Omicron wave reveals early indicators of easing in states hit early

A woman receives a Covid-19 test during a drive through the Covid-19 Testing Center as hundreds of cars and pedestrians queue to check out a Covid ahead of the Christmas holiday in North Bergen, New Jersey, the United States, December 22, 2021 -19 test as Omicron levels up across the land.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

After weeks of rising infections, the latest Covid surge is showing signs of slowing in a handful of areas earliest affected by the Omicron variant – offering a glimmer of hope that this wave is beginning to wane.

The U.S. has been reporting an average of nearly 800,000 cases a day for the past week, more than triple the previous record set last winter, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But in a handful of states and cities, particularly on the East Coast, cases appear to have plateaued or been declining in recent days.

In New York, the seven-day average of daily new cases has declined since hitting a record high of 85,000 a day on Jan. 9, according to Hopkins. Cases there doubled over a series of seven-day periods in late December and early January, but have fallen sharply to an average of 51,500 since last week. In New York City, average daily cases have fallen 31% over the past week, data from the state Health Department shows.

“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference on Friday. “We’re not there yet but boy is it coming and we’ve been waiting a long time.”

New York is still reporting high levels of daily infections and ranks 15th among all states, down from the second-highest a few days ago, according to a CNBC analysis of population-adjusted case counts. New Jersey also recently fell out of the top five and is now 20th as the state saw a 32% drop in average daily cases over the past week.

At the end of December, Washington, DC had the highest number of Covid infections per capita than any other state, peaking at an average of 2,500 per day. That has since fallen to 1,700, the data shows.

And in neighboring Maryland, daily infections hit a pandemic high on Jan. 8 but are down 27% from a week ago.

In Illinois, said Dr. Khalilah Gates, associate dean of medical education at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said the stabilization in hospitalizations is “already kind of being felt.” On Sunday, the state reported a seven-day average of about 7,200 patients hospitalized with Covid, a 4% increase from the past week, a more modest increase than the 30% weekly growth reported, according to the Health Department was only observed two weeks ago.

“There’s not that influx that we had at the beginning of the climb and things are just a little bit around,” she said. “And if that goes on for five to seven straight days, I think you start to breathe a little easier and say, OK, like we kind of got through that climb, got through that climb too.”

Cases are also declining in South Africa and the UK, which are being closely watched as potential clues to what could be happening in the US, as they have both experienced previous spikes. Hopkins data shows average daily infections in South Africa are down 80% from where they peaked on December 17 and in the UK by 42% from that country’s peak on January 5, although there’s no guarantee the US will will follow the same path.

American populations have different vaccination rates, previous exposure to the virus, and levels of underlying health conditions, so Omicron’s trajectory could vary.

Certainly, cases are rising in most states, with 23 reporting record-high infection rates as of Sunday, data from Hopkins shows. And yet, U.S. cases are undercounted due to the availability of at-home testing kits, the results of which are not typically reported to state or federal agencies.

That increase is particularly visible in western states, where average daily cases are showing some signs of slowing but are still up 14% over the past week. This has led to a “jumping up” in Covid admissions at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Michael Daignault on CNBC Worldwide exchange Friday morning.

“We had this delta rise, it was a rise and then a plateau, and then the Omicron kind of lifted off this delta crest,” said Daignault, an emergency room physician at the hospital.

Caused the increase New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday to issue emergency orders to combat the new wave of cases.

A steep peak

Experts predict the Omicron wave will fall almost as fast as it has risen, leaving the US with relatively few Covid cases sometime in February or March, although cities are likely to reach that point sooner.

While the threat of a new variant could always change projections, it’s possible Americans could see some breathing space as a large segment of the population retains some immunity to the recent infection.

“Sometime in early March, mid-March, we should be in a very good position,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “April, May, we will have reported very few cases.”

However, how quickly cases drop after they have peaked depends on a community’s adherence to public health measures after that period.

“It depends on how high the peak is. And whether people, when they see case numbers going down, kind of ease things up,” said Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

hospitals overwhelmed

There is a growing body of evidence that the Omicron variant makes people more contagious, but not as sick as the Delta variant.

Still, there is a record 156,000 Americans in US hospitals with Covid, according to a seven-day moving average of HHS data, up 17% over the past week. A significant proportion of Covid hospitalizations appear to be from people admitted for other reasons who test positive for the virus once in a facility.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told CNBC: “screeching in the streetlast week that about half of the city’s hospital admissions are people who were diagnosed after being admitted for something else. NY Governor Hochul on Sunday reported that 42% of hospitalized Covid patients in New York were admitted for something other than the virus.

Even if the omicron variant causes less severe diseases, the hospitals can still be burdened due to the high patient volume in combination staff shortage.

“The rate-limiting factors are still the incredible speed of this variant, the number of patients who come into the ER or require an admission,” said Daignault, the LA physician. “And even if we do peak in late January, you still have the back end of that spike for the rest of February.”

Daignault suspects that many of the intensive care patients at his hospital are currently suffering from the more virulent Delta variant. Delta cases could also contribute to a spike in LA’s daily Covid deaths, he said. Still, the CDC recently estimated omicron now accounts for 95% of new cases.

