COVID-19: Expert Reviews of Relevant and Emerging Literature2021-04-28T15:30:24-04:00

Communication by Key Leaders

With so many changes happening with COVID-19 protocols, it is not surprising that many people are confused or uninformed. This is especially true for individuals with school-aged children as each school is often tasked with coming up with their own safety policies regarding quarantines, masks, and vaccinations. It is important then for schools to understand effective communication strategies to educate families. This article addresses the challenges educators face when trying to communicate timely, transparent, culturally appropriate information in an efficient manner. Here are four suggestions for schools to consider when communicating about COVID-19:

Biden Administration Vaccine Mandate Plan

Nearly 10 months after the rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccines, the United States remains mired in a nearly uncontrolled pandemic. Nationwide, infection rates are ten times higher than what are needed to contain the spread of the virus, and hospitals and health systems in many states, including Indiana, are rationing health care services to address the latest wave of Covid-19-related hospitalizations. 

COVID-19 Cases Among Adolescents

August means returning to school for many children. This year, many schools are attempting to return in-person, which is proving challenging with the accelerated spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant (97.6% of samples in August). Cases among adolescents (0 – 17 years of age) are as high as they’ve been since January 2021. With other respiratory viruses circulating in schools, it’s the perfect storm for illness spreading in schools.

Vaccine Comparison 

The American Medical Association (AMA) strongly endorses COVID-19 vaccination and in an attempt to help improve vaccination rates, they are providing important information about the dangerous Delta variant. AMA Chief Health and Science Officer Mira Irons, MD, and AMA Board of Trustees Chair-elect and liaison to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Sandra Fryhofer, MD, wanted patients to know the following information about the current state of COVID-19:

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates

NOTE: Because this is now a once-a-month post, I’m including lots of links to other pieces of interest in the text. I strongly encourage you to explore the issues raised in these articles.

Examining How We Collect Race and Ethnicity Data

Public Health Workforce

Responding to the Rise of the Delta Variant

Impacts on Health Care Workers

This report by Weine et al. provides an analysis of impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health care workforce and recommendations for minimizing adverse impacts now and over time. The authors are an interdisciplinary group of over four dozen faculty experts across the University of Illinois System and includes both case studies and broader overviews.

Among the major impacts identified are:

Ongoing analysis of COVID-19 era data is uncovering important patterns to improve our understanding of pandemic effects on children and to inform post-pandemic schooling and education policy. New evidence characterizes (1) youth unemployment changes throughout the pandemic, (2) schooling modes over time, and (3) enrollment declines by student, family, and school characteristics.

Aside from the CDC extending its eviction moratorium through July, this has been a light week for COVID-19 law and ethics news. Below is a rundown of other recent stories of interest:

Policymakers and researchers are both investigating how different student subgroups were affected by the pandemic and looking ahead to what we will be able to learn and study about education and schools during COVID-19 and how parents feel about in-person schooling in the fall.

The authors of this article examine whether social and behavioral risk factors were associated with mortality related to COVID-19 among US veterans.  Specific risk factors examined in the study include housing problems, financial hardship, and tobacco, alcohol, and substance use.  Data were retrieved from the VA Corporate Warehouse.  The primary method of data analysis was multivariable logistic regression models.  The sample consisted of 27,640 veterans.  The results indicated that of the social and behavioral risk factors, housing problems (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.96; 95% CI, 0.77-1.19; P = .70), financial hardship (AOR, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.97-1.31; P = .11), current tobacco use

Obamacare Upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court, in its  7-2 decision in the Texas v. California case, refused to find that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, determining that the plaintiffs (which included the state of Indiana) did not have standing to bring a claim in court against the law.

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