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How Risky is it to Attend a Group Event during Covid Spread? Editor's Pick

How risky is it to attend a group event (of any size) while COVID-19 is still spreading? This tool from Georgia Tech lets you check any county in the US. The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event. You can check any group size from as few as 10 people, to 10,000 people. Adjust the default level of 100. The tool uses real-time COVID19 data from the COVID Tracking Project. County-level risk assessment was added to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool in July 2020.

Vaccine Finder – Best, easiest way to find a Covid vaccine near me Editor's Pick

The Covid vaccine finder from vaccines.gov is the best, easiest way to find a vaccine site near me. Just put in your zip code, and choose which types of vaccine you want – Pfizer, Moderna, and/or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J).  Names and locations of pharmacies, hospitals and other providers will come up. The site tells you whether they have the vaccine in stock or not. CVS, Walgreens, your local pharmacy, and many other providers are included. Authorized by the CDC. This might be the best website government ever created. Editor’s Pick. Another choice is to text your Zip Code to 438829, but the 3 pharmacy sites they list for you might be out of stock. The website gives consumers much more information and lists more Covid vaccine sites.

What’s your local risk of Covid and Flu, by Zip Code? Editor's Pick

Put in your zip code to see what the latest risk is for COVID and Flu. Site by Kinsa HealthWeather uses Johns Hopkins data and other modeling. Easy to use. Updated nightly.

Case Numbers for COVID-19 Coronavirus in the United States (KFF) Editor's Pick

Discover the COVID-19 case count numbers by state, and total for the United States. This quick summary table by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) shows number of coronavirus cases and deaths by state. Updated most weekdays in 2021. Cases have increased by 142% in the past two weeks. All states are reporting increases. As of July 27, the top six states for recent daily Covid cases per million population were Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama. Florida is currently experiencing over 10,000 new cases per day. The national test positivity rate is at 16%. Alabama and Oklahoma are the highest at 43% and 39%, respectively. Select data table. Deaths in long term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities) represented 32% of total deaths, and 1,441,000 cases as of May 10, 2021. Total long term care deaths in the states and DC neared 184,000. Nearly 34,900 long term care facilities had Covid cases; New York is the only state reporting LTC deaths but not cases.

CDC Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 Editor's Pick

CDC (Centers for Disease Control), our US health authority, provides valuable information on the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Find out what you should know to protect yourself, get situation updates, read information about travel and social gatherings. Read explanations of what the general public should be doing right now, such as “Get Vaccinated”.  Other helpful measures: washing your hands, avoid touching your face, avoid indoor crowds, maintain a six-foot distance between people, wear a cloth face covering in public, cover your cough, clean and disinfect surfaces, and monitor your own health – making sure you don’t go out if you have any symptoms. CDC is also an authority for healthcare professionals. The virus that causes COVID-19 is  named SARS-CoV-2, for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. This new virus was formerly known as 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

CDC Covid Data Tracker – Variants and Other Trends

The CDC Covid Data Tracker estimates the “delta” (B.1.617.2) continues to be the most prevalent variant in the US as of July 17, 2021, representing more than three-fourths (82%) of new cases. It is considered one of the “variants of concern” (VOC). The Delta variant has increased from 63% (higher than previously estimated) to 82% in two weeks’ time. In Missouri, the delta variant is fueling the rise in cases, now responsible for an estimated 90% of cases. Missouri is currently experiencing the 3rd highest rate of cases per million population. In Florida, “delta” still represents just 37% of cases, suggesting the rise in cases will yet increase. Nationwide, the “alpha” variant (B.1.1.7) is estimated in about 21% of cases nationwide. A third variant, “gamma” (P.1) is estimated at 6% of cases. CDC’s state and community profiles regarding Covid trends can also be accessed from this website.

CDC Vaccine Doses Delivered vs Received (shots in the arm), COVID-19

CDC reports the overall Covid-19 vaccine doses that are actually administered (shots in the arm) or received by people, compared to the number of doses delivered. As of the morning of July 29, 2021, 344 million of 397 million doses delivered/distributed doses had been given as shots in the arm. CDC reports 57% of the total population have received at least one dose; 49% fully vaccinated. So far, 190 million people have gotten at least one shot; 164M people are reported as fully vaccinated. About 53 million doses are “un-administered”; i.e. still on the shelf. Most of the un-administered doses are of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. For the week ending July 24, daily vaccinations averaged 583,000 per day – about 70,000 per day higher than the prior week.