Nationwide, cases and hospitalizations have passed the peak of last winter, but there are about 87% as many patients in intensive care with Covid. The US is reporting a seven-day average of nearly 1,800 Covid deaths a day, according to Hopkins data, which, while rising, is about half the peaks recorded around this time last year, before vaccines were widely available.

While vaccines, particularly without a booster dose, appear to offer less protection against infection by Omicron, they appear to withstand the serious illnesses and deaths that they were originally designed to prevent. While this means that vaccinated people may be contributing to the rise in cases, in reality it is the unvaccinated who are driving hospital admissions.

But the high transmissibility means many healthcare workers have contracted the virus and are being forced to isolate, pushing some hospitals to their limits even sooner.

Although a peak in cases provides some light at the end of the tunnel of this surge, hospitalizations and deaths have lagged the rise in infections. The full impact of the Omicron spike remains to be seen.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: Signs Covid is peaking in the North East

Greater than 80 killed in Kentucky after lethal tornadoes rip throughout a number of states

Janet Kimp, 66, and her son Michael Kimp, 25, stand outside their home after a devastating tornado outbreak in Mayfield, Kentucky, United States, Jan.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

More than 80 people have died in Kentucky in tornadoes in several US states.

“I know we lost more than 80 Kentuckers. That number will exceed more than 100. This is the deadliest tornado event we’ve ever had, ”Governor Andy Beshear said on CNN Sunday morning.

Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee were hit by a series of dangerous storms and tornadoes on Friday night. Beshear declared a state of emergency, and President Joe Biden said FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was in each of the six states to assess the damage.

Mike Castle hugs his daughter Nikki Castle after finding the father-daughter necklace he wanted to give Nikki for Christmas on December 11, 2021 after the tornado in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, USA.

Minh Connors | USAToday network | via Reuters

Beshear will hold a press conference on the latest developments at 4:15 p.m. ET.

There are 12 confirmed deaths from Friday’s storm in Warren County, Kentucky, where more than 500 homes and 100 businesses were destroyed. At least 12 fatalities were reported in the Mühlenberg district of Bremen, reported NBC News.

The location of a roof collapse at an Amazon.com distribution center, the day after a string of tornadoes that struck several states in a row, in Edwardsville, Illinois, the United States, Dec. 11, 2021.

Drone base | Reuters

In Illinois, six people were dead and one injured after one Amazon Distribution center in Edwardsville collapsed. A total of 45 people were safely rescued from the site and the operation has evolved from a rescue mission to a salvage mission, Governor JB Pritzker told a press conference on Saturday.

“The federal government will do everything it can to help,” Biden said that during a press conference on Saturday from Wilmington, Delaware.

“I promise you whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government will find a way to deliver it,” added Biden.

An aerial view of homes and businesses that were destroyed by a tornado on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

One of the storms torn by four states, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, on a journey of at least 220 miles. The trail counts it among the longest tornadoes in US history if it stayed on the ground. The National Weather Service will conduct an official poll to determine if this is a single, ongoing tornado, NBC News reported.

– CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky contributed to this report.

Biden says his administration will do ‘no matter is required’ to assist states reeling from tornadoes

United States President Joe Biden speaks about the deadly tornadoes that struck Kentucky on December 11, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

president Joe Biden said his government stood by and ready to do “whatever it takes” after several dozen people were killed in a swarm of powerful tornadoes and storms that swept across six states from Friday night.

“The federal government will do everything it can to help,” Biden said during a press conference on Saturday from Wilmington, Delaware.

“I promise you whatever is needed, whatever is needed, the federal government will find a way to deliver it,” added Biden.

Irene Noltner comforts Jody O’Neill in front of the Lighthouse, a women’s and children’s home that was destroyed by a tornado on December 11, 2021, along with much of downtown Mayfield, Kentucky, USA.

Matt stone | USA Today | Reuters

Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee were hit by more than 30 tornadoes. Biden said FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is on site in each of the six states to assess the damage.

At least 70 people have died in Kentucky, and the number could climb to more than 100. Governor Andy Beshear said he believed the tornado will be the deadliest to ever hit the state. More than 180 National Guardsmen are stationed in areas in western Kentucky, the hardest-hit part of the state.

A woman exits a line of ambulances on the Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory property after it was devastated by a tornado on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Kentucky.

John Amis | AFP | Getty Images

“All government resources are used,” said Michael Dossett, director of emergency management for Kentucky, at a news conference.

The president approved the Kentucky state of emergency earlier in the day and added on Saturday afternoon that he was ready to approve proposals for the other states.

In Illinois there were at least two people after one Amazon Edwardsville warehouse collapsed.

Amazon truck cabs are seen in front of a damaged Amazon distribution center on December 11, 2021 in Edwardsville, Illinois. The distribution center was reportedly hit by a tornado on Friday evening.

Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said on Twitter that the company was “unhappy” about the deaths.

“As this situation continues to develop, I want our Edwardsville community to know that we are working closely with local officials and first responders to provide support. My deepest condolences go to the Amazon community and all concerned, ”he said.

