Mar 15, 2020 - Health

Feds tell nursing homes to ban all visitors

Nursing homes are told to restrict all visitors. Photo: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

Nursing homes should not allow any visitors due to the escalating coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a new memo. There's one exception: "compassionate care situations, such as an end-of-life situation."

Why it matters: Older adults are among the most at risk to die from COVID-19, and these measures are aimed to keep that population safer. But the lack of visitation could result in enhanced feelings of isolation for nursing home residents, so family members and friends should make sure to call or video chat whenever possible.

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Feds relax Medicare Advantage regulations amid pandemic

An older coronavirus patient at a New York City hospital. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Federal payments to Medicare Advantage companies will increase by 1.66% in 2021, and several of the insurance program's policies are being waived or changed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Monday.

The bottom line: Medicare Advantage continues to grow at a lofty rate, and the Trump administration is protecting those health insurers through the pandemic and into next year.

Go deeperArrowApr 7, 2020 - Health

Navarro memos warning of mass coronavirus death circulated in January

Image from a Feb 23rd memo to President Trump

In late January, President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, according to memos obtained by Axios.

The state of play: By late February, Navarro was even more alarmed, and he warned his colleagues, in another memo, that up to 2 million Americans could die of the virus.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Apr 7, 2020 - Health

America's funeral homes buckle under the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Morgues, funeral homes and cemeteries in hot spots across America cannot keep up with the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The U.S. has seen more than 10,000 deaths from the virus, and at least tens of thousands more lives are projected to be lost. The numbers are creating unprecedented bottlenecks in the funeral industry — and social distancing is changing the way the families say goodbye to their loved ones.

Go deeperArrowApr 7, 2020 - Health