Over 64 Percent of CCP Virus Deaths Occurred in Health Care Settings Between May and August

Over 64 percent of CCP virus deaths happened in health care settings between May and August, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between May 1 to Aug. 31, the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) recorded a total of 114,411 deaths from the CCP virus, with 64.3 percent of these deaths occurring in an inpatient health care setting, which include nursing homes. The report comes as new research shows 78.2 percent of people who have died from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus were over 65. Various states had policies that nursing homes could not refuse to admit patients regardless of whether they had tested positive for COVID-19 or not. The New York State Department of Health issued an order in March (pdf) that stated, “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on May 10 that blocked hospitals from sending infected patients to nursing homes, but continued the mandate against denying residents admission to nursing homes based on testing results. However, despite Cuomo’s executive order, which stated that hospitals are obligated to keep elderly COVID-19 patients until a negative test is confirmed or move them to another state-run facility that isn’t a nursing home, the original March order still stands, and nursing homes are still mandated against denying residents admission to nursing homes based on testing results. “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the elderly, especially those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” House Republicans wrote in a letter (pdf) to Josh Shapiro, the attorney general of Pennsylvania, on June 25. “Just about the worst possible thing to do is knowingly introduce coronavirus to the most vulnerable populations, yet that’s exactly what several states did by mandating nursing homes accept infected patients,” Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisi member Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said in a statement. “These misguided policies deserve close scrutiny, and the leaders who put them in place have a lot of tough questions to answer.” Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) said that the actions certain governors had taken to issue executive orders to not allow nursing homes to reject COVID-19 patients was irresponsible. “As the rest of the nation practiced social distancing and exercised caution to slow the spread of the virus, certain governors forced untested or potentially contagious COVID-19 patients to be readmitted to nursing homes and long-term care facilities, endangering the lives of staff and an extremely vulnerable group of Americans,” he said. Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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Minnesota Company Recalls 22,096 Pounds of Meat Products

A Minnesota company is recalling over 22,000 pounds of meat products, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The company, Taher Inc., based in Plymouth, Minnesota, said in a recall statement issued Saturday that 22,096 pounds of meat products were produced without the benefit of federal inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) FSIS. The meat products being recalled are Fresh Seasons Tator Tots Hot Dish, which come in four bags per package, totaling 16 pounds. It has a lot code of 056-282 and a barcode of 108101060239. The other product is the Fresh Season Sloppy Joe, also packaged in four bags, totaling 16 pounds, with the lot code of 065-269 and the barcode of 1081010602366. According to the recall statement, the meat products in question were produced and packaged from Feb. 25 all the way up to Sept. 22. Furthermore, the products in question may or may not have the establishment number of “EST. 45091” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products in question were shipped to various institutions and food service locations within Minnesota. At the time of the recall statement, the FSIS has not received any report of adverse reactions to the products, however, the agency still encourages consumers to either throw out the recalled products or return them to the place of purchase. Restaurants or service locations are urged not to serve the products in question. Anyone who might have any concerns about any possible reaction to the product should seek help from a medical care professional. The problem was discovered by FSIS inspection personnel. The FSIS has declared this recall a class I recall with a high health risk that could cause serious health issues. Anyone who might have any questions regarding the recall is encouraged to contact the director of communications at Taher Inc. There had been a previous recall statement issued on July 24 regarding products being produced without the benefit of inspection. Coco’s Italian Market, based in Nashville, Tennessee, recalled approximately 16,868 pounds of ready-to-eat meat products due to having not been federally inspected prior to production. The food products recalled were produced by the company between the dates of January 2019 through to July 2020, and the problem had been discovered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at retail locations where the product was being sold. No adverse reactions were reported to the FSIS regarding Coco’s food products in question.

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NIH Announces Clinical Trials for Immune Modulators as Treatment for COVID-19

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is beginning its clinical trial to use immune modulators as a treatment against COVID-19. In a news release, the NIH stated that it has started its phase three testing on immune modulators to find out whether the treatment will be safe and efficient for patients with COVID-19, as some patients will undergo an experience called the cytokine storm—a state where the immune system will start producing excessive amounts of protein that will lead to inflammation. This excessive generation of protein will cause the patient to undergo health problems such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiple organ failure, or various other life-threatening troubles. Immune modulators are a class of drugs that aim to balance the immune system by means of activating, boosting, or restoring immune functions after damage has been caused by a virus or disease. “Immune modulators provide another treatment modality in the ACTIV therapeutic toolkit to help manage the complex, multi-system conditions that can be caused by this very serious disease.” Said Francis S. Collins, the director of the NIH. The aim of the clinical trials will be to determine whether immune modulators will be able to help reduce the number of patients who require ventilators and shorten their length of stay at a hospital. Furthermore, the trial will also help determine whether the immune modulator therapeutics will be able to help keep the immune system in check. The trial, which has been given the name of ACTIV-1 Immune Modulators (IM), is part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative—which the NIH announced on April 17 as a way to “develop a coordinated research strategy for prioritizing and speeding the development of the most promising treatments and vaccines.” ACTIV-1 IM is expected to recruit 2,100 hospitalized patients from the United States and Latin America with a COVID-19 infection ranging from moderate to severe. According to the NIH, ACTIV-1 IM is a “randomized, placebo-controlled trial that uses an adaptive master protocol,” a system different from the traditional testing model (one drug against one diseased population in one trial), and allows for multiple drugs or treatment to be tested on a diseased population (pdf). “This enables maximum flexibility to swiftly weed out drugs that do not demonstrate effectiveness, identify those that do in a short time frame and rapidly incorporate additional experimental agents into the trial,” according to the NIH. Initially, the trial had 130 immune modulators, and through careful review through various factors such as their relevance to COVID-19, their ability to battle against cytokine storms, and their large-scale clinical trial availability, three immune modulators have been chosen to be used in the ACTIV-1 IM trial. The current immune modulators being used are “infliximab (REMICADE), developed by Janssen Research & Development, LLC., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; abatacept (ORENCIA), developed by Bristol Myers Squibb; and Cenicriviroc (CVC), an investigational late-stage agent developed by AbbVie.” Patients who are recruited for the trial will receive remdesivir, the standard treatment currently given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and during the trial will be either given a placebo or one of the three immune modulators as an add-on. Through this trial, researchers will study the combination treatment to determine their efficacy. “The innovative trial design will allow efficient evaluation of three different potential COVID-19 treatments concurrently, delivering new possible treatments for patients more quickly and valuable insights into the science of clinical translation,” said Christopher P. Austin, the director of National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

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