At least three people were killed in the storms in Tennessee, said a spokesman for the state emergency management agency Associated Press. According to the New York Times, two people were fatally injured in Arkansas.

Before and after satellite imagery showing the destruction of tornadoes in Mayfield, Kentucky on December 11, 2021.

Courtesy: Maxar Technologies

“We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together,” said Biden. “The federal government will not go away.”

The officials continued to assess the extent of the damage throughout Saturday. Press reports and social media show destroyed buildings and fallen trees. According to reports compiled by PowerOutage.us, more than a hundred thousand customers are still without power.

One of the storms torn by four states, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, on a journey of at least 220 miles. The trail counts it among the longest tornadoes in US history if it stayed on the ground. The National Weather Service will conduct an official poll to determine if this is a single, ongoing tornado, NBC News reported.

Omicron detected in Florida and Texas because it takes root in 25 U.S. states

Genview Diagnosis Medical Assistants Crystal Leyva (L) and Keitia Perez conduct COVID-19 sampling tests on laboratory technicians at the Foxconn Assembly on August 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

Several southern US states, including Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida, have confirmed cases of the Omicron-Covid-19 variant as the heavily mutated strain takes root in half of all US states.

25 U.S. states have discovered cases of the new strain, a number that health officials expect to increase in the coming weeks, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Covid briefing at White House on Friday. The Omicron cases come as the nation grapples with a wave of delta infections that drove Covid cases to over 100,000 a day, up 16% last week and 23% since before Thanksgiving, the data said from John Hopkins University.

Scientists are still trying to answer questions about the portability, severity, and impact of Omicron on the vaccine’s effectiveness. Meanwhile, government, commercial, and academic laboratories in the United States are stepping up genome sequencing efforts to find more cases of the variant.

Georgia

Georgia public health officials reported three cases of the variant from Thursdaywho all live in the greater Atlanta area.

The first two cases were announced in a press release on Sunday. One patient developed mild symptoms after traveling from South Africa and tested positive for Covid. The state health department also said it was informed on Dec. 3 of the second patient, who tested positive in New Jersey and is currently recovering there.

The department did not provide any information about the symptoms or the severity of their infections.

The third case was confirmed on Thursday in an unvaccinated person with no recent international travel history. The patient suffers from mild Covid symptoms and isolates himself at home.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is conducting contact tracing to identify close contacts among infected patients, according to a press release Thursday.

State Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said vaccination was “key” to preventing the spread of Covid and the occurrence of variants like Omicron, the press release said. She also stressed that Delta is still driving the majority of infections in the US

“It’s also important to remember that even while Omicron is being developed, we are still in the midst of a pandemic currently fueled by the Delta variant,” Toomey said.

Delta still accounts for more than 99% of all genetically sequenced cases in the US, said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday.

Georgia posted a seven-day moving average of 1,334 positive tests for the virus on Thursday, after that number dropped below 1,000 for most of November. according to the CDC. The positive tests have risen steadily since Thanksgiving, but are still well below the 7,000 to 9,000 seven-day averages seen in August.

Louisiana

Public health officials in Louisiana reported 37 cases of the Omicron variant on Thursday. However, only three cases have been confirmed and 34 are still “likely,” said the state health department in a press release.

The first likely case was reported and identified on December 3 in a metropolitan New Orleans resident who had recently traveled within the United States

Another 16 likely cases were reported on Wednesday, while 20 became known on Thursday alone.

At least 28 probable cases and 2 confirmed cases are among residents of the greater New Orleans area. Three likely cases are in patients in the Baton Rouge area. Two likely cases are in patients from northwest Louisiana.

There is also a confirmed case in a resident of Northshore, a neighborhood in Louisiana.

The country’s health department did not provide any further information on the severity of the infections. The department only found that another patient from the Acadiana area had recently traveled internationally but did not need to be hospitalized after testing positive.

“These new cases of Omicron should serve as a reminder of the ongoing threat from COVID, especially as we gather for the holidays,” said state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter, in the press release, urged the citizens of Louisiana to get vaccinated and reinforced.

Louisiana recorded 439 new cases Thursday. according to the CDC, still below its high in October when the 7-day average hit 530.

Texas

The Texas State Health Department on Monday confirmed its first case of Omicron in a resident of Harris County, where Houston is located. The department determined that the patient was an adult woman but did not provide any further information about her symptoms or when she tested positive.

Harris County Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are currently investigating the case.

“It is normal for viruses to mutate, and given the rapid spread of omicron in southern Africa, we are not surprised it showed up here,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, the officer for the state health department.

Texas posted a 7-day moving average of 2,554 cases on Thursday. according to the CDC. That number is well below the previous months, with the 7-day moving average hitting up to 9,000 in October and 19,000 in September.

Florida

Two cases of the Omicron variant had been reported in Florida as of Thursday, a state health department spokesman told CNBC.

The department was notified of the first patient by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the spokesman said, noting that they cannot provide details on the case.

The hospital recorded in a declaration to the WFLA that the patient has mild symptoms and has recently traveled internationally.

