Strengthen the capacity faith communities to understand the intersection of health, religion, race, and politics
RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Balm In Gilead Inc. is a leader in bringing public health and faith communities together to strategically address health disparities in the African American community. The Balm In Gilead Inc. will use its Annual Healthy Churches 2030 Conference (HC2030) to answer this call to action by bridging faith and healthcare to breakdown health disparities in the Black community. This one-of-a-kind virtual conference will equip African American faith-based institutions and public health professionals with the tools to confront racial inequities in healthcare and wellness programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of building congregational health ministries within African American communities to offer rapid response to future public health crises. Healthy Churches 2030 Conference will examine the intersection and impact of health, religion, race, and politics on the lives of Black Americans.
Addressing the alarming rates of preexisting health conditions and lack of access to qualified medical professionals in African American communities, the conference will emphasize the urgent need to create locally accessible health and wellness programs. “The Black Health Agenda for the New Decade: The Intersection of Health, Religion, Race, and Politics,” the theme for this year’s conference, embodies the immediate need to confront health disparities and create prevention models within the Black community.
Participants will hear directly from some of the nation’s top public health officials, medical professionals, and faith leaders. This year’s Healthy Churches 2030 Conference speakers include:
Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Ph.D.; Clinician, Educator, Researcher, and Leader in Biopharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Industries
Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor and Resident Physician, Laboratory for Psychiatric Neuroengineering, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University Medical Center
Rev. Dr. Delman L. Coates, Ph.D.; Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD.
Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology
Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, MPH; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester MN
Dr. Sam Dagogo-Jack, D.Sc.; Professor of Medicine & Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN
Dr. Keith C. Ferdinand, FACC, FAHA, FNLA, FASCP; Professor of Medicine at the Tulane University School of Medicine
Fred Hammond; Grammy award-winning artist, vocalist, songwriter, musician, producer, and arranger.
Speakers and presenters will share strategies, resources, and tools to strengthen the capacity of congregational health ministries across the United States to increase health prevention, disease management, and participation in clinical trials. “By building a nationwide network of health ministries within African American churches, The Balm In Gilead is actively diversifying the healthcare delivery model by transforming churches into local health hubs,” said Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.
The upcoming Healthy Churches 2030 Conference also features content from our elite sponsors. Diamond
White House admits report that listed ‘ending’ COVID pandemic as Trump accomplishment was ‘poorly worded’
The White House acknowledged on Wednesday that a report touting the “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of the Trump administration’s accomplishments was “poorly worded.”
“I think that was poorly worded,” White House communications director Alyssa Farah said on Fox News. “The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus.”
On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a 62-page report outlining what it called “highlights” in “Advancing America’s Global Leadership in Science & Technology” over the past four years. The “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” was among them.
The pandemic has not ended.
President Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the seriousness of the virus while defending his handling of the pandemic. In the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 62 percent of Americans identified “managing COVID” as a “major failure” of the administration. Exactly half that number listed it as a “major accomplishment.”
As cases continue to surge in the Upper Midwest, including states Trump is expected to win easily, the president has complained that the media is too focused on covering the outbreak rather than his accomplishments.
“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media,” he tweeted Wednesday. “They will talk about nothing else until November 4th, when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”
More than 226,000 Americans have died of complications related to COVID-19, and more than 8.6 million have been infected since the outbreak began.
And health officials in several states, including Idaho, Texas and Utah, are reporting that hospitals are at or above capacity.
Trump has also falsely said the United States is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus. Last week the country set a new daily record for coronavirus cases, with 83,757 on Oct. 23.
On Fox, Farah tried to explain the president’s statement.
“We’re still in the midst of the pandemic,” she said. “We’re turning the corner, and what we mean by that is, we’re rushing therapeutics, we’re in the best place to treat the virus that we’ve ever been in.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
Roughly 3 out of 10 younger Americans say their health insurance coverage has been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey from TransUnion.
