Answers to Your Coronavirus Questions

Senior Healthcare Direct answers your Coronavirus COVID-19 questions. The first American died of COVID-19 on February 29, 2020. In the blog posts below, you can learn more about Coronavirus testing covered by Medicare Part BTelehealth Coverage expands, and regulatory relief from CMS Section 1135 Waiver.

Posts

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine senior man shot arm needle face mask

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Sunday, February 28, 2021, the CDC recommended and endorsed the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. Furthermore, it authorized the emergency use of the vaccine for people age 18 and older. Consequently, CNN reports today, “US begins distribution of a third Covid-19 vaccine.” 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

COVID-19 Vaccinations in US

Up to 4 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are ready to roll out this week. This new COVID-19 vaccine only requires one dose. Whereas the other COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two doses. 

In other words, you only need to get a single shot in the arm with this new COVID-19 vaccine. However, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require three-week immunity (waiting) period between shots. Thus, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines take twice as long for a person to become fully vaccinated. 

US COVID-19 Vaccinations

The United States has administered 75 million COVID-19 vaccinations from December 14, 2020, to February 28, 2021. However, the percentage of Americans fully vaccinated is only 7.6%. To be fully vaccinated, you have to receive two shots of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Most of these 75 million vaccinated Americans have received only one shot. Furthermore, some people who had their first shot may choose not to get a second shot. Since the new Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine only requires a single shot, we can expect the rate of fully vaccinated Americans to increase much faster. In other words, the pace to end the COVID-19 pandemic will quicken starting in March 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness

The two-shot COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are about 95% effective. However, the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine is only 72% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, it’s nearly 86% effective against severe forms of the disease.

Vaccine Storage and Transport

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that require subzero storage and transport, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires refrigeration. It’s much easier to transport and store the new Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This difference will make the new vaccine widely available to many communities, including mobile sites.

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine seniors woman gets vaccination shot

Takeaway

The easier to distribute, one-shot Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine will quicken the pace of vaccinations. With this new vaccine, we can end the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about COVID-19 and other vaccines for seniors covered by Medicare.

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Vaccines for Seniors woman gets vaccination shot

Vaccines for Seniors

Medicare covers many vaccines for seniors. In 2021, seniors need the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC confirms a new COVID-19 variant “seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants.” Thus, putting seniors at greater risk for viral infection.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Seniors age 65 and older often have a weakened immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections. Thus, seniors who get infected are more likely to have complications, such as hospitalization and death. Since the new COVID-19 variant is accelerating the spread of the virus, seniors need vaccination ASAP. 

Vaccines For Seniors man get COVID-19 shot
Senior man gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

What vaccines do seniors need?

All vaccinations protect seniors from serious diseases (and related complications), so you can stay healthy. Medicare covers the following vaccines for seniors:

COVID-19 Vaccination

FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, 2020. A week later, the FDA issued EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. As of January 2021, the supply of these COVID-19 vaccines is limited. To protect the most vulnerable, the CDC recommends the following get the vaccine first. 

CDC prioritization for COVID vaccine

  • 1a. Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities
  • 1b. Frontline essential workers and people aged 75 and older
  • 1c. People aged 65 – 74, those 16 – 64 with underlying medical conditions, and other essential workers.

To find a COVID-19 vaccination site near you, search for your state’s department of health. For example, search “Florida Department of Health.” Your state governor will determine who can administer the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Vaccines for Seniors woman is first to get COVID-19 shot
75 year old woman is first to get COVID-19 vaccine.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Medicare Part B covers the Hepatitis B vaccine if you are at increased risk for Hepatitis B. Read the article, Does Medicare Pay for Hepatitis B vaccine? and discover how Hepatitis B spreads. Furthermore, learn the symptoms and the difference between acute and chronic Hepatitis B. 

You qualify for the Hepatitis B vaccine if you have one of the following:

Hepatitis B vaccine illustration
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects your liver.

Influenza Flu Vaccine for Seniors

To protect your health, the CDC says, “Flu vaccination is especially important for adults 65 years and older.” Seniors have a “high risk of developing serious complications from the flu.” For example, recent estimates show between 70 and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur with seniors. Furthermore, seniors also account for 50 to 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations. 

