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AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls: August 12, 2021

Experts answer your questions related to COVID-19


Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times

Thursday, Aug. 12, at 1 p.m. ET

Listen to a replay of the live event above.

Staying Safe in Changing Times

Bill Walsh: Hello, I am AARP Vice President, Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of a global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. The nation's battle against COVID-19 continues as the delta variant takes hold. It's spreading quickly and stoking concern and confusion across the country. Many older adults have questions about their health and safety given the changing landscape and evolving masking guidelines from the government. Those with loved ones in care facilities are especially concerned about the low vaccination rate of workers in some facilities and the changing safety protocols. This, coupled with changes to the moratorium on evictions, has put a tremendous strain on many older adults.

Today, we hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask your question live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask your question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3. And if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including an expert on infectious diseases and vaccines, another on quality standards in nursing homes, and a financial expert from the government's consumer watchdog agency. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today.

This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments section.

Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Mark Rupp, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Rupp.

Mark Rupp: Bill, thanks so much. It's a real pleasure to join you and the rest of the crew today.

Bill Walsh: All right. It's great to have you back. I'd also like to welcome Lori Smetanka. She is the executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Welcome back to the program, Lori.

Lori Smetanka: Thanks, Bill. So glad to be here today.

Bill Walsh: OK. And finally, Per Olstad is a senior adviser with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Welcome to the program, Per.

Per Olstad: Thank you, Bill. Very glad to be here.

Bill Walsh: All right, let's get started with this discussion. And just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. Dr. Rupp, let's start with you. The delta variant has quickly altered the course of the recovery with increasing case counts and hospitalizations in recent weeks. How does delta differ from earlier variants, and who's at greatest risk?

Mark Rupp: Well, Bill, we are concerned about this delta variant. It appears to be much more transmissible than the previous variants, and there is some information to suggest it also may cause more severe disease. All of these variants share the characteristic that they have mutations in a particular protein on the surface of the virus. It's called the spike protein. And the spike protein is what allows the virus to initially bind to human cells. And so these mutations on the spike protein for the delta variant allow the virus to bind to ourselves, either more quickly or more strongly, and therefore really set off that infectious cascade more readily. As I mentioned, it appears to be significantly more transmissible than previous variants. And we're starting to gather some data that it may be a more dangerous variant from the standpoint of causing more severe disease. It's really come on with a passion and with a storm, some states more than others. But we're seeing a real impact across the southern part of the United States — Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, the Gulf Coast states — and in other areas as well. It's really going up across the country, but some states are really being hard hit, and we're kind of back to that situation where hospitals are being stressed, we're running out of ICU beds. And so it's something to really pay attention to and to be concerned about.

Bill Walsh: And who's at greatest risk from the delta variant?

Mark Rupp: Well, clearly unvaccinated persons. And so this is somewhat characterized at this point as a pandemic amongst the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, and it's really the unvaccinated people that are bearing the real brunt of this latest surge. You know, I've seen some statistics relating that 90 percent or more of the people who are sick and in the hospital are those who are unvaccinated. So if there are any listeners who have been sitting on the fence considering whether to get vaccine or not, now is the time. There's just never been a better time or a more dangerous time in this pandemic. So please, go get your vaccine.

Now, having said that, we are starting to see some breakthrough cases, even in vaccinated persons. That's not something that people really need to be terribly concerned about because the vaccine does continue to offer protection against the more serious manifestations of the illness. So those people who are vaccinated, very few of them go on to develop severe disease, end up in the hospital, or even dying from this infection. So the vaccine, albeit maybe somewhat less effective, continues to show some strong protective effects even against this delta variant.

Bill Walsh: OK. Let me shift gears a little bit, Dr. Rupp. News reports are that Israel has become the first country to widely administer a third dose of the vaccine beginning … they began a booster campaign for adults ages 60 and older about 10 days ago. And news outlets in this country are now reporting that the FDA will authorize a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for some people who are immunocompromised very soon. Do you anticipate that the U.S. will authorize a booster vaccine for all Americans?

Mark Rupp: Yeah, Bill, I think that we can anticipate that there will be recommendations for booster doses for all populations at some point. As you have indicated, we expect that that will probably first come out with respect to immune-compromised persons. So people who are status post an organ transplant, or they may be on immuno-suppressive drugs, high doses of steroids. Those are the kinds of folks that we anticipate will initially be targeted for a booster dose of the vaccine. It's estimated that there's about 9 million Americans who fit into those populations of patients, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 to 3 percent of the population are classified as immune-suppressed. So it's not a huge group of folks, but following on the heels of that, there is some information to suggest that our seniors may have waning vaccine protection. And so they would also be in line for a booster dose, probably before the rest of the population. And so, we're just going to have to keep our eye on the information and the recommendations. We do anticipate that we'll see something from the FDA with regard to immune-compromised patients, maybe within just the next few days. I think as far as boosters in seniors, those recommendations will be forthcoming later on.

Bill Walsh: OK. Well, thank you for that, Dr. Rupp. Lori, let's turn to you. Cases are up, as we've been discussing. We know nursing home residents are at particular risk. What have we learned from the earlier waves of the virus that can help families prepare now? What questions should they be asking their care facilities?

Lori Smetanka: Hi, sure. So I think we've learned a lot from this pandemic, including that residents and families need to be educated as much as possible about their rights, about the requirements the facility has to follow, and about what is going on in that facility. So first we really encourage frequent and good communication between the nursing home and the residents and their family members; it's critical that they have that. But families and residents should be asking a lot of questions, things like the number of COVID cases that's in the facility, as well as the resident and staff vaccination rates. The nursing homes are required to report this information weekly for posting by the federal government. So the data is available, and they should be encouraged to share it. They should also, the families and residents should also be asking about COVID infection-prevention protocols in their facilities. How are they helping to keep the residents and the staff safe? And also how many direct staff members are working on each shift, because we know that staffing levels are critically important for achieving quality care.

Over the past year, there's been a significant risk to residents beyond COVID as well, and that's isolation and neglect, and many residents have suffered tremendously from that. It's really been, I think, one of the unintended consequences of COVID. And so we also are encouraging residents and families to ask about the facility’s visitation policy. Visits should be permitted for all residents. Family members should be able to visit with them. And the families should also be asking how the facility is keeping residents engaged and connected. What activities are taking place? Are they eating with one another? How do they ensure that residents are able to go outside or visit with friends, both inside and outside the facility? So I think asking questions and being informed is really critical for residents and family members right now.

Bill Walsh: That's terrific. Great suggestions, Lori, and for additional questions, you can look at aarp.org/coronavirus. We've published an article on the eight questions to ask of your loved one's nursing home facility, and they include some of those that Lori mentioned as well as some others. Thanks very much, Lori. I'd like to bring Per into the discussion right now. Per, federal protections to avoid evictions were extended several times before they expired on July 31. A new CDC eviction moratorium is in effect through October 3 based on a public health mandate. If someone needs assistance — renters or landlords — what resources are available to help them right now?

Per Olstad: Thanks, Bill. Great question. As you noted, the old CDC eviction moratorium expired on July 31, and a new moratorium was issued on August 3, extending out through October 3. The new moratorium has many of the same features as the old moratorium did, but it's more targeted in that it only applies in communities with a substantial or high rate of transmission. Now, so for renters, what that means is that if you live in one of those communities with a substantial high rate of transmission, the first thing you should do is complete the CDC declaration form that is required under the order, and give it to your landlord. If you've already done that, using the form from the prior moratorium, you don't need to do it again. But if you haven't and you live in one of the covered communities, which as the delta variant surge is about 80 to 90 percent of the country, get the form, complete it, and give it to your landlord. You can find all the information you need to do that in the renter focus resources we offer on our website. That's consumerfinance.gov/renters. For both renters and landlords, we really encourage you to access the rental assistance programs in your area. There was over $46 billion Congress made available through those programs. And the vast majority of that money is still available. Tens of billions of dollars. Renters and, again, landlords, many of whom are financially really struggling with their own bills to pay, can get a full year or more of rent covered through those programs. That's potentially life-changing — unfortunately, literally so with the delta variant surge. We just launched a new tool on our website that anyone, anywhere in the country, renter or landlord, can use to find rental assistance programs in your community. And you can find that tool at consumerfinance.gov/renthelp. Again, that's consumerfinance.gov/renthelp.

Lastly, I'd flag that if you are a renter and you're facing eviction right now, if you've already received an eviction notice or your landlord has brought an eviction proceeding against you in court, it is really important to seek out a lawyer of your own. For many people who are struggling financially, there may be low-cost or even free legal assistance available in your community. You can find more info again on our website, consumerfinance.gov/renters. But those are really the main things I'd encourage right now. Complete the CDC declaration form if you haven't already done so. Access the rental assistance programs that are up and running in your area, and if you need it, seek out vocal expert help. Use our website, consumerfinance.gov/renters to find resources in your community.

Bill Walsh: OK, Per, thanks so much for all those resources, some good advice there. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad or drop it in the comments section on YouTube or Facebook. We're going to take those live questions shortly, but before we do, I want to bring in Nancy LeaMond. Nancy is the executive vice president and AARP's chief advocacy and engagement officer. Welcome, Nancy.

Nancy LeaMond: Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here today.

Bill Walsh: All right. Nancy, today we're talking about COVID-19's impact on our finances and housing. What has AARP been doing to fight on this front?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, of course, the pandemic is still very much with us, and the latest resurgence has hit already hurting communities. Many older Americans are struggling, and AARP has been working hard to get them some relief. I'm pleased to report that we're making positive strides. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control issued a 60-day extension to its eviction moratorium in areas with high levels of COVID-19 infections. Several federal agencies are also holding off on evictions and foreclosures for those living in properties financed by the government. This is important because millions of Americans, including folks 50 years and older, are behind on their rent or mortgage payments after losing jobs and income because of the pandemic. The new extension gives them extra time to make payments, and they can't be evicted before October 3. AARP fought for this extension to help older adults stay in their homes, where they want to be as they age. And we will continue urging lawmakers to support older Americans with expedited rental and homeownership assistance. In addition to our advocacy work, AARP recently announced more than $3 million in community challenge grants to fund 244 quick action projects in communities across the country. These investments are going to help improve public spaces, transportation, housing and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of the 50-plus. We're also very proud to help address the immediate needs of communities while also working for long-term changes.

Bill Walsh: Great. Thanks so much for that update, Nancy. The pandemic continues to impact our health as well. Where is AARP focusing its advocacy efforts moving forward?

Nancy LeaMond: Well, AARP continues to fight for investments in research to combat the virus. Older adults have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, making up the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. And that's why AARP is working closely with all levels of government to make sure the needs of older Americans continue to stay at the forefront. I'm pleased to report that those aged 65 and older have the highest rate of vaccination among all age groups, with 90 percent having received at least one dose. But as we saw last year, older adults in nursing homes are the most vulnerable. And that's why AARP is calling on these facilities to require vaccinations for staff and residents. We cannot let preventable problems be repeated. And the key is to increase vaccination and to do it now.

At the same time, we're also leading the charge to lower prescription drug prices, improve the Medicare program to include dental, hearing and vision coverage, and to support family caregivers, who are spending an enormous amount of money out of their own pockets to care for their loved ones. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's how important the role is for family caregivers. So if you want to learn more about how AARP is fighting to protect older Americans, you can visit aarp.org/coronavirus for up-to-date information.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you, Nancy, so much for that information. We really appreciate it. And in addition to the link that Nancy just provided, I wanted to give people a way to find our nursing home dashboard on our website. The address is aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard — aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Go there to see infection rates in local nursing homes, to see the vaccination rates among the staffs in those homes, and other important information to keep your loved ones safe. So thanks again, Nancy. I know you have to head out.

It's now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka and Per Olstad. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. If you'd like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill. Happy to be here for this important conversation.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, let's take our first question.

Jean Setzfand: All right, our first caller is Dennis from Indiana.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Dennis. Welcome to the program. What's your question?

Dennis: Thank you. I have been hearing that the cloth masks are not as effective against the delta variant. and should I get something more like the KN95 mask. Is that true?

Bill Walsh: Well, let's ask Dr. Rupp. Dr. Rupp, can you help Dennis with that question?

Mark Rupp: Yeah, Bill, I'd be happy to address that. So Dennis, that's a very good question. And the effectiveness of any mask or face covering depends on a number of factors. Number one, what is the mask or face covering constructed of? And so if it's a well-constructed face covering, and it fits tightly to your face, then it's going to afford a good level of protection. Where people get into trouble is that they have these very loosely fitting face coverings that are very porous and poorly constructed, and they really don't give you much protection. Now having said that you will get improved amounts of filtration and protection if you have a KN95 type of a mask or respirator. Those do provide higher levels of protection and are akin to what health care professionals are wearing in the care of patients with COVID-19. So you can get a higher level of protection with a higher grade of mask. But you can also get nearly the same amount of protection if you have a really well-constructed system. And so what some people are doing is they're actually wearing a surgical or procedure mask, and then over the top of that, they'll wear a cloth face covering so that it holds it more closely and more tightly to the face. And by doing those sorts of maneuvers, you can actually get a very good level of protection from very readily available masks or face coverings.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you for that, Dr. Rupp. Jean, let's go back to the line. Who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Excuse me. Our next caller is Alyssa from Michigan.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Alyssa, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Alyssa: Thanks for taking my call. I live in Southfield, Michigan. I am 90 years of age, and I was wondering, if there's a mandate for children entering school that they have to have certain shots and so forth. And I am wondering why a law could not be made to mandate individuals to receive the shot. It's like, as I said, as I stated, that when you're into school that you have to have certain shots. And I'm just wondering why this could not be done here with what we're dealing with now.

Bill Walsh: Right. Well, let's turn to Lori Smetanka to talk about vaccine mandates. I have seen a number of nursing home facilities begin to mandate vaccinations. What's the trend across the country, Lori?

Lori Smetanka: Yeah, we are seeing an increasing number of nursing home providers that are requiring their staff to be vaccinated. We're also seeing state governments issue mandate orders for their workers and also for workers in health care facilities. California and Massachusetts are two examples of states that have issued orders requiring staff to be vaccinated. And we're also starting to see some parts of the federal government require vaccinations of some of the workers as well, and the military is going to start requiring it. So I think that we're seeing increasing numbers of vaccine mandates across the country and expect that that trend will continue.

Bill Walsh: Hmm. OK, thanks very much. And Dr. Rupp, did you want to comment on that as well?

Mark Rupp: You know, I don't have a whole lot to add to that. I completely agree that we're seeing an increasing use of mandates to really try to drive our rate of vaccination upward. I would just point out to Alyssa the analogy with the youngest children is not quite going to fit for the COVID-19 vaccine, just because right now kids under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination. So the approach is absolutely sound, but we just aren't going to be able to mandate that in our kids until we have a vaccine that is fully licensed for our children.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks both for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Leonard from Arizona.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Leonard, welcome to the program today. Go ahead with your question.

Leonard: Thank you. It's a three-parter about the booster shots. Number one, Israel has already announced that those over 60 are going to get the booster. Number two, the World Health Organization has said for the wealthy countries, like the United States, don't give booster shots until the rest of the world is vaccinated. And we know that there are countries now where we have less than 1 percent of the population vaccinated, like South Sudan. And number three is if you had one of the three vaccines that have been given emergency use designation, when you get a booster, should it be the same drug? Pfizer, Moderna or J&J? Comments on those three. Thank you.

Bill Walsh: Sure. OK, well, Dr. Rupp, let's start with the question there, which is, if you do need to get a booster at some point, should you get it from the same manufacturer you got your original shot from?

Mark Rupp: Yeah, Leonard. These are tremendous observations and questions that you've put forward, and you're obviously well informed on the situation. The use of boosters is something that we need to study further and gather additional information, so that we can really move forward with a greater degree of data and confidence. So as you pointed out, Israel has started to do the boosters in their personnel over age 60. Where the age limit lies — I don't think that people fully understand that. Undoubtedly, as I already previously mentioned, we'll see boosters for everybody. You know, I think we can first anticipate that they'll come out for immune-compromised persons, and then following that, there will probably be some sort of an age criteria for boosters. Nobody really knows whether the same form of the vaccine is better than a different form of the vaccine. And I've actually seen data kind of going both ways. So that'll be interesting to gather some additional information and to find out whether you need to get the same vaccine preparation or a different one. So there's rationale for going in one way or the other.

