‘Peer Respites’ Provide an Alternative to Psychiatric Wards During Pandemic

Mia McDermott is no stranger to isolation. Abandoned as an infant in China, she lived in an orphanage until a family in California adopted her as a toddler. She spent her adolescence in boarding schools and early adult years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, where she underwent treatment for bipolar disorder, anxiety and anorexia.

The pandemic left McDermott feeling especially lonely. She restricted social interactions because her fatty liver disease put her at greater risk of complications should she contract covid-19. The 26-year-old Santa Cruz resident stopped regularly eating and taking her psychiatric medications, and contemplated suicide.

When McDermott’s thoughts grew increasingly dark in June, she checked into Second Story, a mental health program based in a home not far from her own, where she finds nonclinical support in a peaceful environment from people who have faced similar challenges.

Second Story is what is known as a “peer respite,” … Read more

As the Vulnerable Wait, Some Political Leaders’ Spouses Get Covid Vaccines

With supplies of covid-19 vaccines scarce, a federal advisory panel recommends first putting shots into the arms of health care workers, who keep the nation’s medical system running, and long-term care residents most likely to die from the coronavirus.


This story also ran on CNN. It can be republished for free.

Nowhere on the list of prioritized recipients are public officials’ spouses.

Yet the first ladies of Kentucky and West Virginia; Republican Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence; Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden; and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, were among the first Americans to get the potentially lifesaving shots.

Kentucky also vaccinated six former governors and four former first ladies, including current Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s parents.

The early vaccinations of political spouses spurred outrage on social media, with several Twitter users saying they should not be able to “jump the line” ahead … Read more

Mientras los vulnerables esperan, cónyuges de políticos reciben la vacuna contra covid

Los suministros de vacunas contra covid-19 son escasos, por eso un panel asesor federal recomienda primero administrarlas a los trabajadores de salud, que mantienen en funcionamiento el sistema médico del país, y a los adultos mayores en hogares, que tienen más probabilidades de morir a causa del coronavirus.

En ninguna parte de la lista de personas prioritarias están los cónyuges de los funcionarios públicos.

Sin embargo, las primeras damas de Kentucky y West Virginia; Karen Pence, la esposa del vicepresidente Mike Pence; Jill Biden, la esposa del presidente electo Joe Biden; y Doug Emhoff, el esposo de la vicepresidenta electa Kamala Harris, estuvieron entre los primeros estadounidenses en recibir las vacunas que podrían salvar vidas.

Kentucky también vacunó a seis ex gobernadores y cuatro ex primeras damas, incluidos los padres de Andy Beshear, el actual gobernador demócrata.

Las primeras vacunas a los cónyuges provocaron indignación en las redes sociales, y … Read more

KHN on the Air This Week

KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal discussed issues with the U.S. rollout of the covid-19 vaccines with NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and MSNBC’s “The Week With Joshua Johnson” on Jan. 3.

KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed covid’s impact on current politics with WAMU’s “1A” on Dec. 31.

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed covid in a 2020 news roundup on WAMU’s “1A” on Dec. 31.

KHN senior correspondent Phil Galewitz discussed deep cleaning the White House before the Bidens arrive with Newsy on Dec. 23.

KHN Midwest correspondent Cara Anthony discussed what it’s like to be a reporter during a pandemic … Read more

In Los Angeles and Beyond, Oxygen Is the Latest Covid Bottleneck

As Los Angeles hospitals give record numbers of covid patients oxygen, the systems and equipment needed to deliver the life-sustaining gas are faltering.

It’s gotten so bad that Los Angeles County officials are warning paramedics to conserve it. Some hospitals are having to delay releasing patients as they don’t have enough oxygen equipment to send home with them.

“Everybody is worried about what’s going to happen in the next week or so,” said Cathy Chidester, director of the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency.

Oxygen, which makes up 21% of the Earth’s air, isn’t running short. But covid damages the lungs, and the crush of patients in hot spots such as Los Angeles, the Navajo Nation, El Paso, Texas, and in New York last spring have needed high concentrations of it. That has stressed the infrastructure for delivering the gas to hospitals and their patients.

The strain in those areas … Read more