Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) introduced a bill that would give three free N95 masks to every person in the United States, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Vermont.
- District of Colombia: White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday confirmed that Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, has been appointed as the White House's new Covid-19 testing director. Psaki's announcement comes as the Biden administration continues to grow the nation's testing capacity. Notably, Psaki said that U.S. testing capacity has increased from 50 million to 300 million a month since September. "We're going to keep moving at this speed, and faster, to get volume up on a monthly basis," Inglesby said. Previously, Inglesby has served in several roles in the fields of infectious disease and public health preparedness, including as chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Center for Preparedness and Response at CDC from 2010 to 2019. Inglesby has also served as an advisor to HHS. (Carbajal, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/12)
- Maryland: FDA last week again extended the shelf life of nearly 1 million rapid Covid-19 test kits that had initially expired in a Florida warehouse in September—marking the second time the test kits' expiration dates have been extended. After their initial expiration in September, the federal government permitted Florida to use the tests until late December. Then, FDA on Jan. 7 said the tests' manufacturer, Abbott Diagnostics, had demonstrated that the kits would remain viable for at least 15 months at room temperature. As a result, FDA updated the emergency use authorization for the expired tests, granting an additional three-month extension. (Carbajal, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/12)
- Vermont: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced the Masks for All Act—a bill that would provide three free N95 masks to every person in the United States. According to the bill summary, the Masks for All Act would send free masks to everyone in the country, including people who are homeless or living in congregate settings such as prisons, shelters, and college dorms. "We are proposing that we do what our public health experts and scientists say we must do: provide all of our people with high-quality, N95 masks without cost, which could prevent death and suffering and save huge amounts of health care dollars," Sanders said. (Garfinkel, Axios, 1/12)