California Won’t Allow Virus Vaccines Without State Approval | Health News

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California won’t allow any distribution of new coronavirus vaccines in the nation’s most populous state until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Vaccinations for the pandemic “will move at the speed of trust,” said Newsom, a Democrat, and the state wants its own independent review no matter who wins the presidential election next month.

“Of course we won’t take anyone’s word for it,” Newsom said as he named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. They hail from top California universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health officials.

The pledge raises the possibility that California residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states, though the governor said widespread vaccinations are unrealistic until sometime next year.

While there is always a risk that the vaccine could be delayed only in California, Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said Newsom named a renowned group that should be able to quickly make credible decisions.

“I wouldn’t interpret this as a delay in distribution. I would interpret this as an effort to make sure that distribution is equitable and timely,” he said. “The people in this group are among the most reputable public health advocates in the state.”

As such, its finding that a particular vaccine was suitable or not suitable could have an outsize impact nationwide.

The group includes current and former members of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Klausner said, so any disagreement with the federal panel “could have substantial impact on that particular vaccine product.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month appointed a similar independent task force.

At most, 45 million doses will be available nationwide before the end of this year from the two most advanced vaccines, Newsom said. Each person must receive two doses, three weeks apart.

If California were to receive 12% of the doses, commensurate with its percentage of the nation’s population, that would be 5.4 million doses, or enough to treat 2.7 million of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.

Most would go to front-line medical workers and first responders, he said, then to the most vulnerable in the population.

Newsom’s announcement drew quick criticism from Republican state lawmakers, despite the governor’s contention that the panel is needed whoever is president.

“Politicizing the efficacy of a vaccine is shameful,” tweeted Sen. Melissa Melendez, who said the governor “used the virus to keep people from working, kids from going to school (and) families from being able to attend funerals.”

Newsom is “suggesting we can’t trust the FDA (but) Of course, we’ll continue trusting the FDA for every other drug whose distribution doesn’t threaten his hold on power,” tweeted Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who has a court hearing this week challenging the governor’s authority to

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Trump calls Fauci an ‘idiot,’ says rallies are ‘BOFFO’ while coronavirus rages on

As hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin and Chicagoans face a second surge of coronavirus cases that could lead to new shutdowns, President Donald Trump is calling medical professionals “idiots.”

As most states across the country face rising coronavirus numbers and hospitalizations, the president effectively says he’s “tired” of it all.

Of course he didn’t use the first person. He always puts his own gripes in the mouths of others, pulling a page from the narcissist’s playbook, as he can’t imagine anyone thinking differently than he does.

In a call with his campaign staff Monday, Trump said: “People are tired of COVID. I have these huge rallies. People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.”

Ah, “people.” Those “people” who just say “whatever” about a deadly virus that has claimed more than 220,000 American lives and left millions with, at best, a preexisting condition and at worse lingering health issues.

Those “people” who say “leave us alone” without acknowledging their own health affects everyone they’re around, young and old, weak and strong, friend and stranger.

Those people are certainly out there. They’re the ones showing up maskless at Trump rallies and acting like COVID-19 is much ado about nothing while sneering at “people” like me and saying, “Get out of your mama’s basement, coward.” (Fun fact: Thanks to the virus, I, like millions of Americans, haven’t been able to see my mama all year, much less hang out in her basement. And when it comes to a pandemic, I am very much a coward. And proud of it.)

But hey, Trump and the people he’s using to channel his own childish, “I DON’T WANNA DEAL WITH THIS MEAN PANDEMIC ANYMORE!” attitude are tired of it all.

Well, let me find someone to play a sad trombone sound for them, one that can be heard from coast to coast. Because guess what? I’m tired of it too.

I don’t think there are any Americans who aren’t tired of COVID-19 and the pandemic that has thrown our lives wildly out of whack.

But rather than whining about it, denying science and wasting time deriding those who share best practices to slow the spread, many in this country are wearing masks, avoiding crowded gatherings and bending over backward to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.

But it’s not enough. There are too many adopting the president’s “I’m SO over this” attitude.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to people like Melissa Resch, a registered nurse who works in a coronavirus medical unit in Wisconsin. She told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week that she’s seeing patients ranging in ages from their 20s to their 90s.