And then, as you've pointed out, there's some real inequities worldwide. And we're, very fortunately, in the United States, where we have wide availability of vaccine. Essentially in our country, anybody who has wanted to get a vaccine has been able to get one at this point. And the only people who haven't been vaccinated are largely those that have chosen to not do so. You know, as the previous question pointed out, we may need to take a stronger stance on this and start to mandate vaccine in certain populations. But the World Health Organization has requested that countries take a prohibition on giving booster doses up until the end of September to give other countries a chance to catch up. You know, I think it's a worthy and useful sort of approach to the problem. I'd love it if we had greater availability of vaccine worldwide. But there's also disparities in the distribution system and just simply not getting a booster dose here, when we have such wide availability, doesn't necessarily guarantee that those vaccines are somehow going to miraculously be transmitted, transferred to some other country where they might be more needed. So there's a lot of issues logistical to work out in getting vaccine distribution. But the other thing I would emphasize is that we need to take a worldview on this and really understand that until we have much of the world — most of the world — vaccinated, even in this country, we're not going to be safe, because we could see the emergence of a variant in some distant corner of the world, some disadvantaged part of the world, that would be able to escape from the vaccine. And then we'd be back in the same shape with a virus that wasn't protected by the vaccine. So we're all in this together. You know, I wish that we had resources to get the vaccine in greater supply throughout the world.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, very good points. Thank you very much, Dr. Rupp. Jean, I understand we have a question from online.

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we have quite a few questions on YouTube and Facebook, and I'm seeing two that are very similar. One from Cheryl, who's asking, "We just started getting back to our routine health care visits, such as dentist appointments. In light of the delta variant emergence, should we pull back on those again?" And similarly, Terry is asking, "I live in North Jersey. Should I attend a 250-person indoor wedding with no mitigation measures in place on Labor Day?" So people asking whether they should do more normal things that they've been getting back to in light of delta.

Bill Walsh: Right, right. The landscape has changed. Dr. Rupp, do you want to weigh in on those questions?

Mark Rupp: Yeah, absolutely. The second one is probably the easiest for me. You know, we're back in a dangerous time, and just relaxing all of our precautions and having large groups of folks coming together, some who have been vaccinated, some who may not have, without mitigation with regard to keeping people distanced and masked, is really just an invitation for a mass spreading event. So I would be reluctant to go to that kind of an activity that's coming up here in the next few weeks, because undoubtedly delta is going to continue to be widely transmitting in our communities. The first part of it, with regard to going and getting your routine health maintenance: I think that you should be doing those things now. Clearly the vaccine — particularly if you're vaccinated, obviously, because the vaccine does offer good protection. Even if you have a breakthrough infection, you're going to be very unlikely to have a severe illness, end up in the hospital, or losing your life. It is certainly important for folks to get their routine health care, to see their doctors, to see their dentist, to get their physical therapy, those sorts of things. And in all of those health care settings, we've learned a lot over the last year, year and a half, of how to do these things safely. And so hospitals have their personnel wearing masks. They have protocols in for distancing, cleaning the environment, improving the air ventilation — all these things are being done in health care settings. So I would encourage listeners to go ahead and continue to see their dentist, see their doctors, get their health care and maintain their health.

Bill Walsh: OK, thank you, Dr. Rupp, for that, and thanks to our listeners for all those questions. We're going to take more of them shortly. And remember, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. And a reminder, if you'd like to listen Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

(Instructions in Spanish)

Bill Walsh: OK. Now let's turn back to our experts. Lori, the vaccination rates among nursing homes, staff, lags far behind the residents of those nursing homes, with some states reporting staff vaccination rates as low as 42 percent. Nursing homes are among the first to be eligible to receive vaccines. So it feels like this is a deeply rooted issue. What could be done to encourage nursing home staff to get the vaccine, and what are the risks if this gap remains?

Lori Smetanka: Sure. You know, I think that the risks to the nursing home population are just too great for us not to do everything we can to increase vaccination rates. The deaths among residents of nursing homes and staff equated to one-third of the deaths from COVID in this country, which is highly disproportionate to their population to the whole U.S. population. What we've seen is that vaccines have made the biggest difference in stemming the spread of COVID and protecting residents. The COVID cases and deaths dropped significantly due to vaccinations. And that also meant that not only were the residents protected from COVID, but also that visitation restrictions were lifted and allowed family members and friends back into facilities to provide additional assistance and support. So it is extremely important for staff, for residents and visitors to be vaccinated, particularly as new variants of COVID could and might emerge. So in addition to potentially spreading the virus, we know that facilities are also continuing to lock down when staff members test positive, which prevents others from coming in and we're seeing that already as numbers are starting to creep up in communities and in nursing homes themselves. So when staff gets sick, staffing levels decrease, the quality of care decreases.

So we are encouraging continued robust education and outreach around vaccines to ensure that people are receiving full and accurate information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and protecting people from COVID. People need easy access to the vaccines in their communities. We highly encourage all nursing homes to provide the vaccines actually onsite; that has been happening in most places across the country and should continue to do so. And staff, I think, also need access to medical experts and counselors who can access and answer questions or concerns that they may have and provide culturally sensitive advice. And we are seeing, as we've talked about already, requirements for mandates across staff, in some cases for visitors, and we may even start seeing them for residents as well. So I do think we need to do everything we can to ensure that vaccines are available and that people are getting them.

Bill Walsh: All right. Well, let me follow up on that. I want to find out where consumers can find out more, because as you noted, the vaccination rates at nursing homes vary significantly. Vermont, for example, is at 95 percent, while other states are in the 40th percentile. Where can families find out more about staff vaccination rates at their loved ones' facilities, and what can they do? Can an ombudsman help?

Lori Smetanka: So, sure. Families should certainly ask at the facility itself about vaccination rates for the staff and the residents. They should be giving the percentages that are fully vaccinated. They can also be contacting their departments of health. The ombudsman program is a good resource for information where they can help direct them to find the resources. And on our consumer voice website at www.theconsumervoice.org, listeners can also find a link to the federal government's nursing home COVID data, which includes vaccination rates for every facility in the country. It includes the vaccination rates for residents and staff, as well as the numbers of COVID cases and deaths.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Thanks for that, Lori, and I'll also put in a plug for AARP's nursing home dashboard, which has vaccination rates among staff. You can find that at aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Thank you very much for that, Lori. Per, back to you. Only a small portion of the federally funded aid for renters or landlords has been shared, as you mentioned earlier. With many of the applications still under review, what can someone do if they were about to lose their housing but have an application that's pending?

Per Olstad: Great, great question again. Thanks. So as we noted, the money that started coming out fairly slowly — this is an entire new nationwide infrastructure implemented through over 700 different programs at the state and local level. And we've seen a steady increase of the money going out the door every month in March, in sort of an algorithmic scale, and I'm optimistic that we'll keep on that trend. The next round of reporting through the U.S. Treasury should come soon here on the July money that went out. But it has been not as fast as anyone would like. And then there are people who have submitted applications and have to wait quite a while to get resolution. Again, I think all across the country, you have programs that are working as hard as they can to move this along. But this was a whole infrastructure that had to be built from scratch and quickly in the face of the pandemic and the financial challenges that people are acutely feeling. So for those people who have submitted an application but it's still pending, again, if you live in a community with a substantial or high transmission rate, the first thing you should do is complete the CDC declaration form and give it to your landlord. That can sort of give you, buy you time to get through the application period through October 3, where you can't be evicted for nonpayment of rent.

The other thing I'd say is, if you can, don't disengage from your landlord. Start a conversation. With the bureau, we've had a lot of conversations with landlords and renters over the last many months. And I've heard from both sides that oftentimes relationships have really deteriorated through the pandemic, and that's not surprising. It's an awful situation for both renters and landlords. So, of course, it's going to create a lot of strain on that relationship. What we've also heard repeatedly, in many situations just having a blunt conversation about the financial challenges on both sides can really help. It's not always true. There are certain situations where that just isn't going to work, but in many instances it can. So among the other resources we offer on consumerfinance.gov, we also offer guidance for both renters and landlords in how to start working towards a compromise that will ultimately benefit both of them. The reality is that eviction is costly and painful for both renters and landlords, and especially with the rental assistance money now starting to flow out more rapidly, both parties can really benefit from just working together to find a solution until the rental assistance money arrives. As I said before, it may also really help to seek out a local expert. As noted, there may be low cost or free legal assistance in your area, but you can often also engage local HUD-certified housing counselors. Many of them have really expanded the counseling services they offer for renters, not just for homeowners, including guidance on how to best have that conversation with landlords, and in some instances, even being able to work with the renter and the landlord to find a short- and long-term solution. Those housing counselors really can be a great resource, and there is a lookup tool to find them in your area on consumerfinance.gov/housing.

Finally, I'd also just say for the landlord, many of them are small mom-and pop-landlords who are really struggling with their own bills to pay, and often really rely on the rental income. We have a suite of resources to help them with their short- and long-term needs, the guidance on the range of solutions and options that can be available. And you can find those at consumerfinance.gov/landlords. So really, again, the two main points, if you live in an area with a substantial or high transmission rate, please complete the CDC declaration form and give it to your landlord. And then also, if you think you can, don't disengage. It's hard to have those conversations. These are sensitive topics in a really challenging time. But it's really important to have the conversation if you can, and maybe it will arrive at a short-term compromise until the rental assistance money actually arrives.

Bill Walsh: OK, Per, thanks so much. Terrific advice. And now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka and Per Olstad. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Kathy from Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Kathy. Go ahead with your call.

Kathy: I had a tenant that lived in our place in Connecticut, and he basically didn't pay rent for 15 months. Trashed the place. We only met him for a couple of hours before he moved in. And he didn't pay rent. Apparently was continuing to work as a truck driver, maybe even making $2,000 a week is what he told this guy. But he also trashed the place, put holes in the wall and left human feces in bags — just lots of negative stuff. So the thing is, though, we're trying to find out if we can get a bailout for our rent. We've had, literally, the animal control people had to come in and get — he'd left an animal in there. But they said they couldn't walk through the house because the trash was, in each floor, like knee-high. And so we've been having to spend lots of money trying to get it fixed, and we haven't able to re-rent it. By listening to you earlier, we found out about the site for getting bailout money for COVID. It says, though, something like if you're a Connecticut — the place is in Connecticut, we live in Colorado. It says you need to be a Connecticut resident. Is there something like that, something that will help us? I mean, I do a lot of community service, and this was a real mistake. But we haven't been able to rent it. I mean, literally, literally, we had a woman that was taking time off that is a psych nurse, that was taking time off, and she went through, and she said it was worse than hoarding. Even the state, like I said, they came in, and then their official report said, we can't even go through the house. And it's been really — it's very expensive. It's gone without rent for 20 months now.

Bill Walsh: Oh, boy. Well, what a terrible situation. Well, let's see if we can get you some answers. I wonder if Per Olstad could comment on Kathy's situation.

Per Olstad: Sure. I am, Kathy, I'm sorry. I mean, that sounds like an awful situation. I think the best thing you can do is contact the local programs. The way the rental assistance program has been set up nationwide is that there's a fair amount of discretion for the local program administrators on how to set up the program, including some flexibilities around who is covered and eligibility requirements and how they prioritize funding going out the door. So there's not going to be a one-size nationwide answer that will work. I really do encourage you to contact the Connecticut rental assistance program. And it sounds to me like something that's probably — if you can engage via a phone call rather than just try to go through the web portal. And I would look to see — in many areas of the country, there's more than one program that you may be eligible for. The way the program was set up, it can be administered at the state level, the county level, the city level, tribal entities — many have been approved to participate in the fund. Again, over 700, I think 716-some, programs nationwide. So [inaudible] other options as well. And you can use the search tool that I've referenced at consumerfinance.gov/renthelp to see the range of programs. And you could reach out to contact them.

I will say — you didn't specifically ask this, but I will say that the CDC moratorium really only applies for nonpayment of rent as a basis for eviction. It certainly would not cover other reasons for eviction like the ones you described that are, that have nothing to do with financial ability to pay rent to a COVID hardship, which just sounds like an awful, awful treatment of the premises. But I would, for the assistance with the funding, I would go to the local program for guidance.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks very much, Per. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Earl from Oregon.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Earl, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Earl: Hi. Yeah, my question is just whether when you're using ... [losing contact]

Bill Walsh: Sorry, go ahead, Earl. Earl, do you want to repeat your question?

Earl: Yeah. When you were using this ... hello?

Bill Walsh: Go ahead. Yep, go ahead, Earl, I can hear you now.

Earl: Yeah, using the term in a general sense, like assisted living. Are you including assisted-living in retirement, living in places like that?

Bill Walsh: When we're talking about vaccination rates among staff?

Earl: No. No.

Bill Walsh: I'm sorry, go ahead and ask your question, Earl. I'm not sure I am following.

Bill Walsh: OK, it sounds like we're having some technical problems. Jean, why don't we take another question.

Jean Setzfand: Sure. The next question is coming from Gabriela from New Jersey.

Bill Walsh: Hey, Gabriela, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

Gabriela: OK. The question is, I was scheduled for my shot on April 12, and it was a Moderna. But it turns out they didn't give me the Moderna; they gave me J&J. Now I was notified in May that there was no immunity with the delta variant with the J&J, and that I should distance, wear a mask, and take precautions and be safe. Now I was very upset about getting that, but my question has been to my doctor: I saw the CDC a couple of weeks ago announced that they didn't know about how you can cross over to another vaccine — if it was safe. And they're still going to look at that. Is there any way that someone can actually answer that?

Bill Walsh: Well, let's ask Dr. Rupp. I hear two questions there. One is about the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine in the face of the delta variant. And also the possibility, or even the need, of getting a different shot if Gabriela has already had the J&J dose. Dr. Rupp, can you address that?

Mark Rupp: Yeah, Gabriela. I do feel like you're in an unfortunate situation where you didn't get the form of the vaccine that you were anticipating. I think you're correct that the data suggests that the protective effect of the J&J vaccine for the delta variant is probably somewhat lower than what we're seeing with the mRNA vaccines. Unfortunately, however, there is no official recommendation from the FDA or any other regulatory agency or official body really indicating what you should do at this point. I think once booster doses become available and recommended, I would suggest that you try to get to the front of the line for that. And in the meantime, be very careful. You know, continue to do some distancing and masking, particularly while this delta variant is circulating so widely. Having said that, you do have some protective value from the J&J for the delta variant. It probably just isn't quite as high as what you would have received from the mRNA vaccines. So that's probably the best advice I can give at the present. I think all of us are waiting to see some recommendations coming forward for immuno-suppressed and elderly persons with boosters. And I think that at that point, if they start making recommendations to allow for booster dosing that, in your situation, you might want to take advantage of that.

Bill Walsh: OK, thanks very much for that Dr. Rupp. Jean, let's take another question.

Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming in from Facebook, from Jay, who's asking, "Will staff and group homes be required to get vaccinated? Are group home management permitted to ask staff whether they're vaccinated or not?"

Bill Walsh: Hmm. OK, that's an interesting question. Lori Smetanka, can you address that?

Lori Smetanka: Well, that is an interesting question. You know, we have been seeing more and more, as I mentioned earlier, health care providers, as well as government entities, requiring people that work in health settings, including long-term care, to be vaccinated. And some of the legal challenges to mandated vaccines have been upheld where employers have been able to require vaccines for their staff. So it seems that we're moving in a direction where there will be more widespread vaccine mandates across the board, including, I would think, in group homes.

Bill Walsh: And do you think that would cover senior daycare centers as well?

Lori Smetanka: They seem to fall under some similar regulatory requirements as people that are working in other types of health care settings in the sense that there are certain requirements related to staffing levels and skillsets. And so I would think that that would similarly apply there.

Bill Walsh: OK. And it sounds like you're seeing a trend here that, while it might start with nursing homes, might go into other care facilities, including assisted-living group homes, senior centers, et cetera.

