Thursday Miscellany

Robert Redfield, MD, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control gave a press conference on the COVID-19 emergency today as discussed in this STAT News article.

“I’m asking people to recognize that we’re in a different situation today than we were in March, in April, where the virus was being disproportionately recognized in older individuals with significant comorbidities and was causing significant hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.

“Today we’re seeing more virus. It’s in younger individuals. Fewer of those individuals are requiring the hospitalizations and having a fatal outcome. But that is not to minimize it.”

But Redfield went on to note that descriptions of the state of the pandemic in the country can be misleading, with maps that show where transmission is high suggesting much of the nation is experiencing high levels of spread. In reality, he said, about 110 or 120 counties in the country currently have significant transmission. There are more than 3,100 counties in the United States.

The CDC also released updated guidance identifying categories of people who are most at risk for severe illness by contracting COVID-19.

The Washington Post reports that drug manufacturers are increasing production of the flu vaccine for the next flu season. “Getting a flu shot does not protect against the coronavirus, but disease experts said reducing episodes of flu could prove pivotal in freeing up space in hospitals and medical offices to deal with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.”

Healthcare Dive informs us that pediatric visits are lagging in the recent doctors office visit rebound following the great hunkering down. “[O]ver the past week, visits to some specialists have returned to normal, including dermatology and rheumatology. However, pediatric practices are among the hardest hit and have seen the greatest decline in visits when comparing specialties . . .”

Health Payer Intelligence discusses CVS Health’s new service called “Return Ready.” It’s “a COVID-19 testing strategy for employers whose workforces are returning to the workplace and academic populations returning to campus.” Timely. Here’s a link to current Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on employer compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act in COVID-19 related matters. .

The Society for Human Resource Management provides observations about how the the Supreme Court’s recent ruling holding that Title VII’s sex discrimination protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity situations affects employer sponsored health coverage.

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