“This doesn’t discriminate against age,” Resch told the newspaper.

She asked people to stay home, social distance and wear masks so she can avoid having to help families FaceTime with a loved one “as they take their

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Surge in coronavirus cases puts strain on Wisconsin hospitals

Health experts are warning the months ahead will be some of the hardest of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as the U.S. climbs towards a third peak, and nowhere is it more true than in Wisconsin, which has emerged as the country’s hot spot. The state is setting records for new cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

At UW Hospital in Madison, COVID-19 hospitalizations have almost doubled since the start of October. Nurse Katie Lanoway said it happened almost overnight.

“I’m really frustrated. It is scary because you don’t want to take that home to people you care about,” Lanoway told CBS News. “We really need help here in the hospital from people outside, to start wearing the mask and staying away from people.”

One COVID-19 unit used to be limited to one hallway, which has about 10 patient rooms, and now they’ve had to expand to three hallways because of the surge.

Dr. Jeff Pothoff, UW Health’s chief quality officer, works on a medivac team that has airlifted several coronavirus patients. “They thought they were going to be OK, and then all of a sudden, they end up here. There’s some regret,” Pothoff said. “At that point, it’s too late. There isn’t a do-over.”

With COVID-19 cases now surging across the nation, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Americans to brace themselves. “We have two or three very hard months ahead of us,” said Gottlieb. “I think this is probably going to be the hardest phase of this pandemic.”

A new peak is hitting one Utah health system especially hard. Over the weekend, ICU beds reached over 100% capacity.

“This is as serious as it gets. We have had to turn away transfers, people in other states,” said Dr. Russell Vinik, chief of medical operations at the University of Utah Health.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is facing a second wave, with more than 500 new cases a day. “We are increasingly seeing large gatherings of unmasked young people,” said Lightfoot. “Folks, that has to stop.”

But there is some encouraging news at New York City schools. Of the more than 16,000 tests for the coronavirus, just 28 came back positive: 20 staff members and eight students.

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Lawyers: Trump had to speak about rape claim to show fitness

They said he was entitled to refute Carroll’s claims because she was trying to call “into question the president’s fitness for office and a response was necessary for the president to effectively govern.”

The lawyers had made similar arguments before and were replying to written arguments submitted to a judge by lawyers for Carroll, a media figure who hosted an advice show in the mid-1990s when she says she was attacked.

On Monday, they wrote that every court that has considered the issue has found that the United States can substitute itself as the defendant when a defamation lawsuit against a federal elected official results from a statement made on a matter of concern or interest to the official’s constituents.

“This is even clearer with respect to the defendant here — the President of the United States — and under the circumstances here, where the President addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries,” they wrote.

Earlier this month, Carroll’s attorneys argued the opposite, saying Trump can’t insult their client and then cite his job as reason to remove himself as a defendant.

“Only in a world gone mad could it somehow be presidential, not personal, for Trump to slander a woman who he sexually assaulted,” they said.

Carroll has said Trump raped her in a department store dressing room a quarter century ago after they randomly crossed paths and engaged in conversation as each recognized the other’s measure of fame.

Her lawyers argued that defamatory attacks by the president included assertions that Carroll had falsely accused other men of rape, that she lied about him to advance a secret political conspiracy and sell books and that he had never met her even though they’d been photographed together. The lawyers noted that Trump also had said: “She’s not my type.”

They said the Justice Department tried to step in as defendant in part to delay progression of the case, including Carroll’s effort to get a DNA sample from Trump to see if it matches male genetic material on a dress she says she wore the day of the alleged attack.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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COVID-19 Infections Rising in Georgia Since Recent Lows | Georgia News

By JEFF AMY, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The number of COVID-19 cases is rising in Georgia, although infections in the state are not climbing as fast as those nationwide.

Even with relatively few infections reported Monday, the state’s seven-day average is close to 1,300, more than 10% above the recent bottom on Oct. 8. The number of people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has also been rising for a week, crossing back above 1,300 on Monday.

