health

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

Aaron Payne | Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study shows the Ohio Valley has some of the nation’s highest rates of food insecurity among older adults, and anti-hunger advocates say that situation could be made worse by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual study was published May 21 in partnership with researchers from the University of Kentucky, researchers from University of Illinois, and the nonprofit food bank organization Feeding America. The researchers used Census Bureau survey data from 2018 which asked households with adults aged 50-59 a series of questions to determine whether they were food insecure.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. could have prevented roughly 36,000 deaths from COVID-19 if broad social distancing measures had been put in place just one week earlier in March, according to an analysis from Columbia University.

Underlining the importance of aggressively responding to the coronavirus, the study found the U.S. could have avoided at least 700,000 fewer infections if actions that began on March 15 had actually started on March 8.

Two-thirds of Americans do not expect their daily lives to return to normal for at least six months, and as states reopen, three-quarters are concerned that a second wave of coronavirus cases will emerge, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

"There's a great sense that normalcy is not around the corner," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll.

J. Tyler Franklin

You could say that Kentucky’s junior senator Rand Paul has assumed the position of contrarian-in-chief during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s challenged public health experts and claimed Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is a “dictator” because of restrictions imposed to help slow down the spread of the virus.

Many of Paul’s claims aren’t backed up by science, but in an age when politicians rarely get punished at the ballot box for such behavior, there may be little political risk for him.

Paul raised eyebrows last week for picking a fight with Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a Senate committee hearing.

 


Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky museums, outdoor attractions, aquariums, libraries and distilleries will be allowed to reopen starting June 8, Gov. Andy Beshear announced during his Tuesday briefing. 

He said they’re still working out specific guidance for these industries, but “this gives these businesses some advance notice.”

Like retail and restaurants, which have reopening dates this week, these businesses will have to operate at 33% capacity and individual groups must be 10 or less.

Beshear said he hopes to see the Louisville Zoo reopen this summer as well. But his administration hasn’t spoken to any zoo officials yet.

SRMC via Facebook

Tennessee nurse practitioners hope looser regulations during the pandemic have shown they don’t need a medical doctor checking their work — often for a fee. They’ve battled mandatory chart reviews in the legislature for years.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants were temporarily freed from what they see as merely paperwork oversight in mid-March with Executive Order 15 from Gov. Bill Lee. The sweeping order also relieved advanced practice nurses of site visits from a doctor every 30 days.

“It just calls into question whether this is even needed at all,” says Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s April Kapu, who will soon lead the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Aging is Cool

An exercise program for older adults, developed around bingo, is adapting to the social distancing of COVID-19. 

Bingocize was created by Western Kentucky University Associate Professor of Exercise Science Jason Crandall. It's based on the game of bingo, with frequent intermissions for simple exercises to improve balance and range of motion, such as reaching upward, or rotaitng wrists or ankles. Health education is also built into the game.

Socialization is also an important aspect of Bingocize, since it's recognized as a factor in warding off depression.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky is expanding its contact tracing capacity, Gov. Andy Beshear announced during his Monday briefing.

“This isn’t just me,” he said. “This is the president too. This is Democrats and Republicans, federal government, state government. This is public health experts saying this is what’s got to happen for us to have a safe reopening, and to restart our economy without pausing it.”

Beshear said they’ll use CARES Act funding, over a seven-month period, to hire and train staff and put together an online tracking system.

A vaccine manufacturer is reporting preliminary data suggesting its COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and appears to be eliciting in test subjects the kind of immune response capable of preventing disease.

Moderna, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., developed the vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The results reported Monday come from an initial analysis of a Phase I study primarily designed to see if the vaccine is safe.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky state parks, campgrounds and aquatic centers will be allowed to reopen on June 1. The recreational spaces have been closed since March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Tourism is an incredibly important business in Kentucky. We’re taking a big revenue hit from it,” Beshear said. “But that’s not the reason we’re reopening it now. It’s that we believe we can do it safely.”

Beshear said he believes opening parks and campgrounds will help “boost the state’s economy,” and allow Kentuckians the opportunity to travel in-state this summer.

medcenterhealth.org

A southern Kentucky physician who has helped shape the local response to the coronavirus has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious disease expert at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, released a statement through the health care group saying she tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

She said she doesn’t think she contracted the virus while working at the hospital, but instead came in contact with an elderly family member who was exposed to an infected caregiver.

The U.S. has the most coronavirus deaths of any country in the world — on May 11, the death toll passed 80,000.

And that's likely an undercount.

J. Tyler Franklin

A second child has been hospitalized in Kentucky with a rare coronarvirus-related inflammatory disease, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday. During his daily briefing,  Beshear said that the patient is 16 years old, and has been hospitalized out of an abundance of caution. The first Kentucky child to be diagnosed with the syndrome, a 10-year-old, is still in critical condition on a ventilator.

“For these individuals that have this, this is very dangerous and life-threatening,” Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said.

 


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had sharp words for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, during Tuesday's Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus.

In arguing for reopening the economy and schools, Paul said, "As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all. I don't think you're the one person who gets to make a decision."

Paul pointed to the mortality rate in New York City of young people up to age 18, which he said was near zero — much lower than for older people.

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