Lori Smetanka: Right. I think we will start seeing trends that way. Most of the orders right now are talking about hospitals and nursing homes, but they are starting to define, I think, broader health providers. And so I think we will start to see that trend.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. I wanted to follow up on a question with Dr. Rupp. You've mentioned breakthrough infections a couple of times, I believe. I wonder if you could talk about what those are, how serious they are and, in general, just talk about how effective the vaccines are against the delta variant.

Mark Rupp: Yeah, thanks, Bill. I think this question is really top of mind for a lot of people. Breakthrough infections just simply means that you've received the vaccine, but despite that, you get an infection. This isn't unexpected. There isn't any vaccine or any medicine that is 100 percent effective, and that's certainly true for the COVID-19 vaccines. So even in the clinical studies where people purposely are screened — and they tend to be a little bit younger and healthier — we did see some breakthrough infection. So as you'll remember, back in those first reports of efficacy, we were trumpeting that the vaccine is 90 to 95 percent effective. Well, that means that 5 or 10 percent of those folks, even in the studies, were seeing some breakthrough. So it's not unexpected that when you put the vaccine into a real-world setting where you're vaccinating people who may be immunosuppressed — they may be even more elderly than those that were in the original studies — that you're going to see some breakthrough.

Having said that, the vaccines do continue, particularly the mRNA vaccines, to show very good effectiveness, even against this delta variant with regard to protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. So even though you're seeing some breakthrough infections, and those are probably more prevalent with the delta variant, you're still getting good protection from those most severe manifestations of the disease. So again, if you've been sitting on the fence thinking about getting the vaccine, there's no better time to change your mind than right now. Get your vaccine, get yourself protected from the more severe manifestations of the disease. Do this to protect yourself, do it to protect your family and to help society and our country fight back against this pandemic.

Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Rupp, thanks for that. And I think some of our callers might have seen reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to fully approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine early next month. Of course, they granted an emergency use approval late last year. What's the difference? How does full approval differ from emergency use, very quickly.

Mark Rupp: Yeah, so we do anticipate that there will be full licensure from the FDA for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine either late this month or early next month. That's the signals that are being sent. You know, I think that'll give some people additional reassurance that the vaccine is safe and effective. But quite frankly, we have more experience with this vaccine than pretty much anything I've ever seen in my career. As was already noted earlier, hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines have been given. We have a very, very good understanding of the side effect and adverse event profile. Very, very clearly, the vaccine safety and efficacy weigh in favor of giving the vaccine. The full licensure will just be one more symbol that it's passed that hurdle. But quite frankly, there isn't any more additional safety, efficacy information that needs to be accrued to make that decision. It's just going through the regulatory process at this point to get the full licensure.

Bill Walsh: Got it. OK, Dr. Rupp, thank you very much for that. And thanks to each of our experts for answering all of these questions. This has been a really informative discussion. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, for participating in this discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others, while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, August 13. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please join us again on August 26, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, for another live event, answering your questions about the coronavirus. We hope you can join us then. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Staying Safe in Changing Times, With Timestamps

[00:00:00] Bill Walsh: Hello, I am AARP Vice President, Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. Before we begin, if you'd like to hear this telephone town hall in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:00:24] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:00:27] AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of a global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them. The nation's battle against COVID-19 continues as the delta variant takes hold. It's spreading quickly and stoking concern and confusion across the country. Many older adults have questions about their health and safety given the changing landscape and evolving masking guidelines from the government. Those with loved ones in care facilities are especially concerned about the low vaccination rate of workers in some facilities and the changing safety protocols. This, coupled with changes to the moratorium on evictions, has put a tremendous strain on many older adults.

[00:01:23] Today, we hear from an impressive panel of experts about these issues and more. If you've participated in one of our tele-town halls, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask your question live. For those of you joining us on the phone, if you'd like to ask your question about the coronavirus pandemic, press *3 on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. If you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:02:00] Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. To ask your question, please press *3. And if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, you can post your question in the comments.

[00:02:21] We have some outstanding guests joining us today, including an expert on infectious diseases and vaccines, another on quality standards in nursing homes, and a financial expert from the government's consumer watchdog agency. We will also be joined by my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand, who will help facilitate your calls today.

[00:02:42] This event is being recorded, and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus 24 hours after we wrap up. Again, to ask your question, please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member, or if you're joining on Facebook or YouTube, place your question in the comments section.

[00:03:08] Now I'd like to welcome our guests. Mark Rupp, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Welcome back to the program, Dr. Rupp.

[00:03:22] Mark Rupp: Bill, thanks so much. It's a real pleasure to join you and the rest of the crew today.

[00:03:28] Bill Walsh: All right. It's great to have you back. I'd also like to welcome Lori Smetanka. She is the executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Welcome back to the program, Lori.

[00:03:40] Lori Smetanka: Thanks, Bill. So glad to be here today.

[00:03:45] Bill Walsh: OK. And finally, Per Olstad is a senior adviser with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Welcome to the program, Per.

[00:03:53] Per Olstad: Thank you, Bill. Very glad to be here.

[00:03:56] Bill Walsh: All right, let's get started with this discussion. And just a reminder, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. Dr. Rupp, let's start with you. The delta variant has quickly altered the course of the recovery with increasing case counts and hospitalizations in recent weeks. How does delta differ from earlier variants, and who's at greatest risk?

[00:04:26] Mark Rupp: Well, Bill, we are concerned about this delta variant. It appears to be much more transmissible than the previous variants, and there is some information to suggest it also may cause more severe disease. All of these variants share the characteristic that they have mutations in a particular protein on the surface of the virus. It's called the spike protein. And the spike protein is what allows the virus to initially bind to human cells. And so these mutations on the spike protein for the delta variant allow the virus to bind to ourselves, either more quickly or more strongly, and therefore really set off that infectious cascade more readily. As I mentioned, it appears to be significantly more transmissible than previous variants. And we're starting to gather some data that it may be a more dangerous variant from the standpoint of causing more severe disease. It's really come on with a passion and with a storm, some states more than others. But we're seeing a real impact across the southern part of the United States — Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, the Gulf Coast states — and in other areas as well. It's really going up across the country, but some states are really being hard hit, and we're kind of back to that situation where hospitals are being stressed, we're running out of ICU beds. And so it's something to really pay attention to and to be concerned about.

[00:05:57] Bill Walsh: And who's at greatest risk from the delta variant?

[00:06:01] Mark Rupp: Well, clearly unvaccinated persons. And so this is somewhat characterized at this point as a pandemic amongst the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, and it's really the unvaccinated people that are bearing the real brunt of this latest surge. You know, I've seen some statistics relating that 90 percent or more of the people who are sick and in the hospital are those who are unvaccinated. So if there are any listeners who have been sitting on the fence considering whether to get vaccine or not, now is the time. There's just never been a better time or a more dangerous time in this pandemic. So please, go get your vaccine.

[00:06:41] Now, having said that, we are starting to see some breakthrough cases, even in vaccinated persons. That's not something that people really need to be terribly concerned about because the vaccine does continue to offer protection against the more serious manifestations of the illness. So those people who are vaccinated, very few of them go on to develop severe disease, end up in the hospital, or even dying from this infection. So the vaccine, albeit maybe somewhat less effective, continues to show some strong protective effects even against this delta variant.

[00:07:21] Bill Walsh: OK. Let me shift gears a little bit, Dr. Rupp. News reports are that Israel has become the first country to widely administer a third dose of the vaccine beginning … they began a booster campaign for adults ages 60 and older about 10 days ago. And news outlets in this country are now reporting that the FDA will authorize a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for some people who are immunocompromised very soon. Do you anticipate that the U.S. will authorize a booster vaccine for all Americans?

[00:07:55] Mark Rupp: Yeah, Bill, I think that we can anticipate that there will be recommendations for booster doses for all populations at some point. As you have indicated, we expect that that will probably first come out with respect to immune-compromised persons. So people who are status post an organ transplant, or they may be on immuno-suppressive drugs, high doses of steroids. Those are the kinds of folks that we anticipate will initially be targeted for a booster dose of the vaccine. It's estimated that there's about 9 million Americans who fit into those populations of patients, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 to 3 percent of the population are classified as immune-suppressed. So it's not a huge group of folks, but following on the heels of that, there is some information to suggest that our seniors may have waning vaccine protection. And so they would also be in line for a booster dose, probably before the rest of the population. And so, we're just going to have to keep our eye on the information and the recommendations. We do anticipate that we'll see something from the FDA with regard to immune-compromised patients, maybe within just the next few days. I think as far as boosters in seniors, those recommendations will be forthcoming later on.

[00:09:28] Bill Walsh: OK. Well, thank you for that, Dr. Rupp. Lori, let's turn to you. Cases are up, as we've been discussing. We know nursing home residents are at particular risk. What have we learned from the earlier waves of the virus that can help families prepare now? What questions should they be asking their care facilities?

[00:09:49] Lori Smetanka: Hi, sure. So I think we've learned a lot from this pandemic, including that residents and families need to be educated as much as possible about their rights, about the requirements the facility has to follow, and about what is going on in that facility. So first we really encourage frequent and good communication between the nursing home and the residents and their family members; it's critical that they have that. But families and residents should be asking a lot of questions, things like the number of COVID cases that's in the facility, as well as the resident and staff vaccination rates. The nursing homes are required to report this information weekly for posting by the federal government. So the data is available, and they should be encouraged to share it. They should also, the families and residents should also be asking about COVID infection-prevention protocols in their facilities. How are they helping to keep the residents and the staff safe? And also how many direct staff members are working on each shift, because we know that staffing levels are critically important for achieving quality care.

[00:10:51] Over the past year, there's been a significant risk to residents beyond COVID as well, and that's isolation and neglect, and many residents have suffered tremendously from that. It's really been, I think, one of the unintended consequences of COVID. And so we also are encouraging residents and families to ask about the facility’s visitation policy. Visits should be permitted for all residents. Family members should be able to visit with them. And the families should also be asking how the facility is keeping residents engaged and connected. What activities are taking place? Are they eating with one another? How do they ensure that residents are able to go outside or visit with friends, both inside and outside the facility? So I think asking questions and being informed is really critical for residents and family members right now.

[00:11:38] Bill Walsh: That's terrific. Great suggestions, Lori, and for additional questions, you can look at aarp.org/coronavirus. We've published an article on the eight questions to ask of your loved one's nursing home facility, and they include some of those that Lori mentioned as well as some others. Thanks very much, Lori. I'd like to bring Per into the discussion right now. Per, federal protections to avoid evictions were extended several times before they expired on July 31. A new CDC eviction moratorium is in effect through October 3 based on a public health mandate. If someone needs assistance — renters or landlords — what resources are available to help them right now?

[00:12:27] Per Olstad: Thanks, Bill. Great question. As you noted, the old CDC eviction moratorium expired on July 31, and a new moratorium was issued on August 3, extending out through October 3. The new moratorium has many of the same features as the old moratorium did, but it's more targeted in that it only applies in communities with a substantial or high rate of transmission. Now, so for renters, what that means is that if you live in one of those communities with a substantial high rate of transmission, the first thing you should do is complete the CDC declaration form that is required under the order, and give it to your landlord. If you've already done that, using the form from the prior moratorium, you don't need to do it again. But if you haven't and you live in one of the covered communities, which as the delta variant surge is about 80 to 90 percent of the country, get the form, complete it, and give it to your landlord. You can find all the information you need to do that in the renter focus resources we offer on our website. That's consumerfinance.gov/renters. For both renters and landlords, we really encourage you to access the rental assistance programs in your area. There was over $46 billion Congress made available through those programs. And the vast majority of that money is still available. Tens of billions of dollars. Renters and, again, landlords, many of whom are financially really struggling with their own bills to pay, can get a full year or more of rent covered through those programs. That's potentially life-changing — unfortunately, literally so with the delta variant surge. We just launched a new tool on our website that anyone, anywhere in the country, renter or landlord, can use to find rental assistance programs in your community. And you can find that tool at consumerfinance.gov/renthelp. Again, that's consumerfinance.gov/renthelp.

[00:14:31] Lastly, I'd flag that if you are a renter and you're facing eviction right now, if you've already received an eviction notice or your landlord has brought an eviction proceeding against you in court, it is really important to seek out a lawyer of your own. For many people who are struggling financially, there may be low-cost or even free legal assistance available in your community. You can find more info again on our website, consumerfinance.gov/renters. But those are really the main things I'd encourage right now. Complete the CDC declaration form if you haven't already done so. Access the rental assistance programs that are up and running in your area, and if you need it, seek out vocal expert help. Use our website, consumerfinance.gov/renters to find resources in your community.

[00:15:21] Bill Walsh: OK, Per, thanks so much for all those resources, some good advice there. And as a reminder to our listeners, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad or drop it in the comments section on YouTube or Facebook. We're going to take those live questions shortly, but before we do, I want to bring in Nancy LeaMond. Nancy is the executive vice president and AARP's chief advocacy and engagement officer. Welcome, Nancy.

[00:15:49] Nancy LeaMond: Hi, Bill. Delighted to be here today.

[00:15:52] Bill Walsh: All right. Nancy, today we're talking about COVID-19's impact on our finances and housing. What has AARP been doing to fight on this front?

[00:16:02] Nancy LeaMond: Well, of course, the pandemic is still very much with us, and the latest resurgence has hit already hurting communities. Many older Americans are struggling, and AARP has been working hard to get them some relief. I'm pleased to report that we're making positive strides. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control issued a 60-day extension to its eviction moratorium in areas with high levels of COVID-19 infections. Several federal agencies are also holding off on evictions and foreclosures for those living in properties financed by the government. This is important because millions of Americans, including folks 50 years and older, are behind on their rent or mortgage payments after losing jobs and income because of the pandemic. The new extension gives them extra time to make payments, and they can't be evicted before October 3. AARP fought for this extension to help older adults stay in their homes, where they want to be as they age. And we will continue urging lawmakers to support older Americans with expedited rental and homeownership assistance. In addition to our advocacy work, AARP recently announced more than $3 million in community challenge grants to fund 244 quick action projects in communities across the country. These investments are going to help improve public spaces, transportation, housing and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of the 50-plus. We're also very proud to help address the immediate needs of communities while also working for long-term changes.

[00:17:49] Bill Walsh: Great. Thanks so much for that update, Nancy. The pandemic continues to impact our health as well. Where is AARP focusing its advocacy efforts moving forward?

[00:18:01] Nancy LeaMond: Well, AARP continues to fight for investments in research to combat the virus. Older adults have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, making up the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. And that's why AARP is working closely with all levels of government to make sure the needs of older Americans continue to stay at the forefront. I'm pleased to report that those aged 65 and older have the highest rate of vaccination among all age groups, with 90 percent having received at least one dose. But as we saw last year, older adults in nursing homes are the most vulnerable. And that's why AARP is calling on these facilities to require vaccinations for staff and residents. We cannot let preventable problems be repeated. And the key is to increase vaccination and to do it now.

[00:18:59] At the same time, we're also leading the charge to lower prescription drug prices, improve the Medicare program to include dental, hearing and vision coverage, and to support family caregivers, who are spending an enormous amount of money out of their own pockets to care for their loved ones. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it's how important the role is for family caregivers. So if you want to learn more about how AARP is fighting to protect older Americans, you can visit aarp.org/coronavirus for up-to-date information.

[00:19:40] Bill Walsh: OK, thank you, Nancy, so much for that information. We really appreciate it. And in addition to the link that Nancy just provided, I wanted to give people a way to find our nursing home dashboard on our website. The address is aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard — aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Go there to see infection rates in local nursing homes, to see the vaccination rates among the staffs in those homes, and other important information to keep your loved ones safe. So thanks again, Nancy. I know you have to head out.

[00:20:26] It's now time to address your questions about the coronavirus with Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka and Per Olstad. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your question. If you'd like to listen in Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:20:52] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:20:53] I'd now like to bring in my AARP colleague Jean Setzfand to help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

[00:21:02] Jean Setzfand: Thanks, Bill. Happy to be here for this important conversation.

[00:21:06] Bill Walsh: All right. Well, let's take our first question.

[00:21:09] Jean Setzfand: All right, our first caller is Dennis from Indiana.

[00:21:15] Bill Walsh: Hey, Dennis. Welcome to the program. What's your question?

