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Fmr FDA Chief: ‘The case fatality rate is going down’

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Former FDA Commissioner, Doctor Scott Gottlieb was on ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS News on Sunday to discuss recent spikes of Covid-19 cases. 

“The President has tweeted yesterday that the media is focused too much on these growing number of cases, and he is making the point that deaths and the all-important mortality rate is going down, and we’re not hearing enough about that. How do you understand what is happening with deaths and mortality?” asked host Margaret Brennan. 

“Well, we need to separate the number of deaths going down from the actual case fatality rate, how lethal is this? The case fatality rate is going down, although we’re not able to measure it right now because we’re able to save more people who are hospitalized and get critically ill because of advances in care,” responded Dr. Gottlieb.

“The number of deaths has gone down because the number of infections went down for a period of time. And more of the new infections right now are in younger people. And we’re protecting more vulnerable populations like people in nursing homes. But the total number of deaths is going to start going up again as the number of hospitalizations starts to spike again. So we’re going to see deaths creep up. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the next two weeks to see deaths go over a thousand. That doesn’t mean the case fatality rate, the actual death rate isn’t declining. But when you have more infections, even if the death rate is declining, you’re going to get more deaths tragically. So if we cut the death rate in half, if we make this half less lethal than it was, but we double the number of infections, we’re going to get more deaths. And I think we’re going to start to see that. So we shouldn’t just focus on the crude mortality rate, the number of deaths to tell the story of what’s happening medically. Medically, we are improving. But we just have so much infection around this country, we’re going to see, unfortunately, a lot of lethalities.”

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College to begin offering abortion pill on campus

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Barnard College, a partner campus of Columbia University, will be rolling out a plan in May that involves supplying students with abortion pills, the Columbia Spectator reported. The plan to provide the abortion service in the form of mifepristone abortion pills to students was initially announced in the fall of 2022 after the overturning of Roe. V Wade, according to the Spectator. However, the rollout’s delay has been partially attributed to an August 2023 grant the college received, which allowed Barnard to join a large network of primary care providers that will help steer the college through the procedures.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports Barnard’s Primary Care Health Service will host student focus groups in upcoming weeks to find out student perspectives about the service and to identify new ways to support students considering abortion. “We wanted to make sure that we’re addressing this from every angle that will be supportive of students,” Sarah Ann Anderson-Burnett, director of Medical Services and Quality Improvement of Barnard, told the Spectator. Anderson-Burnett also said it has expanded the availability of its abortion providers to after-hours and year-round.

Barnard has six medical professionals, including two physicians and four nurse practitioners, who are capable of performing the procedure, Mariana Catallozzi, vice president for Health and Wellness and chief health officer of Barnard, told the Spectator. The school also launched a partnership with AccessNurse, a medical call center that will assist with patient concerns related to abortions.

“The training doesn’t end with the clinicians,” Anderson-Burnett told the Spectator. “Clinicians are trained on the actual provision, but there’s also an overall training that will be provided to key partners and stakeholders across the campus because we want every step, every touchpoint, to be supportive and to be trauma-informed and to be patient-valued and centered but also respect confidentiality and privacy.”

The University of Massachusetts Amherst spent more than $650,000 to stock abortion pills in March 2023 at the request of Democratic Maryland Gov. Maura Healey. Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill in May 2023 forcing college in the state to stock abortion pills on campus.

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