Coronavirus

Good public health policy is welcome, even when long delayed. So we should cheer the Biden administration's announcement earlier this month that Covid-19 rapid-result antigen tests (RATs), which tell you in as little as 15 minutes whether you're infected, will be covered by private insurance. For uninsured Americans, the government would make 50 million free tests available, to be distributed through health clinics and other sites in rural and underserved communities. Assuming that they can detect the new Omicron variant along with...

Dr. Henry Miller and John Batchelor breakdown the latest developments of Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that was recently detected in South Africa. Miller talks about the latest information regarding infections, vaccine efficacy, and how countries are responding to the news. ...

This month, Delta Airlines began levying a $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated employees enrolled in the company’s health plan for the financial “risk” they are supposedly imposing on the company. The airliner is not alone. A major health-care system in Louisiana plans to do the same for unvaccinated spouses on its health plan next year. And a retailer in Utah announced last month that unvaccinated employees would have to pay extra for insurance. In other words, medical underwriting — the practice of...

Earlier this month, the Biden administration bought 10 million courses of Pfizer's new COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid. Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration, however, it may be months before anyone can take it, as the agency hasn't yet offered up a timetable for approving it. Its inaction will almost certainly result in scores of preventable deaths. In clinical trials, Paxlovid proved nearly 90% effective at preventing hospitalization and death. The results were so promising, Pfizer ended its trial of the drug early. It would have been...

An overwhelming consensus on any topic is very rare these days. But many Americans, whatever their political leanings, seem to feel that the policies, communications, and actions of the public health "experts" and politicians about the COVID-19 pandemic have been confusing, sometimes contradictory, and in some cases, inconsistent with the scientific evidence. Whether it was flip-flops on the effectiveness of masks, seemingly inane restrictions on certain activities, or baseless advocacy of ineffective drugs, the past 20 months have provided numerous reasons...

Dr. Henry Miller and John Batchelor talk about the coverage around COVID-19 surges in Europe and elsewhere and what that could mean for lockdowns and vaccinations. They discuss how the United Kingdom is handling a potential new surge including masking, vaccinations, and the arrival of new surges. Miller also talks about the various surges, especially related to the delta variant and the impact of long COVID symptoms. ...

The Food and Drug Administration recently revised its emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine by approving a booster shot for individuals 65 and older, immunocompromised adults, and people with a high risk of exposure to the virus at work. It's an exciting development for the nearly 80% of vaccinated Americans who want a booster. But for many, the FDA's announcement was confusing, too. The debate over booster shots has been fraught with misleading information and contradictory federal guidance. This lack of clarity isn't just a...

As the Food and Drug Administration contemplates booster shots and a myriad of other regulatory issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential to reiterate the importance of a vaccine that is available and recommended for every age group at no cost to the patient — the influenza vaccine. Throughout history, influenza has been responsible for far more mortality than any other individual ailment. And in the 2018-2019 flu season, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease...

This crisis was avoidable. By showing no sense of urgency to approve COVID-19 shots for children under 12, the Food and Drug Administration has left children vulnerable — not just to the virus but to the emotional and social harm caused by missing in-person interactions with their teachers and peers. The shots could have been approved by now if not for the FDA's decision last month to require six months of clinical trial data on the effect of Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's COVID-19 shots...

The United States is not coping well with the current surge of COVID-19 infections. Coronavirus-related hospitalizations nationwide surpassed 100,000 last week for only the second time in the pandemic, overwhelming caregiver capacity in several states. The worst situation is in intensive care units , which care for the sickest patients with highly specialized medical staff who are in short supply and are becoming progressively burned out as the pandemic drags on. The result is that in many parts of the country, patients needing to be...

By Henry I. Miller, M.S., M.D. and Sheeva Azma, MS In spite of the wide availability of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, only about half of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated. Partly as a result of that "vaccine hesitancy," the United States is experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, with over 160,000 on August 18th, more than an order of magnitude higher than in mid-June. Deaths, a lagging indicator, have more than doubled since mid-July. Hospitals and healthcare providers in the...

On September 14, the people of California will have the chance—in a recall election—to oust Governor Gavin Newsom. His record over his more than two and a half years in power is checkered. Nowhere is that clearer than on health policy. Early in the pandemic, Newsom instituted some of America's most draconian policies: shutting down schools, shuttering business, and essentially locking people in their homes. What good did that do the people of California? The state has experienced over 4 million cases of COVID-19 and...

America’s vaccination campaign has stalled, even as COVID-19 infections soar due to the delta variant. As of Aug. 2, only 49.7% of the population is fully vaccinated, barely up from the 46.7% in late June. Providers are now administering about 650,000 shots a day, on average, compared to 3.3 million a day during mid-April. The Biden administration, desperate to pick up the pace, is now mandating shots for federal employees and getting behind mask mandates once again. Curiously absent from the administration’s...

During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most vocal proponents of aggressive lockdowns often framed the issue as a trade-off between personal freedom on the one hand and public health on the other. Stay-at-home orders may have prevented some people at the margin from congregating and spreading the virus. But they also convinced lots of people to forgo routine medical care, including screening for diseases like cancer. That care forgone may have dire public health consequences of its own. Two-thirds of...

Two months, one week, and five days. That's how much time has passed since Pfizer and BioNTech filed for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccine. The agency has not hinted when that decision might be coming. Moderna formally asked the FDA for approval of its vaccine seven weeks ago. There's been no word on when the agency will complete its review. Experts say the FDA will likely grant the applications "priority review." Translating from the bureaucrat-ese, that's within six months of...

America’s vaccination campaign is stalling. In late June, pharmacists and other providers were administering roughly 800,000 shots a day — down 80 percent from a peak of more than 4.6 million in mid April. Because of this precipitous decline, the Biden administration recently admitted it would miss its self-imposed goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of American adults by Independence Day. So far, only 66 percent have gotten the jab. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deserve much of...

It all sounds so simple: to hasten the end of the pandemic globally, suspend intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines to allow swift production of low-cost copies the world over. The Biden administration has bought into exactly that strategy at the World Trade Organization. But some simple ideas are also simplistic, and this one is dangerously so. Waiving patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines will actually slow their availability in the developing world, thereby prolonging the pandemic. The production of these breakthrough Covid-19...