[00:21:18] Dennis: Thank you. I have been hearing that the cloth masks are not as effective against the delta variant. and should I get something more like the KN95 mask. Is that true?

[00:21:36] Bill Walsh: Well, let's ask Dr. Rupp. Dr. Rupp, can you help Dennis with that question?

[00:21:40] Mark Rupp: Yeah, Bill, I'd be happy to address that. So Dennis, that's a very good question. And the effectiveness of any mask or face covering depends on a number of factors. Number one, what is the mask or face covering constructed of? And so if it's a well-constructed face covering, and it fits tightly to your face, then it's going to afford a good level of protection. Where people get into trouble is that they have these very loosely fitting face coverings that are very porous and poorly constructed, and they really don't give you much protection. Now having said that you will get improved amounts of filtration and protection if you have a KN95 type of a mask or respirator. Those do provide higher levels of protection and are akin to what health care professionals are wearing in the care of patients with COVID-19. So you can get a higher level of protection with a higher grade of mask. But you can also get nearly the same amount of protection if you have a really well-constructed system. And so what some people are doing is they're actually wearing a surgical or procedure mask, and then over the top of that, they'll wear a cloth face covering so that it holds it more closely and more tightly to the face. And by doing those sorts of maneuvers, you can actually get a very good level of protection from very readily available masks or face coverings.

[00:23:16] Bill Walsh: OK, thank you for that, Dr. Rupp. Jean, let's go back to the line. Who's our next caller?

[00:23:23] Jean Setzfand: Excuse me. Our next caller is Alyssa from Michigan.

[00:23:30] Bill Walsh: Hey, Alyssa, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:23:34] Alyssa: Thanks for taking my call. I live in Southfield, Michigan. I am 90 years of age, and I was wondering, if there's a mandate for children entering school that they have to have certain shots and so forth. And I am wondering why a law could not be made to mandate individuals to receive the shot. It's like, as I said, as I stated, that when you're into school that you have to have certain shots. And I'm just wondering why this could not be done here with what we're dealing with now.

[00:24:30] Bill Walsh: Right. Well, let's turn to Lori Smetanka to talk about vaccine mandates. I have seen a number of nursing home facilities begin to mandate vaccinations. What's the trend across the country, Lori?

[00:24:46] Lori Smetanka: Yeah, we are seeing an increasing number of nursing home providers that are requiring their staff to be vaccinated. We're also seeing state governments issue mandate orders for their workers and also for workers in health care facilities. California and Massachusetts are two examples of states that have issued orders requiring staff to be vaccinated. And we're also starting to see some parts of the federal government require vaccinations of some of the workers as well, and the military is going to start requiring it. So I think that we're seeing increasing numbers of vaccine mandates across the country and expect that that trend will continue.

[00:25:30] Bill Walsh: Hmm. OK, thanks very much. And Dr. Rupp, did you want to comment on that as well?

[00:25:35] Mark Rupp: You know, I don't have a whole lot to add to that. I completely agree that we're seeing an increasing use of mandates to really try to drive our rate of vaccination upward. I would just point out to Alyssa the analogy with the youngest children is not quite going to fit for the COVID-19 vaccine, just because right now kids under the age of 12 are not eligible for vaccination. So the approach is absolutely sound, but we just aren't going to be able to mandate that in our kids until we have a vaccine that is fully licensed for our children.

[00:26:14] Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks both for that. Jean, who is our next caller?

[00:26:19] Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Leonard from Arizona.

[00:26:23] Bill Walsh: Hey, Leonard, welcome to the program today. Go ahead with your question.

[00:26:26] Leonard: Thank you. It's a three-parter about the booster shots. Number one, Israel has already announced that those over 60 are going to get the booster. Number two, the World Health Organization has said for the wealthy countries, like the United States, don't give booster shots until the rest of the world is vaccinated. And we know that there are countries now where we have less than 1 percent of the population vaccinated, like South Sudan. And number three is if you had one of the three vaccines that have been given emergency use designation, when you get a booster, should it be the same drug? Pfizer, Moderna or J&J? Comments on those three. Thank you.

[00:27:12] Bill Walsh: Sure. OK, well, Dr. Rupp, let's start with the question there, which is, if you do need to get a booster at some point, should you get it from the same manufacturer you got your original shot from?

[00:27:26] Mark Rupp: Yeah, Leonard. These are tremendous observations and questions that you've put forward, and you're obviously well informed on the situation. The use of boosters is something that we need to study further and gather additional information, so that we can really move forward with a greater degree of data and confidence. So as you pointed out, Israel has started to do the boosters in their personnel over age 60. Where the age limit lies — I don't think that people fully understand that. Undoubtedly, as I already previously mentioned, we'll see boosters for everybody. You know, I think we can first anticipate that they'll come out for immune-compromised persons, and then following that, there will probably be some sort of an age criteria for boosters. Nobody really knows whether the same form of the vaccine is better than a different form of the vaccine. And I've actually seen data kind of going both ways. So that'll be interesting to gather some additional information and to find out whether you need to get the same vaccine preparation or a different one. So there's rationale for going in one way or the other.

[00:28:42] And then, as you've pointed out, there's some real inequities worldwide. And we're, very fortunately, in the United States, where we have wide availability of vaccine. Essentially in our country, anybody who has wanted to get a vaccine has been able to get one at this point. And the only people who haven't been vaccinated are largely those that have chosen to not do so. You know, as the previous question pointed out, we may need to take a stronger stance on this and start to mandate vaccine in certain populations. But the World Health Organization has requested that countries take a prohibition on giving booster doses up until the end of September to give other countries a chance to catch up. You know, I think it's a worthy and useful sort of approach to the problem. I'd love it if we had greater availability of vaccine worldwide. But there's also disparities in the distribution system and just simply not getting a booster dose here, when we have such wide availability, doesn't necessarily guarantee that those vaccines are somehow going to miraculously be transmitted, transferred to some other country where they might be more needed. So there's a lot of issues logistical to work out in getting vaccine distribution. But the other thing I would emphasize is that we need to take a worldview on this and really understand that until we have much of the world — most of the world — vaccinated, even in this country, we're not going to be safe, because we could see the emergence of a variant in some distant corner of the world, some disadvantaged part of the world, that would be able to escape from the vaccine. And then we'd be back in the same shape with a virus that wasn't protected by the vaccine. So we're all in this together. You know, I wish that we had resources to get the vaccine in greater supply throughout the world.

[00:30:43] Bill Walsh: Yeah, very good points. Thank you very much, Dr. Rupp. Jean, I understand we have a question from online.

[00:30:50] Jean Setzfand: Yes, we have quite a few questions on YouTube and Facebook, and I'm seeing two that are very similar. One from Cheryl, who's asking, "We just started getting back to our routine health care visits, such as dentist appointments. In light of the delta variant emergence, should we pull back on those again?" And similarly, Terry is asking, "I live in North Jersey. Should I attend a 250-person indoor wedding with no mitigation measures in place on Labor Day?" So people asking whether they should do more normal things that they've been getting back to in light of delta.

[00:31:25] Bill Walsh: Right, right. The landscape has changed. Dr. Rupp, do you want to weigh in on those questions?

[00:31:30] Mark Rupp: Yeah, absolutely. The second one is probably the easiest for me. You know, we're back in a dangerous time, and just relaxing all of our precautions and having large groups of folks coming together, some who have been vaccinated, some who may not have, without mitigation with regard to keeping people distanced and masked, is really just an invitation for a mass spreading event. So I would be reluctant to go to that kind of an activity that's coming up here in the next few weeks, because undoubtedly delta is going to continue to be widely transmitting in our communities. The first part of it, with regard to going and getting your routine health maintenance: I think that you should be doing those things now. Clearly the vaccine — particularly if you're vaccinated, obviously, because the vaccine does offer good protection. Even if you have a breakthrough infection, you're going to be very unlikely to have a severe illness, end up in the hospital, or losing your life. It is certainly important for folks to get their routine health care, to see their doctors, to see their dentist, to get their physical therapy, those sorts of things. And in all of those health care settings, we've learned a lot over the last year, year and a half, of how to do these things safely. And so hospitals have their personnel wearing masks. They have protocols in for distancing, cleaning the environment, improving the air ventilation — all these things are being done in health care settings. So I would encourage listeners to go ahead and continue to see their dentist, see their doctors, get their health care and maintain their health.

[00:33:21] Bill Walsh: OK, thank you, Dr. Rupp, for that, and thanks to our listeners for all those questions. We're going to take more of them shortly. And remember, to ask your question, please press *3 on your telephone keypad, or drop it in the comments section on Facebook or YouTube. And a reminder, if you'd like to listen Spanish, press *0 on your telephone keypad now.

[00:33:49] [Instructions in Spanish]

[00:33:51] OK. Now let's turn back to our experts. Lori, the vaccination rates among nursing homes, staff, lags far behind the residents of those nursing homes, with some states reporting staff vaccination rates as low as 42 percent. Nursing homes are among the first to be eligible to receive vaccines. So it feels like this is a deeply rooted issue. What could be done to encourage nursing home staff to get the vaccine, and what are the risks if this gap remains?

[00:34:23] Lori Smetanka: Sure. You know, I think that the risks to the nursing home population are just too great for us not to do everything we can to increase vaccination rates. The deaths among residents of nursing homes and staff equated to one-third of the deaths from COVID in this country, which is highly disproportionate to their population to the whole U.S. population. What we've seen is that vaccines have made the biggest difference in stemming the spread of COVID and protecting residents. The COVID cases and deaths dropped significantly due to vaccinations. And that also meant that not only were the residents protected from COVID, but also that visitation restrictions were lifted and allowed family members and friends back into facilities to provide additional assistance and support. So it is extremely important for staff, for residents and visitors to be vaccinated, particularly as new variants of COVID could and might emerge. So in addition to potentially spreading the virus, we know that facilities are also continuing to lock down when staff members test positive, which prevents others from coming in and we're seeing that already as numbers are starting to creep up in communities and in nursing homes themselves. So when staff gets sick, staffing levels decrease, the quality of care decreases.

[00:35:48] So we are encouraging continued robust education and outreach around vaccines to ensure that people are receiving full and accurate information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines and protecting people from COVID. People need easy access to the vaccines in their communities. We highly encourage all nursing homes to provide the vaccines actually onsite; that has been happening in most places across the country and should continue to do so. And staff, I think, also need access to medical experts and counselors who can access and answer questions or concerns that they may have and provide culturally sensitive advice. And we are seeing, as we've talked about already, requirements for mandates across staff, in some cases for visitors, and we may even start seeing them for residents as well. So I do think we need to do everything we can to ensure that vaccines are available and that people are getting them.

[00:36:49] Bill Walsh: All right. Well, let me follow up on that. I want to find out where consumers can find out more, because as you noted, the vaccination rates at nursing homes vary significantly. Vermont, for example, is at 95 percent, while other states are in the 40th percentile. Where can families find out more about staff vaccination rates at their loved ones' facilities, and what can they do? Can an ombudsman help?

[00:37:15] Lori Smetanka: So, sure. Families should certainly ask at the facility itself about vaccination rates for the staff and the residents. They should be giving the percentages that are fully vaccinated. They can also be contacting their departments of health. The ombudsman program is a good resource for information where they can help direct them to find the resources. And on our consumer voice website at www.theconsumervoice.org, listeners can also find a link to the federal government's nursing home COVID data, which includes vaccination rates for every facility in the country. It includes the vaccination rates for residents and staff, as well as the numbers of COVID cases and deaths.

[00:37:58] Bill Walsh: Very good. Thanks for that, Lori, and I'll also put in a plug for AARP's nursing home dashboard, which has vaccination rates among staff. You can find that at aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Thank you very much for that, Lori. Per, back to you. Only a small portion of the federally funded aid for renters or landlords has been shared, as you mentioned earlier. With many of the applications still under review, what can someone do if they were about to lose their housing but have an application that's pending?

[00:38:35] Per Olstad: Great, great question again. Thanks. So as we noted, the money that started coming out fairly slowly — this is an entire new nationwide infrastructure implemented through over 700 different programs at the state and local level. And we've seen a steady increase of the money going out the door every month in March, in sort of an algorithmic scale, and I'm optimistic that we'll keep on that trend. The next round of reporting through the U.S. Treasury should come soon here on the July money that went out. But it has been not as fast as anyone would like. And then there are people who have submitted applications and have to wait quite a while to get resolution. Again, I think all across the country, you have programs that are working as hard as they can to move this along. But this was a whole infrastructure that had to be built from scratch and quickly in the face of the pandemic and the financial challenges that people are acutely feeling. So for those people who have submitted an application but it's still pending, again, if you live in a community with a substantial or high transmission rate, the first thing you should do is complete the CDC declaration form and give it to your landlord. That can sort of give you, buy you time to get through the application period through October 3, where you can't be evicted for nonpayment of rent.

[00:40:12] The other thing I'd say is, if you can, don't disengage from your landlord. Start a conversation. With the bureau, we've had a lot of conversations with landlords and renters over the last many months. And I've heard from both sides that oftentimes relationships have really deteriorated through the pandemic, and that's not surprising. It's an awful situation for both renters and landlords. So, of course, it's going to create a lot of strain on that relationship. What we've also heard repeatedly, in many situations just having a blunt conversation about the financial challenges on both sides can really help. It's not always true. There are certain situations where that just isn't going to work, but in many instances it can. So among the other resources we offer on consumerfinance.gov, we also offer guidance for both renters and landlords in how to start working towards a compromise that will ultimately benefit both of them. The reality is that eviction is costly and painful for both renters and landlords, and especially with the rental assistance money now starting to flow out more rapidly, both parties can really benefit from just working together to find a solution until the rental assistance money arrives. As I said before, it may also really help to seek out a local expert. As noted, there may be low cost or free legal assistance in your area, but you can often also engage local HUD-certified housing counselors. Many of them have really expanded the counseling services they offer for renters, not just for homeowners, including guidance on how to best have that conversation with landlords, and in some instances, even being able to work with the renter and the landlord to find a short- and long-term solution. Those housing counselors really can be a great resource, and there is a lookup tool to find them in your area on consumerfinance.gov/housing.

[00:42:10] Finally, I'd also just say for the landlord, many of them are small mom-and pop-landlords who are really struggling with their own bills to pay, and often really rely on the rental income. We have a suite of resources to help them with their short- and long-term needs, the guidance on the range of solutions and options that can be available. And you can find those at consumerfinance.gov/landlords. So really, again, the two main points, if you live in an area with a substantial or high transmission rate, please complete the CDC declaration form and give it to your landlord. And then also, if you think you can, don't disengage. It's hard to have those conversations. These are sensitive topics in a really challenging time. But it's really important to have the conversation if you can, and maybe it will arrive at a short-term compromise until the rental assistance money actually arrives.

[00:43:10] Bill Walsh: OK, Per, thanks so much. Terrific advice. And now it's time to address more of your questions with Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka and Per Olstad. Please press *3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member. Jean, who do we have next on the line?

[00:43:31] Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Kathy from Colorado.

[00:43:35] Bill Walsh: Hey, Kathy. Go ahead with your call.

[00:43:40] Kathy: I had a tenant that lived in our place in Connecticut, and he basically didn't pay rent for 15 months. Trashed the place. We only met him for a couple of hours before he moved in. And he didn't pay rent. Apparently was continuing to work as a truck driver, maybe even making $2,000 a week is what he told this guy. But he also trashed the place, put holes in the wall and left human feces in bags — just lots of negative stuff. So the thing is, though, we're trying to find out if we can get a bailout for our rent. We've had, literally, the animal control people had to come in and get — he'd left an animal in there. But they said they couldn't walk through the house because the trash was, in each floor, like knee-high. And so we've been having to spend lots of money trying to get it fixed, and we haven't able to re-rent it. By listening to you earlier, we found out about the site for getting bailout money for COVID. It says, though, something like if you're a Connecticut — the place is in Connecticut, we live in Colorado. It says you need to be a Connecticut resident. Is there something like that, something that will help us? I mean, I do a lot of community service, and this was a real mistake. But we haven't been able to rent it. I mean, literally, literally, we had a woman that was taking time off that is a psych nurse, that was taking time off, and she went through, and she said it was worse than hoarding. Even the state, like I said, they came in, and then their official report said, we can't even go through the house. And it's been really — it's very expensive. It's gone without rent for 20 months now.

