What We’re Reading: Travel to England Eased for Vaccinated; ICU Visitors Valued; COBRA Subsidy to End

Americans traveling to England will no longer need to quarantine; lack of ICU visits during COVID-19 pandemic affected patient health; sign-up window for COBRA subsidy to close.

UK Lifts Quarantine Rule in England for Vaccinated Travelers from US and EU

Starting August 2, travelers from the United States and the European Union who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival in England, British authorities announced Wednesday. Travelers will still need to take a COVID-19 test before departure and soon after arrival, transport minister Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter. According to Reuters, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants US travelers to come to England “freely.” Thus far, the rule change covers England only, but the report said the change may soon cover the rest of the United Kingdom. However, the Biden administration announced Monday it would continue to restrict travel entry from the United Kingdom.

Humanizing ICU Can Help Patients Survive

Growing evidence supports the idea that bedside visitors offer clinical value in the intensive care unit (ICU), according to STAT News. Visitors who are close to patients can provide important health details and notice subtle changes that caretakers may not catch, which may help patients survive and recover from illness. Studies suggest isolation can make people sicker, while longer visits lead to shorter stays in the ICU. One study published in 2020 found that the incidence of delirium was significantly higher in patients after visits were restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts hope they will be able to open their doors as wide as before again.

Registration for COBRA Subsidy Closes July 31

The sign-up window for free COBRA coverage closes on July 31 for those were involuntarily laid off or whose hours were reduced. According to Kaiser Health News, people can register for a subsidy that covers their out-of-pocket costs for COBRA subsidy even if they didn’t already have COBRA coverage, or if they did and dropped it. Under the American Rescue Plan Act that President Biden signed in March, COBRA premiums for employees who were laid off are covered in full by federal funding for 6 months from April to September. Eligible recipients have 60 days from the date their employer notified them of the COBRA subsidy to sign up for it.