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Today, in healthcare, you will no longer need a negative COVID test to enter the United States by air. We’ll dive into the decision.
Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.
Biden officials end international travel requirement
Another COVID rule in times of crisis is lifted.
The Biden administration announced on Friday that it was ending the requirement that international travelers must test negative for the coronavirus before coming to the United States.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has determined based on science and data that this requirement is no longer necessary at this time,” a senior administration official said.
- The requirement ends at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Between the lines: Some experts had noted that the requirement did not seem to serve much purpose, given that COVID-19 is already circulating widely in the United States and land border crossings are not subject to the same requirement.
The travel industry had also lobbied to remove the requirement, saying it was no longer needed.
Sign of a new era: The move is another sign of a new stage of COVID-19 where some of the measures designed when the virus was considered a crushing crisis are being removed.
- “We are able to reach this milestone because of the tremendous progress we have made in our fight against the virus: we have made life-saving vaccines and treatments widely available and these tools work to prevent serious illness and death, and are effective against the prevalent variants circulating in the United States and around the world,” the senior administration official said.
Learn more here.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT FROM THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Airlines and travel groups have applauded the Biden administration’s decision to lift its COVID-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the United States, a victory long sought for the industry.
It follows a lobbying blitz: Travel and tourism interests have pressed the White House for months to lift the requirement in a series of meetings, letters and opinion pieces. They argued the rule was hurting travel demand and noted that other countries like the UK and France had already dropped similar restrictions.
“Removing this policy will help encourage and restore air travel to the United States, benefiting communities across the country that rely heavily on travel and tourism to support their local economies,” Nicholas Calio, President of Airlines for America, a trade group that represents major US carriers, said in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming the millions of travelers who are ready to come to the United States for vacation, business and reunion with loved ones.”
The travel industry presented the Biden administration with the potential economic growth of dropping the testing requirement. The US Travel Association released an analysis this month concluding that the change could increase US travel spending by 12%, bringing in an additional $9 billion.
Learn more here.
Federal government buys 500,000 more doses of vaccine to fight monkeypox
Health officials announced Friday that the White House has ordered 500,000 more doses of a vaccine believed to be effective against monkeypox.
- These are liquid and frozen doses of the Jynneos smallpox vaccine, Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said during a briefing. Press.
- Although there is currently no vaccine or antiviral specifically designed to treat monkeypox, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Jynneos for use in adults to prevent monkeypox infections.
The order announced on Friday is expected to be delivered later this year.
The current offer: O’Connell also said that the US Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) currently has 72,000 doses of Jynneos in its immediate inventory and another 300,000 are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
The drug is created by Bavarian Nordic, a Denmark-based biotechnology company.
- The SNS also has more than 100 million doses of the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine, although health officials have noted there is a preference for Jynneos.
- ACAM2000 is an older vaccine and comes with some side effects that providers may worry about, including muscle pain, rash, and nausea.
Learn more here.
ARMY CONFIRMS FIRST CASE OF MONKEYPOX
The Pentagon confirmed its first known case of monkeypox in the US military on Friday.
- An active duty member based in Germany recently tested positive for the virus, a Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.
- NBC News, which first reported the case, was told the unidentified individual was seen and treated at the Stuttgart Army Health Clinic and is now in isolation in his quarters on the base.
What they say : Captain William Speaks, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, told NBC that public health officials have found the risk to the general population to be “very low” because the case is part of the West African strain, a generally mild version with limited human-to-human transmission.
He added that contact tracing is underway for clinic staff who saw the patient “as a precaution”.
The CDC stressed that the virus — transmitted by prolonged skin-to-skin contact or through contaminated fabrics like clothing or bed sheets — does not pose a high risk to the public.
Learn more here.
CDC data reveals new overlap
Reports of rising substance use and rising rates of mental health disorders in recent years are nothing new, especially as Americans grapple with the economic and humanistic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents the extent to which these two conditions overlap.
According to the center’s latest weekly morbidity and mortality report, in 2019 at least one third of adults assessed for substance use in treatment centers reported serious psychiatric problems.
Although the current data was collected before the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors noted that future research will focus on the impact of the crisis on trends.
- In 2019, more than 65 million adults reported consuming alcohol, while more than 35 million reported using illicit drugs in the past month, the authors explained, noting that people with impaired related to substance use are at increased risk of overdose and other health problems.
- A total of 49,138 people were assessed at 339 treatment centers in 37 states. All individuals were 18 years of age or older, and the most frequently reported substances used in the past month were alcohol, followed by cannabis, prescription opioid abuse, and illicit stimulants, among others .
Learn more here.
WHAT WE READ
- Are these Cocoa Krispies-loving hamsters a key to cracking Covid long? (Statistical)
- Report finds surge in number of transgender youth in US (New York Times)
- Some monkeypox patients also have sexually transmitted diseases, CDC says (CNBC)
STATE BY STATE
- Grassroots groups are leading the way to close Colorado’s infant mortality gap (Kaiser Health News)
- ‘Don’t go away’: Northeast Florida COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations surge (News4Jax)
- Oklahoma Abortion Law Raises Questions About NCAA Softball World Series (The New York Times)
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.
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