President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes items not traditionally considered “infrastructure,” including a $400 billion expansion of home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities, and a $50 billion effort to replace water pipes lined with lead. Meanwhile, the politics of covid-19 are turning to how or whether Americans will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KFF’s Mollyann Brodie about the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor.
Like many states, California is seeing huge regional variations in covid vaccination rates for people 65 and older. Remote rural counties are in some cases struggling to give away doses to vulnerable seniors, while metropolitan areas often have more demand than supply.
Whether it’s making plans to hug their grandchildren, scheduling long-overdue medical appointments or just petting the neighbor’s dog, seniors are inching back to a lifestyle they’ve missed during the pandemic.
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Federal records show a steep decline in staff covid cases since December, when health care workers at thousands of nursing homes began getting their shots. Still, many are reluctant to get vaccinated.
As the recent winter storm disaster in Texas showed, many long-term care sites aren’t required to have backup power supplies or other redundancies to keep residents safe when disaster strikes.
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Relatives and advocates are calling for federal authorities to relax restrictions in long-term care institutions and grant special status to “essential caregivers” — family members or friends who provide critically important hands-on care — so they have the opportunity to tend to relatives in need.
The debate begins with the covid death tallies. But the issues go beyond basic numbers.
On Monday, Connecticut will be the first state to begin vaccinating anyone from age 55 to 64 — instead of people with chronic health issues and essential workers.