“Our vendors were able to quickly identify, test, confirm, and add this data to our evolving understanding of this variety,” said the hospital’s statement, according to WFLA.

The second case from St. Lucie County was reported to the CDC by the state health department, the spokesman added. They did not provide any further details on the case.

When asked about reports of the new Omicron cases at a news conference Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would not impose bans in the state.

“In Florida we won’t let them lock you up, we won’t let them restrict you, we won’t let them impose mandates, we won’t let them close schools, we will protect your freedom” Making decisions, “DeSantis told reporters.

“And I have no problem if someone is worried, if they are afraid of Omicron and want to lock themselves up or isolate themselves, that is absolutely their choice in a free society, but you don’t force fauciism on the whole country or the whole state, it’s wrong, “he continued.

As of Thursday, Florida had a seven-day moving average of 1,873 tests positive for the virus. according to the CDC. That number has risen in the past few weeks, most recently reaching 1,800 new cases per day on October 28th.

Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all affirm circumstances because it spreads to eight states

A medical worker gives a nasal swab-Covid-19- to a traveler at the Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care test site in the international terminal of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, USA, Thursday, December 2nd Test, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

At least eight US states now have at least 20 cases of the highly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant after Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania confirmed all infections on Friday.

The news comes a day after 10 cases were cconfirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation’s first case of the variant in a patient in San Francisco on Wednesday and the tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Maryland health officials have confirmed cases in three residents of the metropolitan area of ​​Baltimore. One patient was vaccinated and recently traveled to South Africa, and another was unvaccinated and in close contact with that patient, according to a press release from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

The third case in Maryland is unrelated to the others and involves a vaccinated person with no recent travel history, the press release said. None of the three people are hospitalized.

The patient in Pennsylvania is a man in his thirties from northwest Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The department is still working to get more information on the case, it said in a press release.

Hours earlier, Nebraska officials confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently infected five members of her household.

The first patient returned from Nigeria on November 23 and became symptomatic on November 24, according to a press release from the Public Health Solutions District Department of Health.

Only one of the six people was vaccinated and none had to be hospitalized, the department said.

New York officials confirmed five cases late Thursday: one in Suffolk County on Long Island, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and another in New York City. Minnesota public health officials confirmed the second case of variant in the United States earlier that day in a resident who had recently returned from a New York City convention.

The US is among the list of 38 countries with confirmed cases the World Health Organization announced the Omicron variant on Friday.

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened pre-departure test rules for international flights and expanded mask requirements on public transport as part of a broader strategy to curb the spread of the new variant.

However, officials in New York and Hawaii who reported cases of the variant Thursday said they believe Omicron is already spreading in their communities.

“This is not just because of people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicron has already been identified,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, at a press conference on Thursday.

Omicron has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells. According to the WHO, some of the mutations are associated with higher transmission and reduced antibody protection.

Health officials in the US and around the world have feared that the variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines to some extent.

“The molecular profile of the types of mutations you see [in omicron] would suggest that it may be more transmissible and could elude some of the protection afforded by vaccines, “White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters on Wednesday.” But we don’t know now.

States Have Cash to Spend on Psychological Well being, however It Might Not Final

DENVER – Colorado is known as the Mecca for healthy outdoor types. According to federal surveys, however, a higher proportion of citizens than the national average struggle with mental illness, thoughts of suicide, or heavy drug or alcohol consumption.

The COVID-19 pandemic – with the accompanying job losses, school closings and bereavement – has made the situation worse.

Now, Colorado policymakers are preparing to spend huge spending on mental health and addiction services thanks to the federal COVID-19 aid package from March, the Mammut American Rescue Plan Act.

Legislators voted this spring to spend $ 550 million Colorado received under the Behavioral Health Services Act. There are also grants for services the law provides for the state and emergency funds allocated to Colorado schools that can be used for efforts to improve student mental health.

The additional funds and block grants approved by the legislature alone amount to more than a third of what the state spends each year on behavioral health, said Robert Werthwein, director of the State Office for Behavioral Health.

“Very rarely can you make this kind of investment in behavioral health infrastructure,” he said.

Lawmakers in at least seven other states – Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington – have also allocated billions of dollars to mental health services and drug use, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, a non-partisan research organization with offices in Washington , DC and Portland, Maine.

Stateline story

State lawmakers are wondering how long the boom will last, flooded with cash

Health officials in these states hope the cash flow will turn things around. They plan to spend it on everything from mental health awareness campaigns to mobile crisis teams and rewards for mental hospital staff.

But there is a catch. After the aid funds have been used up – the money must be spent by the end of 2026 – leaders will have to find other ways to fund programs, services, or staff increases that they are now spending federal funds on.

Heads of state need to make sure they don’t start a successful new program only to get rid of it five years later, said Dr. Brian Hepburn, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors based in Alexandria, Virginia member organization.

“If it’s just a rash – if it’s only one time and we only see improvement over the next few years, it won’t help very much,” said Hepburn.

