CalPERS Devises “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” Gamble for Long-Term Care Policyholders in Settlement

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The graphic “Settlement Bet” shows options that policyholders have to choose from in the Settlement. The graphic “Settlement Happens??” shows the consequences of the “Settlement Bets” if the Settlement happens or not.

Policyholders not wanting to terminate their CalPERS policies will select not to participate (“opt out”) in the Settlement (as participation will end policyholders’ policies if the Settlement is approved).

Policyholders whose preference in light of announced rate increases would be to terminate because of the new CalPERS rate increases can be divided into two groups in light of the Settlement options: (1) those that wish simply to terminate and stop paying premiums; and (2) those who wish to terminate but are prepared to gamble with CalPERS to get a refund.

In making these choices, all policyholders are being forced to gamble a lot of money. Why the Settlement is structured as a gamble is unclear, but it is. That seems incredibly unfair to policyholders who can ill afford more financial losses after their losses already caused by CalPERS LTC.

Author(s): Yves Smith, Lawrence Grossman

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: naked capitalism

Has the Pandemic Finally Peaked in the U.S.?

Link: https://reason.com/2021/09/23/has-the-pandemic-finally-peaked-in-the-u-s/?utm_medium=email

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Will COVID-19 cases and deaths surge again this winter? The combined just-released results of 9 models applied to four different scenarios at COVID-19 Modeling Hub project that diagnosed cases could—using the projections of the more hopeful models—drop to around 9,000 cases per day by March. The scenarios range from the most hopeful, with childhood COVID-19 vaccinations and no new viral variant, to one with no child vaccinations and a new variant.

……

University of North Carolina epidemiologist Justin Lessler, who helps run the hub, tells NPR that the most likely scenario is that children do get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges.

The good news is that about 55 percent of all Americans (181 million) are now fully vaccinated (64 percent of those age 12 and up). Given that unreported COVID-19 cases are generally thought to be considerably higher than the 42 million diagnosed cases, that suggests perhaps around 100 million Americans have developed natural immunity to the virus.

Author(s): Ronald Bailey

Publication Date: 23 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Reason

CalPERS’ Long-Term Care Fiasco: Private Burial to Hide Malfeasance, Failure to Implement Legislation

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The ongoing CalPERS long-term care insurance program crisis continues to unravel. It is also  revealing overarching behavior which is both unethical and contrary to law.

CalPERS announced insurance premium increases of 52%-90% that become effective very shortly, at the same time that CalPERS has agreed to a class action lawsuit settlement over its last 85% rate increase.  (In my next article I will discuss why I suspect the settlement is another con job by CalPERS.)  But here I first must address a shocking revelation previously unreported about CalPERS long-term care insurance program (LTC) which needs to be recognized before moving on to the issues of the proposed settlement.

There is new and truly disturbing information about the CalPERS long-term care insurance program from a recent review of the enabling legislation prepared by a former California Deputy Attorney General and Court of Appeal Attorney, Linda J. Vogel.

According to Vogel’s analysis, the CalPERS long-term care insurance program  since inception in 1991 has operated contrary to law.

Author(s): Lawrence Grossman

Publication Date: 15 Sept 2021

Publication Site: naked capitalism

Pfizer, BioNTech Say Covid-19 Vaccine Is Safe for Children Aged 5 to 11

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/pfizer-biontech-say-covid-19-vaccine-is-safe-for-young-children-generates-immune-response-11632134701

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Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said their Covid-19 vaccine was found to be safe in children ages 5 to 11 years in a late-stage study and generated a strong immune response in them, bringing the prospect of broader vaccination coverage closer.

Pfizer said it would share the results with regulators in the U.S. and other countries and seek emergency-use authorization in the U.S. as early as the end of the month.

The companies said the two-dose shot was found to be safe and well tolerated among the children in the study. The vaccine generated levels of antibodies that were similar to those of younger adults, meeting the study’s measurements of success, according to the companies.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they hadn’t yet determined vaccine efficacy — how well it protects against Covid-19 — for children in the age group. Not enough young subjects in the study have become sick to compare rates between children who got a vaccine and those who got a placebo, but researchers could still learn more as the trial continues.