[00:45:26] Bill Walsh: Oh, boy. Well, what a terrible situation. Well, let's see if we can get you some answers. I wonder if Per Olstad could comment on Kathy's situation.

[00:45:35] Per Olstad: Sure. I am, Kathy, I'm sorry. I mean, that sounds like an awful situation. I think the best thing you can do is contact the local programs. The way the rental assistance program has been set up nationwide is that there's a fair amount of discretion for the local program administrators on how to set up the program, including some flexibilities around who is covered and eligibility requirements and how they prioritize funding going out the door. So there's not going to be a one-size nationwide answer that will work. I really do encourage you to contact the Connecticut rental assistance program. And it sounds to me like something that's probably — if you can engage via a phone call rather than just try to go through the web portal. And I would look to see — in many areas of the country, there's more than one program that you may be eligible for. The way the program was set up, it can be administered at the state level, the county level, the city level, tribal entities — many have been approved to participate in the fund. Again, over 700, I think 716-some, programs nationwide. So [inaudible] other options as well. And you can use the search tool that I've referenced at consumerfinance.gov/renthelp to see the range of programs. And you could reach out to contact them.

[00:47:18] I will say — you didn't specifically ask this, but I will say that the CDC moratorium really only applies for nonpayment of rent as a basis for eviction. It certainly would not cover other reasons for eviction like the ones you described that are, that have nothing to do with financial ability to pay rent to a COVID hardship, which just sounds like an awful, awful treatment of the premises. But I would, for the assistance with the funding, I would go to the local program for guidance.

[00:47:51] Bill Walsh: OK. Thanks very much, Per. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:47:55] Jean Setzfand: Our next caller is Earl from Oregon.

[00:48:00] Bill Walsh: Hey, Earl, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:48:01] Earl: Hi. Yeah, my question is just whether when you're using ... [losing contact]

[00:48:01] Bill Walsh: Sorry, go ahead, Earl. Earl, do you want to repeat your question?

[00:48:28] Earl: Yeah. When you were using this ... hello?

[00:48:32] Bill Walsh: Go ahead. Yep, go ahead, Earl, I can hear you now.

[00:48:34] Earl: Yeah, using the term in a general sense, like assisted living. Are you including assisted-living in retirement, living in places like that?

[00:48:46] Bill Walsh: When we're talking about vaccination rates among staff?

[00:48:50] Earl: No. No.

[00:48:55] Bill Walsh: I'm sorry, go ahead and ask your question, Earl. I'm not sure I am following.

[00:49:02] OK, it sounds like we're having some technical problems. Jean, why don't we take another question.

[00:49:09] Jean Setzfand: Sure. The next question is coming from Gabriela from New Jersey.

[00:49:16] Bill Walsh: Hey, Gabriela, welcome to the program. Go ahead with your question.

[00:49:21] Gabriela: OK. The question is, I was scheduled for my shot on April 12, and it was a Moderna. But it turns out they didn't give me the Moderna; they gave me J&J. Now I was notified in May that there was no immunity with the delta variant with the J&J, and that I should distance, wear a mask, and take precautions and be safe. Now I was very upset about getting that, but my question has been to my doctor: I saw the CDC a couple of weeks ago announced that they didn't know about how you can cross over to another vaccine — if it was safe. And they're still going to look at that. Is there any way that someone can actually answer that?

[00:50:12] Bill Walsh: Well, let's ask Dr. Rupp. I hear two questions there. One is about the effectiveness of the J&J vaccine in the face of the delta variant. And also the possibility, or even the need, of getting a different shot if Gabriela has already had the J&J dose. Dr. Rupp, can you address that?

[00:50:32] Mark Rupp: Yeah, Gabriela. I do feel like you're in an unfortunate situation where you didn't get the form of the vaccine that you were anticipating. I think you're correct that the data suggests that the protective effect of the J&J vaccine for the delta variant is probably somewhat lower than what we're seeing with the mRNA vaccines. Unfortunately, however, there is no official recommendation from the FDA or any other regulatory agency or official body really indicating what you should do at this point. I think once booster doses become available and recommended, I would suggest that you try to get to the front of the line for that. And in the meantime, be very careful. You know, continue to do some distancing and masking, particularly while this delta variant is circulating so widely. Having said that, you do have some protective value from the J&J for the delta variant. It probably just isn't quite as high as what you would have received from the mRNA vaccines. So that's probably the best advice I can give at the present. I think all of us are waiting to see some recommendations coming forward for immuno-suppressed and elderly persons with boosters. And I think that at that point, if they start making recommendations to allow for booster dosing that, in your situation, you might want to take advantage of that.

[00:52:06] Bill Walsh: OK, thanks very much for that Dr. Rupp. Jean, let's take another question.

[00:52:12] Jean Setzfand: We have a question coming in from Facebook, from Jay, who's asking, "Will staff and group homes be required to get vaccinated? Are group home management permitted to ask staff whether they're vaccinated or not?"

[00:52:26] Bill Walsh: Hmm. OK, that's an interesting question. Lori Smetanka, can you address that?

[00:52:31] Lori Smetanka: Well, that is an interesting question. You know, we have been seeing more and more, as I mentioned earlier, health care providers, as well as government entities, requiring people that work in health settings, including long-term care, to be vaccinated. And some of the legal challenges to mandated vaccines have been upheld where employers have been able to require vaccines for their staff. So it seems that we're moving in a direction where there will be more widespread vaccine mandates across the board, including, I would think, in group homes.

[00:53:19] Bill Walsh: And do you think that would cover senior daycare centers as well?

[00:53:24] Lori Smetanka: They seem to fall under some similar regulatory requirements as people that are working in other types of health care settings in the sense that there are certain requirements related to staffing levels and skillsets. And so I would think that that would similarly apply there.

[00:53:49] Bill Walsh: OK. And it sounds like you're seeing a trend here that, while it might start with nursing homes, might go into other care facilities, including assisted-living group homes, senior centers, et cetera.

[00:54:08] Lori Smetanka: Right. I think we will start seeing trends that way. Most of the orders right now are talking about hospitals and nursing homes, but they are starting to define, I think, broader health providers. And so I think we will start to see that trend.

[00:54:28] Bill Walsh: OK, very good. I wanted to follow up on a question with Dr. Rupp. You've mentioned breakthrough infections a couple of times, I believe. I wonder if you could talk about what those are, how serious they are and, in general, just talk about how effective the vaccines are against the delta variant.

[00:54:48] Mark Rupp: Yeah, thanks, Bill. I think this question is really top of mind for a lot of people. Breakthrough infections just simply means that you've received the vaccine, but despite that, you get an infection. This isn't unexpected. There isn't any vaccine or any medicine that is 100 percent effective, and that's certainly true for the COVID-19 vaccines. So even in the clinical studies where people purposely are screened — and they tend to be a little bit younger and healthier — we did see some breakthrough infection. So as you'll remember, back in those first reports of efficacy, we were trumpeting that the vaccine is 90 to 95 percent effective. Well, that means that 5 or 10 percent of those folks, even in the studies, were seeing some breakthrough. So it's not unexpected that when you put the vaccine into a real-world setting where you're vaccinating people who may be immunosuppressed — they may be even more elderly than those that were in the original studies — that you're going to see some breakthrough.

[00:55:54] Having said that, the vaccines do continue, particularly the mRNA vaccines, to show very good effectiveness, even against this delta variant with regard to protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. So even though you're seeing some breakthrough infections, and those are probably more prevalent with the delta variant, you're still getting good protection from those most severe manifestations of the disease. So again, if you've been sitting on the fence thinking about getting the vaccine, there's no better time to change your mind than right now. Get your vaccine, get yourself protected from the more severe manifestations of the disease. Do this to protect yourself, do it to protect your family and to help society and our country fight back against this pandemic.

[00:56:45] Bill Walsh: OK, Dr. Rupp, thanks for that. And I think some of our callers might have seen reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to fully approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine early next month. Of course, they granted an emergency use approval late last year. What's the difference? How does full approval differ from emergency use, very quickly.

[00:57:11] Mark Rupp: Yeah, so we do anticipate that there will be full licensure from the FDA for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine either late this month or early next month. That's the signals that are being sent. You know, I think that'll give some people additional reassurance that the vaccine is safe and effective. But quite frankly, we have more experience with this vaccine than pretty much anything I've ever seen in my career. As was already noted earlier, hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines have been given. We have a very, very good understanding of the side effect and adverse event profile. Very, very clearly, the vaccine safety and efficacy weigh in favor of giving the vaccine. The full licensure will just be one more symbol that it's passed that hurdle. But quite frankly, there isn't any more additional safety, efficacy information that needs to be accrued to make that decision. It's just going through the regulatory process at this point to get the full licensure.

[00:58:22] Bill Walsh: Got it. OK, Dr. Rupp, thank you very much for that. And thanks to each of our experts for answering all of these questions. This has been a really informative discussion. And thank you, our AARP members, volunteers and listeners, for participating in this discussion today. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis, we're providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, prevent its spread to others, while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of the Q&A event, can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus beginning tomorrow, August 13. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. Go there if your question was not addressed, and you will find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please join us again on August 26, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, for another live event, answering your questions about the coronavirus. We hope you can join us then. Thank you and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Bill Walsh: Hola. Soy Bill Walsh, vicepresidente de AARP, y quiero darles la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. Antes de comenzar, si les gustaría escuchar esta teleasamblea en español, presionen *0 en el teclado de su teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: AARP, una organización con membresía, sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores durante más de 60 años. Frente a la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP proporciona información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan.

 

La batalla de la nación contra la COVID-19 continúa, mientras la variante delta se afianza. Se está extendiendo rápidamente y avivando la preocupación y la confusión en todo el país. Muchos adultos mayores tienen preguntas sobre su salud y seguridad debido al panorama y las pautas cambiantes del Gobierno.

 

Quienes tienen seres queridos en centros de cuidado están especialmente preocupados por la baja tasa de vacunación de los trabajadores en algunos centros y los cambios en los protocolos de seguridad. Esto, junto con los cambios en la moratoria de los desalojos, ha ejercido una enorme presión sobre muchos adultos mayores.

 

Hoy escucharemos a un impresionante panel de expertos hablar sobre estos temas y más. Si ya han participado en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, saben que esto es similar a un programa de entrevistas de radio y tendrán la oportunidad de hacer sus preguntas en vivo.

 

Para aquellos de ustedes que se unan a nosotros por teléfono, si desean hacer una pregunta sobre la pandemia de coronavirus, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono para comunicarse con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará el nombre y la pregunta, y los ubicará en turno para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, puedes publicar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Hola. Si acabas de unirte a nosotros, nuevamente, soy Bill Walsh de AARP, y quiero darte la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con expertos y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer una pregunta, presiona * 3. Y si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, puedes publicar tu pregunta en los comentarios.

 

Tenemos algunos invitados excepcionales que se unen a nosotros hoy, incluido un experto en enfermedades infecciosas y vacunas, otro en estándares de calidad en hogares de ancianos y un experto financiero de la agencia gubernamental de vigilancia del consumidor. También nos acompañará mi colega de AARP, Jean Setzfand, quien ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas hoy.

 

Este evento está siendo grabado y podrán acceder a la grabación en www.aarp.org/coronavirus 24 horas después de que terminemos. Nuevamente, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP. O si te unes a través de Facebook o YouTube, coloca tu pregunta en la sección de comentarios.

 

Ahora me gustaría dar la bienvenida a nuestros invitados. El doctor Mark Rupp es profesor en el Departamento de Medicina Interna y jefe de la División de Enfermedades Infecciosas del Centro Médico de University of Nebraska. Bienvenido de nuevo al programa, Dr. Rupp.

 

Mark Rupp: Bill, muchas gracias. Es un verdadero placer unirme hoy a ti y al resto del equipo.

 

Bill Walsh: Nos encanta tenerlo de vuelta. También me gustaría dar la bienvenida a Lori Smetanka. Ella es la directora ejecutiva de National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. Bienvenida de nuevo al programa, Lori.

 

Lori Smetanka: Gracias, Bill. Un gusto estar aquí hoy.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien. Y finalmente, Per Olstad es asesor sénior de la Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor. Bienvenido al programa, Per.

 

Per Olstad: Gracias, Bill. Un placer estar aquí.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, comencemos con la discusión. Y solo como recordatorio, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono o la colocan en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o YouTube. Dr. Rupp, comencemos por usted. La variante delta ha alterado rápidamente el curso de la recuperación con un número creciente de casos y hospitalizaciones en las últimas semanas. ¿En qué se diferencia delta de las variantes anteriores? ¿Y quién corre mayor riesgo?

 

Mark Rupp: Bueno, Bill, estamos preocupados por esta variante delta. Parece ser mucho más transmisible que las variantes anteriores. Y existe cierta información que sugiere que también puede causar una enfermedad más grave. Todas estas variantes comparten la característica de que tienen mutaciones en una proteína particular en la superficie del virus. Se llama proteína de pico. Y la proteína de pico es lo que permite que el virus se una inicialmente a las células humanas.

 

Y estas mutaciones en la proteína de pico de la variante delta permiten que el virus se una a nuestras células más rápidamente o con más fuerza y, por lo tanto, realmente desencadenan esa cascada infecciosa más fácilmente. Como mencioné, parece ser significativamente más transmisible que las variantes anteriores. Y estamos empezando a recopilar algunos datos de que puede ser una variante más peligrosa, desde el punto de vista de que puede causar una enfermedad más grave.

 

Realmente ha comenzado con pasión y con tormenta, algunos estados más que otros. Pero estamos viendo un impacto real en la parte sur de los Estados Unidos, Misuri, Arkansas, Florida, los estados de la costa del golfo y también en otras áreas. Realmente está aumentando en todo el país. Pero algunos estados están siendo realmente afectados. Y volvemos a la situación en la que los hospitales están sometidos a estrés. Nos estamos quedando sin camas en las unidades de cuidados intensivos. Es algo a lo que realmente hay que prestar atención y es preocupante.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Y quién corre mayor riesgo de sufrir la variante delta?

 

Mark Rupp: Bueno, claramente, las personas no vacunadas. Esto se caracteriza en cierto modo, en este punto, como una pandemia entre los vacunados frente a los no vacunados. Y son realmente las personas no vacunadas las que están soportando la peor parte de este último aumento. He visto algunas estadísticas que relatan que el 90% o más de las personas que están enfermas y en el hospital son las que no están vacunadas.

 

Si hay algún oyente que ha estado esperando, considerando si recibir la vacuna o no, ahora es el momento. Nunca ha habido un mejor momento, o más bien, peligroso en esta pandemia. Por favor, vayan a ponerse la vacuna. Ahora, dicho esto, estamos comenzando a ver algunos casos de infecciones posvacunación, incluso en personas vacunadas.

 

Eso no es algo que realmente deba preocupar mucho a la gente porque la vacuna continúa ofreciendo protección contra las manifestaciones más graves de la enfermedad. De las personas que se vacunan, muy pocas pasan a desarrollar una enfermedad grave, acaban en el hospital o incluso mueren a causa de esta infección. La vacuna, aunque puede ser algo menos efectiva, continúa mostrando algunos efectos protectores fuertes incluso contra esta variante delta.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Permítame cambiar de dirección un poco, Dr. Rupp, los informes de noticias indican que Israel se ha convertido en el primer país en administrar ampliamente la tercera dosis de la vacuna. Comenzaron una campaña de refuerzo para adultos mayores de 16 años hace unos 10 días. Y los medios de comunicación de este país informan ahora que la FDA autorizará muy pronto una tercera dosis de las vacunas Pfizer y Moderna para algunas personas inmunodeprimidas. ¿Anticipa que EE.UU. autorizará una vacuna de refuerzo para todas las personas en el país?

 

Mark Rupp: Bill, creo que podemos anticipar que habrá recomendaciones de dosis de refuerzo para todas las poblaciones en algún momento. Como has indicado, esperamos que eso probablemente salga primero para las personas inmunodeprimidas, como las personas que se encuentran en estado posterior a un trasplante de órganos o pueden estar tomando medicamentos inmunosupresores, altas dosis de esteroides. Esos son los tipos de personas que anticipamos que inicialmente serán el objetivo de una dosis de refuerzo de la vacuna.