Flu vaccine for seniors reduces their risk of flu illness and severe outcomes. Moreover, flu vaccines for 2020-2021 are new from last season’s vaccine to better match circulating viruses. Studies show the flu vaccine effectively reduces medical visits and hospitalizations, particularly in seniors. 

Influenza virus

Medicare Part B provides flu shot coverage. Learn about the Influenza viruses and how the flu vaccine protects you from this contagious respiratory illness. Discover the most effective flu vaccines for seniors. 

Pneumococcal Vaccine for Seniors

Medicare Part B provides pneumococcal vaccine coverage for seniors. Furthermore, Medicare covers two different pneumococcal shots, which protects you against different strains of the bacteria. As long as your health provider accepts Medicare assignment, your pneumococcal vaccinations are FREE! 

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases recommends pneumococcal vaccinations for all seniors. Pneumococcal infections cause an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations per year and about 5-7% of those hospitalized die. However, the death rate of seniors is even higher.

According to the CDC, seniors are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Vaccines for Seniors woman gets vaccination shot

Read the Medicare Pneumococcal Vaccine Coverage article and discover the following:

  • What is pneumococcal disease?
  • How does it transmit from person-to-person?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How effective is the vaccine for seniors?

Shingles (Zoster) Vaccine

Shingles is a painful, blistering rash, and the vaccine reduces your risk of having Shingles. According to the CDC, almost 1 out of 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. The incidence of adults having shingles has been increasing for decades. 

The graph shows people age 70 and older have the highest incidence of shingles. However, adults aged 50 – 59 have about the same incidence rate as adults aged 60 – 69. Thus, your risk of having shingles increases as you get older.

Unlike other vaccines, your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan covers the shingles vaccine. You can get Part D drug coverage in Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Part D Plan.

Shingles Incidence Rates by age over time
Shingles Incidence Rates by age over time

Read the Shingles Vaccine article to get answers to the following questions:

  • Who can get shingles?
  • Which shingles vaccine is best for seniors?
  • Where to get the shingles vaccine?
  • What does the shingles vaccine cost?
Medicare Coverage COVID-19 Vaccine Senior Wearing Face Mask

Medicare coverage COVID-19 Vaccine

Medicare Coverage COVID-19 Vaccine Senior Wearing Face Mask

According to Medicare.gov, Medicare will provide coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. Currently, FDA.gov has no FDA-approved or authorized vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. On December 10, 2020, the FDA will meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. They plan to discuss the request for emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer, Inc. in partnership with BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization

Albert Bourla CEO Pfizer

If FDA approves the Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, it plans to distribute the vaccine to “high-risk populations in the U.S. by the middle to end of December 2020.” According to CNN, Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine is the first to seek regulatory clearance in the United States. Furthermore, Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, said, “It took just 248 days to get from the day we announced our plans to collaborate with BioNTech to our FDA submission day.”

How does Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine work, and how effective is it?

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses a few weeks apart. Furthermore, Coronavirus protection starts 28 days after the first shot. Final analysis of Phase 3 clinical trials found Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine 95% effective in preventing infections.

However, another pharmaceutical company, Moderna, has a COVID-19 vaccine that is just as effective.

Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine shows 94.5% effectiveness in clinical trials. It plans to apply for FDA emergency use authorization later in November. Consequently, the FDA is likely to consider both applications on December 10, 2020.

Now that we know which COVID-19 vaccines may be available in December 2020, which high-risk groups will likely get emergency use first?

When and Who Will Get The Vaccine First?

The Hill reports Robert Redfield, CDC director, said today that a COVID-19 vaccine would be released “by the end of the second week of December.” Furthermore, Redfield says the decision to receive the vaccine first (based on risk and exposure) will likely be “nursing home residents and health care providers.” In the meantime, the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is by wearing a cloth mask.

Update: COVID-19 vaccines became available in December 2020. Learn more about these and other vaccines for seniors.