About 33% of Gen Z (defined here as those born during 1995 or after) and 29% of millennials (those born between 1980-1994) had their health insurance impacted by the pandemic, including losing coverage, according to a survey TransUnion Healthcare conducted last month of more than 3,000 people who visited a hospital, health-care clinic, doctor’s office or health-care organization in the last year.
Only about 12% of baby boomers experienced an impact because of Covid-19.
Beyond losing health-care coverage, about half of Americans say the current state of the economy has affected how they seek medical care, TransUnion’s survey finds. Within that, a higher percentage of Gen Zers and millennials reported a difference.
Yet overall out-of-pocket cost trends have not changed dramatically, TransUnion finds. The average consumer spent about $485 on emergency room visits and $5,002 on inpatient care this year, which is a decrease of 7% and 5%, respectively, from last year.
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That may be due to fewer Americans seeking care. About 44% of employed Americans have put off medical care during the pandemic, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey released Wednesday. Of those that deferred care, 61% said it was because of Covid-19 fears and 42% cited cost concerns.
Additionally, 47% of Americans have used virtual care services in place of in-person appointments this year — almost three times more than last year (17%), Wills Towers Watson finds.
An average telehealth visit costs about $79, compared with about $146 for an office visit, according to a research paper published in May. But while telehealth could increase access and potentially replace an expensive urgent care visit with a virtual assessment, these appointments typically led to additional medical use, the researchers found. Only about 12% of telemedicine visits completely replaced an in-person provider visit, which could increase out-of-pocket costs overall.
However, many times, telemedicine visits may be provided for free by your employer or your insurer, making it a “smart thing” to look into using before heading into the doctor’s office, says Tracy Watts, a senior consultant with Mercer.
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White House lists ending Covid-19 pandemic as an accomplishment despite cases spiking to record levels
The White House included ending the coronavirus pandemic on a list of the Trump administration’s science and technology accomplishments, despite nearly half a million Americans tested positive for Covid-19 in just the last week.
A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy news release made the claim in announcing a document highlighting the administration’s science and technology achievements over the past four years.
“Highlights include: ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC,” the news release sent to reporters read. “From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”
When asked for comment on including ending the pandemic among the administration’s first term accomplishments, office spokeswoman Kristina Baum pointed to the full report.
“The great work the Trump administration is doing to end the pandemic is a top priority and worthy of highlighting,” she said in an email.
But on Wednesday, White House communications director Alyssa Farah said the release was “poorly worded.”
“The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus. But what I would say is this: because of the President’s leadership, we are rounding the corner on the virus,” she added.
The news release comes as the country reports the largest number of daily cases seen to date. The seven-day average of daily new cases reached an all-time high of 68,767 on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The previous record of 67,293 was set July 22.
The abysmal week was marked by the two worst days of daily new cases reported since the pandemic began. More than 83,000 new cases were reported both Friday and Saturday, and the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases has soared 23% in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins data on Monday. The seven-day average of new tests performed, meanwhile, has risen only 2.87% over the past week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
The President has repeatedly, falsely, blamed the increase in cases on an increase in testing.
New cases are also being seen within the administration itself. At least five aides to Vice President Mike Pence, including his bodyman and his chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, sources told CNN.
The internal report that the news release was describing did not say that the Covid-19 pandemic is over. It merely touted the administration’s various actions to fight it.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Administration has taken several actions to engage scientists in academia, industry, and government to understand and defeat this
- Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 rose by at least 5% over the past week.
- “We are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s testing effort.
- Giroir went on to emphasize that “we can control the virus” by following public health measures like social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowded gatherings and the frequent washing of hands.
The United States is reporting another record-high average number of new cases of the coronavirus as a top health official warned Wednesday that the country is at a “critical point.”
The U.S. reported 73,240 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average of new cases up to about 71,832, a fresh record and an increase of more than 20% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Three dozen states reported that the average number of people currently hospitalized with Covid-19 rose by at least 5% over the past week, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, which tracks testing, hospitalization and other data on the outbreak. Cases are up by at least that amount in 45 states, according to Johns Hopkins data.