 

Se estima que hay alrededor de 9 millones de personas que encajan en esas poblaciones de pacientes, o en algún lugar entre el 2.5 y el ​​3% de la población se clasifica como inmunodeprimidos. Entonces, no es un gran grupo de personas. Pero después de eso, hay alguna información que sugiere que nuestros adultos mayores pueden tener una protección decreciente. Y entonces, también estarían en la lista para una dosis de refuerzo probablemente antes que el resto de la población.

 

Solo tendremos que estar atentos a la información y las recomendaciones. Anticipamos que veremos algo de la FDA con respecto a los pacientes inmunodeprimidos, tal vez dentro de los próximos días. Creo que en lo que respecta a los refuerzos en las personas mayores, esas recomendaciones se publicarán más adelante.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias por esto, Dr. Rupp. Lori, volvamos a ti. Los casos han subido, como hemos estado discutiendo. Sabemos que los residentes de hogares de ancianos corren un riesgo particular. ¿Qué hemos aprendido de las primeras oleadas del virus que pueda ayudar a las familias a prepararse ahora? ¿Qué preguntas deberían hacer a sus centros de atención?

 

Lori Smetanka: Hola, claro. Creo que hemos aprendido mucho de esta pandemia, incluido que los residentes y las familias deben ser educados tanto como sea posible sobre sus derechos, sobre los requisitos que debe seguir la instalación y sobre lo que está sucediendo en esa instalación. En primer lugar, realmente fomentamos una comunicación buena y frecuente entre el hogar de ancianos y los residentes y sus familiares. Es fundamental que tengan eso.

 

Pero las familias y los residentes deberían hacer muchas preguntas, cosas como la cantidad de casos de COVID-19 que hay en la instalación, así como las tasas de vacunación de los residentes y el personal. Los hogares de ancianos están obligados a reportar esta información semanalmente para que el Gobierno federal la publique.

 

Por lo tanto, los datos están disponibles y se les debe animar a compartirlos. Las familias y los residentes también deben preguntar sobre los protocolos de prevención de la infección por COVID-19 en sus instalaciones. ¿Cómo están ayudando a mantener a salvo a los residentes y al personal? Y también, ¿cuántos miembros directos del personal están trabajando en cada turno? Porque sabemos que los niveles de personal son de vital importancia para lograr una atención de calidad.

 

Durante el año pasado, también hubo un riesgo significativo para los residentes más allá de la COVID-19, relacionado con el aislamiento y la negligencia. Y muchos residentes han sufrido tremendamente por eso. Realmente creo que ha sido una de las consecuencias no deseadas de la COVID-19. Por eso, también estamos alentando a los residentes y las familias a que pregunten sobre la política de visitas de la instalación.

 

Se deben permitir visitas a todos los residentes. Los miembros de la familia deberían poder visitarlos. Y las familias también deberían preguntarse cómo la instalación mantiene a los residentes comprometidos y conectados. ¿Qué actividades se están llevando a cabo? ¿Están comiendo juntos? ¿Cómo se aseguran de que los residentes puedan salir o visitar a sus amigos tanto dentro como fuera de las instalaciones? Por lo tanto, creo que hacer preguntas e informarse es realmente fundamental para los residentes y los miembros de la familia en este momento.

 

Bill Walsh: Eso es fantástico. Geniales sugerencias, Lori. Y para preguntas adicionales, pueden consultar www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Hemos publicado un artículo sobre las ocho preguntas que deben hacerle al hogar de ancianos de sus seres queridos. E incluye algunas de las que mencionó Lori, así como algunas otras. Muchas gracias, Lori.

 

Me gustaría traer a Per a la discusión ahora. La protección federal para evitar los desalojos se extendió varias veces antes de que vencieran el 31 de julio. Una nueva moratoria de desalojos de los CDC está en vigencia hasta el 3 de octubre según un mandato de salud pública. Si alguien necesita ayuda, inquilinos o propietarios, ¿qué recursos hay disponibles para ayudarlos en este momento?

 

Per Olstad: Gracias, Bill. Buena pregunta. Como has señalado, la antigua moratoria de desalojo de los CDC venció el 31 de julio y se emitió una nueva moratoria el 3 de agosto, que se extiende hasta el 3 de octubre. La nueva moratoria tiene muchas de las mismas características que tenía la antigua moratoria, pero esta es más dirigida, en el sentido en que solo se aplica en comunidades con una tasa de transmisión considerable o alta.

 

Para los inquilinos, lo que eso significa es que si vives en una de esas comunidades con una tasa de transmisión considerable o alta, lo primero que debes hacer es llenar el formulario de declaración de los CDC que se requiere en la orden y entregárselo al propietario. Si ya lo has hecho utilizando el formulario de la moratoria anterior, no es necesario que vuelvas a hacerlo. Pero si no lo has hecho y vives en una de las comunidades cubiertas, donde el aumento de la variante delta es aproximadamente del 80% al 90% del país, obtén el formulario, llénalo y entrégaselo al propietario.

 

Puedes encontrar toda la información que necesitas para hacerlo en los recursos centrados en los inquilinos que ofrecemos en nuestro sitio web. www.consumerfinance.gov/renters. Tanto para los inquilinos como para los propietarios, realmente los alentamos a que accedan a los programas de asistencia para inquilinos en su área. Hubo más de $46,000 millones que el Congreso puso a disposición a través de esos programas.

 

Y la gran mayoría de ese dinero todavía está disponible, decenas de miles de millones de dólares. Los inquilinos y, nuevamente, los propietarios, muchos de los cuales tienen dificultades financieras para pagar sus propias facturas, pueden obtener un año completo o más de cobertura de alquiler a través de esos programas. Eso, potencialmente puede cambiarles la vida, desafortunadamente, literalmente, con el aumento de la variante delta.

 

Acabamos de lanzar una nueva herramienta en nuestro sitio web que puede usar cualquier persona en cualquier lugar del país, inquilino o propietario, para encontrar programas de asistencia para el alquiler en su comunidad. Y pueden encontrar esa herramienta en www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp. Nuevamente, es www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp. Por último, señalaría que si uno es un inquilino y se enfrenta a un desalojo en este momento, si ya recibió un aviso de desalojo o su arrendador ha iniciado un proceso de desalojo en su contra en la corte, es muy importante que busque un abogado propio.

 

Para muchas personas que tienen dificultades económicas, puede haber asistencia legal de bajo costo o incluso gratuita disponible en su comunidad. Puede encontrar más información nuevamente en nuestro sitio web, www.consumerfinance.gov/renters. Esas son realmente las cosas principales que recomendaría en este momento. Llenen el formulario de declaración de los CDC si aún no lo han hecho. Accedan a los programas de asistencia de alquiler que están en funcionamiento en su área. Y si lo necesitan, busquen la ayuda de un experto local. Utilicen nuestro sitio web, www.consumerfinance.gov/renters para encontrar recursos en su comunidad.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, Per, muchas gracias por todos esos recursos. Buenos consejos. Y como recordatorio para nuestros oyentes, para hacer una pregunta, por favor presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono o la pueden escribir en la sección de comentarios en YouTube o Facebook. Vamos a responder esas preguntas en vivo en breve, pero antes de hacerlo, quiero traer a Nancy LeaMond. Nancy es la vicepresidenta ejecutiva y directora de Activismo y Compromiso de AARP. Bienvenida, Nancy.

 

Nancy LeaMond: Hola, Bill. Encantada de estar aquí hoy.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, Nancy, hoy estamos hablando del impacto de la COVID-19 en nuestras finanzas y vivienda. ¿Qué ha estado haciendo AARP para luchar en este frente?

 

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, por supuesto, la pandemia todavía está presente. Y el último resurgimiento ha afectado a comunidades que ya sufren. Muchos adultos mayores están sufriendo. Y AARP ha estado trabajando arduamente para conseguirles un alivio. Me complace informar que estamos logrando avances positivos. Apenas la semana pasada, los CDC emitieron una extensión de 60 días a su moratoria de desalojo en áreas con altos niveles de infecciones por COVID-19.

 

Varias agencias federales también están postergando los desalojos y ejecuciones hipotecarias para quienes viven en propiedades financiadas por el Gobierno. Esto es importante porque millones de personas, incluidos Los adultos de 50 años o más, están atrasados ​​en el pago de la renta o la hipoteca después de perder sus empleos e ingresos debido a la pandemia. La nueva extensión les da más tiempo para hacer los pagos y no pueden ser desalojados antes del 3 de octubre.

 

AARP luchó por esta extensión para ayudar a los adultos mayores a permanecer en su hogar, donde quieren estar, a medida que envejecen. Y continuaremos instando a los legisladores a que apoyen a los adultos mayores con asistencia acelerada para el alquiler y la propiedad de viviendas. Además de nuestro trabajo de promoción, AARP anunció recientemente más de $3 millones en subvenciones para iniciativas comunitarias, para financiar 244 proyectos de acción rápida en comunidades de todo el país.

 

Estas inversiones ayudarán a mejorar los espacios públicos, el transporte, la vivienda y el compromiso cívico, con énfasis en las necesidades de las personas mayores de 50 años. También estamos muy orgullosos de ayudar a abordar las necesidades inmediatas de las comunidades al mismo tiempo que trabajamos para lograr cambios a largo plazo.

 

Bill Walsh: Genial. Muchas gracias por esa actualización, Nancy. La pandemia también sigue afectando nuestra salud. ¿Dónde está enfocando AARP sus esfuerzos de promoción en el futuro?

 

Nancy LeaMond: Bueno, AARP continúa luchando por inversiones e investigación para combatir el virus. Los adultos mayores se han visto afectados de manera desproporcionada por la pandemia y representan la mayoría de las hospitalizaciones y muertes por COVID-19. Y es por eso que AARP está trabajando en estrecha colaboración con todos los niveles del Gobierno para asegurarse de que las necesidades de los adultos mayores sigan estando a la vanguardia.

 

Me complace informar que las personas de 65 años o más tienen la tasa más alta de vacunación entre todos los grupos de edad, con el 90% habiendo recibido al menos 1 dosis. Pero como vimos el año pasado, los adultos mayores en hogares de ancianos son los más vulnerables. Y es por eso que AARP pide a estas instalaciones que exijan vacunas para el personal y los residentes. No podemos permitir que se repitan los problemas prevenibles. Y la clave es aumentar la vacunación, y hacerlo ahora.

 

Al mismo tiempo, también estamos liderando la lucha por reducir los precios de los medicamentos recetados, mejorar el programa de Medicare para incluir cobertura dental, auditiva y de la vista, y apoyar a los cuidadores familiares que están gastando una enorme cantidad de dinero de sus propios bolsillos para cuidar a sus seres queridos. Si esta pandemia nos ha enseñado algo, es lo importante que es el papel de los cuidadores familiares. Si deseas obtener más información sobre cómo está luchando AARP para proteger a los adultos mayores, puedes visitar www.aarp.org/coronavirus para obtener información actualizada.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias, Nancy, muchas gracias por esa información. Nosotros realmente lo apreciamos. Y además del enlace que acaba de proporcionar Nancy, quería darles a las personas una forma de encontrar el panel de control de hogares de ancianos en nuestro sitio web. La dirección es www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard.

 

Ve allí para ver las tasas de infección en los hogares de ancianos locales, para ver las tasas de vacunación del personal en esos hogares, y otra información importante para mantener seguros a sus seres queridos. Gracias de nuevo, Nancy. Sé que tienes que salir.

 

Ahora es el momento de abordar sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con el Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka y Per Olstad. Presiona * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de tu teléfono para comunicarte con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir tu pregunta. Si deseas escuchar en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: Me gustaría para traer a mi colega de AARP Jean Setzfand para ayudar a facilitar sus llamadas hoy. Bienvenida, Jean.

 

Jean Setzfand: Gracias, Bill. Feliz de estar aquí para esta importante conversación.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien, tomemos nuestra primera pregunta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Muy bien, nuestra primera llamada es Dennis de Indiana.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Dennis. Bienvenido al programa. ¿Cuál es tu pregunta?

 

Dennis: Gracias. He escuchado que las mascarillas de tela no son tan efectivas contra la variante delta y debería obtener algo más como la mascarilla KN95. ¿Es eso cierto?

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, preguntémosle al Dr. Rupp. Dr. Rupp, ¿puede ayudar a Dennis con esa pregunta?

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, Bill. Sería un placer. Dennis, esa es una muy buena pregunta. Y la eficacia de cualquier mascarilla o cobertura facial depende de varios factores. Número uno, ¿de qué está construida la mascarilla o la cubierta facial? Si es una cubierta facial bien construida y se ajusta bien a tu cara, entonces te brindará un buen nivel de protección.

 

Las personas se meten en problemas cuando tienen estas cubiertas faciales muy holgadas, muy porosas y mal construidas, que realmente no le brindan mucha protección. Ahora, dicho esto, obtendrá una mayor cantidad de filtración y protección si tiene un tipo de mascarilla o respirador KN95. Estas brindan niveles más altos de protección y son similares a las que usan los profesionales de la salud en el cuidado de pacientes con COVID-19.

 

Puedes obtener un mayor nivel de protección con un grado superior de mascarillas. Pero también puedes obtener casi la misma cantidad de protección si tienes un sistema realmente bien construido. Lo que algunas personas están haciendo de hecho, es que están usando una mascarilla quirúrgica o de procedimiento, y luego, encima de eso, usan una cubierta facial de tela para que la sujete más estrechamente y con más fuerza a la cara. Y al usar este tipo de sistema, realmente puedes obtener un muy buen nivel de protección con mascarillas o cubiertas faciales fácilmente disponibles.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, gracias Dr. Rupp. Jean, volvamos a la línea. ¿Quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Alisa de Míchigan.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Alisa. Bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Alisa: Gracias por atender mi llamada. Vivo en Southfield, Míchigan. Tengo 90 años. Y me preguntaba si hay un mandato para los niños que ingresan a la escuela, que tengan que recibir ciertas vacunas, etc. Y me pregunto por qué no se pudo hacer una ley para obligar a las personas a recibir las vacunas. Es como, como dije, cuando entras a la escuela, debes tener ciertas vacunas. Y me pregunto por qué no se podría hacer esto aquí con lo que estamos tratando ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo. Bueno, vayamos a Lori Smetanka para hablar sobre los mandatos de las vacunas. He visto varios centros de enfermería que comienzan a exigir vacunas. ¿Cuál es la tendencia en todo el país, Lori?

 

Lori Smetanka: Sí, estamos viendo un número creciente de proveedores de hogares de ancianos que requieren que su personal esté vacunado. También estamos viendo que los Gobiernos estatales emiten órdenes para sus trabajadores y también para los trabajadores en las instalaciones de atención médica.

 

California y Massachusetts son dos ejemplos de estados que han emitido órdenes que exigen que el personal se vacune. Y también estamos comenzando a ver que algunas partes del Gobierno federal también requieren vacunas de algunos de los trabajadores. Y los militares van a empezar a exigirlo. Creo que estamos viendo un número creciente de mandatos de vacunas en todo el país y espero que esa tendencia continúe.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, muchas gracias. Y Dr. Rupp, ¿quisiera comentar sobre eso también?

 

Mark Rupp: No tengo mucho que agregar a eso. Estoy completamente de acuerdo en que estamos viendo un uso cada vez mayor de mandatos de vacunación para impulsar nuestra tasa hacia arriba. Solo quisiera señalarle a Alisa que la analogía con los niños más pequeños no va a ser adecuada para la vacuna contra la COVID-19 solo porque en este momento, los niños menores de 12 años no son elegibles para la vacunación. El enfoque es absolutamente sólido, pero simplemente no podremos imponer eso a nuestros niños hasta que tengamos una vacuna que tenga la licencia completa para nuestros niños.