Senior in wheel chair at nursing home wearing face mask
Nursing homes may be the first to get the vaccine.

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Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci wears cloth mask

Mask Protects You COVID-19

Wearing a Cloth Mask Protects You

On November 10, 2020, the CDC reports wearing a cloth mask protects you from COVID-19. Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic, the CDC has told Americans to wear a cloth mask to prevent Coronavirus transmission to other people. However, for the first time, the CDC says, “Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration.” Furthermore, the CDC says cloth masks with “higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance.”

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Coronavirus can spread from asymptomatic people who show no symptoms and spread the virus when they speak. Therefore, you can unknowingly spread the Coronavirus by talking with another person while not wearing a face mask. Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, the CDC concludes that “individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.” Finally, the CDC says, “adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns.”

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci wears cloth mask
Dr. Anthony Fauci wears a cloth mask.

Now you know wearing a cloth mask with a high thread count, such as a cotton mask, can protect yourself and others from COVID-19. So, how well have Americans protected themselves?

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Top 5 COVID-19 Countries on November 13 2020
Top 5 COVID-19 Countries on November 13, 2020.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, America has led the world with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. On May 13, 2020, America had 1.4 million COVID-19 cases and 83,115 deaths. Compared to the other top seven countries, the U.S. had more cases and deaths than all these countries combined!

Six months later, on November 12, 2020, the CDC reports 10.3 million COVID-19 cases and 241,069 deaths. America continues to lead the world with the highest number of total COVID-19 cases and deaths (Worldmeters.info). Why is the United States the most infected country in the world? America’s response to COVID-19 will tell you how we got here.

America’s COVID-19 Response

In April 2020, America shut-down to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Upon reopening America in May 2020, businesses required customers to wear face masks. During this time, the CDC advised Americans to wear a cloth mask to prevent the spread of Coronavirus to other people whenever you could not safely social distance.

However, President Trump and many of his followers refused to wear a face mask during political rallies and white house events. As a result, COVID-19 infected Trump. He stayed at Walter Reid Hospital for three days. Subsequently, Coronavirus has infected many of Trump’s staff and cabinet members, including the first lady, Melania, and press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany.

In October 2020, the number of new COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket. On November 5, 2020, CNN reports that the U.S. breaks record with over 120,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, and more than 234,000 deaths. On November 10, 2020, The Guardian reports the U.S. hit a record number of Coronavirus hospitalizations 62,000 nationwide, the biggest single-day increase since July 10. Furthermore, the U.S. surpassed 1 million new confirmed cases in the first ten days of November.

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Trump rally in Tulsa, OKlahoma
Trump holds an indoor, no mask rally in Tusla, OK.

America’s divided response to COVID-19 has made U.S. world leader in Coronavirus cases and deaths. Moreover, COVID-19 has weakened our national security. November 13, 2020, MSNBC reports in a video, “130+ Secret Service Officers either infected with COVID or under quarantine.”

So what can we do to make America safe again?

Wear a Cloth Face Mask

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 face mask

You can help Make America Safe Again by wearing a cloth mask to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19. By unifying as one nation and following CDC guidelines, we can save ourselves from COVID-19. I

If you think you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, please get tested for COVID-19.

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Cost of Living Adjustment 2021

Cost of Living Increase in 2021

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will increase the cost of living adjustment (COLA) by 1.3% in 2021. This COLA increase relates to a slight rise in the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). Over the last 12 months ending August 2020, the CPI-W has increased by 1.3%, with food prices rising 4.1%, energy prices down 9%, and airline fares fell by 23.2%. United Airlines planned to cut more than 16,000 jobs and will now cut 13,000 jobs. SSA will mail COLA notices in December to retirement, survivors, disability beneficiaries, and SSI recipients.

Approximately 70 million Americans will see a 1.3 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in 2021.

blog.ssa.gov
Happy Senior Mailbox
Happy senior receives COLA notice in the mail

Higher At-Home Food Costs

Cost of Living Adjustment 2021 - Senior at empty meat shelves
Where’s the beef? Increased demand for food at home results in supply chain disruption and empty grocery store shelves.