“Things are not going well for Georgia,” Amber Schmidtke, an epidemiologist who writes a daily analysis of Georgia’s number, wrote Monday.

She and other experts fear another jump like the one seen in June, in part because cases and hospitalizations never fell as low as they did in the spring.

One issue is that Georgia is still not including probable cases in its daily reports. Those cases are mostly diagnosed from rapid antigen tests, and many other states are counting them as positives. Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said recently that the state is working on a plan to report probable cases daily.

In numbers released Monday, the state Department of Public Health said Georgia had recorded 1,167 probable cases in the past week.

A ray of light for Georgia in the darkening picture is that the positivity rate has stayed level over the last two weeks at just above 6%, even as the number of DNA-based tests rose modestly, on average.

Georgia’s transmission rates still remain below those being seen nationwide, with the state ranking 35th per capita among states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over the last two weeks, according to data collected by the The Associated Press.

The number of counties that the state lists as “emerging counties of interest,” where the respiratory illness may be spreading the most rapidly, rose from 43 last week to 56 this week. That included an increase in the number of suburban Atlanta counties on the list from six to 11, with Cobb County staying on the list. Fulton County dropped off that list this week, while DeKalb and Gwinnett counties stayed off it. Also on the list are Bibb County including Macon, Lowndes County including Valdosta, Whitfield County including Dalton and Columbia County in suburban Augusta.

Georgia has recorded more than 340,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus since March. As of Monday, the state had confirmed 7,657 COVID-19 deaths, remaining on pace for 10,000 this year.

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Cherry Hill doctor can’t practice medicine after conspiracy conviction

TRENTON – A Cherry Hill doctor who pleaded guilty to defrauding Medicare can no longer practice medicine in New Jersey, a state agency says.

Robert Claude McGrath, D.O., has retired his license under a consent order with the state Board of Medical Examiners, according to the agency’s website. It said the license retirement would be “deemed a permanent revocation.”

Separately, a Stratford doctor  has agreed to a temporary suspension of his license after pleading guilty to a federal crime, the board said.

Michael Goldis, D.O., will stop practicing medicine on Oct. 30 under an interim consent order.

The board noted McGrath pleaded guilty in June 2017 to conspiring to commit health care fraud and received a 30-month term in federal prison.

McGrath admitted to defrauding Medicare and other health care benefit programs of $890,000 in payments, according to the order.

McGrath, 69, was released from custody in May of this year.

The doctor and his chiropractor son — Robert Christopher McGrath, 48, of Cherry Hill —were accused of using unqualified people to give physical therapy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey.

The fraud took place from January 2011 through April 2016, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

It said the McGraths owned Atlantic Spine & Joint Institute, a practice with offices in Westmont and Wayne, Pa., the federal prosecutor’s office said.

The younger McGrath received a 10-month prison term for conspiring to commit health care fraud in December 2017.

The McGraths and Atlantic Spine also agreed to pay $1.78 million plus interest to the federal government to resolve allegations that their scheme caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare. 

The state Attorney General’s Office moved to suspend or revoke the elder McGrath’s license in August, according to the Oct. 13

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Who Are the Scientists Behind the Great Barrington Declaration?

After the authors of a declaration promoting herd immunity spoke to White House officials last week, the scientific community immediately called into question the declaration as well as the scientists who wrote it.

The Great Barrington Declaration, a statement written by three public health experts from Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, encourages governments to lift lockdown restrictions on young and healthy people while focusing protection measures on the elderly. This would allow COVID-19 to spread in a population where it is less likely to be deadly, the authors state, encouraging widespread immunity that is not dependent on a vaccine.

Restrictions have caused other harms, including lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health, they argue.

After gaining some publicity, this strategy was strongly denounced by many in the scientific community. While it supposedly received 8,000 signatures from public health experts and doctors, news outlets later revealed that some of those signatures were fake.

The declaration was sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian, free-market think tank headquartered in western Massachusetts. The Institute is in a network of organizations funded by Charles Koch — a right-wing billionaire known for promoting climate change denial and opposing regulations on business.

