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12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 US Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year

More than 3,600 U.S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic, according to “Lost on the Frontline,” a 12-month investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track such deaths.


This story also ran on The Guardian. It can be republished for free.

Lost on the Frontline is the most complete accounting of U.S. health care worker deaths. The federal government has not comprehensively tracked this data. But calls are mounting for the Biden administration to undertake a count as the KHN/Guardian project comes to a close today.

The project, which tracked who died and why, provides a window into the workings — and failings — of the U.S. health system during the covid-19 pandemic. One key finding: Two-thirds of deceased health care workers for whom the project has data identified as people of color, revealing the deep inequities tied to race, ethnicity and economic status in … Read the rest

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Doctor Survived Cambodia’s Killing Fields, but Not Covid

Linath Lim’s life was shaped by starvation.

She was not yet 13 when the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia and ripped her family apart. The totalitarian regime sent her and four siblings to work camps, where they planted rice and dug irrigation canals from sunrise to sunset — each surviving on two ladles of rice gruel a day. One disappeared, never to be found.

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Just a few months before the Khmer Rouge fell in January 1979, Lim’s father starved to death, among the nearly one-quarter of Cambodians who perished from execution, forced labor, starvation or disease in less than four years.

For Lim, the indelible stamp of childhood anguish drove two of her life’s passions: serving people as a physician and cooking lavish feasts for friends and family — both of which she did until she died of covid-19 in … Read the rest

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What Covid Means for the Athlete’s Heart

For sports fans across the country, the resumption of the regular sports calendar has signaled another step toward post-pandemic normality. But for the athletes participating in professional, collegiate, high school or even recreational sports, significant unanswered questions remain about the aftereffects of a covid infection.


This story also ran on ESPN. It can be republished for free.

Chief among those is whether the coronavirus can damage their hearts, putting them at risk for lifelong complications and death. Preliminary data from early in the pandemic suggested that as many as 1 in 5 people with covid-19 could end up with heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, which has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death.

Screening studies conducted by college athletic programs over the past year have generally found lower numbers. But these studies have been too small to provide an accurate measure of how likely athletes are to … Read the rest

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Despite Covid, Many Wealthy Hospitals Had a Banner Year With Federal Bailout

Last May, Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, laid off 1,200 employees and furloughed others as it braced for the then-novel coronavirus to spread. The cancellation of lucrative elective procedures as the hospital pivoted to treat a new and less profitable infectious disease presaged financial distress, if not ruin. The federal government rushed $454 million in relief funds to help shore up its operations.


This story also ran on The Washington Post. It can be republished for free.

But Baylor not only weathered the crisis, it thrived. By the end of 2020, Baylor had accumulated an $815 million surplus, $20 million more than it had in 2019, creating a 7.5% operating margin that would be the envy of most other hospitals in the flushest of eras, a KHN examination of financial statements shows.

Like Baylor, some of the nation’s richest hospitals and health systems … Read the rest

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FIRST LOOK: Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic

To meet the growing needs of the more than 23,000 veterans living in the Lakeland, Fla., area, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is consolidating multiple local facilities into one expanded outpatient clinic. At 132,000 square feet—five times bigger than the existing clinic spaces together—the facility will be better suited to meet patients’ needs, now and into the future.

The Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic will be centrally located within the Lakeland community and just 4.5 miles from Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Patient parking at the front of the site, along with a covered drop-off area on the front of the building, will enable easy access for visitors, while dedicated staff parking and entry on the rear of the building will increase efficiencies.

Outdoor seating areas will offer veterans and visitors a space to enjoy the fresh air and Florida sunshine. The site will include an exterior canteen area and … Read the rest

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Backed by Millions in Public and Private Cash, Rapid Covid Tests Are Coming to Stores Near You

Scientists and lawmakers agree that over-the-counter covid tests could allow desk workers to settle back into their cubicles and make it easier to reopen schools and travel.


This story also ran on Fortune. It can be republished for free.

But even as entrepreneurs race their products to market, armed with millions of dollars in venture capital and government investment, the demand for covid testing has waned. Manufacturing and bureaucratic delays have also kept rapid tests from hitting store shelves in large numbers, though the industry was energized by the Food and Drug Administration’s greenlighting of two more over-the-counter tests Wednesday.

Corporate giants and startups alike plan to offer a dizzying array of test options, most costing between $10 and $110. Their screening accuracy varies, as does the way consumers get results: collection kits mailed back to a lab, devices synced with artificial intelligence-enabled apps on a smartphone that spit out … Read the rest

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Beating the Pavement to Vaccinate the Underrepresented — And Protect Everyone

Leonor Garcia held her clipboard close to her chest and rapped on the car window with her knuckles. The driver was in one of dozens of cars lined up on a quiet stretch of road in Adelanto, California, a small city near the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert. He was waiting for the food bank line to start moving and lowered the passenger window just enough to hear what Garcia wanted. Then she launched into her pitch.


This story also ran on Black Voice News. It can be republished for free.

“Good morning! We’re here to talk about covid-19 today! Do you have a minute?” she said in Spanish.

After a brief conversation, Garcia learned the man had no internet connection or phone of his own but was 66 years old and wanted to get the covid vaccine. He had tried to visit a pharmacy in person, but the … Read the rest

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Battle Brews Over Neutral Zone Where Border-Crossing Parties Rendezvous, Risking Infection

BLAINE, Wash. — In the shadows of covid travel restrictions, a 42-acre park on the far western edge of the U.S.-Canadian dividing line has become a popular opening in an otherwise closed border, a place where Americans and Canadians can gather without needing permission to go through an official border crossing.

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What is known as Peace Arch Park has lush green lawns, gardens and a 67-foot-tall white concrete arch erected in 1921 that spans the border. It’s an often muddy, sometimes idyllic place. But the pandemic has transformed this patch of historically neutral ground into a playing field for some fundamental public health questions.

Should people from Canada, which has a lower incidence of covid-19, risk mingling with people from the U.S.? Should families who’ve masked and distanced be able to reunite for a day without quarantining? Who decides?

On a … Read the rest

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‘It Didn’t Really Stick With Me’: Understanding the Rural Shrug Over Covid and Vaccines

At 70, Linda Findley has long been active in her small town of Fort Scott, Kansas, which sits more than an hour away from any major city.

Findley, whose husband died in an accident just after the local hospital closed, helps with the Elks and fundraising, and — like many people in this part of the country — doesn’t think covid-19 is that dangerous.


This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free.

“I don’t even know what I think about it,” Findley said recently. “I don’t know if I trust the testing because it’s so messed up or … I’ve had nieces and nephews, that’ve had it. I’ve lost good friends to it, or supposedly it’s to that.”

Findley said she just isn’t sure that every case reported as the coronavirus really is the virus: “Everything seems to be coronavirus. I mean, it’s just … no … Read the rest

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Living Color

Main Line Health (MLH), a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs, was looking to expand beyond its traditional patient base, says JoAnn Magnatta, senior vice president of planning and design at MLH (Philadelphia). The opportunity to do so took shape when MLH evaluated its women’s offerings, which included comprehensive services but not much convenience. “We looked at our women’s service lines scattered throughout the system and realized it would be a positive move for us and for our patients to have those services aggregated in one location,” she says.

Through a joint venture with physician group Axia Women’s Health, MLH wanted to provide a holistic solution, serving women’s physical, mental, and emotional health and emphasizing wellness and prevention, with a variety of specialty services including breast health, digestive health, heart and vascular care, integrative medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pelvic floor care, rheumatology and autoimmune treatment, … Read the rest

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