Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Roxanne Strike|
|September 19, 2022

Iowa news

COVID has killed nearly 10,000 Iowans. That’s not the whole story.

As of the last official count Wednesday, 9,994 Iowans officially have died from the coronavirus, according to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. The massive death toll helped drop Iowa’s average life expectancy 1.5 years between 2019 and 2020. Nationwide, life expectancy saw the biggest decline since the height of World War II. The impact has been even more sweeping for communities of color, which faced a disproportionately high COVID-19 death rate, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, those numbers offer only the barest glimpse into the immeasurable grief brought on by the loss of Iowans to the virus. (Des Moines Register)

How COVID, staff shortages increased Iowa ambulance response time

 A Des Moines Register investigation of Iowa’s emergency medical services shows delays in response times are not unique. And since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, response times have grown, the investigation found. Statewide, the median response time for emergency calls since 2019 rose by only a few seconds due to improved performance in the 21 counties the state defines as urban, according to data collected by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. But in the 78 less populous counties, average response rose by 20 seconds, to 10 minutes, seven seconds — compared to the 5-minute target the National Fire Protection Association sets for 90% of calls and eight- to nine-minute targets other groups recommend for 90% of calls. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa health department not reporting COVID-19 reinfections

Iowa does not include subsequent COVID-19 infections of the same person in the number of newly confirmed cases it reports to federal health officials or in the weekly case updates on its website, even though other states do. Further, Iowa Department of Health and Human Services officials say they are unaware of the state’s rate of those reinfections despite possessing the data necessary to calculate it. A reinfection occurs when someone tests positive for the coronavirus more than 90 days after a first positive test. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National news

Rising health care costs likely to crunch employers

All signs are pointing toward significantly higher health costs in the employer market next year, which will translate into larger-than-normal premium increases. Employers will have to choose between taking the hit or passing the added cost to their employees — a decision that’s particularly difficult in a tight labor market. Seven in 10 employers expect moderate to significant increases in the cost of health benefits over the next three years, according to a recent Willis Towers Watson survey. (Axios)

Fauci: Anti-vaxxer attitude could cause non-COVID disease outbreaks

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in a new interview that the “anti-vaxxer attitude” of some Americans risks causing non-COVID virus outbreaks in the U.S.  “I’m concerned the acceleration of an anti-vaxxer attitude in certain segments of the population . . . might spill over into that kind of a negative attitude towards childhood vaccinations,” Fauci said. He said political division is one factor driving anti-vaccine sentiment, noting how some states have not promoted COVID-19 vaccination and Congress has failed to advance billions of dollars in funding. (The Hill)

Unclear eligibility for monkeypox vaccines could impede care

There’s “substantial variation” across states’ eligibility rules for monkeypox vaccines, which could result in unequal care as the outbreak lessens, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found. There are three CDC strategies outlining vaccine eligibility: post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, which is when a public health official can confirm exposure; expanded post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP++, which comprises known or presumed exposures and holds for individuals for whom a recent sex partner was diagnosed with the virus; and pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, which is vaccination in anticipation of exposure and is for specific groups such as healthcare workers who might be at risk due to occupational exposure.  Of the 56 jurisdictions analyzed — all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five cities with direct vaccine supply allocations — 18 offered PrEP, 51 offered PEP++ and 52 offered PEP. Illinois, New Mexico, South California and Washington, D.C., did not provide clear eligibility data. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Become a hospital advocate. Sign up for IHA Action Alerts.

Click here