Voters Will Have Their Say On Expanding Medicaid, Raising The Minimum Wage And Taxing The Rich

California’s Proposition 30 would add a surtax of 1.75% on people making more than $2 million a year. This is on top of the state’s highest income tax rate of 12.3%. It would raise an estimated $3.5 billion to $5 billion. Most of the funds would go to promote zero-emission vehicles and wildfire prevention and control. The measure, however, is very controversial, said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. (Luhby, 11/7)

The New York Times:
Big Tobacco Heralds A Healthier World While Fighting Its Arrival 

Big Tobacco isn’t just duking it out at the federal level, but fighting local initiatives. For example, in California, the industry has spent heavily to stop a 2020 law from taking effect that would ban the sale of flavored-tobacco products including menthol. Putting the law in place depends on a majority of state voters supporting a Nov. 8 ballot proposition favoring the law, and the industry has spent $22 million to to try to persuade voters to reject the measure and the flavor ban. The California Coalition for Fairness, the tobacco industry-funded group behind the campaign that succeeded in getting the referendum on the ballot, argues the flavor ban “benefits the wealthy and special interests while costing jobs and cutting funding for education and health care.” (Creswell and Richtel, 11/6)

Los Angeles Times:
Gov. Newsom Posthumously Pardons Abortion Provider Convicted In 1949

Gov. Gavin Newsom posthumously pardoned a healthcare provider Friday who was convicted of providing abortions to women in 1949, when it was still criminalized in California. Newsom erased the conviction of Laura Miner, who spent 19 months in prison after she was found guilty of numerous counts of abortion and conspiracy to commit abortion. (Goldberg, 11/4)

Los Angeles Times:
A ‘Tripledemic’ Of Flu, RSV And COVID Feared In California 

A confluence of respiratory illnesses has some California officials warning of a possible triple threat that could strain healthcare systems. Parts of the state are experiencing the earliest start of flu season in recent years, while respiratory syncytial virus — or RSV — is spreading widely and sending significant numbers of young children to the emergency room. (Money and Lin II, 11/4)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Bay Area Could Face COVID, Flu And RSV In The Winter

In the past two years, practices such as social distancing and masking against the coronavirus served also to suppress other respiratory viruses that usually rear their heads in the colder months. This season is off to a different start. Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, cases are rising earlier than normal in the U.S., already testing pediatric hospitals in some regions. (Kawahara, 11/6)

US Flu Season Off To A Fast Start As Other Viruses Spread

The U.S. flu season is off to an unusually fast start, adding to an autumn mix of viruses that have been filling hospitals and doctor waiting rooms. Reports of flu are already high in 17 states, and the hospitalization rate hasn’t been this high this early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, there have been an estimated 730 flu deaths, including at least two children. The winter flu season usually flu ramps up in December or January. (Stobbe and Babwin, 11/4)

CDC Warns About Early Spike In Respiratory Viruses 

Jose Romero, MD, who directs the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said mitigation steps have eased after 2 years of COVID-19 impacts that limited social interactions, and many young children are now being exposed to a host of respiratory viruses for the first time. He also warned that COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared, with a rate that has now leveled off after decreasing the last few months. (Schnirring, 11/4)

Pfizer’s Paxlovid Antiviral Lowered Long-Covid Risk In Study

Taking the oral medication within five days of testing positive for a SARS-CoV-2 infection was linked to a 26% lower risk of lingering post-viral complications, researchers with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System said in the study. That equates to 2.3 fewer cases of long Covid within three months of infection for every 100 patients treated, according to the findings released Saturday on the medRxiv server ahead of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. (Gale, 11/6)

Oral Zinc Cuts Risk Of Death, ICU Stay Nearly 40% In COVID-19 Patients

Tunisian COVID-19 patients given oral zinc twice daily had a nearly 40% lower rate of death and intensive care unit (ICU) admission, as well as shorter hospital stays and time to symptom resolution, concludes a randomized controlled trial published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases. … Zinc has a key role in regulating the immune system, the authors noted. “Zinc should be considered for the treatment of patients with COVID-19,” they wrote. (11/4)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
Patients Hospitalwide More Likely To Die When ED Is Overcrowded: Study

Emergency department crowding affects death rates hospitalwide, according to a recent study from University Park, Pa.-based Penn State and the University of California San Francisco. Researchers examined more than 5 million discharge records from California hospitals between October 2015 and December 2017, according to a Nov. 4 article on Penn State’s website. They compared these with the number of people in the hospitals’ emergency departments to complete their analysis, which was published in the journal Health Sciences Research. (Kayser, 11/4)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
California Hospital Using Digital Engagement Tech To Improve Patient Experience

Escondido, Calif.-based Palomar Health has partnered with patient engagement company Get Well to use its digital engagement technology to enhance the patient experience and provide better outcomes for patients. The partnership will launch in four phases and focus on five areas — digital care management, inpatient experience, emergency department experience, care gap closure and health equity, according to a Nov. 3 press release Palomar shared with Becker’s. (Diaz, 11/3)

Orange County Register:
Dying In Orange County: COVID-19, Fentanyl Struck Lethal Blows In Recent Years

It’s as natural to die as to be born, Francis Bacon once said. Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca described death as the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all. We turn to philosophical observation to cushion these grim facts: Deaths in Orange County leaped 20% between 2017 (pre-pandemic) and 2021 (the pandemic’s height), according to data from the Orange County Health Care Agency. And the number of young people in their prime who died accidentally — read, from fentanyl poisoning/overdoses — skyrocketed 100% over that same time period. (Sforza, 11/6)


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