“As the nation did after Memorial Day, we are at another critical point in the pandemic response,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who leads the government’s testing effort, said Wednesday on NBC’s “TODAY” show. “Cases are going up in most states across the country. Hospitalizations are up, although we’re still tens of thousands of hospitalizations below where we were in July, but that is rising. And we are starting to see the increase in deaths.”
Giroir acknowledged that increased testing alone cannot explain the surge in cases, even as President Donald Trump attributes the surge to testing and continues to downplay the outbreak.
Giroir went on to emphasize that “we can control the virus” by following public health measures like social distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowded gatherings and with the frequent washing of hands.
The surge in cases and hospitalizations is beginning to overwhelm some hospitals in parts of the country. The Salt Lake Tribune reported over the weekend that the Utah Hospital Association is asking the governor to allow its members to ration care. And in Texas, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego issued a curfew on Sunday to protect “overwhelmed and exhausted” hospitals and workers.
Public health specialists and epidemiologists have warned for months that the virus would likely surge as the weather turned colder in the fall and winter. That’s largely because people are more likely to stay indoors in colder weather and because some epidemiologists believe the virus can spread more easily through colder, drier air.
R-0 may be the most important scientific term you’ve never heard of when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
WASHINGTON – The White House’s science policy office on Tuesday listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” among the Trump administration’s first-term accomplishments, as the United States breaks records for new coronavirus cases daily.
A press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy lists the “decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease” as a success.
However, the disease has not been defeated, and the White House has signaled they are not going to be able to control it before a vaccine is available.
More: Donald Trump made many promises in 2016 and early in his term. Which has he kept and what is he still working on?
The U.S. reported 489,769 COVID-19 cases in just the last week, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. It’s another record high since July when the nation saw a peak in cases.
The death rate has also edged back up to about 800 Americans per day, a level not seen in more than a month, and the seven-day average of daily new cases is nearly 70,000. According to the Covid Tracking Project, nearly 43,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said Sunday that the Trump administration is “not going to control the pandemic” before a vaccine is available because COVID-19 “is a contagious virus.”
More: ‘We’re not going to control the pandemic,’ Meadows says
Fact check: COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready in weeks, nor mandatory
Leading health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, have maintained that a vaccine likely won’t be widely available until mid-2021.
Health officials have stressed preventative measures, such as face coverings and social distancing, as a way to control the spread. The Trump White House and campaign have flouted some of these measures by defying state orders and federal health guidelines. Trump rallies, for example, have left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks.
More: Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places.
Trump has consistently downplayed the severity of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, saying it’s “going to disappear” approximately 40 times, according to CNN, even as health officials are sounding the alarms as winter approaches.
Hospitals across the country have been straining with a flood of new cases, with some state’s considering rationing health care. Medical care sites are being created, and some daily curfews have also been implemented.
El Paso issues daily curfew as COVID-19 patients flood hospitals: ‘We are in a crisis stage’
As of Tuesday, the U.S. has recorded more than 8.7 million cases and around 226,000 deaths, more than any other country.
Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, Jessica Flores, Mike Stucka, David Jackson, Matthew Brown, Christal Hayes, Adrienne Dunn; USA TODAY
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/27/white-house-science-office-lists-ending-covid-pandemic-cases-soar/3753312001/
U.S. reports more than 500,000 cases in a week, a record, as the Trump administration says it ended the pandemic.
The United States reported a record of more than 500,000 new cases over the past week, as states and cities resorted to stricter new measures to contain the virus that is raging across the country, especially the American heartland.
The record was broken Tuesday, even as the Trump administration announced what it called its first-term scientific accomplishments, in a press release that included “ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC” written in bold, capital letters.
The record reflects how quickly the virus is spreading. It took nearly three months for the first 500,000 coronavirus cases to be tallied in the United States — the first was confirmed on Jan. 21, and the country did not reach the half-million mark until April 11. Testing was severely limited in the early days of the pandemic.