During the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020, States shut-down and restaurants closed. As a result, the high demand for groceries disrupted the food supply chain. Food distribution was not able to quickly shift from restaurants to grocery stores. Consequently, the cost of food at home rose by 4.6 percent!

Food shortages led to grocery stores with empty shelves. For example, if you could find eggs, they would be the most expensive organic eggs and cost about three times as much as generic eggs. Many meatpacking plant employees became infected with COVID-19. As a result, many meatpacking plants closed or operated at limited capacity creating meat shortages. I remember going to a grocery store meat section and seeing nothing but empty shelves.

COLA comparison 2017 – 2021

Cost of Living Adjustment 2021 chart

How does a 1.3% increase in the 2021 Cost of Living Adjustment compare to the previous four years? In 2016, COLA was zero. Since then, COLA has increased to .3% in 2017, 2% in 2018, to a high of 2.8% in 2019. Then COLA began decreasing to 1.6% in 2020 and 1.3% in 2021.

Social Security Taxes and Benefits in 2021

High-income earners may pay more social security taxes in 2021. The maximum taxable earnings will increase $5,100 from $137,700 in 2020 to $142,800 in 2021. However, the 2021 tax rate for social security and medicare will remain the same as in 2020.

People who reach full retirement age in 2021 will earn an extra $137/month. Your maximum social security benefit will increase from $3,011/month in 2020 to $3,148/month in 2021. View all 2021 Social Security changes.

Happy Senior Couple
United Airlines Coronavirus

United Airlines Coronavirus

The coronavirus has caused turbulent times for United Airlines and the airline industry. The rise of COVID-19 cases, currently over 7 million in the US, has stalled its recovery. Read this article to discover which jobs United Airlines plans to cut and how a Medicare plan can help.

On September 2, 2020, CNBC reports:

United Airlines plans to cut more than 16,000 jobs as coronavirus continues to hammer demand, and federal aid runs out this fall.

On the bright side, the job cut number is far less than the 36,000 jobs United warned in July. Moreover, the Coronavirus relief package prohibits airlines from cutting jobs or pay rates through September 30.

United Airlines Coronavirus

Update: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby will cut 13,000 jobs.

United Airlines Coronavirus - pilots wearing face masks
2,850 United Airline pilots at risk of losing their job

United Airlines Job Loss

United Airlines’ job loss comes from thousands of volunteers who accepted buyouts and early retirement packages. As a result, more than 7,000 United Airlines employees have separated from the company. These United Airlines employees voluntarily left their jobs.

Since April 2020, United Airlines employees have avoided terminating jobs through temporary leaves of absence and voluntary pilot furloughs (unpaid time off). However, starting in October, employees will be at risk of losing their jobs?

United Airlines plans to cut 16,370 jobs which include:

  • 6,920 flight attendants
  • 2,850 pilots
  • 1,400 management jobs
  • 2,010 mechanics
  • 2,260 airport operations

However, according to a Reuters article on May 15, 2020, United Airlines only needs 3,000 of 25,000 flight attendants. Thus, unpaid time off is likely for most flight attendants.

About 7,000 flight attendants may lose their jobs

Forced Retirement and Medicare

United Airlines Coronavirus - flight crew wearing face masks
United Airlines flight crew wearing face masks

The Coronavirus Pandemic may cause United Airlines to terminate your employment and force your retirement. Furthermore, if you are a senior age 65 or older and United Airlines cuts your job, you will lose your group health coverage. Then, according to Medicare.gov, you have two months after you lose coverage to join a Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan.

During this two-month Special Election Period, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage or a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Before you join either Medicare plan, you must first apply for Medicare Part B.

Helping You Apply for Medicare Part B

In this video, Robert Bache shares how Senior Healthcare Direct has streamlined the application process to help you apply for Medicare Part B. Furthermore, we can help you find the right Medicare plan. For example, we can help you with Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Part D prescription drug plan. Call us at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

CVS Health COVID 19 Accendo Medicare Supplement

CVS COVID-19 Testing and Accendo Medicare Supplement

CVS COVID-19 Testing Accendo Medicare Supplement

CVS is offering adults free COVID-19 testing, “Video Visit” telemedicine services, and Accendo Medicare Supplement plans for seniors with a 14% household discount! You will learn which states have CVS COVID-19 testing, how to schedule your test, and how to evaluate your medical condition from the safety of your home. Furthermore, you will discover the Medigap Plans offered by Accendo and in which states these plans are available.

