Battles over the release of Covid infection data are playing out at state and national levels

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of state efforts to release records of businesses’ Covid outbreaks. Meanwhile, consumer groups are pushing for a Biden administration proposal that would block public access to some hospital safety data.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Supreme Court Agrees to Release COVID Data on Businesses

More than a year after Wisconsin’s biggest business lobby sued to prevent the state from releasing data on companies with COVID outbreaks, a narrowly divided Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of releasing the records. The majority opinion, written by Judge Rebecca Dallet, alleges that Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce did not have the right to challenge the state Department of Health’s authority to release public records. The state legislature in 2003 limited the ability to challenge releases of public records to a few well-defined circumstances after a series of high-profile cases alleging teachers had sex with students sought to stop the release of their personnel files . The spate of subsequent lawsuits has so slowed the record disclosure process in local government that it has essentially defeated the intent of the Records Disclosure Act. (Chen, 6/7)

And more on pandemic hospital data —

Axios: The Biden administration is trying to suppress hospital safety data

Consumer groups are opposing a Biden administration proposal that would block public access to key hospital safety data, such as infection rates, falls and pressure ulcer rates. Medicare is accepting public comments on the rule through June 17, saying it proposes withholding data “due to the impact of COVID-19.” [public health emergency.]”…”The public has a right to know what happened during the pandemic. We have a right to know when lives are at risk and which hospitals have best protected their patients,” said Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, an organization that assesses hospital care. (Reed, 6/7)

In other news about the spread of Covid —

The Wall Street Journal: BA.4, BA.5 variants increase among US Covid-19 cases

Omicron Covid-19 variants BA.4 and BA.5 are on the rise in the US, adding two other highly contagious versions of the virus to the mix that has led to a spike in cases in the spring. The closely related subvariants collectively accounted for 13% of U.S. cases in the week ended June 4, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday. There is evidence the variants are even more contagious versions of Omicron, public health experts said, and may be able to bypass some of the immune defenses people have built up against infections caught in winter by a other version of Omicron were triggered. (Kamp, 6/7)

AP: Washington hospitals weighed down again by COVID-19 spread

Hospital officials in Washington are urging people to wear masks and warning that facilities are heading for another peak in COVID-19 cases given the high spread in the community. Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, said Monday late last week nearly 600 people with COVID-19 were in hospitals across the state with about 20 to 25 patients a day on ventilators, The News Tribune reported. (6/7)

Fortune: Florida is once again becoming a problem area for COVID cases

COVID-19 cases are again surpassing 100,000 a day in the US, and that number could be significantly higher as the number of unreported cases increases, thanks to at-home testing. But not all areas are created equal when it comes to risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the risk level by county across the US — and as of Tuesday, 241 counties are ranked as high, which is determined by the higher value: either new hospitalizations of people with the virus, or the percentage of people infected with COVID-19. 19-patients used inpatient beds. (Morris, 6/7)

The Baltimore Sun: Hopkins Doctor: This COVID surge isn’t as bad as the last one, but brace yourself for another one. And monkeypox.

The country’s recent COVID-19 surge appears to have peaked well before it even came close to reaching the peak of the pandemic in January. But the pandemic isn’t over yet, and new variants are already popping up across the country that could mean another wave this summer or fall, and everyone should be ready. That says Dr. Tom Inglesby, a public health expert who has just returned to his post at Johns Hopkins University from a COVID-19 White House adviser position. (Cohn, 6/7)

Anchorage Daily News: Alaska to End COVID-19 Health Emergency Order July 1

The Alaska State Commissioner for Health is ending an emergency public health order enacted in response to the pandemic. Commissioner Adam Crum said the state health department has been working to ensure the actions needed to respond to COVID-19 are permanent or sustainable. The state of emergency will end on July 1, KTOO Public Media reported. “Most people probably don’t even understand that we still have that,” Crum said. The end of the statement will result in some cuts to the program, including a cut in supplemental food aid payments and federal reimbursement rates. (6/7)

Likewise –

CIDRAP: COVID-19 was the leading cause of duty-related police deaths in 2020

COVID-19 caused 62% of duty-related deaths among US police officers in the first year of the pandemic — a rate that rose to 77% to 82% among members of minorities — according to a new study published in Policing: An International Journal became. (Van Beusekom, 6/7)

CIDRAP: Those who believe in COVID-19 conspiracies may be at risk of depression

People who believe in conspiracies about the COVID-19 pandemic are at increased risk of developing anxiety and depression, according to a new study presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry and published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. The research was based on survey results from 700 volunteers who answered a newly created COVID-19 Conspiraial Beliefs Scale developed by researchers at several Polish universities. Participants also took the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale survey, as well as the Generic Conspiracist Beliefs Scale (which covers topics such as aliens from other planets) to compare results. (6/7)

CBS News: Hospital examines long-term effects of COVID in children

Adriana Vaughan tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021. Eight months later, the 12-year-old has a new set of medical problems: fatigue, headaches, stomach problems and more. Vaughan can’t walk for six minutes without running out of breath. She says swimming, which she did before she got COVID, is difficult too. … Vaughan is one of more than 70 children being treated at the long-running COVID clinic at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. dr Alexandra Yonts, an infectious disease specialist who heads the clinic, said fatigue is the most common complaint in patients young and old. (Duncan, 6/7)

AP: Bonus payment for COVID-19 frontline workers in Minnesota

Minnesota residents who came to work during the height of the coronavirus pandemic will soon receive bonus payments. Workers eligible for so-called hero payments can apply online Wednesday morning and have up to 45 days to apply, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said. The money will be divided equally after an objection period. (6/7)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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