Policymakers’ approaches to spending the money vary, said Hemi Tewarson, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. In some states, they focus on short-term use of the funds, such as: B. Professional development programs. Other state officials plan to invest in longer-term commitments and work out a sustainable funding plan later, she said.

Colorado lawmakers have taken on the daunting task of devising a plan for how the one-time funds will be spent to transform the state’s behavioral health care system.

“I think everyone is in the place of: We know these are one-time dollars. How can we spend these dollars so that they have a long-term effect? ​​”Said Colorado State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, a Democrat. “And that’s difficult.”

She is the vice chair of a task force that will make recommendations for spending $ 450 million on the behavioral health insurance fund. The task force started the meeting last month but will not make any decisions until the end of the year.

Right now, members are pondering a variety of mental health and drug use challenges in Colorado, such as accessibility, affordability, and labor shortages. “These things are all on the table,” said Gonzales-Gutierrez.

An inflow of cash

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated some worrying behavioral trends.

According to federal surveys, an increasing number of adults in the United States reported having a mental illness in recent years. After the 2020 pandemic, the proportion of US citizens reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression increased and the number of deaths from overdose increased 31% compared to the previous year.

In Colorado, calls and text messages to the state hotline rose 25% last year. Hospitals have been so inundated with mentally ill children that Colorado Children’s Hospital did one in May Emergency for the mental health of young people.

This spring, lawmakers voted to spend $ 550 million of the $ 3.8 billion in flexible funding Colorado received under the American Rescue Plan Act for mental health and drug use services, of which $ 100 million Dollars were allocated immediately (spent on more than a dozen line items, including prison-based services and staff training) and the rest is due to be allocated later.

Stateline story

State legislators split over the need for federal aid

While democratic support was unanimous, GOP members were divided. In the Senate, for example, 4 out of 15 Republicans voted against the final bill.

“The majority of our group supported the bill,” said Sage Naumann, Republican communications director in the Colorado Senate. “As for the other four, it was most likely a difference in strategy, especially when it comes to things like substance abuse.”

There is a lot of bipartisan support for mental health services in Colorado, he said. “In 80% of the discussions about mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention and the like, we usually find common ground with our colleagues on the other side.”

Indiana Democratic lawmakers also made behavioral health a priority this year, defying an initial budget that would have cut behavioral health funds by $ 26 million. “We have repeatedly pushed back these cuts and spoken out against these cuts,” said Senator Shelli Yoder, a Democrat and vice-chairman of the minority group.

The conflict ended after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act, Yoder said. With $ 3 billion in flexible federal funding, the Republican-controlled legislature approved a budget that spent $ 100 million the federal dollar on mental health services.

“We are making record investments in the health and mental health of Hoosier, which is what we need right now,” said Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray during an April press conference on the budget agreement. Bray was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Shenetha Shepherd, Indiana Senate Press Secretary for the Democrats, said policymakers at the state’s Mental Health and Addiction Department will decide how the $ 100 million will be spent.

The American Rescue Plan Act also approved block grants of $ 3 billion for all states and territories, hundreds of millions more for everything from youth suicide prevention to community clinics, and $ 112 billion for schools. Districts can use the money in a variety of ways, including hiring counselors and strengthening mental health services.

Away from the funding cliff

A task force of 16 Colorado policymakers – advised by a sub-panel of mental health attorneys, hospital officials, and others with a stake in the behavioral health system – is now discussing how to spend the $ 450 million legislature that is being spent in the set aside last session.

Task force members are generally in favor of four investments of $ 100 million rather than thinly spreading the money across many priorities, said Vincent Atchity, chair of the subcommittee. He is President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, an organization that works to help people with mental illness or addictions.

Mental Health Colorado plans to spend at least $ 165 million to add hospital and psychiatric treatment beds nationwide and improve recovery services. “We have an acute shortage of resources available to properly manage care in terms of inpatient capacity,” he said.

Stateline story

As suicide rates rise, crisis centers expand

Werthwein said that all new editions must be sustainable. “We have to be careful that there is no cliff effect.” The money could perhaps be spent on training staff or on facilities.

Colorado could use Medicaid dollars to pay for new programs over the long term, he suggested. Medicaid is the state health insurance program for low-income and disabled people that is jointly funded by the federal states and the federal government.

Policy makers in other countries could make the same calculation. For example, many states are using their block grants from the American Rescue Plan Act to upgrade and expand behavioral health crisis response teams and call centers, said Hepburn of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Such increases have been a state priority since the federal government moved to make 988 A nationwide emergency number for suicide and mental health crises from 2022.

States looking to fund crisis services over the long term could learn from Arizona, said Hepburn, which has changed its Medicaid rules in recent years to cover the cost of its expanded crisis services.

It is also possible that state legislators are simply voting to increase spending on services or personnel in the coming years.

In Virginia, for example, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam announced a plan in July to provide $ 485 million – a mix of American Rescue Plan Act funds and state dollars – for rewards for state mental hospital staff, addiction treatment, and supportive care Housing spend Other services.

The Virginia General Assembly urged Northam to commit to adding pay increases for the facility’s staff to its next budget, noted Alison Land, commissioner for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, in a statement emailed.

