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How Fast are Covid Cases and Vaccinations Rising by State? CDC Data Tracker Editor's Pick

How fast are Covid cases and vaccinations rising by state and by county?  The CDC Data Tracker shows county level  “community transmission”, the number of cases over the most recent 7-day period. Each county is classified “high”, “substantial”, “moderate” or “low”. As of Oct. 19, 2021, 86% of all counties in the US are High. CDC has advised increased precautions – even if fully vaccinated – in areas with High or Substantial Covid case levels. Consumers can also track vaccination levels by state and by county. Currently, less than 2/3 (66%) of counties in the US have reached at least 50% fully vaccinated rates of the eligible population (ages 12 and up). Fewer than 1/3 of counties (30%) have reached 50% fully vaccinated rates of their total population. Updated nightly by CDC.

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, deaths and vaccinations by state. Updated most weeks in 2021. Cases have decreased by 24% in the past two weeks. Five states are reporting increases. As of October 22, the top five states for recent daily Covid cases per million population were Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and North Dakota. Four states still have rates under 45% for percent of population who are fully vaccinated: ID, WY, AL and WV. The national test positivity rate is at 5.2%. South Dakota, Idaho and Montana are the highest at 17.3%, 17%, and 16.1% positivity, respectively. Select data table. Deaths in long term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities) represented 31% of total deaths, and 1,469,000 cases as of June 30, 2021. Total long term care deaths in the states and DC neared 187,000. Over 35,000 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” variants (B.1.617.2 and AY subvariants) have displaced all other variants in the US as of Oct. 16, 2021, representing 99.7% of new cases. It is a “variants of concern” (VOC). According to the CDC, the Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than earlier forms of the virus that causes COVID-19. It might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated people. Vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death, including against this variant. CDC’s state, county and community profiles regarding Covid trends can also be accessed from this website, through the “Your Community” section.

CDC COVID-19 Vaccines Administered: Percent Vaccinated

CDC reports the numbers and percent of Covid-19 vaccine doses that are actually administered (shots in the arm) or received by people. As of the morning of October 25, 2021, CDC reports 66% of the total population have received at least one dose; 57% fully vaccinated. So far, 221 million people have gotten at least one shot; 191M people are reported as fully vaccinated. Of the eligible population ages 12 and up, 67% are fully vaccinated, and more than 3/4 have at least started the process.

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 and deaths from the coronavirus pandemic that started in late 2019. As of October 25, 2021, 3:22pm, 244 million coronavirus COVID-19 cases have been confirmed worldwide. Monday’s cumulative confirmed cases in the US topped 45.5 million, up by 77,000 cases since yesterday afternoon. For the week ending Oct. 24, cases were 510,000, down 14% from the prior week. A record of 1.7 million weekly cases in the US was reached January 10, 2021. There are over 34 million cases in India (2nd highest in the world, 450,000 deaths); 22 million in Brazil (3rd in the world; 600,000 deaths). The United Kingdom has the 2nd highest 28-day rate (behind the US), of over 1 million cases. The US had 2.5 million cases and 47,000 deaths in the past 28 days.

There were nearly 5 million COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide. The US reports the world’s highest death toll, 737,000 deaths as of Oct. 25. 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, 600,000 on June 15, and milestone 700,000 deaths on October 1, 2021. While deaths were were down 7% since last week, we should expect additional US deaths to occur as cases and hospitalizations continue, particularly from those unvaccinated. The world reached a death toll of 4.5 million on August 29, 2021. Over 6.5 billion doses of vaccine reportedly had been administered worldwide as of October 12, 2021.

The US is at 224 deaths per 100,000 population, with a case fatality rate of 1.6%. Brazil has the second largest number of reported deaths, with 287 deaths per 100,000, and a case fatality rate (CFR) of 2.8%. Mexico’s CFR is 7.6%, with 224 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 October 7, 2021, four were listed: Alpha (B.1.1.7), Delta (B.1.617.2), Gamma (P.1) and Beta (B.1.351). Delta is overwhelmingly dominant in the United States, at present. The Lambda and Mu variants are classified as “variants of interest.” At least 15 other variants are also tracked and highlighted at this SARS-CoV-2 site.

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