Friday Stats and More

Based on the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Data Tracker website, here is the FEHBlog’s chart of new weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths over the 14th week of 2020 through 16th week of this year (beginning April 2, 2020, and ending April 21, 2021; using Thursday as the first day of the week in order to facilitate this weekly update):

and here is the CDC’s latest overall weekly hospitalization rate chart for COVID-19:

The FEHBlog has noticed that the new cases and deaths chart shows a flat line for new weekly deaths  because new cases greatly exceed new deaths. Accordingly here is a chart of new COVID-19 deaths over the period (April 2, 2020, through April 21, 2021):

Finally here is a COVID-19 vaccinations chart over the period December 17, 2020, through April 21, 2021 which also uses Thursday as the first day of the week:

The Hill reports this evening that

Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccinations should resume immediately, federal regulators said Friday.

The approval follows a recommendation from a federal advisory panel that the shot’s benefits outweigh its risks. 

States could start administering the shots in hours, if not days. There are about 9.5 million doses of the vaccine sitting on shelves across the country that could be deployed immediately.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which had jointly recommended a nationwide pause 10 days ago, accepted the recommendation from CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The panel wants the FDA to add a warning label intended to make providers aware of the risk of a rare complication involving blood clots in women under the age of 50. 

Johnson & Johnson has already negotiated warning label language with FDA, a company official told the panel.

Medscape adds that “The recommended pause on April 13 in the rollout of the Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine has not substantially deflated confidence in COVID-19 immunization, a new poll reveals.” Let’s go.

From Capitol Hill, Healthcare Dive reports that “The Senate Finance Committee split upon party lines in a Thursday vote on the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the powerful agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, voting 14-14 to move to a full Senate vote without a recommendation for confirmation.” The FEHBlog expects that Ms. Brooks-LaSure will be confirmed next week.

Speaking of health equity, Econtalk currently features a fascinating discussion between host Russ Roberts, who recently became President of Jerusalem’s Shalem College, and Washington University Sociology Professor Mark Rank  “on the nature of poverty and the challenge of ending or reducing it.”

Fierce Healthcare offers interviews with healthcare experts on telehealth regulation and health equity.

Beckers points out how UnitedHealthcare plans to make Optum a $100 billion business and how Anthem’s IngenioRx PBM business keeps growing.