Yoder, of Indiana, said she hopes the increased spending on mental health and substance use will at least partially pay off by allowing more residents to fully participate in the economy.

“We need every Hoosier who gets involved and participates in business,” she said. “And when people are struggling with an addiction, that’s a big challenge.”

Which states will get probably the most cash

California, Texas, and New York are likely to cash in on the trillion-dollar infrastructure package when the bill gets on President Joe Biden’s desk.

But far less populous states – like Montana and Alaska – will get most of the money per capita.

The government said Californians should budget at least $ 44.56 billion in infrastructure funding, the largest amount for any state, with highways and public transportation alone accounting for about $ 34.8 billion.

Texas came in second with an estimated allocation of $ 35.44 billion, between $ 26.9 billion in estimated highway funding and $ 3.3 billion in estimated public transportation funding. New York in third place is expected to receive $ 26.92 billion.

The full list of estimated allocations for each state can be found at the end of this article.

CNBC’s analysis shows that Vermont, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska lead the way in estimated per capita infrastructure spending with at least $ 3,500 per inhabitant. California’s estimated per capita allocation is less than $ 1,250 per inhabitant.

In the hope of delivering on Biden’s election promises before the 2022 midterm elections, the White House has billed the plan as a generational investment. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this month to rebuild the country’s fragile roads and bridges and fund new climate resilience and broadband initiatives. Parliament wants to pass the law by October.

The government advocates that the infrastructure plan “will stimulate the economy, strengthen our competitiveness, create good jobs” and improve a variety of other metrics.

It is important to note that the White House estimates are summaries based on the budget allocation in previous statutes. Current legislation could change the formulas that determine what factors determine how much money a state or city receives.

Current White House estimates also ignore competitive funding programs for specific, economically significant one-off projects. Often times, municipalities can use these grants to fund an isolated project when the federal government determines that a particular bridge or tunnel has an oversized economic impact on a region.

All improvements are likely to come at the local level, as states and municipalities are the stewards of about 90% of non-defense public infrastructure and typically bear 75% of the maintenance costs, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. a progressive think tank.

Washington typically funds large infrastructure initiatives through the Department of Transportation, which awards grants to states. These grants can come from several funds, including the Highway Trust Fund, which generates a significant portion of its income from gasoline taxes.

The calculations that determine how much money one state receives relative to another are set by law and can vary slightly over time as lawmakers update spending models. However, some factors remain consistent, said Vikram Rai, head of Citi’s municipal bond strategy.

“The Department of Transportation receives an allocation and it decides how to allocate it to different states and locations,” said Rai. There are many factors that determine the size of a grant, but some factors are simple.

Rai explained that a state’s population is usually highly dependent on how much it receives in relation to total funding. The reasoning there is clear: the more people live in a federal state, the more the roads, bridges and other traffic areas in the state are worn down.

CNBC policy

Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:

It is therefore sometimes not surprising that New York, Texas and California are at the top of the funding list as three of the most populous states in the country.

Other factors that play a role in determining the amount of the grant can be a little more complicated.

The grants can be larger or smaller depending on how many major cities a particular state has. Or, if the grant is flagged for urban areas, the amount will be determined by how many people live in a particular city.

In the FAST Act of 2015, an Obama-era transportation law, grants for urban areas were determined in part based on whether the city had more or less than 200,000 residents.

These grants were then further increased or decreased due to other factors: the presence of a S-Bahn, for example, or the number of kilometers that the city’s buses traveled on a given day.

These factors are clear in the current White House calculations.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are expected to receive $ 15.2 billion in public transportation based on formula funding. That’s 24% of the total for public transportation, even though these states make up about 10% of the U.S. population, suggesting the government believes the vast public transportation infrastructure in these three states deserves additional attention.

On the flip side, Louisiana, which is struggling with potentially billions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Ida, is expected to raise $ 1.01 billion for bridge replacements and repairs, which is sixth out of all states and about 4.1 % of the total for bridges.

The American Society of Civil Engineers said in a recent report that Louisiana, which relies heavily on bridges to cross much of its low-lying landscape, ranks fourth in the nation for total bridge area but second in number of structurally defective bridges on the basis of square footage.

The Federal Transit Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation that oversees financial support for public transit systems, has released flowcharts showing that how the formulas of the FAST Act determined the amount of funding.

Complete status list

States should determine precisely easy methods to spend opioid settlement cash

The endgame of the spreading mass of opioid lawsuits comes into focus: Already a settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three major drug dealers pouring billions of dollars into communities to tackle the addiction crisis, and more to come.

But what exactly that looks like differs from place to place. States will likely see lump sums of money handed out for years and it will be up to them to decide how to spend it according to the signposts posted in the settlements. It could easily be subject to competing interests: lawmakers could argue with governors over priorities, while counties in some places could demand more autonomy. Some public health experts also raise questions about the quality of addiction programs that states could fund.

