What We're Reading: Vaccine Mandate for Active-Duty Troops; Rising Prevalence of Heat Waves; Readmission Risk in Nursing Homes

Department of Defense details plan on a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all active-duty personnel; United Nations climate change report addresses likelihood of future extreme weather events tied to global warming; Government Accountability Office report finds greater readmission risk in understaffed skilled nursing facilities.

Department of Defense to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine

In a memo sent yesterday by Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, he recommended for all DOD military and civilian personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and suggested that a vaccine mandate will be implemented at a later date. As reported by NPR, the Pentagon is not yet able to issue a vaccine mandate until a COVID-19 vaccine receives full approval from the FDA unless it obtains a presidential waiver, which Austin plans to ask for by mid-September. President Joe Biden, in a White House statement released in tandem with the Pentagon memo, strongly supported a vaccine mandate for service members.

UN Report Addresses Growing Prevalence of Extreme Weather

As summarized by Reuters, a report issued yesterday by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicated that extreme heat waves that previously struck once every 50 years are now expected to occur once each decade due to global warming, with other extreme weather events such as droughts and downpours also now more likely to happen. Notably, increased global warming was associated with significantly more heat waves than all other extreme weather events, in which twice-in-a-century heat waves could happen approximately every 6 years with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and every 1 to 2 years with 4 degrees Celsius of warming.

Greater Readmission Risk in Low-Staffed Nursing Homes

A report published yesterday by the Government Accountability Office found that understaffed skilled nursing facilities exhibited higher readmission rates for patients than facilities that employed more nurses. As reported by Newsblock, readmission rates were found to decrease as staffing levels increased, with 2265 hospital readmissions potentially preventable in facilities with fewer nurses. Furthermore, weekend staffing declines may contribute to adverse findings, as average skilled nursing staff were found in the report to decline by 42% on weekends compared with Monday through Friday.