Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.
Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.
We’ll start with Regeneron:
Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received
Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.
“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.
The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.
“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”
Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.
Read more here.
McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of how it has responded to the coronavirus.
Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said that while he talks to President Trump frequently, he hasn’t been to the White House in person since Aug. 6.
“Because my impression was their approach to how to handle this was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” he told reporters.
McConnell’s comments come in the week after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Senate doesn’t have a mask mandate, though most senators wear masks around the Capitol and there are also signs to remind people to socially distance.
Unlike the Senate, the White House has rapid testing for those in contact with the president. But there have also been several events where the White House did not require social distancing and most people at the event did not wear masks.
McConnell on Thursday appeared to take a veiled jab at the White House.
“You’ve heard about other places that have had a different view, and they are, you know, paying the price for it. But in the Senate … we practiced social distancing and wore a mask and are continuing to operate normally adapting to the post-coronavirus situation,” he said.
Read more here.
Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose 4 percent in past year: analysis
Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rose 4 percent over the past year, outpacing the increase in workers’ wages and the rate of inflation, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are now $7,470 for a single plan and $21,342 for a family plan, up 4 percent from the previous year. Those dollar amounts include both worker and employer contributions.
Meanwhile, wages increased by 3.4 percent alongside 2.1 percent inflation.
Why it matters. About 157 million people get their insurance through work, and the costs have steadily risen over the years, while increasing health care costs have been tied to wage stagnation.
The average premium for family coverage, including the employer contribution, has increased 22 percent over the last five years and 55 percent over the last decade.
In 2020, on average, workers contributed 17 percent of the premium for single coverage – about $1,243 – and 27 percent for family coverage, or about $5,588.
Read more here.
DC-area health officials urge COVID-19 testing for anyone at White House event
Health officials in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are urging people connected with a recent White House Rose Garden event to contact their local health departments and get tested for COVID-19.
In a joint health advisory published Thursday, the officials said “limited contact tracing” has made it difficult to find out the full scale of the White House coronavirus outbreak.
They urged anyone who has worked at the White House in the past two weeks, attended Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination announcement in the Rose Garden or has been in contact with anyone who did to get tested for COVID-19.
The ceremony on Sept. 26 has been referred to as a possible “super-spreader” event after President Trump and roughly two dozen people in his orbit have tested positive for the coronavirus.
But the reluctance of the Trump administration to contact trace means it’s difficult to definitively link the event to the White House’s outbreak.
Thursday’s notice also urged anyone who was identified as a contact to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure, even if they tested negative.
Read more here.
NIH launches trial of new COVID-19 treatment
The National Institutes of Health on Thursday launched a late-stage trial testing a new, blood-based COVID-19 treatment with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir.
The Inpatient Treatment with Anti-Coronavirus Immunoglobulin (ITAC) trial will pair remdesivir with anti-coronavirus hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin (hIVIG) to see if it will work as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The ITAC trial will compare the health status of participants given both treatments compared to remdesivir alone, which will range from no limiting symptoms to death. The study will enroll up to 500 patients around the world, who will either receive infusions of the anti-coronavirus hIVIG and remdesivir or a placebo and remdesivir.
Read more here.
Pregnancy rates hit new lows for women 24 and younger, new highs for women 35 and older: study
Pregnancy rates among women aged 24 or younger hit record lows in 2016, while rates for women aged 35 and older reached new highs, according to a new analysis published Thursday by Guttmacher, a sexual and reproductive health research organization.
Meanwhile, abortion rates have also declined for young people over the past 25 years, partially due to a decline in people in that age group becoming pregnant.
“Pregnancy rates for young people have reached their lowest recorded levels, and both birth and abortion rates among young people are continuing a longstanding decline over the past two-and-a-half decades,” said Guttmacher senior research associate Isaac Maddow-Zimet.
“Conversely, pregnancy rates among older age groups have reached historic highs, with abortion rates remaining fairly constant.”
In 2016, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available, there were 115 pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 20 and 24, according to the report, the lowest levels recorded since the peak in 1990 of 202 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age group.
Teen pregnancies have once again hit record lows, according to the analysis, with 15 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-17, down from a peak of 75 per 1,000 women in that age group in 1989.
Meanwhile, pregnancy rates for those aged 35-39 and 40 or older reached historic highs. In 2016, there were 73 pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 35 and 39, and 18 per 1,000 women aged 40 or older.
Read more here.
What we’re reading:
Under Pence, politics regularly seeped into the coronavirus task force (New York Times)
Johns Hopkins doctor on Trump’s coronavirus treatment team has plenty of experience treating contagious diseases (Baltimore Sun)
Hard lives made harder by COVID: homeless endure a ‘slow-moving train wreck’ (Kaiser Health News)
State by state
Wayne County, Michigan issues emergency order to preserve coronavirus precautions (Click On Detroit)
Chris Christie still hospitalized with COVID-19: Here’s the type of treatments doctors say he may be getting (NJ.com)
Thousands of East Bay health care workers launch strike, protesting patient safety, poor conditions (San Francisco Chronicle)
The Hill op-eds
With new drug pricing order, Trump flirts with socialized medicine
COVID-19: How RNs can help overcome public vaccine hesitancy