While the scientists who wrote the declaration claim they represent both right- and left-wing politics, all have attempted to influence governments to end lockdowns since the start of the pandemic.

Here’s a look at the three scientists behind the Great Barrington Declaration. MedPage Today reached out to them for comment but none responded.

Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD

Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine and economics at Stanford University, was an early vocal opponent of coronavirus lockdowns beginning in early March.

In a March 24 opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal when statewide lockdowns were beginning, Bhattacharya and a co-author questioned the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that universal quarantines may not be worth the costs to the economy, social life, and population health.

Along with John Ioannidis, MD, DSC, of Stanford, Bhattacharya co-authored the Santa Clara antibody seroprevalence study, a preprint published in April that suggested coronavirus infections (and possibly, immunity) were up to 85 times higher than scientists originally thought. The study, which became a tool in the political debate to reopen the economy, was criticized for lacking sound evidence. It was later revealed by BuzzFeed News that the study received funding from the founder of JetBlue, which the authors hadn’t disclosed.

In early September, President Trump stated that the U.S. case fatality rate for COVID-19 dropped 85% since April, because of the “groundbreaking therapies” pioneered under Operation Warp Speed (though the only authorized treatment supported by the program is convalescent plasma). Bhattacharya was cited as the source of the data showing the fatality rate reduction — which can be attributed to more testing, improved protection measures in nursing homes, and some new treatments, according to PolitiFact.

Bhattacharya is also a former research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative

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California won’t allow virus vaccines without state approval

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California won’t allow any distribution of new coronavirus vaccines in the nation’s most populous state until it is reviewed by the state’s own panel of experts, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Vaccinations for the pandemic “will move at the speed of trust,” said Newsom, a Democrat, and the state wants its own independent review no matter who wins the presidential election next month.

“Of course we won’t take anyone’s word for it,” Newsom said as he named 11 doctors and scientists to review any rollout of vaccines by the federal government or vaccine developers. They hail from top California top universities and medical providers, along with state and local public health officials.


The pledge raises the possibility that California residents might not receive a vaccine as distribution begins in other states, though the governor said widespread vaccinations are unrealistic until sometime next year.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month appointed a similar independent task force.

At most, 45 million doses will be available nationwide before the end of this year from the two most advanced vaccines, Newsom said. Each person must receive two doses, three weeks apart.

If California were to receive 12% of the doses, commensurate with its percentage of the nation’s population, that would be 5.4 million doses, or enough to treat 2.7 million of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.

Most would go to front-line medical workers and first responders, he said, then to the most vulnerable in the population.

But the distribution and record-keeping logistics alone are massive, he said, including a requirement that the vaccines be kept in continuous cold storage until they are administered.

One of the two leading vaccines requires “ultra cold” storage — think dry ice — of minus 70 Celsius, or minus 158 degrees Fahrenheit. The other needs a minus 20 Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

“They need to be stored in an extraordinarily challenging environment,” Newsom said, though the state has done so before with other medications. But he said that’s why the state needs an expert panel that understands the “panoply of issues that will be required to ultimately advance this effort.”

California last week gave the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention its early plans for how it would handle and distribute the vaccine, and in return received nearly $29 million to continue its planning efforts.

California is one of five jurisdictions doing what Newsom called “micro-planning” for mass distributions, which he predicted could come as soon as next spring, is more likely next summer, but could be as late as next fall.

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Insomnia With Short Sleep Linked to Cognitive Impairment



Dr Julio Fernandez-Mendoza

Insomnia with objective short sleep duration is associated with a significantly increased risk of cognitive impairment (CI), particularly as it relates to cardiometabolic health, new research suggests.

Results of a population-based analysis show that participants who reported poor sleep or chronic insomnia and who objectively slept less than 6 hours per night had a twofold increased risk for CI.

The findings suggest that insomnia with objective short sleep duration is a more severe phenotype that is associated with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and neurocognitive disease, according to the researchers. The findings also indicate that objective sleep measures may reflect a patient’s insomnia severity and phenotype.

