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John Quincy Adams’ Tips for a Safe Summer

Hot Topics | July 30th, 2021

President John Quincy Adams was an avid swimmer and was known to start his days with an early morning dip in the water. Though he was a proficient swimmer, Adams had a brush with death the morning of June 13, 1825. On that particular day, Adams spied an abandoned boat and decided to row it down Tiber Creek, across the Potomac and swim back. However, by the time Adams reached the Potomac, the boat was taking on water and was about to capsize. Adams jumped overboard wearing all of his clothes. In his diary, Adams described his shirt sleeves as “two fifty-six pound weights upon my arms” that were pulling him underwater.

Luckily, the president never swam alone and his steward Antoine Michel Guista had already stripped off his clothes (as was customary for swimmers in the early 19th century). Unencumbered by his garb, Guista was able to pull Adams to shore and save his life.

As you prepare to don your swim trunks for the weekend, remember to:

  • Leave your waistcoat and pantaloons at home. Wear a life jacket on the water instead
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Never commandeer an abandoned boat

And before you head to the water to catch some rays, catch up with us on the healthcare public policy news that was making headlines this week:

In it for the long haul

  • On Monday, the White House issued new guidance specifying long-term symptoms of COVID-19 (a.k.a. “long COVID-19”) may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidance specifies that an individualized assessment is needed to determine whether or not an individual’s long COVID-19 symptoms qualify as a disability. (Axios, POLITICO, The Hill)

Masks are back, back again

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated Americans living in areas of “high” or “substantial” transmission of COVID-19 should resume wearing masks indoors. Driving the new guidance is data from other countries that suggest fully vaccinated individuals infected with the Delta variant of COVID-19 may be contagious. (Roll Call, Axios, POLITICO)

Vaccine requirements proliferate

  • Faced with rising case numbers fueled by the Delta variant of COVID-19, health systems, private businesses and the federal government are exploring, and in many cases implementing, vaccination requirements. (Axios) This week the Veteran’s Administration (VA) became the first federal agency to require its employees to be vaccinated. President Biden is also exploring the possibility of requiring all federal workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (The Hill)

Investigation in CDC interference expands

  • House Democrats expanded their investigation into political interference at the CDC during the Trump administration. At the heart of the inquiry is whether Trump administration officials meddled in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, which include published scientific data. The expanded inquiry is now requesting interviews with former CDC officials including Nancy Messonnier, who held several public-facing roles throughout 2020. (The Hill, The Washington Post)

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