CVS Health COVID-19 Testing

Starting May 29, 2020, CVS Health has 1,000 COVID-19 test sites in 31 states across the country and Washington, DC. The COVID-19 test is free for legal residents age 18 or older in the following states:

  • AZ – Arizona
  • CA – California
  • FL – Florida
  • GA – Georgia
  • HI – Hawaii
  • IL – Illinois
  • IN – Indiana
  • KY – Kentucky
  • LA – Louisiana
  • MA – Massachusetts
  • ME – Maine
  • MD – Maryland
  • MI – Michigan
  • MN – Minnesota
  • MO – Missouri

  • NE – Nebraska
  • NV – Nevada
  • NH – New Hampshire
  • NJ – New Jersey
  • NY – New York
  • NC – North Carolina
  • OH – Ohio
  • OK – Oklahoma
  • PA – Pennsylvania
  • RI – Rhode Island
  • SC – South Carolina
  • TN – Tennessee
  • TX – Texas
  • VA – Virginia
  • WI – Wisconsin

How does CVS COVID-19 Testing Work?

First, you schedule a COVID-19 test by entering your zip code. You fill out a short questionnaire about your date of birth, symptoms, and medical conditions. Then you can select a COVID-19 test site location and time.

CVS COVID-19 testing nasal swab sample collection

Next, fill out a registration form with your personal information. This form includes your name, address, date of birth, gender, email, mobile phone number, medical insurance information, and vehicle information.

On your COVID-19 testing appointment, you stay in your car and follow instructions posted at the site. Testing involves you will inserting a nasal swap into your nostril and twist it for up to 15 seconds, as shown in the photo below. Alternatively, you can have a friend insert the swab for you.

CVS performs a PCR test, which tests for an active Coronavirus infection. The COVID-19 testing lab emails your results within 2-4 days through MyChart.

How to Stay Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

You can limit your exposure and the spread of Coronavirus by using Medicare Telehealth. CVS provides “Video Visit” telemedicine services to evaluate your medical condition, including symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), from the safety of your home. Video Visit can also evaluate non-urgent illnesses in adults and children over age 2, including the following:

  • Allergies
  • Colds & coughs
  • Earaches
  • Flu
  • Minor injuries
  • Sinus infections
  • Skin conditions
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach
  • UTIs & bladder infections

Medical services can be expensive, especially for seniors. A Medicare Supplement Plan pays the $1408 Part A hospital deductible and 20% of medical costs not covered by Original Medicare. With an Accendo Medicare Supplement, you can now get an affordable Medigap plan.

What is Accendo Medicare Supplement?

Starting on March 13, 2020, Accendo is a new Medicare Supplement Insurance company that offers Medigap Plans A, B, F, G, and N. It’s a subsidiary of CVS Caremark. It has partnered with Aetna to provide Medicare Supplement plans with a 14% household premium discount in the following 15 states:

  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

In addition to Accendo’s record-breaking 14% household discount, it has a fast application process that gives you an instant yes or no. Therefore, you do not have to wait several days to find out whether or not you are approved. To apply for an Accendo Medicare Supplement plan, call Senior Healthcare Direct at 1-855-368-4717 or get your quote.

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths May 2020

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths

Based on global data on Coronavirus testing, America has led the world since March 26, 2020 with the most Coronavirus cases and deaths. When you compare the United States with other countries, America has more COVID-19 cases than the other top seven countries combined. So America, more than any other country in the world, needs to protect its people.

Coronavirus cases and deaths by country

In this article, you will better understand how the Coronavirus War is killing more Americans per day than the Civil War, how many more Americans are forecast to die in the coming weeks, and which states will have the highest increases in COVID-19 deaths. Moreover, you will discover which U.S. states have reported the most Coronavirus cases and deaths. Finally, the article tells you which Americans are at higher risk of COVID-19 and what you can do to protect your health.

