Kentucky's backroad churches may be key to saving hospitals overwhelmed by COVID

By |2021-10-17T07:20:29-04:00October 17th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Enlarge this image Pastor Billy Joe Lewis was all in favor when a local health worker suggested a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the parking lot of his church in Smilax, Ky. "We've still got to use common sense," Lewis says. "Anything that can ward off suffering and death, I think, is a wonderful thing." Jessica Tezak for KHN Jessica Tezak for KHN In the end it was the delta variant that drove Rose Mitchell, 89, down the winding mountain road in Smilax, Ky., to the Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ to get the shot. Her pastor, Billy Joe Lewis, had told his congregation that, No, ma'am, a COVID-19 vaccine would not leave the "mark of the beast" nor rewrite their genetic codes. Mitchell, who has known the deaths of eight of her 13 children over the years, was done taking chances with the virus stealing up the valleys along Cutshin Creek. "That stuff's getting so bad, I was afraid to not take it," she says, sitting in her daughter's car in the church parking lot. "I said, 'Well, if all the rest of them are going to take it, I'll take it too.' " Kentucky is in the midst of a COVID-19 wildfire that is sparing no part of the state; new case counts topped 4,000 a day for much of September, before easing somewhat this month. Hospital intensive care units are still at capacity in some regions, with COVID-19 patients occupying half the beds. Gov. Andy Beshear has called the situation "dire."

FDA analysis of J&J COVID vaccine booster sets the stage for public hearing

By |2021-10-13T16:23:23-04:00October 13th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Enlarge this image Janet Gerber, a health department worker in Louisville, Ky., processes boxes containing vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine in March. Jon Cherry/Getty Images Jon Cherry/Getty Images A Food and Drug Administration analysis of Johnson & Johnson's application for authorization of its COVID vaccine booster tees up deliberations at a public meeting of agency advisers Friday. The document was posted Wednesday. The questions that will be put before the committee will include whether the data supports the safety and effectiveness of a booster dose of the company's COVID vaccine after at least two months have elapsed since initial immunization with the one-shot vaccine and whether the data shows that there is a stronger response at a six-month interval as well. J&J has asked for an authorization of a booster for people 18 and older six months after initial immunization, with an option to vaccinate after two months depending on local conditions and the needs of specific groups of people.

U.S. Covid Death Toll Nears 700,000 Despite Availability of Vaccines

By |2021-10-01T11:45:07-04:00October 1st, 2021|Uncategorized|

Nearly 700,000 people across the United States have now died of the coronavirus, a milestone that few experts had anticipated months ago when vaccines became widely available to the American public.An overwhelming majority of Americans who have died in recent months, a period in which the country has offered broad access to shots, were unvaccinated. The United States has had one of the highest recent death rates of any country with an ample supply of vaccines.The new and alarming surge of deaths this summer means that the coronavirus pandemic has become the deadliest in American history, overtaking the toll from the influenza pandemic of 1918 and 1919, which killed about 675,000 people.“This Delta wave just rips through the unvaccinated,” said Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. The deaths that have followed the wide availability of vaccines, he added, are “absolutely needless.”

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