Author(s): Jared S. Hopkins

Publication Date: 21 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

J&J: Booster dose of its COVID shot prompts strong response

Link: https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-science–4f86b7f00d354c289af17503eeb50824

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Johnson & Johnson released data showing that a booster dose to its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a strong immune response months after people receive a first dose.

J&J said in statement Tuesday that it ran two early studies in people previously given its vaccine and found that a second dose produced an increased antibody response in adults from age 18 to 55. The study’s results haven’t yet been peer-reviewed.

Publication Date: 21 Sept 2021

Publication Site: AP News

In The Fight Against COVID, Health Workers Aren’t Immune To Vaccine Misinformation

Link: https://www.npr.org/2021/09/18/1037975289/unvaccinated-covid-19-vaccine-refuse-nurses-heath-care-workers

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As new data shows 1 in 500 Americans has died from COVID-19 and the delta variant continues to surge across the country, the next challenge many health care leaders face is within their own staffs: the 27% of of U.S. health care workers who have not been vaccinated against the disease as of July, according to a study by The COVID States Project.

On top of that, other research shows that since the vaccine first became available to health care workers in December 2020, the rate of vaccination among nurses and nursing home aides has been lower than that of physicians. This may be of particular concern because nurses and aides have such frequent and close contact with patients.

Data shows health care workers have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine at a higher rate than the general population: 73% versus 64% of non-health care workers. And many may assume that people who work in health care industry are more enthusiastic about the vaccine and less apprehensive.

….

While a majority of nurses are vaccinated and more than half support vaccine mandates in the workplace, some are pushing back against requirements to get vaccinated or face mandatory testing and say they would rather leave their jobs. And hospitals are already feeling the effects.

Author(s): Deepa Shivaram

Publication Date: 18 Sept 2021

Publication Site: NPR

Study: Two in five people in U.S. who died of COVID-19 had diabetes

Link: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/07/15/diabetes-high-risk-condition-death/2781626314320/

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As many as two of every five Americans who’ve died from COVID-19 were suffering from diabetes, making the chronic disease one of the highest-risk conditions during the pandemic, an expert says.

About 40% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States were among diabetics, a “really quite sobering” statistic that should prompt people with the ailment to get vaccinated, said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association.

…..

That diabetes was implicated in up to 40% of COVID-19 deaths is particularly staggering if you consider only 10% of the U.S. population suffers from the condition.

Author(s): Dennis Thompson

Publication Date: 15 July 2021

Publication Site: UPI

Monitoring Incidence of COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, by Vaccination Status — 13 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–July 17, 2021

Link: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7037e1.htm?s_cid=mm7037e1_w

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Averaged weekly, age-standardized rates (events per 100,000 persons) were higher among persons not fully vaccinated than among fully vaccinated persons for reported cases (112.3 versus 10.1), hospitalizations (9.1 versus 0.7), and deaths (1.6 versus 0.1) during April 4–June 19, as well as during June 20–July 17 (89.1 versus 19.4; 7.0 versus 0.7; 1.1 versus 0.1, respectively). Higher hospitalization and death rates were observed in older age groups, regardless of vaccination status, resulting in a larger impact of age-standardization on overall incidence for these outcomes.

Within each age group, the percentage of vaccinated persons among cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased with increasing vaccination coverage (Figure 1). As the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant surpassed 50%, the percentage of vaccinated persons among cases in each age group increased at rates corresponding to benchmarks for lower VE (i.e., from approximately 90% to <80%). Increases in the percentages of vaccinated persons aged ≥65 years among COVID-19–associated hospitalizations and deaths also appeared higher than expected. During June 20–July 17, age-standardized rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among persons not fully vaccinated increased weekly; among fully vaccinated persons, case rates increased, but rates of hospitalizations and deaths remained largely unchanged (Figure 2).