American Deaths from Coronavirus COVID-19

President Trump

With 1.34 million Coronavirus cases, NBC News reports on May 11, 2020, that U.S. Coronavirus death toll passed 80,000. President Trump has called himself a “wartime president,” and upon reopening America we need to be “warriors.” So how does the Coronavirus War compare to the deadliest conflict in American history?

The American Civil War (1861–65) killed more Americans (750,000) than any other war in American history. In our civil war, 520 Americas died every day. On the other hand, our Coronavirus War has killed between 1,000 – 3,000 Americans every day, as shown in the graph below.

Graphic of coronavirus deaths per day
NBC News graphic shows Coronavirus deaths per day in the U.S.

So more Americans are dying per day than in our deadliest Civil War. Moreover, at a rate of 40,000 deaths per month, we could see half a million (500,000) dead Americans in the first year. With so many Americans dying from COVID-19, how many national deaths does the CDC forecast?

CDC National Forecast deaths
CDC National Forecast U.S. death toll over 100,000 by end of May, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts in additional 20,000 COVID-19 deaths in the next two weeks. By the end of May 2020, the American death toll is forecast to be over 100,000. In the coming weeks, the following U.S. States may see substantial death increases:

States with increasing COVID-19 deaths

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Minnsota
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio

  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

The eighteen states above all have an upward curve, which closely matches or exceeds the slope of the national forecast. The CDC predicts these states to have the highest increases in COVID-19 deaths in the coming weeks. Likewise, these states will also have the highest number of new Coronavirus cases. So which U.S. states have had the most COVID-19 cases?

Coronavirus Cases and Deaths by State

New York is the epicenter of the U.S. Coronavirus Pandemic. It has suffered the highest number of COVID-19 cases 337,000 and deaths 21,640 reported by Wikipedia. Sixteen states have had over 20,000 cases, as shown in the CDC map of the United States.

CDC US Map of COVID-19 cases
CDC US Map of COVID-19 cases

All U.S. States have reported Coronavirus cases. The top sixteen states with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths ranked in order from highest to lowest cases include the following:

  1. New York (338K cases, 21,845 deaths)
  2. New Jersey (141K cases, 9,508 deaths)
  3. Illinois (83K cases, 3,601 deaths)
  4. Massachusetts (79K cases, 5,141 deaths)
  5. California (67K cases, 2,770 deaths)
  6. Pennsylvania (57K cases, 3,806 deaths)

7. Michigan (48K cases, 4,674 deaths)
8. Florida (41K cases, 1,779 deaths)
9. Texas (39K cases, 1,100 deaths)
10. Georgia (34K cases, 1,460 deaths)
11. Connecticut (33K cases, 3,008 deaths)
12. Maryland (33K cases, 1,683 deaths)

13. Louisiana (31K cases, 2,242 deaths)
14. Virginia (25K cases, 891 deaths)
15. Ohio (25K cases, 1,436 deaths)
16. Indiana (24K cases, 1,411 deaths)

These sixteen U.S. states include the top ten most populated states except for North Carolina. However, the CDC forecasts North Carolina will have a substantial increase in COVID-19 deaths and, as a result, cases in the coming weeks. So now that you know which states are most affected by COVID-19, which populations in these states have a higher risk of severe illness and death?

Americans at higher risk of COVID-19

The CDC reports that seniors age 65 or older and any person with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Census.gov projects 3.5 working adults for every retirement-age person in 2020. Thus, the senior population is 28% of the current 2020 population (329 million) equals 92 million seniors. In other words, 3 out of 10 Americans are seniors at higher risk of Coronavirus illness and death. So how many people have serious underlying medical conditions?

60% of Americans at higher risk for COVID-19

The CDC reports 6 in 10 Americans have a chronic disease. These medical conditions include heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Americans with these serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness and death from the Coronavirus. So how do you determine if you have a chronic disease?