 

Bill Walsh: Bien, gracias a ambos por eso. Jean, ¿quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Leonard de Arizona.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Leonard. Bienvenido al programa de hoy. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Leonard: Gracias. Es de tres partes, sobre las inyecciones de refuerzo. Número 1, Israel ya ha anunciado que los mayores de 60 años recibirán el refuerzo. Número dos, la Organización Mundial de la Salud ha dicho que un país rico, como Estados Unidos, no administre vacunas de refuerzo hasta que el resto del mundo esté vacunado. Ahora, sabemos que hay países donde tenemos menos del 1% de la población vacunada, como Sudán del Sur. Y el número tres es, si uno recibió una de las tres vacunas a las que se les ha dado la designación de uso de emergencia, cuando reciba un refuerzo, ¿debería ser el mismo medicamento, Pfizer, Moderna o J&J? Comentarios sobre esos tres, gracias.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro, está bien, Dr. Rupp, comencemos con la pregunta que es, si uno necesita obtener un refuerzo en algún momento, ¿debería obtenerlo del mismo fabricante del que obtuvo su inyección original?

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, Leonard, estas son observaciones y preguntas tremendas, las que has presentado. Y obviamente estás bien informado sobre la situación. El uso de refuerzos es algo que debemos estudiar más a fondo y recopilar información adicional para que realmente podamos avanzar con un mayor grado de datos y confianza.

 

Como has señalado, Israel ha comenzado a hacer refuerzos en su personal de mayores de 60 años. Dónde se encuentra el límite de edad, no creo que la gente lo entienda completamente. Sin lugar a duda, como ya mencioné anteriormente, veremos refuerzos para todos. Creo que primero podemos anticipar que saldrán para personas inmunodeprimidas, y luego, después de eso, probablemente habrá algún tipo de criterio de edad para los refuerzos.

 

Nadie sabe realmente si la misma forma de vacuna es mejor que una forma diferente de vacuna. Y de hecho, he visto datos que van en ambos sentidos. Será interesante recopilar información adicional y averiguar si necesitas obtener la misma preparación de vacuna o una diferente. Hay una justificación para ir por una u otra.

 

Y luego, como has señalado, existen algunas desigualdades reales en todo el mundo. Afortunadamente, estamos en Estados Unidos, donde tenemos una amplia disponibilidad de vacunas. Esencialmente, en nuestro país, cualquiera que haya querido vacunarse ha podido hacerlo a esta altura. Y las únicas personas que no han sido vacunadas son en gran parte las que han optado por no hacerlo. Como se señaló en la pregunta anterior, es posible que debamos tomar una postura más firme al respecto y comenzar a exigir la vacuna en ciertas poblaciones.

 

Pero la Organización Mundial de la Salud ha solicitado que los países prohíban dar dosis de refuerzo hasta finales de septiembre para dar a otros países la oportunidad de ponerse al día. Creo que es una forma útil y valiosa de abordar el problema. Me encantaría que tuviéramos una mayor disponibilidad de vacunas en todo el mundo, pero también hay disparidades en el sistema de distribución y simplemente no recibir una dosis de refuerzo aquí, cuando tenemos una disponibilidad tan amplia, no necesariamente garantiza que esas vacunas de alguna manera sean transferidas milagrosamente a algún otro país donde podrían ser más necesarias.

 

Hay muchos problemas logísticos que resolver para la distribución de la vacuna. Pero la otra cosa que quisiera enfatizar es que necesitamos tener una visión del mundo sobre esto y realmente entender que hasta que no tengamos vacunados a gran parte del mundo, la mayor parte del mundo, incluso en este país, no estaremos seguros, porque pudimos ver la aparición de una variante en algún rincón distante del mundo, alguna parte desfavorecida del mundo, que podría escapar de la vacuna, y luego volveríamos a estar en la misma situación con un virus que no estaba protegido por la vacuna. Pero estamos todos juntos en esto. Ojalá tuviéramos recursos para recibir la vacuna en mayor cantidad en todo el mundo.

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, muy buenos puntos. Muchas gracias, Dr. Rupp. Jean, tengo entendido que tenemos una pregunta en línea.

 

Jean Setzfand: Sí, tenemos bastantes preguntas en YouTube y Facebook. Veo dos que son muy similares, una de Cheryl, que pregunta: "Acabamos de volver a nuestras visitas rutinarias de atención médica como las citas con el dentista. A la luz de la aparición de la variante delta, ¿deberíamos volver atrás de nuevo?"

 

Y de manera similar, Terry pregunta: "Vivo en el norte de Jersey. ¿Debería asistir a una boda en interiores de 250 personas sin medidas de mitigación establecidas, el Día del Trabajo?" Entonces, las personas preguntan si debieran hacer cosas más normales a las que han estado volviendo, ante la aparición de delta.

 

Bill Walsh: Claro, el panorama ha cambiado. Dr. Rupp, ¿quiere opinar sobre esas preguntas?

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, absolutamente. Y el segundo es probablemente el más fácil para mí. Estamos de regreso en un momento peligroso, y simplemente relajar todas nuestras precauciones y tener grandes grupos de personas que se juntan, algunos que han sido vacunados, otros que puede que no, sin mitigación con respecto a mantener a las personas distanciadas y con mascarillas, es realmente una invitación a que ocurra una difusión masiva.

 

Entonces, yo sería reacio a ir a ese tipo de actividad que está surgiendo aquí en las próximas semanas porque, sin duda, la delta se seguirá transmitiendo ampliamente en nuestras comunidades. La primera parte, con respecto a ir y hacerse los controles de salud de rutina, creo que deberían hacer esas cosas ahora.

 

Claramente, la vacuna, especialmente si estás vacunado, obviamente, porque la vacuna ofrece una buena protección. Incluso si tienes una infección posvacunación, es muy poco probable que curses una enfermedad grave, termines en el hospital o pierdas la vida. Sin duda, es importante que las personas reciban su atención médica de rutina, que consulten a sus médicos, que visiten a sus dentistas, que reciban fisioterapia, ese tipo de cosas.

 

Y en todos esos entornos de atención médica, hemos aprendido mucho durante el último año, año y medio, sobre cómo hacer estas cosas de manera segura. Y entonces, los hospitales tienen a su personal usando mascarillas, tienen protocolos de distanciamiento, limpieza de su entorno, mejoras en la ventilación. Todas estas cosas se están haciendo en los entornos de atención médica. Animaría a los oyentes a seguir visitando a sus dentistas, ver a sus médicos, obtener atención médica y mantener su salud.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien. Gracias, Dr. Rupp. Y gracias a nuestros oyentes por todas esas preguntas. Vamos a responder más en breve. Y recuerden, para hacer una pregunta, presionen * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono o escriban en la sección de comentarios en Facebook o YouTube. Y como recordatorio, si deseas escuchar en español, presiona * 0 en el teclado de tu teléfono ahora.

 

Si desea escuchar en español, presione * 0 en su teléfono ahora.

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, ahora volvamos a nuestros expertos. Lori, las tasas de vacunación entre el personal de los hogares de ancianos están muy por detrás de las de los residentes de esos hogares de ancianos, y algunos estados informan tasas de vacunación del personal tan bajas como 42%. Los hogares de ancianos se encuentran entre los primeros en ser elegibles para recibir vacunas, por lo que parece que este es un problema profundamente arraigado. ¿Qué se puede hacer para alentar al personal de hogares de ancianos a vacunarse? ¿Y cuáles son los riesgos si se mantiene esta brecha?

 

Lori Smetanka: Claro. Creo que los riesgos para la población de los hogares de ancianos son demasiado grandes para que no hagamos todo lo posible para aumentar las tasas de vacunación. Las muertes entre los residentes de hogares de ancianos y el personal equivalieron a un tercio de las muertes por COVID-19 en este país, lo cual es muy desproporcionado para su población y para toda la población de Estados Unidos.

 

Y lo que hemos visto es que las vacunas han marcado la mayor diferencia para detener la propagación de la COVID-19 y proteger a los residentes. Los casos de COVID-19 y las muertes se redujeron significativamente debido a las vacunas. Y eso también significó que no solo los residentes estaban protegidos contra la COVID-19, sino también que se levantaron las restricciones de visitas y se permitió que familiares y amigos regresaran a las instalaciones para brindar asistencia y apoyo adicionales.

 

Es extremadamente importante que el personal, los residentes y los visitantes estén vacunados, especialmente porque podrían surgir nuevas variantes de COVID-19. Además de la posible propagación del virus, sabemos que las instalaciones también continúan cerrándose cuando los miembros del personal dan positivo, lo que evita que otros ingresen. Y estamos viendo ya, que los números comienzan a aumentar en las comunidades y en los hogares mismos.

 

Cuando el personal se enferma, los niveles de personal disminuyen, la calidad de la atención disminuye. Estamos fomentando la educación y la divulgación sólidas y continuas en torno a las vacunas para garantizar que las personas reciban información completa y precisa sobre la seguridad y eficacia de las vacunas y la protección de las personas contra la COVID-19. Las personas necesitan un fácil acceso a las vacunas en sus comunidades.

 

Recomendamos encarecidamente a todos los hogares de ancianos que proporcionen las vacunas en el lugar. Eso ha estado sucediendo en la mayoría de los lugares del país y debería continuar así. Y el personal, creo, también necesita acceso a expertos médicos y consejeros que puedan consultar y responder preguntas o inquietudes que puedan tener, y brindar consejos culturalmente sensibles. Y estamos viendo, como ya hemos hablado, requisitos y mandatos en todo el personal, en algunos casos, para los visitantes, e incluso podemos comenzar a verlos también para los residentes. Creo que debemos hacer todo lo posible para garantizar que las vacunas estén disponibles y que la gente las reciba.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, déjame seguir con eso. Quiero saber dónde los consumidores pueden obtener más información porque, como señalas, las tasas de vacunación en los hogares de ancianos varían significativamente. Vermont, por ejemplo, está en el 95%, mientras que otros estados están en el percentil 40. ¿Dónde pueden las familias obtener más información sobre las tasas de vacunación del personal en las instalaciones de sus seres queridos? ¿Y qué pueden hacer? ¿Puede ayudar un defensor del pueblo?

 

Lori Smetanka: Mmm, seguro. Sin duda, las familias deben preguntar en la propia instalación sobre las tasas de vacunación para el personal y los residentes. Deben dar los porcentajes de quiénes están completamente vacunados. También pueden ponerse en contacto con sus departamentos de salud. El programa del defensor del pueblo es un buen recurso de información que puede ayudar a encontrar los recursos.

 

Y en nuestro sitio web Consumer Voice, en www.theconsumervoice.org, los oyentes también pueden encontrar un enlace a los datos de COVID-19 sobre los hogares de ancianos del Gobierno federal, que incluye las tasas de vacunación de todas las instalaciones del país. Incluye las tasas de vacunación para los residentes y el personal, así como el número de casos y muertes por COVID-19.

 

Bill Walsh: Muy bien. Gracias por eso, Lori. Y también mencionaré el panel de control de hogares de ancianos de AARP, que tiene tasas de vacunación entre el personal. Puede encontrar eso en www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. Muchas gracias por eso, Lori.

 

Per, volvamos a ti. Solo se ha compartido una pequeña parte de la ayuda financiada con fondos federales para inquilinos o propietarios, como has mencionado anteriormente, y muchas de las solicitudes aún están en revisión. ¿Qué puede hacer alguien si está a punto de perder su vivienda, pero tiene una solicitud pendiente?

 

Per Olstad: Nuevamente, excelente pregunta. Gracias. Como sabemos, el dinero empezó a salir con bastante lentitud. Esta es una infraestructura completamente nueva a nivel nacional implementada a través de más de 700 programas diferentes a nivel estatal y local. Y hemos visto un aumento constante del dinero que sale por la puerta todos los meses desde marzo, y una especie de escala algorítmica.

 

Soy optimista de que seguiremos con esa tendencia. La próxima ronda de informes a través del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos debería llegar pronto, sobre el dinero de julio. Pero no ha sido tan rápido como a cualquiera le hubiera gustado. Y hay personas que han presentado solicitudes y tienen que esperar bastante tiempo para obtener una resolución.

 

Una vez más, creo que en todo el país tenemos programas que están trabajando tan duro como pueden para hacer que esto avance. Pero esta es toda una infraestructura que tuvo que construirse desde cero, y rápidamente, de cara a la pandemia y los desafíos financieros, que la gente está sintiendo agudamente. Para aquellas personas que han presentado una solicitud pero aún está pendiente, nuevamente, si viven en una comunidad con una tasa de transmisión considerable o alta, lo primero que debe hacer es llenar el formulario de declaración de los CDC y entregárselo a su arrendador.

 

Eso puede darles tiempo para pasar el período de solicitud hasta el 3 de octubre, por lo que uno no puede ser desalojado por no pagar el alquiler. La otra cosa que diría es que, si pueden, no se desvinculen de su arrendador. Inicien una conversación. Nosotros, en la oficina, hemos tenido muchas conversaciones con propietarios e inquilinos durante los últimos meses.

 

Y he escuchado de ambos lados que muchas veces las relaciones realmente se han deteriorado debido a esta pandemia. Eso no es una sorpresa. Es una situación terrible tanto para los inquilinos como para los propietarios, por lo que, por supuesto, creará mucha tensión en esa relación. Pero también hemos escuchado repetidamente, en muchas situaciones, que el simple hecho de tener una conversación franca sobre los desafíos financieros de ambas partes puede ser de gran ayuda.

 

No siempre es cierto, ya que hay ciertas situaciones en las que eso simplemente no va a funcionar, pero en muchos casos, sí puede hacerlo. Entre los otros recursos que ofrecemos en www.consumerfinance.gov, también ofrecemos orientación tanto para inquilinos como para propietarios sobre cómo comenzar a trabajar hacia un compromiso que, en última instancia, los beneficiará a ambos.

 

La realidad es que el desalojo es costoso y doloroso tanto para los inquilinos como para los propietarios. Y especialmente con el dinero de la asistencia para el alquiler que ahora comienza a fluir más rápidamente, ambas partes pueden beneficiarse realmente de trabajar juntas para encontrar una solución hasta que llegue el dinero de la asistencia para el alquiler.

 

Como dije antes, también puede ser de gran ayuda buscar un experto local. Como señalé, puede haber asistencia legal gratuita o de bajo costo en su área, pero a menudo también pueden contratar asesores de vivienda locales certificados por HUD. Muchos de ellos han ampliado realmente los servicios de asesoramiento que ofrecen a los inquilinos, no solo a los propietarios de viviendas, incluida una orientación sobre la mejor manera de tener esa conversación con los propietarios.

 

Y en algunos casos, pueden trabajar con el inquilino y el propietario para encontrar una solución a corto y largo plazo. Esos consejeros de vivienda realmente pueden ser un gran recurso. Y hay una herramienta de búsqueda para encontrarlos en tu área en www.consumerfinance.gov/housing.

 

Finalmente, también diría que, para los propietarios, nuevamente, muchos de los cuales son propietarios pequeños, abuelos que realmente están luchando con sus propias facturas a pagar, y a menudo realmente dependen de los ingresos por alquiler, tenemos un conjunto de recursos para ayudarlos con sus necesidades a corto y largo plazo, orientación sobre la gama de soluciones y opciones que pueden estar disponibles. Y pueden encontrarlos en www.consumerfinance.gov/landlords.

 

Realmente, nuevamente, los dos puntos principales, si vives en un área con una tasa de transmisión considerable o alta, llena el formulario de declaración de los CDC y entrégalo al propietario. Y luego, también, si crees que puedes, no te desconectes. Es difícil tener esas conversaciones. Estos son temas delicados en un momento realmente desafiante, pero es realmente importante tener una conversación, si se puede. Y es posible que se pueda llegar a un compromiso a corto plazo hasta que llegue el dinero de la asistencia para el alquiler.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, Per, muchas gracias. Muy buenos consejos. Y ahora es el momento de abordar más preguntas con el Dr. Mark Rupp, Lori Smetanka y Per Olstad. Presionen * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora en la línea?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Kathy de Colorado.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Kathy. Continúa con tu llamada.

 

Kathy: Quería preguntar. Tengo un inquilino que vivía en nuestra casa en Connecticut. Y básicamente no pagó el alquiler durante 15 meses, destrozó el lugar, solo lo conocimos un par de horas antes de que se mudara. Y no pagó el alquiler. Aparentemente seguía trabajando como camionero, tal vez ganando $2,000 a la semana, es lo que dijo. Pero también destrozó el lugar, hizo agujeros en la pared y dejó heces humanas en bolsas, simplemente muchas cosas negativas.

