Infectious diseases, count ‘em- POLITICO

Good morning and welcome to Monday’s New York Health Care newsletter, where we keep you posted on what’s coming up this week in health care news, and offer a look back at the important news from last week.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency. The virus now joins the likes of H1N1, Zika, polio and Covid-19 as diseases declared public health emergencies of international concern.

New York City opened up 17,000 monkeypox vaccine appointments on Friday, and at 7:30 p.m., the city health department tweeted that they had all been filled. More vaccines are expected to come to New York as the Biden administration contemplates declaring a public health emergency to squash the current outbreak, which is circulating among men who have sex with men.

Rockland County administered 18 polio vaccines on Friday in the wake of the state’s first case in nearly a decade. Twenty more appointments have been made for Monday, said Beth Cefalu, a spokesperson for County Executive Ed Day, though she added that anyone seeking a polio vaccine can get one through their primary care doctor. The person who contracted polio “developed symptoms of weakness and paralysis a month ago, but the County of Rockland cannot confirm anything else about the status of this individual,” according to a Friday press release.

This is also Amanda’s last Monday newsletter before she jets off for a bachelorette party and then starts her new job at Morning Brew. “It was such a privilege working with and learning from so many readers, and I hope to stay in touch and collaborate on future pieces together. Thank you for also investing in the kind of journalism POLITICO does so well. I’ve had the best four years because of you all.”

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DUAL CRISES — POLITICO’s Shannon Young and Amanda Eisenberg: New York City is again experiencing an explosion of Covid-19 cases, but state and city officials are laser-focused on containing a smaller, yet rapidly growing outbreak of monkeypox — while they still can. Public health officials are rushing to stop the spread of the rare viral infection, which has seen case rates double in New York in the last week. They’ve pressed the Biden administration for more vaccine doses and treatment access, opened vaccination clinics in hotspot areas and launched new public awareness campaigns — all while Covid rates in New York City and its surrounding suburbs rebound to levels not seen since this spring.

POLIO RETURNS — Shannon reports: New York health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed the nation’s first case of polio in nearly a decade, state authorities said Thursday. The virus, which can quickly spread among asymptomatic individuals and take up to 30 days for symptoms to appear, was discovered in Rockland County, a suburb of New York City, according to the state Department of Health. It’s the first case the CDC has confirmed in the U.S. since 2013, the state said.

… The state said it’s coordinating with the Rockland County Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to investigate, proactively respond and urge vaccination. It has also advised medical practitioners to be on the lookout for other potential cases.

SHOULD WE CALL IT? — POLITICO’s Daniel Payne: U.S. health officials are discussing whether to declare a public health emergency for the monkeypox outbreak as they work to make treatments and vaccines available to more people. The discussions come as the virus — which is endemic in West and Central Africa but unusual in the United States — continues to spread across the country. As of Thursday, there were 2,593 cases reported, up from 1,470 last week. The federal government announced Friday it has shipped over 300,000 doses of the vaccine to states and cities to control the outbreak.


— The administration of Mayor Eric Adams announced on Sunday that $1 million from an anonymous donor will go toward wooing mental health professionals to work in the public hospital system. “NYC Health + Hospitals will offer psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers between $30,000 and $50,000 of debt relief in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve the public health system,” according to the release.

— Nearly 100 doctors,in a letter sent today, called on the Adams administration “to stop the sweeps” of homeless individuals living on the streets. They cited the results of the first round of sweeps, which took place between March 18 and May 1 and in which only 39 of 264 displaced people had accessed temporary housing. “The result is a dehumanizing game of cat and mouse between city authorities and the most vulnerable members of our community,” according to the letter. “The fact is people who are forced out of one public space without being offered safe, affordable housing, end up in other public spaces.”

— Thousands of working New Yorkers “experienced punishing wage garnishments of 10 percent of their gross pay between 2015 and 2020 because they were unable to pay their hospital bills,” according to a new analysis from the Community Service Society.

— MAKING ROUNDS: Brett Friedman, who stepped down as the state’s acting Medicaid director in May, has rejoined Ropes & Gray LLP as a partner in its health care practice.

— MAKING MORE ROUNDS: Phelps Hospital has named Amy Matthews chief nursing officer.

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you! Send news tips, health tips, ideas, criticisms and corrections to [email protected] and [email protected].

NOW WE KNOW — It’s kidney stone season.

TODAY’S TIP —Trying to stay cool during a heat wave? The state Department of Health recommends drinking a lot of fluids, but avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Amanda @aeis17 and Shannon @ShannonYoung413 on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out Daniel Han, @danieljhan_.

STUDY THIS — NBC News reports: “Hiring a more diverse nurse workforce may help address ‘racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes’ and improve maternal health, according to a report from Columbia University researchers.”

Some inhalers make climate change worse.

Kaiser Health News profiles a Charleston maternity home for pregnant teenagers and how the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade could affect the demand for such facilities.

“The spread of monkeypox in the U.S. could represent the dawn of a new sexually transmitted disease,” The Associated Press reports.

STAT looks at how experts are struggling “to make sense of the continuing mystery” that is long Covid.

From The New York Times: “Ghana announced the country’s first outbreak of Marburg virus disease after two people who were not related died on June 27 and 28. Word of a new outbreak of a lethal disease caused by viral infections added to the concerns of a public weary from battling the coronavirus pandemic, and recently alarmed by the spread of monkeypox and a new case of polio.”

Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex education books after school board members this week rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, known by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay,” reports POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury.

POLITICO’s Jeremy B. White: California has issued the U.S. Supreme Court a direct challenge at the confluence of gun and abortion rights as Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a firearms bill embracing the doctrine of private enforcement. The new law allows Californians to sue manufacturers and citizens who distribute banned assault weapons or ghost guns. Newsom explicitly modeled the concept on a Texas law, preserved by the high court, that allows people to pursue legal claims against abortion providers.

Vice President Kamala Harris will head to Indianapolis on Monday, as Indiana is poised to become the first state to hold a special legislative session on abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, POLITICO’s Adam Wren reports.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up on the New York Health Care Newsletter.