You have a chronic illness when health conditions last one year or longer. Thus, 60% or 197 million Americans have a long-term health condition and are at higher risk for COVID-19. As a result, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death in America. In the short term, COVID-19 will join this list of leading causes of death. However, your behavior has a huge impact on stopping chronic disease. You can remove the following risk behaviors to prevent chronic disease.

Health Risk Behaviors

  • Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Poor nutrition, diets low in fruits and vegetables
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol use
US Chronic Disease pie chart

How to Protect Your Health

You can reduce your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 by quit smoking, eating more healthy foods, getting more physical exercise, and drinking less alcohol. When you do get sick or injured, you can minimize your risk of Coronavirus exposure by communicating with your doctor remotely from the safety of your home. For example, seniors who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can use Medicare Telehealth

Moreover, when you go outside, avoid touching public surfaces. The Coronavirus can live on surfaces and touching these surfaces, and then your face can infect you with COVID-19. Another Coronavirus tip is to cough into your elbow (instead of your hands) to slow the spread of COVID-19. Get more Coronavirus tips to stay safe

Furthermore, make sure you have health insurance. Seniors new to Medicare can safely apply for Medicare Part B from the safety of your home. Likewise, you can improve your health coverage with a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or Part D plan by calling 1-855-368-4717 from the safety of your home. You can also get your quote by clicking the button below.

Get Medicare Quote
Senior Doctor on the computer laptop screen and Senior patient conferencing on treatment for a cold

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth

To limit the risk of exposure and the spread of the Coronavirus, seniors can use Medicare telehealth. Seniors can communicate remotely with their doctors and other healthcare professionals from the safety of their homes using telehealth services. This article will show you how to use Medicare telehealth for doctor visits, counseling, and mental health.

Furthermore, you can use telehealth services using Internet devices you already have at home. Medicare Telehealth during the Coronavirus Pandemic can keep you safe. So what is Medicare Telehealth?

Medicare Part B Telehealth

Medicare Part B covers telehealth medical services with healthcare professionals using real-time video communication on the Internet. If you are new to Medicare, you can apply for Medicare Part B. Original Medicare covers your telehealth benefits. Consequently, you are responsible for paying 20% Part B coinsurance and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020.

However, you can get a Medicare Supplement plan that pays your Part B coinsurance. Medigap Plan G covers 100% of your coinsurance, so you can use telehealth services as often as you want and only have to pay a one-time annual $198 Part B deductible. Now that you know what it costs to use telehealth services, why should you use it?

Telehealth Protects the Lives of Seniors

Coronavirus Medicare Telehealth protects seniors
Fred communicates with his doctor using Medicare Telehealth.

Fred is a senior who got sick and needs to see a doctor. Instead of traveling to the doctor’s office and exposing himself to other sick people, Fred uses Medicare Telehealth to keep himself safe from exposure to the Coronavirus. Moreover, Fred has a wife at home. The worse thing Fred could do is get COVID-19 from another sick patient by traveling to his doctor’s office. Then bring the virus home to his wife.

For this reason, Fred uses his home computer and WiFi Internet for an e-visit with his doctor. Fred opens his email and clicks a link that opens a Zoom application on his laptop. The doctor appears on Fred’s computer screen as a real-time video, and Fred’s built-in video camera and microphone allow the doctor to communicate with Fred.

The doctor asks Fred several medical questions about symptoms of Fred’s illness. Then the doctor prescribes medication to treat the condition. Fred takes the prescribed medicine and is feeling better. Most importantly, Fred’s wife is still healthy.

Medicare Part B Telehealth Counseling

Medicare Part B can provide you with the following counseling telehealth benefits:


Alcohol Misuse Counseling

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You can receive alcohol misuse counseling when your primary doctor determines you are misusing alcohol. Consequently, you can get up to 4 brief face-to-face counseling sessions per year. Alcohol misuse counseling is free.

If you are someone you care about is drinking too much alcohol or using other drugs, call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66747.


Cardiovascular Behavioral Therapy

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Cardiovascular behavioral therapy helps lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. You can receive one therapy visit per year with your primary care doctor. Moreover, you pay nothing as long as your doctor accepts Medicare assignment. So what exactly can therapy do for you?

