CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, July 25, 2022


July 25, 2022

COVID-19 HardshipJuly 25, 2022 

The pandemic fatigue edition. Daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again on the rise. Daily cases have more than quadrupled since March and hospitalizations have doubled since May. But new polling suggests Americans have moved on – and are less willing than they have ever been to take steps to avoid contracting the virus. One poll finds that fewer than half of Americans are willing to undertake mitigation efforts. Only 36 percent of respondents said they wear a mask when outside their home – the lowest percentage since the pandemic began. And the same number of respondents said they never wear a mask when outside their home, a 14 percent increase since the same time last year. 

Politico reports that state and federal strategies for managing 130,000 new cases a day are roughly the same as they were for managing 30,000 new cases back in March – it is as if politicians and policymakers either have run out of ideas for mitigation – or, in the case of public health officials, those ideas are simply not breaking through to a weary public. “Policymakers, politicians are highly tuned to public opinion. And right now the public opinion is that we’re kind of done with this,” said Marcus Plescia, Chief Medical Officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. 

The pandemic fatigue extends to the U.S. Senate, which has failed to pass a COVID-19 supplemental appropriations bill – even though we now know this failure is helping stall development of future-generation vaccines that will be needed this fall and beyond. “We need resources to continue that effort and to accelerate that effort,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a recent press briefing. “So, although we’re doing a lot and the field looks promising, in order to continue it, we really do need to have a continual flow of resources to do that.” 

Demand action. Write your Senators today. 



127,756 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, July 24 – a 19 percent increase over the previous two weeks. Hospitalizations were up 15 percent and deaths were up 38 percent. Tweet this.


Almost 78% 

The CDC announced on Tuesday, July 19 that the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron now makes up 77.9 percent of cases in the U.S. BA.5, which is more effective than all previously known variants or subvariants at evading immune protection afforded either by vaccination or prior infection, is driving up cases both in the U.S. and abroad. Tweet this.


2 million+/60% 

More than two million poor people living in states that have refused to adopt the ACA Medicaid expansion will continue to lack access to health care unless Congress closes the Medicaid coverage gap in the pending reconciliation bill. Of this population, 60 percent are people of color. Tweet this.



Problems with accessing child care during the pandemic was associated with an 80 percent higher chance of burnout among health care workers, according to a new study. The study noted that the pre-pandemic annual cost of child care averaged $21,700 for one infant. That’s more than a quarter of a hospital nurse’s average salary and more than two-thirds of a nursing assistant’s average salary. The study found that many communities lack available child care, including three of five rural areas and about 60 percent of areas with high proportions of Hispanic and Latino residents. Tweet this.




Drug overdose deaths spiked in the U.S. during the first year of the pandemic (up 30 percent), and death rates among Blacks (up 44 percent) and American Indians and Alaskan Natives (up 39 percent) were much higher than among Whites (up 22 percent), according to a new report released Tuesday, July 19 by the CDC.  Drug overdose death rates among Black non-Hispanic males 65 or younger were nearly 7 times the rate of White non-Hispanic males in the same age range. Tweet this.


Almost 9 in 10 

Nearly nine in 10 Californians live in counties with high COVID-19 community transmission. Los Angeles County is poised to become the first Southern California county to reinstate mandatory public indoor masking as soon as Friday, July 29. L.A. County is now averaging about 6,800 new cases a day, a 35 percent increase over the previous week. The case rate hasn’t been this high since early February, when early Omicron was ravaging nearly the entire country. Tweet this.



Nearly four out of every five Americans agree with the statement “We will never be fully rid of the coronavirus in my lifetime,” according to a new poll. This finding was consistent among Democrats, Republicans, and independents.


Fewer than 40% 


Since the pandemic began, Congress has approved $190 billion for public schools to upgrade their ventilation systems – a key step in lowering the spread of COVID-19. But fewer than 40 percent of the nation’s schools have done so. This is due to a myriad of factors – supply chain delays, labor shortages, and increased demand for contractors who do the work.


$49 million 

Last week, the Biden Administration announced $49 million in grants to help community groups sign families and children up for health insurance. The Connecting Kids to Coverage initiative seeks to target the more than half of the nation’s 4 million uninsured children who qualify for free coverage through Medicaid and CHIP.



Over the past decade, 17 rural hospitals in Tennessee have closed, and another 16 – more than a third of remaining rural hospitals in the state – are in imminent danger of shutting down. Hospitals say if Medicaid were expanded in Tennessee, these hospitals would immediately benefit because more people could afford health care. 800,000 Tennessee residents, or more than one in 10, are uninsured.