COVID19

For Seniors, COVID-19 Sets Off A Pandemic Of Despair

As states relax coronavirus restrictions, older adults are advised, in most cases, to keep sheltering in place. But for some, the burden of isolation and uncertainty is becoming hard to bear.

This “stay at home awhile longer” advice recognizes that older adults are more likely to become critically ill and die if infected with the virus. At highest risk are seniors with underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung or autoimmune diseases.

Yet after two months at home, many want to go out into the world again. It is discouraging for them to see people of other ages resume activities. They feel excluded. Still, they want to be safe.

“It’s been really lonely,” said Kathleen Koenen, 77, who moved to Atlanta in July after selling her house in South Carolina. She’s living in a 16th-floor apartment while waiting to move into a senior housing community, which has had cases of

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: When It Comes To COVID-19, States Are On Their Own

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

At least so far, states that reopened their economies are not seeing a major spike in cases of COVID-19. But it remains unclear if that is because the coronavirus is not spreading, because the data is lagging or because the data is being manipulated.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he’s taking the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure after he was exposed to a White House valet who tested positive for the coronavirus. Despite the fact that there is no data to suggest the drug works to prevent infection, the president’s endorsement has apparently led to new shortages for patients who take the medication for approved purposes.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider.

Among

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Drugmakers Tout COVID-19 Vaccines To Refurbish Their Public Image

Johnson & Johnson researchers working on a vaccine against the coronavirus are “just like the heroes in the hospitals” fighting to save patients, J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said on the “Today” show a few weeks ago.

It’s a message he likes to deliver. In recent weeks, Gorsky has talked about J&J’s efforts on NBC’s “Today” and twice on CNBC and Fox. Nobody asked him about high drug prices, J&J’s role in the opioid crisis or lawsuits alleging its baby powder caused cancer.

J&J and the rest of the pharmaceutical industry have seized on the coronavirus crisis as a way to polish an image tarnished by unaffordable medicine, patent lawsuits and an addiction epidemic.

The potential payoff is clear: If drug companies can produce a successful vaccine or therapy against the biggest infectious threat in a century, “maybe you can start to undo some of that reputational damage,” said Michael Kinch,

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: What’s In The Next Round Of COVID-19 Relief?

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

House Democrats are moving ahead with another round of COVID-19 relief, including additional funding for state Medicaid programs, an open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace plans, and money to pay premiums for newly unemployed Americans to continue on their employer health coverage. Republicans, however, say the Democrats’ bill goes too far.

Meanwhile, the outbreak of the virus in the White House complex — including a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence ― has complicated the Trump administration’s efforts to press for a broader opening of the economy even while the illness continues to spread.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The House Democrats’ newest COVID relief bill would double what the federal
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