During your therapy, your doctor may discuss aspirin use, blood pressure, and give you tips on eating well.


Diabetes Self-Management Training

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When your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, you can get diabetes self-management training (DSMT). This training teaches you to cope with and manage your diabetes. For example, DSMT may include eating healthy, being active, monitoring blood sugar, taking prescription drugs, and reducing risks. DSMT may cover up to ten hours, for instance, one hour of individual training and 9 hours of group training. So now that you know what DSMT includes and covers, what does it cost?

Medicare will pay 80% of DSMT costs. Thus, you must pay the remaining 20% unless you have a Medicare Supplement plan. Furthermore, you will need to pay Part B deductible.


Medical Nutrition Therapy

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If your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, kidney disease, or you recently received a kidney transplant, then you qualify for medical nutrition therapy (MNT). In this case, Original Medicare covers all costs, so you pay nothing. MNT may include the following:

  • An initial nutrition and lifestyle assessment
  • Individual or group nutrition therapy services
  • Help you manage the lifestyle factors that affect your diabetes
  • Follow-up visits to check your progress in achieving your diet

Obesity Behavioral Therapy

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Doctors use a reference chart called Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether a person is obese or not. To find your BMI number, you locate your height in inches, then your weight in pounds. If you have a BMI of 30 or more, then you qualify for Obesity Behavioral Therapy. Now that you know whether or not you are obese, how can Obesity Behavioral Therapy help you?

You can talk with your doctor or other primary care practitioners to help you lose weight by focusing on diet and exercise. Furthermore, Obesity Behavioral Therapy is free. 


STI Counseling

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You can receive counseling for sexually transmitted infections (STI) if you are a sexually active adolescent or adult with an increased risk of STIs. You can have up to 2 individual 20-30 minute, face-to-face, high-intensity behavioral counseling sessions every year for free. So what are the benefits of STI counseling?

The counseling program is intended to promote sexual risk reduction or risk avoidance through education, skills training, and guidance of sexual behavior.


Tobacco Cessation Counseling

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A doctor or health care provider who accepts Medicare assignment can provide up to 8 visits of smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling per year. These counseling visits can help you stop smoking or using tobacco. Furthermore, tobacco cessation counseling is free.

You can get help to quite smoking by calling 1-800-QUITNOW (784-8669).

Betty’s Coronavirus Anxiety and Medicare Telehealth

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Betty wears a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Betty is a senior and has not been face-to-face with her grandkids in six weeks. Like many grandmothers across the country, Betty has socially isolated herself to avoid spreading and becoming infected by COVID-19. Moreover, Betty has chronic heart disease and puts her at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. So she stays home and only leaves to visit the pharmacy and grocery store.

Everywhere Betty goes, she puts on her face mask and sees other people wearing face masks. When waiting in line at the pharmacy, Betty stands on social distancing floor markings. At checkout, a plexiglass barrier further isolates her from the checkout clerk. The entire experience is emotionally disturbing. Then Betty gets a call from her son.

Doug told his mother, “I tested positive for the Coronavirus.” Betty is shocked and dismayed that her son has COVID-19, especially because Doug has diabetes and is at higher risk for severe illness. Betty is having trouble sleeping. She schedules a Medicare telehealth call with a psychologist.

Doctor Feldman a clinical psychologist, speaks with Betty on a real-time video call. Dr. Feldman listens to Betty and gives her some professional advice, including behaviors for reducing her anxiety. As a result, Betty is feeling better and sleeping better.

Get Medicare Telehealth for Coronavirus Anxiety

Betty got the mental health services she needed for her Coronavirus anxiety, and so can you. Medicare Part B covers 80% of the costs of outpatient mental health. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and Part B deductible of $198 in 2020. With Medicare telehealth, you can communicate with a mental health professional from the safety of your home. Moreover, you can avoid paying Part B coinsurance with a Medicare supplement plan.

Senior Healthcare Direct can help you find the best Medicare supplement plan for you. We can shop and compare Medigap plans with the Top Supplement insurance companies. To get a free Medigap quote, call 1-855-368-4717 or get a quote.

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