What We're Reading: Biden Reportedly Reopening ACA Enrollment; Moderna Developing COVID-19 Booster; Brazil Variant Now in US

President Joe Biden reportedly will take executive action to reopen federal marketplaces selling Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans; Moderna investigating booster shot designed to be more effective against emerging variants of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Brazil coronavirus variant is found in Minnesota.

Biden Reportedly to Reopen ACA Insurance Marketplaces

This week, President Joe Biden plans to take executive action on health insurance as he moves to reopen federal marketplaces selling Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans and lower barriers to joining Medicaid, according to a report Tuesday in The Washington Post. Citing individuals inside and outside the administration, the effort is aimed at assisting Americans who lost their health insurance as a result of job losses or other factors stemming from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Typically, open enrollment would not occur until a restricted 6-week period at the end of the year.

Moderna Developing Booster Shot to Combat COVID-19 Variants

Moderna said it plans to manufacture a COVID-19 booster shot designed to be more effective against emerging variants of the coronavirus amid reports that their approved vaccine is less potent against the variant identified in South Africa. Moderna will test 2 booster-shot options, with 1 targeting the South African variant and the other to fight new mutations. Notably, the company’s approved vaccine showed no reduction in producing neutralizing antibodies against the more contagious, and potentially more lethal, variant discovered in the United Kingdom.

First Case of Brazil Variant Found in United States

Reported by The Associated Press, the first US-reported case of the novel coronavirus variant identified in Brazil was found in an individual who recently returned from the country to Minnesota. The variant, known as P.1, has raised concern among researchers who say that people who have already been infected with COVID-19 may be at risk of being reinfected with the Brazilian variant. Although reinfection is reportedly rare, there is a confirmed case in Brazil of someone with the new variant who had been infected with a different virus strain several months earlier.