“This is the first study to show that adults who complain of insomnia and sleep objectively fewer than 6 hours in the lab have a twofold increased prevalence of mild cognitive impairment, particularly cognitive impairment associated with vascular contributors such as stage 2 hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or stroke,” Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News.

The research was published online September 24 in Sleep.

Highly Prevalent

The prevalence of insomnia symptoms in the general population may be as high as 30%, and approximately 15% of the general population has chronic insomnia.

Previous research has established an association between insomnia and psychiatric disorders, but fewer studies have examined the association between insomnia and cognitive impairment.

Furthermore, many studies that have analyzed the relationship between sleep and cognitive impairment have relied on self-reported measures of sleep, rather than objective measures.

For the study, researchers examined data from the Penn State Adult Cohort, which was a random, population-based sample of 1741 adults. Each participant spent one night in the sleep laboratory, during which he or she underwent 8 hours of polysomnography.

Participants also completed a questionnaire about sleep disorders, physical and mental health status, and substance use. They reported having normal sleep, poor sleep, or chronic insomnia.

The investigators obtained each participant’s clinical history, including mental and physical health conditions. Participants also underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests, including the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, and the Trail Making Test.  

The analysis included 1524 participants. The study population had a mean age of 48.9 years. Approximately 47% of participants were men, and about 92% were non-Hispanic Whites.

A total of 155 participants (10.2%) had CI. Overall, 899 participants (59%) reported normal sleep, 453 (30%) reported poor sleep, and 172 (11%) reported chronic insomnia.

Need for Objective Assessment

Poor sleep and chronic insomnia were not significantly associated with CI or possible vascular cognitive impairment (pVCI). However, objective short sleep duration was significantly linked to CI (odds ratio [OR], 1.90) and marginally associated with pVCI (OR, 1.53).

Participants with self-reported poor sleep or chronic insomnia who slept less than 6 hours had a significantly increased risk of CI (OR, 2.06 and 2.18, respectively), as well as increased risk of pVCI (OR, 1.94 and 2.33, respectively), compared with participants with

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Mississippi gov. orders mask use in 9 counties

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says he is imposing a mask mandate for public indoor spaces and other restrictions in nine of the state’s counties to curb the spread of the coronavirus after weeks of steadily rising case numbers.

Reeves notes that Mississippi saw a spike in cases during the summer. He says: “We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control, so want to be proactive to prevent that from happening.”

The governor adds that he does not think what is happening in Mississippi qualifies as a spike, saying that “we’ve seen a relatively slow, slight increase over the last six weeks.”


In the past week, Mississippi has had two days when the daily number of new cases reached more than 1,000. That hadn’t happened since mid-August.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide top 40 million but experts say that’s only the tip of the iceberg

— Coronavirus vaccines will require non-stop refrigeration to stay potent and safe, which may leave 3 billion people without access to them

— India reports lowest daily virus death toll in three months; Belgium and Slovakia slap night-time curfews on residents to control virus spread.

— To avoid the economic hit of full lockdowns, some places are trying more targeted restrictions

— Congress is past the point of being able to deliver more coronavirus relief before the Nov. 3 election

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico Tech has temporarily shut down out of caution against COVID-19 after officials learned of several off-campus weekend parties.

In announcing the school’s closing on Monday, University President Stephen Wells said on the school’s website that 50 to 100 students gathered over the weekend at multiple parties in the area surrounding the Socorro campus. Wells says extreme measures are needed due to “the irresponsibility of a few.”

State health officials on Monday reported an additional 518 confirmed coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to more than 37,300 since the pandemic began.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association is renewing the group’s call for a statewide mask mandate as the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus has reached record levels.

Association President George Monks says in a tweet that cities in Oklahoma that have adopted mask ordinances have seen lower rates of infection. He says that “we need face mask mandates to protect more of our Oklahoma citizens.”

The association has been calling for a statewide mask mandate since the summer, but Gov. Kevin Stitt has repeatedly said he has no plans to do so, citing concerns about how such a mandate would be enforced.

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OWOSSO, Mich. — A lawyer says misdemeanor charges are being dropped against a Michigan barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and reopened his shop last spring during the coronavirus pandemic.

David Kallman said

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