“This is extremely complicated, and it will be difficult to get it right,” said Kelly Dineen, director of the health law program at Creighton University Law School.

advertising

The lawyers leading the lawsuits promise the bulk of the billions will be used on addiction prevention and treatment. They say they are building safeguards into the agreements to ensure the money gets to the root of the problem that led states, cities, counties, and tribes to file these cases in the first place – a crisis that only reached new depths during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s a direct response to the 1998 more than $ 200 billion worth of historic tobacco settlement in which money advocates argued that they should go into smoking cessation and instead put prevention into the general funds of the states – and on some Places used for services that were as independent as filling potholes.

advertising

“This money has to go down and fight addiction,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said last week when a group of attorneys general announced the $ 26 billion deal with the three distributors and Johnson & Johnson. “We’re here for an addiction.”

More deals could follow as plaintiffs and defendants in the opioid supply chain – including manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies – negotiate ways to resolve the thousands of lawsuits alleging the companies sparked the country’s opioid epidemic .

State officials often look to available sources of income to supplement their limited budgets. If the settlements stipulate that the money should be used for control programs, a state could potentially skim some of the funds to build a general addiction care hospital, even if it wasn’t just an opioid addiction facility, some speculated Experts.

“There is always room in these matters for states to perhaps wriggle out of their original intent,” said Nicolas Terry, executive director of the Hall Center for Law and Health at Indiana University’s law school.

And when the money gets moving, different parties could argue about how to spend it.

When Oklahoma settled an isolated case against Purdue Pharma in 2019, the money was raised helped found an addiction treatment center at Oklahoma State University, in an initiative led by Attorney General Mike Hunter. But the members of the state parliament were outraged that the money hadn’t been put in the treasury so that they could decide what to do with it. You have been changed the law This gives them the authority to split funds from future settlements.

Other states are trying to get ahead of the process. Tennessee has set up an opioid defense council that will help steer any funding, while New York has set up a “lock box” for funds from the settlements to make sure it goes to addiction services.

“Yes, we reached an agreement after many months and years of negotiations, but it will not bring back the loss of life,” New York attorney general Letitia James said last week. “What it will do is prevent this tragedy from happening again. It will provide prevention and education, as well as prevention and beds, to the organizations and hospitals who need them now more than ever. “

New York has also set up a body to advise lawmakers on how to allocate the money, made up of health officials and people who have had addictions either themselves or in their families, which Melissa Moore, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, “is really crucial Level of accountability. “

In Oregon, county officials argue that most of the settlement money the state receives should go to them because the county governments are largely responsible for addiction relief, said Brad Anderson, senior assistant counsel in Washington County, the state’s second largest.

“These were local government lawsuits,” said Anderson. “Local governments have felt the effects of the opioid epidemic disproportionately and are best placed to be part of the solution.”

The county plans to use the funds received to build its planned addiction treatment and treatment center.

“People go to the emergency room, they often go to jail,” said Kristin Burke from the district’s health department. “But what we really want is for people to be treated.”

There are still many details to clarify before much of the money reaches the state coffers. More states and municipalities are considering the deal with the distributors and Johnson & Johnson and have an opportunity to sign up, but Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has already done so refused the compact, argues that the $ 26 billion over 18 years – and the estimated $ 527.5 million the state would receive over that period – is insufficient to take the toll on the addiction crisis. (Nearly $ 24 billion from the deal will go to the states, with the remaining $ 2 billion covering fees and expenses, attorneys general said.)

Public health experts have credited attorneys with describing the types of addiction programs the settlement money can be used for. In the agreement made with the distributors and Johnson & Johnson last week, the agreement lists a number of avoidance strategies aligning with public health approaches to combating addiction, including distribution of the opioid reversal drug overdose drug naloxone; Offer drug treatment to people without insurance and to people imprisoned; and expansion of syringe exchange programs.

Still, experts have raised concerns about how exactly states will allocate their dollars, with concerns about what types of programs they may or may not fund. Political and law enforcement agencies sometimes reject some of the most effective treatments for opioid addiction – the drugs methadone and buprenorphine – because they are opioids themselves, preferring instead to programs that encourage abstinence but are less successful and not endorsed by addiction health professionals.

“We want ways for states to adjust settlement funds to meet the needs of the people in their state,” said Dineen of Creighton. “But we also know that when it comes to drug policy, states do not always make evidence-based health decisions.”

For example, in Louisiana, lawmakers have passed Landry-sponsored bill direct any settlement money to drug courts. (The governor vetoed the measure, saying it had too vaguely defined an acceptable use of the money.) Many Public health advocates argue that drug courts are an extension of the criminal justice system that often fail to help people get evidence-based treatment and instead call on medical experts to guide addiction treatment.

While the settlement deal suggests what experts say are the best types of intervention, the deals are also expected to spend millions of dollars as officials in some states cut back on damage control programs. Local officials in Indiana and New Jersey Communities recently voted for closure syringe exchange programs, which can serve as avenues for addiction treatment and have been shown to reduce the transmission of viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV among people who inject drugs.

“You have to put your money where your mouth is,” Dineen said of the officers who will oversee the billing dollars. “If you really want to help or help prevent people with opioid use disorder, then you need to support programs and services that have a track record.”

