Southern governors create a Covid-19 coalition and experts fear a ‘perfect storm’

April 21, 2020, Politico, Matt Dixon - Republican governors across the Southeast are teaming up to reopen the region’s economy, even as they lack the testing to know how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading. One health expert called the political decision a “perfect storm” for the virus to reassert itself. The newly formed coalition includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, a part of the country that has underfunded health systems, as well as high rates of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses that amplify the deadliness of the coronavirus. And unlike their peers in New York, New Jersey and other Northeastern states that have been working cooperatively since last week to restart their economies, the six in the South have lagged on testing and social distancing measures.

As Covid-19 rips through black communities, African American leaders demand inclusion on response te

April 21, 2020, Mississippi Today, Anna Wolfe - As millions of dollars begin flowing into Mississippi to aid in the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, black leaders in the state are demanding officials better involve the black community, which has been hardest hit by the disease.Gov. Tate Reeves announced April 14 he had created the Governor’s Commission for Economic Recovery, led by political allies and business leaders, to study the impacts of the pandemic and craft solutions as the state prepares to “reopen.” The commission is chaired by Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson and the executive team is comprised of five white businessmen who, according to its website, “represent the diverse geographical regions of the state.”

Hosemann says session to resume on May 18, business as usual plus pandemic response

April 27, 2020, Mississippi Today, Bobby Harrison - Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said he hopes it is “business as usual as much as possible” when the Legislature returns on May 18 from its coronavirus-induced recess. Both Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, and House Speaker Philip Gunn announced the return date in simultaneous news releases Monday. As the releases were sent out, Hosemann, in his first year as lieutenant governor, was speaking during a virtual meeting of the Mississippi State University Sennis Institute of Government/capitol press corps. He said the plans are to take up most of the legislation that was pending when the recess occurred in mid-March and then take up the overall state budget in June.

As Americans lose their livelihoods, Medicaid will be their lifeline

April 27, 2020, CNN Business, Ron Wyden - The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that America’s health care system is dangerously unprepared for a public health crisis. It has also revealed the flaws of closely tying health care to employment when such a crisis triggers an economic collapse. Before the pandemic hit, nearly 28 million Americans lacked health insurance. With layoffs mounting, that figure is only going to climb. Times like these spotlight the need to strengthen the social safety net, including Medicaid. Medicaid was created and guided by a simple principle: Americans should not be forced to go without health care due to an inability to pay. Today Medicaid helps pay for nearly two out of three seniors who count on nursing home care. It helps pick up the costs for nearly half of all pregnancies. And it provides comprehensive health care to tens of millions of workers and their families, including people of color who are experiencing disproportionately high rates of infectionand face structural barriers to care.

Delta Health clinic testing those without symptoms for COVID-19

April 27, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Jimmie E. Gates - More than 1,000 people with or without symptoms have been tested for the coronavirus in the Mississippi Delta in the last two weeks. Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou has been testing everyone with or without symptoms during the clinic’s three drive-thru testing sites to date, said Clinic Operations Manager Denise “Coach” Taylor. Delta Health Center performed 340 tests on April 19 in Mound Bayou. It performed 357 tests on April 22 and 358 on April 23 in Cleveland. On Wednesday, the clinic is scheduled to conduct similar testing in Indianola, said CEO John Fairman.

Trump administration offers plan for hospital funds to coronavirus hot spots, uninsured patients

April 22, 2020, The Hill, Nathaniel Weixel - Hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic will receive $10 billion from the CARES Act beginning next month, the Trump administration announced Wednesday. The money comes as lawmakers in both parties have been urging the administration to move quicker. Hospitals in the hardest-hit states like New York and New Jersey have been frustrated that the initial round of funding went to hospitals based on their share of Medicare funding, rather than their share of coronavirus patients.