Author(s): Heather M. Scobie, PhD1; Amelia G. Johnson, DrPH1; Amitabh B. Suthar, PharmD2; Rachel Severson, MS3; Nisha B. Alden, MPH3; Sharon Balter, MD4; Daniel Bertolino, MPH5; David Blythe, MD6; Shane Brady, MPH7; Betsy Cadwell, MSPH1; Iris Cheng, MS5; Sherri Davidson, PhD8; Janelle Delgadillo9; Katelynn Devinney, MPH5; Jeff Duchin, MD10; Monique Duwell, MD6; Rebecca Fisher, MPH4; Aaron Fleischauer, PhD11; Ashley Grant, MPH12; Jennifer Griffin, PhD4; Meredith Haddix, MPH4; Julie Hand, MSPH12; Matt Hanson, MD10; Eric Hawkins, MS13; Rachel K. Herlihy, MD3; Liam Hicks, MPH7; Corinne Holtzman, MPH14; Mikhail Hoskins, MPH11; Judie Hyun, MHS6; Ramandeep Kaur, PhD8; Meagan Kay, DVM10; Holly Kidrowski, MPH14; Curi Kim, MSPH6; Kenneth Komatsu, MPH7; Kiersten Kugeler, PhD1; Melissa Lewis, MPH1; B. Casey Lyons, MPH2; Shelby Lyons, MPH12; Ruth Lynfield, MD14; Keegan McCaffrey7; Chelsea McMullen, MS15; Lauren Milroy, MPH13; Stephanie Meyer, MPH14; Leisha Nolen, MD9; Monita R. Patel, PhD1; Sargis Pogosjans, MPH10; Heather E. Reese, PhD1; Amy Saupe, MPH14; Jessica Sell, MPH5; Theresa Sokol, MPH12; Daniel Sosin, MD15; Emma Stanislawski, MPH15; Kelly Stevens, MS8; Hailey Vest, MPH13; Kelly White, MPH13; Erica Wilson, MD11; Adam MacNeil, PhD1; Matthew D. Ritchey2; Benjamin J. Silk, PhD1

Publication Date: 10 Sept 2021

Publication Site: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Vaccinated vs Not vaccinated

Link: https://covidmitigationmonitoring.wordpress.com/2021/09/13/vaccinated-vs-not-vaccinated/

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Here is a fairly clear picture from the CDC of the impact of vaccination on infections (cases), Hospitalizations and Deaths, through July. You can see here that infections are increasing for vaccinated people, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing also, but to a much lesser degree. In all cases, the fully vaccinated people are experiencing infections, hospitalizations, and deaths at a much lower level than the Not Fully Vaccinated people.

That is the message we keep hearing, but I find that this picture tells the story better than the words.

Publication Date: 13 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Covid Mitigation Monitoring Project

COVID cases hold steady while hospitalizations, deaths rise

Link: https://www.axios.com/covid-cases-hold-steady-hospitalizations-deaths-rise-aaff9ca2-9c52-42a5-b594-ca9985bfa722.html

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Details: A small number of states, including Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, still have high numbers but have continued to see an improvement over the past two weeks.

For instance, Florida saw a 23% drop in cases and a 17% drop in hospitalizations over the last two weeks. But the state still has 345 daily COVID deaths on average.

Meanwhile, the biggest increases in new cases continue to be clustered in the South — including Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina — as well as in Ohio and West Virginia.

States around the country have reported that COVID surges are increasing the strain on hospital systems. This week, Idaho hospitals begin rationing health care amid COVID surges, West Virginia reported record high ICU and ventilator cases, and Wisconsin hospitals said their ICU beds are in short supply.

Author(s): Tina Reed

Publication Date: 9 Sept 2021

Publication Site: Axios

Covid-19 cases in American children are at an all-time high

Link: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/09/13/covid-19-cases-in-american-children-are-at-an-all-time-high

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ON SEPTEMBER 13TH pupils in New York City, America’s biggest school district, will make a full return to classrooms for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That will be a relief for many parents. But it will also bring fear. In America, until recently adults suffered the highest infection rates; today the virus is spreading fastest among young people (see chart). Cases in children are surging, accounting for more than a quarter of total infections in the country in the week ending September 2nd.

Compared with other school districts, New York City is something of a straggler. Pupils in Tuloso-Midway School District in Texas have been back at their desks since the middle of July. Children in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest school district, began their studies four weeks ago. Parents in New York City will doubtless be wondering whether and how the return to school elsewhere has contributed to the recent spike in cases among young people.

Publication Date: 13 September 2021

Publication Site: The Economist