Today’s NewsStand — May 29, 2020

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.

Iowa news

New University of Iowa rehab hospital sees need from coronavirus patients, too

The novel coronavirus that has capsized most every aspect of life has not stopped strokes. It has not eradicated heart attacks, spinal cord damage or other injuries requiring rehabilitation. In fact, some of those who have contracted severe cases of COVID-19 are requiring recovery and therapeutic support, too — making rehabilitation hospitals like the one University of Iowa Health Care is opening next week with Encompass Health particularly needed in the pandemic. (The Gazette)

Iowa Medicaid healthy behaviors program participants less likely to use hospital-based care

Iowa Medicaid expansion enrollees who participated in the Iowa Medicaid Healthy Behaviors Program had substantial reductions in their use of hospital-based care. Compared to the non-participants, program participants from 2014 through 2017 were less likely to visit an emergency department; the likelihood was 9.6 percentage points lower. Participants were also less likely to be hospitalized, at 2.8 percentage points lower. But program participants had total spending $1,594 higher than nonparticipants’ spending. The Healthy Behaviors Program is mandatory for Iowa Medicaid expansion enrollees. (Open Minds)

Waterloo woman shares story after battling COVID-19 while pregnant

Aquarius Bunch, 27, worked at a nursing home in Cedar Falls and started to feel ill in mid-April. A test later revealed she had COVID-19. Her sickness progressively got worse. Bunch was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics and put into the ICU, spending a week on a ventilator and ECMO, a machine that makes sure there was enough oxygen in the blood. According to Dr. Kevin Doerschug, who specializes in Pulmonary Critical Care, anybody who requires being put on the ECMO machine has about a 50/50 chance of surviving. To make matters more complicated, Bunch was 23 weeks pregnant at the time. That, the coronavirus, and ECMO machine all put her at extreme risk for blood clots. After more than two days in a being unresponsive, Bunch turned a corner towards recovery. (KCRG)

National news

US plans massive coronavirus vaccine testing effort to meet year-end deadline

The United States plans a massive testing effort involving more than 100,000 volunteers and a half dozen or so of the most promising vaccine candidates in an effort to deliver a safe and effective one by the end of 2020, scientists leading the program told Reuters. The project will compress what is typically 10 years of vaccine development and testing into a matter of months, testimony to the urgency to halt a pandemic that has infected more than 5 million people, killed over 335,000 and battered economies worldwide. (Reuters)

FDA approves first drug to image tau pathology in patients being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Tauvid (flortaucipir F18) for intravenous injection, the first drug used to help image a distinctive characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain called tau pathology. Tauvid is a radioactive diagnostic agent for adult patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease. Tauvid is indicated for positron emission tomography imaging of the brain to estimate the density and distribution of aggregated tau neurofibrillary tangles, a primary marker of Alzheimer’s disease. (FDA.gov)

As states start to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, POLITICO polled Americans to find out which activities they find risky — and asked experts, too.

What is safe to do during the pandemic? As states begin to reopen, it might feel hard to tell. Should we still wear masks outside? (Some areas don’t require it, while Virginia just made them mandatory for all public indoor spaces.) Is it risky to get a haircut? (Several states have reopened salons, while others deem them still too dangerous.) And can we visit friends and relatives? It’s not yet clear where Americans stand on these questions as they begin to venture out of quarantine. So over Memorial Day weekend, in partnership with Morning Consult, POLITICO asked nearly 2,000 Americans to rate the relative risk of a dozen common activities from 1 to 10. Then, we asked a panel of 18 public health experts to give their professional opinion. The survey provides a snapshot of where Americans see the most danger — and where they’re most out of sync with experts. (Politico)