An Indiana lawmaker wants to block health care providers in the state from discouraging the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19, a controversial treatment that has been rejected by the Food and United States Drug Administration.
The legislation would allow an Indiana physician or advanced practice registered nurse to write a standing order for ivermectin — and would prohibit pharmacists from discouraging the drug’s use to treat coronavirus.
The FDA says ivermectin should never be used to treat or prevent COVID-19, and improper use has caused some patients to seek medical attention.
“Currently available data do not show that ivermectin is effective against COVID-19,” the FDA states on its website.
Dr. Elizabeth Struble, president of the Indiana State Medical Association, said in an emailed statement that she finds the bill concerning.
“A health care provider prescribing an unproven therapy can be dangerous to the health of Hoosiers,” Struble said. “What is even more dangerous is to legislate the creation of a very broad standing order mechanism allowing pharmacists to freely dispense unproven therapy.”
Some people who were unable to obtain a prescription for ivermectin opted for a form of the drug designed for horses and cows rather than humans. Republican Representative Curt Nisly, the author of the bill, says making manufactured ivermectin available for human use would increase safety.
“The risks are low and the potential rewards are high,” Nisly said. “Hoosiers should be able to take care of their health in a safe and effective way.”
– Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis star
Also in the news:
►President Joe Biden highlighted the progress his administration has made in the fight against COVID-19 and assured Americans that the pandemic would be under control during a White House press conference on Wednesday.
►As the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics approach and COVID-19 concerns grow, NBC Sports will not be sending its announce teams to China, a spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday after -midday. The network’s Olympic host, Mike Tirico, will be in China for the Feb. 4 Opening Ceremony and early days of the Games.
►U.S. immigration courts have reached a historic backlog not seen in decades, causing years-long delays for immigrants seeking asylum, as the pandemic has closed courtrooms and contributed to the stalemate , according to a new report.
📈Today’s numbers: The United States has had more than 68 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 857,700 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 338 million cases and over 5.56 million deaths. More than 209 million Americans — 63% — are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we read: Now that the US government has launched its free coronavirus test delivery website, how useful will these COVID-19 tests be for travelers who need to test negative to fly to their destination? Read more.
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Tennessee considering school vouchers if public schools go virtual
A Tennessee bill that would allow families in the state to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools if their zoned public school goes virtual was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. Students could be eligible for college savings accounts, a type of school voucher, if their zoned public school did not offer 180 days of in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, sponsored by two Republican lawmakers, would not take effect until September 1, 2025. Students would be eligible if their district transitioned to remote learning at any time during the three years, starting in school year 2022-23.
“We know that in-person learning is the most effective way to educate a child, to educate a student,” said Senator Mike Bell.
– Meghan Mangrum, Nashville Tennessee
Two years later, concerns about the pandemic are growing
Americans’ pandemic fears rose along with the infection rate in January, prompting most Americans to avoid large crowds even as masking and vaccination rates remain mostly stagnant, a new survey shows. A Gallup poll of 1,569 American adults, conducted online from January 3 to 14, found a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who said the pandemic is “getting worse”, compared to data from fall 2021. Americans’ optimism had increased when vaccines began rolling out, but now more than half of those polled said they thought the pandemic was getting worse.
“Concern has surged … and is now the highest since last winter, before COVID-19 vaccines were readily available to the general public,” reads a summary of the poll results.
– Claire Thornton, USA TODAY
Omicron peak could be close to peak in California
California, a state where an omicron spike in COVID-19 cases occurred later than cities like Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., could peak cases and see rates of cases begin to decline this week, according to a forecast from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The model predicted a peak in the state’s cases for Jan. 19, with an estimate of nearly 130,000 cases per day.
Earlier this week, USA TODAY spoke with Marlene Wolfe, an assistant professor of environmental health at Emory University in Atlanta and a member of the Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network, a team of scientists who assess sewage treatment plants. for information on COVID-19 rates in California. communities. Wolfe told USA TODAY at the time that tests in a dozen California cities, the largest of which are Sacramento and San Jose, show a few cities with possible downward trends, but nothing concrete.
Other cities are on the rise, and it will take more time or data to determine where the spikes occurred, Wolfe said.
Testing company fraudulently reported negative test results, complaint says
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a nationwide chain of coronavirus testing sites for “deceptive and deceptive practices.” The lawsuit alleges that the Illinois-based Center for COVID Control and its lead lab, Doctors Clinical Lab, collected samples from Minnesotans for coronavirus testing but did not provide test results or provided results. false or inaccurate test results, according to the complaint reviewed by USA TODAY.
The company and its lab “provide inaccurate and misleading information about test results to consumers in Minnesota and have fraudulently reported negative test results to consumers who have never taken COVID-19 tests,” according to the complaint. Some test results indicated “the wrong type of test and wrong dates and times samples were taken from consumers,” the complaint states.
A spokesperson for the Center for COVID Control did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint. The center is operated by Illinois residents Akbar Syed and Aleya Siyaj, the complaint states. In recent months, the couple have purchased a number of luxury vehicles and a $1.36 million mansion.
– Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
Contribute: The Associated Press