As of May 10, all COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech, and the newer Johnson & Johnson) have been available for all, ages 16 and up. In addition, the Pfizer vaccine is available to ages 12 and up. Both vaccine and ancillary kits (syringes, etc.) are shipped. UPS, FedEx and McKesson are the national distributors. Although early vaccination rollout was slower than expected, it gained speed. Instead of the 1 million doses per day (vaccinations) expected in December, that cumulative milestone was reached two months later, on March 1. The federal partnership program for long-term care ended April 23. By that date, long-term care vaccines administered were 7.8 million, with 4.9 million in LTC having received at least the first dose, and 2.9 million fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus Tracker for COVID-19 Cases: Johns Hopkins Map Editor's Pick

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracker maps confirmed COVID-19 cases across the globe. The dashboard shows number of cases, deaths and numbers who have recovered from the coronavirus pandemic that started in late 2019. As of July 29, 2021, 3:21pm, 196.4 million coronavirus COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Thursday’s cumulative confirmed cases in the US topped 34.7 million, up by 71,000 since yesterday afternoon. A record of 302,506 daily cases in the US was reached January 2, 2021. There are about 32 million cases in India (2nd highest in the world, over 400,000 deaths); 20 million in Brazil (3rd in the world; 550,000 deaths); 6 million in France and Russia (154,000 deaths); over 5 million each in the United Kingdom (130,000 deaths), and Turkey. Nearby, Mexico has more than 2 million cases (240,000 deaths). Canada reached the 1 million cases milestone on April 3, 2021; 27,000 deaths to date. Peru reports the 5th highest number of deaths for a country, at close to 200,000.

There were nearly 4.2 million COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide. The US reports the world’s highest death toll, over 612,000 deaths as of July 29. Since April of last year, the US has led the world in number of deaths due to COVID-19. It exceeded 100,000 deaths on May 27, 2020; reached 200,000 deaths by Sept. 22, 300,000 on Dec. 14, 400,000 deaths on January 19, 2021,  500,000 on February 20, and milestone 600,000 on June 15, 2021. We should expect additional US deaths to occur as cases begin to rise again and hospitalizations continue, particularly from those unvaccinated. The world reached a death toll of 4 million on July 8, 2021. Over 4 billion doses of vaccine had been administered worldwide as of July 29, 2021.

The US is at 186 deaths per 100,000 population, with a case fatality rate of 1.8%. Brazil has the second largest number of reported deaths, with 262 deaths per 100,000, and a case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.8%. Mexico’s CFR is 8.6%, with 188 deaths per 100,000.  Coronavirus disease is named COVID-19. This tracking tool provides a quick snapshot of how the COVID-19 disease caused by Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (formerly called 2019-nCoV) is spreading.

FDA Updates on Coronavirus Disease COVID-19

The FDA, the federal Food and Drug Agency, provides updates on COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. The FDA regulates lab testing, drugs requiring approval, medical devices (like N95s and other personal protective equipment PPE) and vaccines. They post regular updates, sometimes multiple times per day. In addition, the FDA has listed a few of the likely many fraudulent products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure coronavirus disease.

Health Insurance Resources on Coronavirus COVID-19 – AHIP

If you’re wondering about what health insurance companies are doing about Coronavirus and COVID-19 coverage, this website by AHIP – America’s Health Insurance Plans – tracks health plan resources, actions, and news.  Search by the company’s name – such as Aetna, CVS Health, Anthem, Centene, Cigna, Blue Cross, Humana, Molina, UnitedHealth, WellCare. Smaller regional plans such as Harvard Pilgrim, Dean, Avera, Kaiser, Magellan, Medica, Peach State, Sanford, Sharp, Sutter, are also listed. Health insurance companies may explain Covid test coverage policies, cost-sharing, telemedicine visits, and treatment copays for commercial plans, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid. Insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis, except for traditional Medicare. Updated March 2021.