The new restrictions range from a nightly business curfew in Newark, N.J., to a two-week stay-at-home order in El Paso, Texas, to a halt in indoor dining in Chicago.
The city joins New York and Wisconsin, states that earlier this month issued restrictions or outright bans on indoor dining in restaurants and bars to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions have been loudly opposed by a restaurant industry that has been decimated by the pandemic.
Chicago is now averaging more than twice as many coronavirus-related hospital admissions per day as it was a month ago, Mr. Pritzker’s office said, and the share of tests that are coming back positive has almost doubled since the beginning of October.
The U.S. has reported a record daily average of about 71,000 new cases over the past week, an increase of about 40 percent from the average two weeks earlier. Twenty states, including Illinois, have recorded their highest seven-day average of new cases, and three states (Tennessee, Wisconsin and Oklahoma) have set a record seven-day average for deaths. On Tuesday, Oklahoma and Wyoming broke single-day death records and Kentucky reported a new daily cases record.
Mr. Pritzker’s announcement follows a similar indoor dining ban that includes southern Cook County, just outside Chicago, which was announced Monday.
In Chicago, outdoor service will be allowed if tables are spaced six feet apart; reservations are required, and service shuts down at 11 p.m. All social gatherings in the city will be limited to 25 people or 25 percent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.
“We can’t ignore what is happening around us,” Mr. Pritzker said in a statement. “Because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring.”
Other communities around the country that have also recently tightened restrictions include:
El Paso County, Texas, imposed a two-week stay-at-home order and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that took effect Sunday. The number of people hospitalized in the El Paso metropolitan area with Covid-19 has more than tripled over the past three weeks. Officials
In addition to the fact that instructors and class participants weren’t required to wear a mask during their workouts, health experts believe that the large class size, small space, and intensity of the workout were all factors that played into the high rates of transmission. (In fact, no class participants in a low-intensity yoga class ended up testing positive.)
“Granted, people weren’t wearing masks and it was in an indoor space,” Dr. Wong says. “These people were just dancing, but they were breathing heavily, which made the risk of transmission very high.”
Are outdoor fitness classes any safer?
Just like outdoor dining, health experts say that outdoor fitness classes are much safer than indoor ones because they allow for better airflow and ventilation. This can better disperse respiratory droplets, potentially reducing the risk of them landing on your mouth or eyes, or on surfaces that you may touch and then transfer to your mouth, nose, and eyes. It also likely reduces the risk of airborne transmission as well.
Humberto Choi, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic who treats COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, adds that the breeze—which aids airflow—also plays a role in making outdoor classes a safer option.
That’s why many gyms and studios have begun offering outdoor offerings. For example, the Fhitting Room, a HIIT studio based in New York City, recently started hosting outdoor classes in Central Park, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, and on the rooftop at Showfields.
Plus, SoulCycle is offering its indoor cycling classes outdoors in Hoboken and Short Hills in New Jersey; Hudson Yards, Bridgehampton and Montauk in New York; Union Market in Washington, D.C.; downtown L.A., Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach in California, among others. And if you’re in the mood to dance, 305 Fitness has 45-minute outdoor group classes in New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C.
Health experts say that while the risk of transmission isn’t completely eliminated with outdoor fitness classes, it’s significantly lower.
“If you’re outdoors, the risk is not zero, but it is much lower than indoors,” Dr. Weisenberg says. “Exercise and heavy breathing may increase this chance, but it should still be low, as long as you are outside and social distancing is maintained. Mask wearing can further reduce this risk.” (More on this later.)
How can you stay safe in an outdoor fitness class?
While generally speaking, an outdoor fitness class is going to be a safer option than an indoor one, all outdoor classes are not the same in risk level—and there are some things in your control (and some in your gym’s) that can make them safer or riskier.
Location and setup is one of these factors. For example, some classes might claim to be outdoors on a rooftop, but it’s actually on a rooftop that’s semi-covered, Dr. Wong says—which brings up the whole ventilation issue again. “That may not be as safe as a completely open rooftop, so people need to be mindful of those,” she says.
