio had the slowest weekly unemployment claims recovery in the nation last week, based on a new report from the personal finance website WalletHub.

The report compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia over three metrics: changes in claims during the latest week compared with 2019 and 2020 and changes in claims filed from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic versus the previous year.

Based on the data, Ohio ranked 51st out of 51 in recovery over the latest week and 37th since the pandemic began. Ohio ranked behind Colorado, West Virginia, Mississippi and Virginia in weekly recovery.

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More Than 1,300 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Expire in Shelby County

Around 1,315 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine scheduled to be administered in Shelby County expired as winter weather closed vaccination sites this week, the Shelby County Health Department announced Friday.

Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said the health department was not informed the doses were about to expire. The department contracts with a pharmacy, and the pharmacist is responsible for managing the vaccine and thawing doses in the appropriate timeline for use. The vaccine spoilage was first reported by the Commercial Appeal.

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National Mental Health Crisis Emerges Among Youth During Pandemic Lockdowns: Reports

Children and young adults are experiencing increased mental health issues, and suicide also is on the rise within the age group at least in part because of ongoing state shutdowns, according to several reports.

Within months of governors and local authorities shuttering schools, children were increasingly brought to emergency room doctors and specialists, according to a by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Commentary: Lowering the Cost of Prescription Medicines for Seniors Is Not Impossible

Earlier this year James Payne, a 73-year-old retired attorney in Utah, was so fed up with the high cost of a blood thinner medication he takes, he researched prices in Canada, where he found it was cheaper.

“Under Medicare, I am now paying $225 for a three-month supply,” Payne explained. “That’s $25 more than I was paying last year. Under my employer’s insurance I was only paying $20.” Payne says he is not sure why the costs are so much higher and continue to climb under Medicare, but he thinks there must be ways to make life-saving medications more affordable.

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Whitmer Extends Order Allowing Pharmacies to Administer Emergency Refills

Michigan pharmacies will be able to continue to dispense emergency refills for up to 60 days’ worth of medication after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended an executive order designed to make accessing medications easier during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order allows pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of up to 60 days’ worth of medication, as well as requires an insurer to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply. The executive order also allows pharmacists to dispense treatments for COVID-19 according to government protocols.

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Breast Cancer Drug Shows Promise, Boosts Survival Rates by 30 Percent

  A new form of drug drastically improves survival rates of pre-menopausal women with the most common type of breast cancer, researchers said on Saturday, citing the results of an international clinical trial. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, showed…

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Ohio Department of Health Confirms Investigation of Doctor Who Prescribed Lethal Opioid Doses to 27 Patients

In most major surgeries, a doctor will prescribe, at most, 20 micrograms of fentanyl, a powerful opioid pain killer. At most, as an “adjunct to general anesthesia,” 20-50 micrograms are used. Doctor William Husel of Columbus was administering, in some cases, 1,000 micrograms. After prescribing these lethal doses to at least…

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Ohio State Board Considers Approving More Conditions for Marijuana Treatment

With medicinal marijuana sales imminent in the Buckeye state, the Ohio State Medical Board is currently considering a slew of additional medical conditions for medicinal marijuana treatment. Currently, 21 conditions are approved for the controversial treatment. A number of the conditions cover a wide swathe of ailments. For example, cancer…

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Antisemitic Doctor Who Said She’d Give Jews the Wrong Medication No Longer Employed at Ohio Hospital

by Joshua Gill   An Ohio hospital confirmed Monday that it no longer employs a doctor who made anti-Semitic comments and promised to give Jewish patients the wrong medication. The Cleveland Clinic said in its statement that it became aware of the social media posts by Lara Kollab, 27, who…

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Dr. Carol M. Swain Commentary: Congress’s Role in Creating America’s Healthcare Crisis

by Dr. Carol M. Swain   In 2017, President-elect Donald Trump sent pharmaceutical stocks into a nosedive by speaking an important truth. Drug companies, he said, are “getting away with murder” with their pricing of lifesaving drugs. True to his word, the president, since his election, has pushed for needed reforms  aimed at…

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Dr. Carol M. Swan Commentary: Congress’s Role in Creating America’s Healthcare Crisis

by Dr. Carol M. Swain   In 2017, President-elect Donald Trump sent pharmaceutical stocks into a nosedive by speaking an important truth. Drug companies, he said, are “getting away with murder” with their pricing of lifesaving drugs. True to his word, the president, since his election, has pushed for needed reforms  aimed at…

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Dr. Mark Green Commentary: Liability Reform a Major Area for Healthcare Savings

by State Senator Dr. Mark Green (R-Clarksville)   In my third and final op-ed on the healthcare crisis facing America, I’ll discuss the last major problem causing the crisis as well as a solution to address it. You can read part one here, and part two here. Liability reform is…

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State Medical Board Has A Simple Solution To Help Amid Physician Mental Health Crisis

by Evie Fordham   The Washington State Medical Commission (WMC) is taking a step to combat the high suicide rate among physicians by making physician licensing questions more friendly to doctors who have sought psychiatric help. Updates to Washington state’s licensure questions will focus on an individual’s current impairment rather than…

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Bill Gates Backs $30 Million Push for Early Alzheimer’s Diagnostics

Bill Gates

Reuters   Billionaire Bill Gates and Estée Lauder Cos chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder on Tuesday said they will award $30 million over three years to encourage development of new tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. For Microsoft co-founder Gates, launch of the Diagnostics Accelerator program follows an announcement in November of a…

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Promise Kept: President Trump’s Landmark ‘Right to Try’ Legislation Curbs Government’s Monopoly on Medicine for Terminally Ill Patients

Trump right to try

In a signing ceremony on Wednesday, President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise by signing legislation nicknamed “Right to Try” that will expand seriously ill patients’ access to experimental treatments that could extent or even save their lives. Mr. Trump called the measure a “fundamental freedom” for people with terminal conditions to…

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Trump Is Following Through On His Pledge To Lower Drug Prices, Here’s The Plan

by Steve Birr   The Trump administration released its blueprint for lowering skyrocketing prescription drug prices Friday, a strategy that has already saved patients nearly $9 billion. President Donald Trump, along with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, outlined their four-pronged approach to making medications more affordable during an afternoon press…

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President Trump Faces Institutional Obstacles to Overcome U.S. Drug Pricing Fiasco

President Trump is scheduled to deliver his first speech Friday to introduce an overarching plan to confront high drug prices. As a candidate, where he railed against the pharmaceutical industry and accused it of “getting away with murder.” The populist rhetoric appears to be giving way to a more nuanced strategy focused…

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Commentary: The Deadly Incompetence of the FDA

by Dan Mitchell   I routinely grouse about the heavy economic cost of red tape. I’ve also highlighted agencies (such as the EEOC) that seem especially prone to senseless regulations. And I’ve explained why private regulation actually is a very effective way of promoting health and safety. Today, let’s get specific and look at the…

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