Teaching type of Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton makes its solution to Nigeria sidelines

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (WTXL) – Luke Loucks’ career in the State of Florida was marked by setting the school record for the most games played as Garnet and Gold (136). And helped lead the FSU to its first ACC championship in 2012. All along the way, Loucks was soaking up information from one of the best coaches ever.

When he left the state of Florida, the coaching was out of sight from Luke. But when his time as a professional overseas player came to an end, he remembered all the times Leonard Hamilton tried to give him a chance. Loucks is now on the sidelines of the Nigerian men’s basketball team, ready to implement one of the most important lessons he learned during his time under coach Hamilton.

“I always go back and we talk about it all the time with the Warriors and even with Team Nigeria, exactly the defensive intensity he asked you to do. I learned that from day one when I played for coach (Leonard) Hamilton, ”says Loucks. “And it’s something I will always have wherever I train. No matter what kind of athlete I have, when you get on the pitch you will be on your guard. And that’s why it’s always so difficult for me to play Florida State. “

Ohio State’s Harry Miller elevating cash for missionary nonprofit

When Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller was in middle school, he went on a missionary trip to Nicaragua with a suburb of Atlanta church group.

It left a lasting impression. He got a glimpse of the country’s extreme poverty and was inspired to return and provide further assistance.

“As a child in America you don’t really know how good it is until you go somewhere else and see plastic houses made of old cardboard and wood and tin and plastic sheeting, which are basically a room with dirty floors and maybe a bed.”, Maybe not “, said his mother Kristina, who accompanied him.

In the past seven years, Miller has made nearly a dozen visits to Nicaragua on similar trips. Last year, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, he brought his teammate Tommy Eichenberg with him.

The way it is was allowed this month To help college athletes benefit from their name, image, and appearance, Miller came up with an idea. He launched an online pop-up store Sale of t-shirts, sweatshirts and baseball caps with the logo of his personal brand. The logo contains the letter “H” in a curved shield.

Selling soccer player logo clothing to help children in Nicaragua

All proceeds from sales will be donated to Mission for Nicaragua, a nonprofit that Miller is a part of five board members and formed by members of Miller’s church group. They continue to provide food, medicine and other resources to the children of a school in Los Brasiles, Nicaragua. For the time being it is his only NIL-related occupation due to football requirements and academic obligations as a mechanical engineering major.

“I’m very fortunate to have good friends, a good family support system, clothing, and food,” said Miller. “I have my guitars and my books so there isn’t really much I want to buy. The reality is that there are a lot more people that money can be used up to, and so it’s the most useful thing that can be done. It would be rude of me not to take note of this, especially to a community that has been so supportive of me for more than a decade. They earn it.”

Miller has bonded with the children at school on previous trips. He played soccer with them. They danced together.

Many community members accompanied mission teams as those teams completed projects like house building and food distribution, Miller said, and he values ​​the special moments that emerged in the end.

Prior to the lifting of the NIL restrictions, Miller likely would have needed an NCAA waiver to raise funds for the organization, much like former Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence made last year when he started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for coronavirus relief.

Instead, the philanthropic effort came together in a matter of days without jumping through many hoops. Miller already had a copy of a personalized brand logo. It was created by Sammy Silverman, a former Ohio State creative media director, who designed it as part of a branding presentation during one of Miller’s visits to the campus as a high school recruit.

On July 1, the first day players were allowed to use their NIL, his mother gave the logo to a merchant to make goods. There were a couple of style choices to commit to. (You chose blue because it’s the main color of the Nicaraguan flag.) But the online shop went up the next day.

“That was really almost overnight,” said Kristina.

New NIL rules made it easy

Miller found it “incredibly helpful” that it took so few steps to set up the shop.

“It’s a nuisance that it would be so difficult just to help people,” Miller said. “You’d think it could be done pretty easily. Any civilian could set up a GoFundMe or share on their social media about a cause they want to support, but because I play a sport they got spoiled and said is that sketchy?

Given the limitations of previous NCAA rules, Miller spent little time as a college athlete considering donating to the nonprofit.

Kristina said they talked about donating part of his salary in case Miller played in the NFL and that he has a bright future in football. Miller, a former five-star recruit, joined the Left Guard last fall and is expected to fill in at the center next season, replacing Josh Myers, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in April.

But the dawn of the NIL era in college sports gave him a chance to dive into charity work earlier.

He expects other college athletes to follow similar paths as they discover their own passion projects.

“A lot of people want to do philanthropic things,” Miller said. “I think the only reason I could jump on something quickly was because I had a history with it. Every locker room is full of great guys, and when you give a guy something that is important to him, there is nothing he wouldn’t do to support that cause. “

Miller said last week he wasn’t sure how much money the website raised, but he was encouraged by the engagement he saw on social media and feedback from friends.

While visiting his hometown of Buford, Georgia, on the weekend of July 4th, he stopped by a youth soccer camp and met one of his former coaches who told him he had bought a t-shirt.

There is no sales target for the pop-up site that stays online until Sunday. Miller just hopes more equipment will be bought.

“If it were a GoFundMe, the goal would be as much as possible,” he said.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman