“FILE – In this April 17, 2020, file photo, a patient is loaded into an ambulance by emergency medical workers outside Cobble Hill Health Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by more than 30% last year, with two devastating surges eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most complete assessment yet of the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)”
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by 32% last year, with two devastating spikes eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most comprehensive look yet at the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims.
“The report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found that about 4 in 10 Medicare recipients in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19 in 2020, and that deaths overall jumped by 169,291 from the previous year, before the coronavirus appeared.
“’We knew this was going to be bad, but I don’t think even those of us who work in this area thought it was going to be this bad,’ said Harvard health policy professor David Grabowski, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, who reviewed the report for The Associated Press.
“’This was not individuals who were going to die anyway,’ Grabowski added. ‘We are talking about a really big number of excess deaths.’
“Investigators used a generally accepted method of estimating ‘excess’ deaths in a group of people after a calamitous event. It did not involve examining individual death certificates of Medicare patients but comparing overall deaths among those in nursing homes to levels recorded the previous year. The technique was used to estimate deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 and in New York City after the first coronavirus surge last spring. It does not attribute a cause of death but is seen as a barometer of impact.
“Death rates were higher in every month last year when compared with 2019.”
Disability Rights Pennsylvania Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for People with Disabilities | news release
Harrisburg, PA – Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP), a leader in disability rights advocacy for more than forty years, will operate a Vaccine Hotline to assist Pennsylvanians with disabilities who are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
People with disabilities who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, or who are experiencing problems getting it, can call DRP at (833) DRP-2-VAX, (833- 377- 2829) or email DRP at email@example.com between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Please contact the DRP Vaccine Hotline if you:
- are denied a reasonable accommodation at your vaccination site
- encounter physical accessibility or effective communication barriers at your vaccination site
- can’t leave your home to get the vaccine due to a disability
- need transportation to get to your vaccination appointment
- need help finding a vaccination appointment due to a disability
- would like more information about the importance of receiving a vaccine
“Pennsylvanians with disabilities need and want to be vaccinated to protect themselves, those they love, and the community at large,” said Peri Jude Radecic, Chief Executive Officer of Disability Rights Pennsylvania. “They cannot be denied their right to choose a life-saving COVID-19 vaccine due to illegal barriers on scheduling websites or at vaccination sites, or the failure of providers to administer or deliver the vaccine in a manner that is reasonable in light of their disabilities.”
Through the Vaccine Hotline, DRP staff can provide legal advice to Pennsylvanians with disabilities on how civil rights laws ensure their ability to access the COVID-19 vaccine. Staff may also provide information, resources, and/or direct assistance related to scheduling a vaccine, connecting with transportation services, and resolving problems that are preventing a person with a disability from getting the vaccine.
Information and resources are also available on the Vaccine page of DRP’s website at https://www.disabilityrightspa.org/covid19/#vaccines.
Individuals who speak languages other than English should state their language and an interpreter will be connected to the call. Callers using the Pennsylvania Relay Service can dial 711.
Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is the statewide protection and advocacy agency for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. DRP protects and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities so that they may live the lives they choose, free from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and segregation. DRP’s vision is a Commonwealth where people of all abilities are equal and free. www.disabilityrightspa.org.
Ottawa, Canada: “Family begged to have sister with Down syndrome vaccinated sooner. Now she’s on a ventilator with COVID-19” – CBC
“Research suggests people with Down syndrome who contract COVID-19 have significantly increased risk of death”
“Demetra (Toula) Zouzoulas, 44, shown on her birthday. Her sister says she asked repeatedly if Toula could be vaccinated before those with Down syndrome became eligible. She says every request was denied.” (Submitted by Olga Zouzoulas )
by Nicole Williams
“Toula Zouzoulas, 44, who has Down syndrome, has spent the last year terrified of catching COVID-19, according to her sister Olga Zouzoulas.
“Now, Toula is on a ventilator, fighting for her life in the ICU of Montfort Hospital in Ottawa after testing positive.
“Zouzoulas said she feels all this could have been avoided if her sister had been vaccinated, arguing that Toula and others with Down syndrome should have qualified sooner.
“Under Ontario’s vaccine rollout program, those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are considered high-risk under Phase 2, but didn’t become eligible until May 3 — too late for Toula who contracted COVID-19 a week earlier.
“‘The government didn’t see them as the highest risk and they failed. They failed my sister,’ said Zouzoulas.”
Keep reading this article at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, click here.
“Even with vaccines, many older people and their relatives are weighing how to manage at-home care for those who can no longer live independently.”
Credit … Kristian Thacker for The New York Times
by Reed Abelson
“At 86, Diane Nixon, living in an apartment at the back of a daughter’s house, no longer drives and has trouble getting around.
“When her health worsened last year before the coronavirus pandemic, she and all four of her daughters talked about whether a nursing home would be the next step. She worried that she had become a burden to her children.
“’She was very adamant about not wanting her daughters to be caregivers,’ said Jill Cooper, one of her daughters, who lives nearby in the Pittsburgh area.
“But as infections began to tear through nursing homes across the country, killing tens of thousands of residents last year, Ms. Nixon and her family realized a group home was no longer a viable choice. Especially after most of them barred visitors to help contain outbreaks.
“’Not to be able to see her was not an option for us,’ Ms. Cooper said, so the family contacted a local home health agency to hire someone to help her during the day.”
“Should You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card Laminated? | Tips for safeguarding the paper record of your coronavirus vaccination” – AARP
GRANT HINDSLEY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
by Katherine Skiba
“Congratulations, you’ve been inoculated against the coronavirus — and you have an official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to prove it.
“You should keep the card, which bears your name, date of birth, vaccine type and vaccination date, in a safe place. You may need it in the future. You should also take a photo of the card as a backup, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises.
“Here’s what you shouldn’t do with your vaccine card: Laminate it.”
“Women and Younger Adults Hit Hardest by Mental Health Impacts Due to COVID-19” – Kaiser Family Foundation
“By mid-2020 about half (53%) of adults reported that worry and pandemic-related stress had negatively impacted their mental health. Now with millions of U.S. residents getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest analysis from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor finds 47% of adults continue to report negative mental health impacts, and about a third of this group (or 15% of adults overall) report unmet needs for mental health care. The new report highlights recent data on the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic across gender, age, race, and income. Key findings include:
- Women, including mothers with children under 18, younger adults, and those in middle income groups are most likely to report their mental health has been negatively impacted as a result of the pandemic, compared to those 65 and older and men, including fathers with children under 18, who are least likely to report any mental health impact from the pandemic.
- The groups most likely to be worried that they or a family member may get sick from COVID-19 are women, Black and Hispanic adults, and younger adults. Among those expressing this worry, nearly six in ten say it has negatively impacted their mental health, showing a direct link between worry and negative mental health impact.
- Among mothers who say their mental health had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, nearly half (46%) report they did not get the mental health services or medications they needed, representing about one in four (27%) mothers overall.
- Among adults who did not get the mental health care they may have needed in the past year, some of the biggest reasons include not being able to find a provider (24%), inability to afford the cost (23%), or being too busy or unable to take off work in order to seek treatment (18%).”
Watch this video (Providing Financial Assistance for COVID-19-Related Funeral Expenses) click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgvN_9m58Z0
Has someone in your family died from COVID-19? Or do you know someone that is in this position? FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement program opens for applications today. Click here to get more information on how to apply and be sure to share it with your networks to make sure everyone entitled to reimbursement has the information.
“Gov. Wolf and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Announce that All Adults in Pennsylvania are Eligible Tomorrow to Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments”
Governor Tom Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force announced that effective tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13, all Pennsylvania adults will be eligible to schedule an appointment for the COVID -19 vaccine.
“We need to maintain acceleration of the vaccine rollout, especially as case counts and hospitalization rates have increased,” Gov. Wolf said. “Therefore, just as President Biden has brought forward universal adult access to vaccines from May 1 to April 19, we are moving Pennsylvania’s timeline of universal adult access to April 13.”
The Department of Health noted that there is ongoing appointment availability in many parts of the state even as Phase 1A and B continue and 1C begins today. With the change in eligibility, those in Phase 2 will become eligible, opening up vaccines to all. Our ongoing initiative with the Area Agencies on Aging to provide assistance to vulnerable seniors for accessing vaccine will continue, as will our other equity initiatives.
“Everyone needs and should be afforded the opportunity to access the vaccine as soon as possible,” Acting Sec. of Health Alison Beam said. “And, this change provides earlier access for many, including college students increasing the likelihood of completion of two-dose regimens prior to leaving campus for the summer. It also means simpler, streamlined operations for vaccine providers that no longer need to check eligibility of people making appointments.”
To date, Pennsylvania providers have administered more than 6 million vaccines and the state is ranked among the top 20 states for first-dose vaccinations. More than 2.4 million Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated.
Pennsylvanians can find providers on the COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Map here.
“Please get vaccinated,” said Sen. Art Haywood.
“It is precisely the bipartisan cooperation of this Joint Task Force coupled with the tremendous work of our provider network that has allowed our Commonwealth to make rapid progress in our vaccine rollout, now expanding eligibility so that every Pennsylvanian who wants to be vaccinated has the opportunity to do so immediately,” said Sen. Ryan Aument. “Because we have maintained our commitment to residents within phases 1A and 1B, we can now further accelerate the rollout and protect our communities, particularly by ensuring that college students can be vaccinated before returning home to their families for the summer.”
“The administration, our task force, and all of our local providers have collaborated together to achieve the goal put forth by President Biden,” said Rep. Bridget Kosierowski. “With the number of COVID-19 positive cases continuing to rise some areas of our state, it is imperative that everyone who wants to schedule an appointment for a vaccine can have that opportunity to do so.“
“I’m pleased we are able to speed up eligibility so that all Pennsylvanians who want a vaccine can schedule one,” Rep. Tim O’Neal said. “Western Pennsylvania has hosted a number of vaccine clinics in recent days where supply has outstripped demand. We were able to get approval to expand eligibility at one of these clinics, but it only makes sense to open vaccinations to all. The work of the task force has shown when all parties work in a collaborative fashion, we can accomplish a lot in a short timeframe.”
“This further-accelerated plan will move us much closer to the goal of vaccinating Pennsylvanians as quickly and equitably as possible,” Gov. Wolf said.
SOURCE: news release
“Older Americans still make up a majority of those who have been inoculated, and many are taking advantage and venturing out.”
“Marcia Bosseler, 85, is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.” Credit. … Scott McIntyre for The New York Times“
by Jennifer Steinhauer
“Bobby Stuckey flipped through receipts this month, surprised to see a huge increase in cocktail sales, the highest in the 17-year history of his restaurant, even though the bar section has been closed. The septuagenarians are back.
“’Every night we are seeing another couple or a pair of couples in the dining room, and they feel so much relief,’ said Mr. Stuckey, the owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo. ‘Covid was hard on everybody, but you can’t even think of the emotional toll in this group. They haven’t gone out. They want to have the complete experience. It is just joyful to see them again.’
“Older people, who represent the vast majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, are emerging this spring with the daffodils, tilting their faces to the sunlight outdoors. They are filling restaurants, hugging grandchildren and booking flights.
“Marcia Bosseler is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.”
Read this article at The New York Times in its entirety, click here.
by John J. Reilly and Mark S. Tremblay
“This generation of children will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of climate change, increasing globalisation, and the consequences of rapid technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive in a changing world.
T”he Global Matrix initiative on physical activity
“As nurseries and schools begin to reopen across the UK, there is much concern about the impact of this very difficult year on children. One aspect of normal childhood which many have missed out on in the last 12 months is the simple fun of playing outside. England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield believes we should prioritise youngsters’ wellbeing as part of our recovery from COVID-19.
“Our latest research suggests that during lockdown most children spent less time outdoors, became less physically active and spent more time in front of screens. As a result, this may now be the least fit generation of children in history. In England, children have even been scolded by police for playing outdoors. And school and nursery closures have inevitably reduced opportunities to play with friends.
“Our behaviours are formed and reinforced by habit. Some children may have lost the habit of playing outside over the past year, replacing it with sedentary screen time, while others might not have had the opportunity to develop the habit at all.”
Click here to read this article at The Conversation in its entirety