The White House science office listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as the top accomplishment of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they’re getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE‘s first term, even as the U.S. has set records for new daily infections and numerous hospitals across the country are stretched to their breaking points.
According to a press release intending to highlight the administration’s science accomplishments, the Trump administration said it “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”
The rosy outlook flies in the face of reality, and underscores the efforts of Trump to continuously try to downplay the severity of the pandemic that continues to rage nearly uncontrolled across the country.
As of Tuesday, more than 226,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. The seven-day average of new cases is nearly 70,000, a record number that is only expected to get worse. Hospitalizations and deaths are also climbing steadily upward. According to the COVID Tracking Project, there are more than 42,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from about 30,000 just a month ago.
Meanwhile, Trump has been holding rallies with thousands of people and minimal physical distancing or mask-wearing. He says the country is “rounding the turn,” has attacked the media for focusing too much on COVID-19 and claimed the rise in cases is merely because the U.S. is testing more people.
The office of Vice President Pence is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak a week before the election, and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsOvernight Health Care: US sets a new record for average daily coronavirus cases | Meadows on pandemic response: ‘We’re not going to control it’ | Pelosi blasts Trump for not agreeing to testing strategy Hillicon Valley: Hospitals brace for more cyberattacks as coronavirus cases rise | Food service groups offer local alternatives to major delivery apps | Facebook says it helped 4.4M people register to vote Trump is cruising for a bruising MORE is under fire for saying the country is not going to control the virus.
Public health experts say that as the fall and winter progress, the situation is going to get much worse. Former Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC Monday that the U.S. was at a “tipping point” of exponential spread in much of the country.
“I went through a depressive swing. It was unbearable,” she says. Eventually, Hornickel told her roommate she wanted to die.
Since then, Hornickel has been in a partial hospitalization program to treat suicidal ideation, depression and bipolar disorder, and she recognizes that her initial reaction to quarantine was a manic episode. Although she’s doing a lot better, there’s a nagging worry: wintertime.
“For me, personally, the nighttime is really hard,” Hornickel says. “And when there’s not sunlight and sunshine and things to do — at that time in the winter — it definitely compounds those feelings.”
Hornickel is describing seasonal depression, known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It’s a type of depression that occurs when it gets colder, there’s less light and it’s more difficult to get outside. Mental health experts worry that, because the pandemic has already triggered depressive symptoms in many Americans, more people will experience seasonal depressive symptoms this winter.
A survey study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September found that U.S. adults were reporting levels of depressive symptoms more than three times higher during the pandemic than before it. A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June yielded similar results, with more U.S. adults reporting adverse mental health symptoms, particularly in young adults, racial and ethnic minorities and essential workers. (On the flip side, a survey done of U.S. teens from May to July found that teens actually fared well when it came to depression and loneliness.)
The American Psychological Association has seen a sharp increase in suicidal ideation, particularly among young adults, during the pandemic, according to Vaile Wright, senior director of health-care innovation. “I think that’s, in large part, due to the level of uncertainty around covid,” she says. While most disasters have a beginning, middle and end, she adds, the pandemic has continued — with no end in sight.
Summer offered a bit of a respite. As evidence mounted that socializing outdoors is safer, “I think people really relied on their ability to take advantage of the nice weather,” Wright says. But the coming winter months will probably complicate how people are experiencing depression, whether they also suffer from SAD or not, experts say.
Although only a small percentage of people typically report seasonal depression (most estimates put it at 6 percent of the U.S. population for severe symptoms and 14 percent for mild symptoms), Wright says she wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another increase in depressive symptoms among the population in general as the cold weather compounds social isolation.
Lisa Carlson, president of the American Public Health Association, agrees. According to Carlson, seasonal depression is more common in people who have a history of depression. “It may be the people who are at risk of seasonal affective disorder may be the same people for whom covid has already triggered depression,” she says. “So, we may have a lot of overlap in those people.” Carlson also says seasonal depression and clinical depression