 

Sin embargo, la cosa es que estamos tratando de averiguar si podemos obtener un rescate por nuestro alquiler. Hemos tenido... Literalmente, la gente de control de animales tuvo que entrar y atrapar... él dejó un animal allí. Pero dijeron que no podían caminar por la casa porque la basura estaba en cada piso, hasta la rodilla. Entonces, hemos tenido que gastar mucho dinero, tratando de arreglarlo, y no hemos podido alquilarlo.

 

Al escucharlos hace un rato, descubrimos el sitio para obtener dinero de rescate por la COVID-19. Dice algo como, si el lugar está en Connecticut, vivimos en Colorado, y dice que debemos ser residentes de Connecticut. ¿Hay algo así, algo que nos ayude? Hago mucho servicio comunitario y esto fue un verdadero error. Pero no hemos podido alquilarlo. Literalmente, teníamos una mujer que se estaba tomando un tiempo libre que es una enfermera psiquiátrica, que se estaba tomando un tiempo libre, y pasó, y dijo que era peor que la acumulación. Incluso el estado, como dije, entró y en su informe oficial dijo: "Ni siquiera podemos pasar por la casa". Y ha sido realmente muy caro. Ha estado sin alquilar desde hace 20 meses ya.

 

Bill Walsh: Vaya, qué terrible situación. Veamos si podemos darte algunas respuestas. Me pregunto si Per Olstad podría comentar sobre la situación de Kathy.

 

Per Olstad: Claro. Kathy, lo siento. Suena como una situación espantosa. Creo que lo mejor que puedes hacer es ponerte en contacto con los programas locales. La forma en que se ha establecido el programa de asistencia para el alquiler en todo el país es que los administradores locales del programa tienen bastante discreción sobre cómo configurar el programa, incluidas algunas flexibilidades sobre quién cumplirá con los requisitos, y cómo priorizan la financiación que sale por la puerta.

 

No habrá una respuesta única a nivel nacional que funcione. Realmente te animo a que te comuniques con el programa de asistencia de alquiler de Connecticut. Y me suena como algo que probablemente va a... Si puede participar a través de una llamada telefónica en lugar de simplemente intentar ir a través del portal web. Y me gustaría ver... En muchas áreas del país, hay más de un programa para el que puedes ser elegible.

 

La forma en que se estableció el programa, se puede administrar a nivel estatal, a nivel de condado, a nivel de ciudad, entidades tribales, muchos han sido aprobados para participar en el fondo. Nuevamente, más de 760 programas en todo el país. [INDISCERNIBLE] otras opciones, también. Y puedes usar la herramienta de búsqueda a la que hice referencia, www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp, para ver la variedad de programas. Y podrías ponerte en contacto con ellos.

 

Y te diré, ha preguntado específicamente, diré que la moratoria de los CDC realmente solo se aplica a la falta de pago del alquiler como base para el desalojo. Ciertamente no cubriría otras razones de desalojo como las que describió que no tienen nada que ver con la capacidad financiera para pagar el alquiler debido a una dificultad por la COVID-19. Simplemente suena como un tratamiento espantoso, espantoso de las instalaciones. Si no fuera por la ayuda con la financiación, acudiría al programa local.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muchas gracias, Per. Jean, ¿de quién es nuestra próxima llamada?

 

Jean Setzfand: Nuestra próxima llamada es Earl de Oregón.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Earl. Bienvenido al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Earl: Hola. Mi pregunta es si cuando estás usando...

 

Bill Walsh: Lo siento, adelante, Earl. Earl, ¿quieres repetir tu pregunta? [DIAFONÍA]

 

Earl: ¿Hola?

 

Bill Walsh: Sí, adelante, Earl. Te puedo oír ahora.

 

Earl: Sí, usando el término en un sentido general, como vida asistida, ¿incluye la vida asistida y la vida para la jubilación y lugares así?

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Cuándo hablamos de tasas de vacunación entre el personal?

 

Earl: No.

 

Bill Walsh: Lo siento, continúa y haz tu pregunta, Earl. No estoy seguro de estar entendiendo. Bien, parece que estamos teniendo algunos problemas técnicos. Jean, ¿por qué no tomamos otra pregunta?

 

Jean Setzfand: Claro. La siguiente pregunta viene de Gabriela de Nueva Jersey.

 

Bill Walsh: Hola, Gabriela. Bienvenida al programa. Continúa con tu pregunta.

 

Gabriela: Está bien. Mi pregunta es, estaba programada para mi vacuna el 12 de abril, y era una vacuna de Moderna. Pero resulta que no me dieron la Moderna, me dieron J&J. Ahora, me notificaron en mayo que no hay inmunidad con la variante delta con la J&J, y que debería distanciarme, usar una mascarilla y tomar precauciones para mantenerme a salvo. Ahora, estaba muy molesta por recibir esa, pero mi pregunta fue para mi médico, vi a los CDC, hace un par de semanas, anunciar que no sabían cómo se puede combinar con otra vacuna, si era seguro. Y todavía van a investigar eso. ¿Hay alguna forma de que alguien pueda responder eso?

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, preguntémosle al Dr. Rupp. Escucho dos preguntas ahí. Una es sobre la efectividad de la vacuna J&J frente a la variante delta, y también sobre la posibilidad o incluso la necesidad de recibir una vacuna diferente si Gabriela ya ha recibido la dosis de J&J. Dr. Rupp, ¿puede abordar eso?

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, Gabriela. Lamento que te encuentres en una situación desafortunada en la que no has recibido la vacuna que esperabas. Creo que tienes razón en que los datos sugieren que el efecto protector de la vacuna J&J para la variante delta es probablemente algo menor que lo que estamos viendo con las vacunas de ARNm. Desafortunadamente, sin embargo, no existe una recomendación oficial de la FDA o de cualquier otra agencia reguladora u organismo oficial que realmente indique lo que debes hacer en este momento.

 

Creo que una vez que las dosis de refuerzo estén disponibles y recomendadas, te sugiero que intentes llegar al frente de la lista para recibirla. Y mientras tanto, ten mucho cuidado. Continúa manteniendo algo de distancia y usa mascarillas, particularmente mientras esta variante delta circula tan ampliamente. Habiendo dicho eso, tienes cierto valor de protección con la J&J para la variante delta.

 

Probablemente no sea tan alto como el que hubieras recibido de las vacunas de ARNm. Ese es probablemente el mejor consejo que puedo dar en este momento. Creo que todos estamos esperando ver que se presenten algunas recomendaciones para personas inmunodeprimidas y muy mayores con refuerzos. Y creo que en ese momento, si comienzan a hacer recomendaciones para permitir una dosis de refuerzo, en tu lugar, sería bueno aprovechar eso.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muchas gracias Dr. Rupp. Jean, tomemos otra pregunta.

 

Jean Setzfand: Tenemos una pregunta procedente de Facebook de Jay que pregunta: "¿Se requerirá que el personal de los hogares grupales se vacune? ¿Se permite que la administración del hogar grupal pregunte al personal si está vacunado o no?"

 

Bill Walsh: Bueno, esa es una pregunta interesante. Lori Smetanka, ¿puedes abordar eso?

 

Lori Smetanka: Bueno, esa es una pregunta interesante. Hemos visto cada vez más, como mencioné anteriormente, proveedores de atención médica, así como entidades gubernamentales, que requieren que se vacunen las personas que trabajan en entornos de salud, incluida la atención a largo plazo. Y algunos de los desafíos legales a las vacunas obligatorias se han mantenido, donde los empleadores han podido exigir vacunas para su personal. Parece que nos estamos moviendo en una dirección en la que habrá mandatos de vacunas más generalizados en todos los ámbitos, incluso, creo, en hogares grupales.

 

Bill Walsh: ¿Y crees que eso también cubriría los centros de cuidados diurnos para adultos mayores?

 

Lori Smetanka: Parecen estar sujetos a requisitos reglamentarios similares a los de las personas que trabajan en otros tipos de entornos de atención médica, en el sentido de que existen ciertos requisitos relacionados con los niveles de personal y los conjuntos de habilidades. Y entonces, creo que eso se aplicaría de manera similar.

 

Bill Walsh: Está bien, y parece que se está viendo una tendencia aquí que, si bien podría comenzar con hogares de ancianos, podría migrar a otros centros de atención, como vida asistida, hogares para grupos, centros para personas mayores, etc.

 

Lori Smetanka: Correcto. Creo que comenzaremos a ver ese tipo de tendencias. La mayoría de los pedidos en este momento se refieren a hospitales y hogares de ancianos. Pero están empezando a definirse, creo, empezarán a definirse como proveedores de salud más amplios. Creo que comenzaremos a ver esa tendencia.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, muy bien. Quería dar seguimiento a una pregunta con el Dr. Rupp. Creo que ha mencionado infecciones posvacunación un par de veces. Me pregunto si podría hablar sobre qué son, qué tan graves son y, en general, simplemente hablar sobre qué tan efectivas son las vacunas contra la variante delta.

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, gracias, Bill. Creo que esta pregunta es la más importante para mucha gente. Y la infección posvacunación simplemente significa que has recibido la vacuna, pero a pesar de eso, contraes una infección. Esto no es inesperado. No existe ninguna vacuna ni ningún medicamento que sea 100% efectivo. Y eso es así también para las vacunas contra la COVID-19.

 

Incluso en los estudios clínicos, en los que las personas se someten a pruebas de detección a propósito y tienden a ser un poco más jóvenes y saludables, sí vimos algunas infecciones posvacunación. Como recordarán, en esos primeros informes de eficacia, mencionábamos a gritos que la vacuna tiene una eficacia del 90% al 95%. Bueno, eso significa que el 5% o el 10% de esas personas, incluso en los estudios, estaban teniendo infecciones posvacunación.

 

No es inesperado que se vean infecciones posvacunación cuando se coloca la vacuna en el entorno del mundo real, donde se vacuna a personas que pueden estar inmunodeprimidas, o pueden ser incluso más mayores que las que estaban en los estudios originales. Dicho esto, las vacunas continúan, particularmente las vacunas de ARNm, mostrando muy buena efectividad, incluso contra esta variante delta, con respecto a la protección contra enfermedades graves, hospitalización y muerte.

 

A pesar de que se están viendo algunas infecciones posvacunación, y probablemente sean más frecuentes con la variante delta, todavía se tiene una buena protección contra las manifestaciones más graves de la enfermedad. Nuevamente, si has estado en la duda, pensando si vacunarte, no existe mejor momento para cambiar de opinión que ahora. Recibe la vacuna. Protégete de las manifestaciones más graves de la enfermedad. Haz esto para protegerte. Hazlo para proteger a tu familia y ayudar a la sociedad y a nuestro país a luchar contra esta pandemia.

 

Bill Walsh: De acuerdo, Dr. Rupp, gracias. Y creo que algunos de nuestros oyentes pueden haber visto informes de que la Administración de Drogas y Alimentos de EE.UU. está lista para aprobar completamente la vacuna contra el coronavirus de Pfizer a principios del próximo mes. Por supuesto, otorgaron una aprobación de uso de emergencia a fines del año pasado. ¿Cual es la diferencia? ¿En qué se diferencia la aprobación total del uso de emergencia? Una explicación rápida.

 

Mark Rupp: Sí, anticipamos que se otorgará una licencia completa de la FDA para la vacuna de ARNm de Pfizer, ya sea a fines de este mes o principios del próximo. Esas son las señales que se envían. Creo que eso les dará a algunas personas una seguridad adicional de que la vacuna es segura y efectiva. Pero, francamente, tenemos más experiencia con esta vacuna que casi cualquier otra cosa que haya visto en mi carrera.

 

Como ya se señaló anteriormente, se han administrado cientos de millones de dosis de vacunas. Conocemos muy, muy bien los efectos secundarios y el perfil de eventos adversos. Muy, muy claramente, la seguridad y eficacia de la vacuna justifican a favor de administrar la vacuna. La licencia completa será solo un símbolo más de que ha superado ese obstáculo. Pero, francamente, no hay más información adicional sobre la eficacia de la seguridad que deba acumularse para tomar esa decisión. En este momento, solo está pasando por el proceso regulatorio para obtener la licencia completa.

 

Bill Walsh: Entendido. De acuerdo, Dr. Rupp, muchas gracias. Y gracias a cada uno de nuestros expertos por responder a todas estas preguntas. Esta ha sido una discusión realmente informativa. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en esta discusión hoy. AARP, una organización de membresía sin fines de lucro y no partidista, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores del país durante más de 60 años.

 

Frente a esta crisis, estamos brindando información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan a protegerse del virus, prevenir su propagación a otras personas y, al mismo tiempo, cuidar de sí mismos. Todos los recursos mencionados, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas, se pueden encontrar en www.aarp.org/coronavirus a partir de mañana, 13 de agosto.

 

Una vez más, ese sitio web es www.aarp.org/coronavirus. Ve allí si tu pregunta no fue respondida y encontrarás las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

 

Esperamos que hayan aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlos a ustedes y a sus seres queridos a mantenerse saludables. Acompáñanos nuevamente el 26 de agosto a la 1:00 p.m. hora del este en otro evento en vivo, donde responderemos sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus. Esperamos que puedan acompañarnos. Gracias y que tengan un buen día. Con esto concluye nuestra llamada.

 

 

The COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading quickly, causing confusion across the country. Many older adults have concerns related to their health and safety given the changing landscape and guidelines.

This live Q&A event addressed the revised CDC mask guidelines, booster shots, the vaccination status of workers and safety protocols for loved ones in care facilities. It also covered how to access housing assistance and services for those experiencing economic distress and struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

The Experts:

  • Mark Rupp, M.D. 
    Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
    Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
    University of Nebraska Medical Center

  • Lori Smetanka
    Executive Director
    The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

  • Per Olstad
    Sr. Advisor
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

 


For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.


Replay previous AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • October 7Coronavirus: Boosters, Flu Vaccines and Wellness Visits
  • September 23 - Coronavirus: Delta Variant, Boosters & Self Care
  • September 9 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, Caring for Loved Ones & New Work Realities
  • August 26 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe, New Work Realities & Managing Finances
  • August 12 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe in Changing Times
  • June 24 - The State of LGBTQ Equality in the COVID Era
  • June 17 - Coronavirus: Vaccines And Staying Safe During “Reopening”
  • June 3 - Coronavirus: Your Health, Finances & Housing
  • May 20 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • May 6 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Variants and Coping
  • April 22 - Your Vaccine Questions Answered and Coronavirus: Vaccines and Asian American and Pacific Islanders
  • April 8 - Coronavirus and Latinos: Safety, Protection and Prevention and Vaccines and Caring for Grandkids and Loved Ones
  • April 1Coronavirus and The Black Community: Your Vaccine Questions Answered
  • March 25Coronavirus: The Stimulus, Taxes and Vaccine
  • March 11 - One Year of the Pandemic and Managing Personal Finances and Taxes
  • February 25Coronavirus Vaccines and You
  • February 11 - Coronavirus Vaccines: Your Questions Answered
  • January 28 - Coronavirus: Vaccine Distribution and Protecting Yourself
    & A Virtual World Awaits: Finding Fun, Community and Connections
  • January 14 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying Safe & Coping and Prevention, Vaccines & the Black Community
  • January 7 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Stimulus & Staying Safe
  • Dec 3 - Coronavirus: Staying Safe & Coping This Winter
  • Nov 19 - Coronavirus: Vaccines, Staying and A Caregiver's Thanksgiving
  • Nov 12 - Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • Oct 1 - Coronavirus: Vaccines & Coping During the Pandemic
  • Sept 17 - Coronavirus: Prevention, Treatments, Vaccines & Avoiding Scams
  • Sept 3 - Coronavirus: Your Finances, Health & Family (6 months in)
  • Aug 20 - Your Health and Staying Protected
  • Aug 6 - Coronavirus: Answering Your Most Frequent Questions
  • July 23 - Coronavirus: Navigating the New Normal
  • July 16 - The Health and Financial Security of Latinos
  • July 9 - Coronavirus: Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
  • June 18 and 20 - Strengthening Relationships Over Time and  LGBTQ Non-Discrimination Protections
  • June 11 – Coronavirus: Personal Resilience in the New Normal