Resources on Coronavirus for US Hospitals – AHA

Numerous resources about handling coronavirus (COVID-19) cases for US hospitals, from the American Hospital Association (AHA).

World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Reports: Coronavirus

Track the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with weekly situation reports by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Other Helpful Listings

American Lung Association (lung.org)

American Lung Association (lung.org) site includes extensive references for chronic lung disease such as asthma, COPD emphysema and chronic bronchitis, as well as lung cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other factors, such as smoking, that affect the lungs. Special feature on e-cigarettes and vaping. The organization also maintains a HelpLine staffed by Registered Nurses and Registered Respiratory Therapists to answer your lung health questions at 1-800-LUNGUSA (or 800-548-8252). Or submit a question via online chat to the ALA. Regarding Covid, here’s what the Association says: “There is currently no specific treatment other than supportive care available. The majority of people recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, but it can be life-threatening. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.”

Covid 19 Surge Capacity: Converting Hotels for Coronavirus Patients (ASHE)

Surge capacity resource for hospitals looking at converting hotels in order to serve more coronavirus COVID-19 patients. Prepared by ASHE, the American Society for Health Care Engineering, through the American Hospital Association. This “COVID-19 Response Concept Study” identifies the types of patients suitable to this setting. It lays out a 10 to 14-day timeline to take advantage of hotel ballroom space for patient wards and guest rooms for for patients or staff. Conference rooms and meeting spaces become medication areas, mini-labs,  nursing support and command center. Paper records may get chosen in lieu of unfamiliar (or impractical, given the timing) electronic record systems. This short resource guide covers a wide spectrum of dimensions. Very helpful overview, published April 2020.

Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care highlights the wide variations in how health care is delivered across the United States. The project is run by Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth Medical School. Online tool provides comparisons by geographic region (state, HSAs-Hospital Service Areas, or HRR-Hospital Referral Region) for Medicare healthcare use (data through 2015). While the tool is relatively easy to use, the conceptual understanding of the reports requires technical sophistication. In 2021, the number of COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days is shown for each region; growth rates are also mapped. A timelapse map of the growth in COVID cases in the US, total  cases and deaths are also shown by region.

Factors Expected to Impact Health Insurance Premiums 2021 – AHIP

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) identifies factors that are expected to impact premium costs for individual plans in the Health Insurance marketplace for 2021. AHIP did not project increases for 2021. Instead, they identified aspects of COVID costs – such as testing, treatment, vaccine availability, how long the outbreak and pandemic lasts, how many people get sick, etc. Overall, there has been a large delay in “regular” care, which lowers insurance company costs. Some of that care is foregone, some will happen later, if there is capacity in healthcare systems to deliver it. For most insurance companies, 2020 is likely to be a profitable year. What happens in 2021 is yet to be seen. Published May 2020.

Hand Washing Hand Hygiene Video (one minute) Editor's Pick

Hand Washing, Hand Hygiene video by the CDC. Take one minute to view the online youtube video for proper handwashing technique and guidelines to help prevent infections. CDC epidemiologist presents the basics – really fast. People often miss washing the thumb and index finger, as well as the finger tips on both hands. Plan to wash and scrub for 20 seconds, about as long as it takes to hum your favorite school fight song.

Travel and Health | CDC

Extensive site by the CDC that covers travel injuries and illnesses abroad, vaccinations, health warnings and precautions, cruise ship and air travel, advice for pregnant women. See travel notices for COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic. While CDC does not generally issue advisories for domestic travel, it has written recommendations for travel inside the US. The website allows search by international destination location. Useful for missions and disaster relief, as well as avoiding unnecessary travel. Sections for Cholera, Coronavirus, Ebola, Measles, Polio, Yellow Fever, Zika and any new outbreaks CDC is monitoring

What Variants of the Coronavirus Should I Watch?

What coronavirus variants should I watch and what are they called? The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated “variants of concern” using common names and number labels.  As of July 6, 2021, here are four: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Delta (B.1.617.2), Gamma (P.1) and Beta (B.1.351). Delta is estimated to be the most active in the United States, at present. At least 16 other variants are also tracked and highlighted at this SARS-CoV-2 site.

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