#childsafety | First Edition: April 7, 2021


Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

KHN:
Doctor Survived Cambodia’s Killing Fields, But Not Covid

Linath Lim’s life was shaped by starvation. She was not yet 13 when the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia and ripped her family apart. The totalitarian regime sent her and four siblings to work camps, where they planted rice and dug irrigation canals from sunrise to sunset — each surviving on two ladles of rice gruel a day. One disappeared, never to be found. (Bazar, 4/7)

KHN:
California Counties A Hodgepodge Of Highs And Lows In Vaccinating Vulnerable Seniors 

Even as California prepares to expand vaccine eligibility on April 15 to all residents age 16 and up, the state has managed to inoculate only about half its senior population — the 65-and-older target group deemed most vulnerable to death and serious illness in the pandemic. Overall, nearly 56% of California seniors have received the full course of a covid vaccine, according to the latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s about average compared with other states — not nearly as high as places like South Dakota, where almost 74% of seniors are fully vaccinated, but also not as far behind as Hawaii, which has reached 44%. The data, current as of Tuesday, does not include seniors who have received only the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. (Gold, 4/7)

KHN:
Events Of 2020 Moved Medical Students To Political Activism

Inam Sakinah and her classmates will forever be known as the students who started medical school during the 2020 covid-19 pandemic. All of them had prepared for this step for years, taking hours of hard science classes in college, studying for the medical school admissions test and often volunteering, working or even getting master’s or other advanced degrees before starting on the long path to earning a medical degree. (Knight, 4/7)

NPR:
Biden Says All Adults Will Be Vaccine Eligible By April 19

President Biden announced Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all U.S. residents 18 and older by about two weeks. Less than a month after directing states to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1, Biden changed that deadline to April 19. “No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions,” Biden said. (Treisman, 4/6)

Roll Call:
Biden COVID-19 Vaccination Timeline Ends Confusion About State Criteria 

President Joe Biden urged unvaccinated seniors to get their COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible on Tuesday, before announcing that all adults across the country should be eligible for shots starting April 19. “They’re going to have to make the appointment now,” Biden said of seniors during a visit to a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. The visit came ahead of his formal announcement at the White House about eligibility expanding to adults nationwide in less than two weeks. (Lesniewski and Kopp, 4/6)

USA Today:
COVID-19 Vaccines: Crush Of Demand Expected With April 19 Opening

“No more confusing rules, no more confusing restrictions,” Biden said. “Many states have already opened up to all of those, but beginning April 19th … every adult in this country is eligible to get to the line to get a COVID vaccination.” Eligibility and availability are not the same, as Biden seemed to imply by emphasizing the words “get to the line.” With millions more people able to pursue those elusive shots, the picture of a free-for-all April 19 emerges, prompting one expert to compare the likely scenario to trying to score Elvis Presley tickets. (Ortiz, 4/6)

CNN:
Half Of Adults Could Have A Covid-19 Vaccine Dose By The Weekend, But Experts Say It’s Too Soon To Declare Victory 

The US is on track to vaccinate half of all adults by the weekend with at least one Covid-19 shot, according to a White House adviser, but that does not mean the country is finished with the pandemic. “We do have to remember that there are 100 million-plus adults that still haven’t been vaccinated,” White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday. “They’re not there yet, and you don’t win the war until you bring everybody over with you.” (Holcombe, 4/7)

The Hill:
Vaccination Pace Picks Up Steam; Normality Appears Closer 

The accelerating pace of vaccinations across the United States is offering hope that something close to normality is on the horizon. A significant taming of the pandemic in the U.S. could be just a matter of a few weeks, with an average 3 million people being vaccinated each day and 4 million alone getting shots on Saturday. Across the country, more than 75 percent of people 65 or older have received at least one shot, as have more than 40 percent of all adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Sullivan, 4/6)

The New York Times:
About 80 Percent Of K-12 Teachers And Staff Have Gotten A Vaccine Dose 

Nearly 80 percent of school staff and child care workers in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the Biden administration has made an ambitious push to reopen schools and return to in-person instruction by the president’s 100th day in office. That goal has been tempered by new dangerous virus variants, protests from teachers’ unions, and the fears and frustrations of students and parents. (4/7)

The Wall Street Journal:
Covid-19 Vaccine Developed By U.S. Army Begins Human Testing 

The U.S. Army will start testing among adult volunteers an Army-developed Covid-19 vaccine that researchers say may protect against a variety of coronavirus variants. Army doctors plan to start testing on Tuesday the protein-based shot in as many as 72 adults ages 18 to 55 at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., the institute said. The team will test whether the vaccine safely induces the desired immune response in study subjects. (Loftus, 4/6)

AP:
Most Kids With Serious Inflammatory Illness Had Mild COVID

Most children with a serious inflammatory illness linked to the coronavirus had initial COVID-19 infections with no symptoms or only mild ones, new U.S. research shows. The unusual post-infection condition tends to be milder in kids who were sicker with COVID-19, although more than half of affected youngsters received intensive hospital care, according to an analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics. (Tanner, 4/6)

The New York Times:
Many Children With MIS-C Had No Covid-19 Symptoms 

Many children and teenagers who developed the mysterious inflammatory syndrome that can emerge several weeks after contracting the coronavirus never had classic Covid-19 symptoms at the time of their infection, according to the largest study so far of cases in the United States. The study, led by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that in over 1,000 cases in which information about whether they got sick from their initial Covid-19 illness was available, 75 percent of the patients did not experience such symptoms. But two to five weeks later, they became sick enough to be hospitalized for the condition, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which can affect multiple organs, especially the heart. (Belluck, 4/6)

USA Today:
COVID: Kids Fare Better Than Adults. New Study Attempts To Answer Why.

Since the start of the pandemic, health experts have offered numerous theories to explain why children fared better than adults against COVID-19. Some thought kids were less likely to come into contact with the virus as schools closed. Others hypothesized they might not have a specific molecule essential for the virus to attach to host cells. But a new study provides evidence that children may evade severe disease because a natural part of their immune response stops the virus early in its tracks, according to researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System and Yale University. (Rodriguez, 4/6)

Stat:
1 In 3 Covid-19 Patients Are Diagnosed With A Neuropsychiatric Condition

Six months after being diagnosed with Covid-19, 1 in 3 patients also had experienced a psychiatric or neurological illness, mostly mood disorders but also strokes or dementia, a large new study shows. About 1 in 8 of the patients (12.8%) were diagnosed for the first time with such an illness, most commonly anxiety or depression. Compared to control groups of people who had the flu or other non-Covid respiratory infections, first-ever neuropsychiatric diagnoses were almost twice as high. (Cooney, 4/6)

Reuters:
A Third Of COVID Survivors Suffer Neurological Or Mental Disorders: Study 

One in three COVID-19 survivors in a study of more than 230,000 mostly American patients were diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months, suggesting the pandemic could lead to a wave of mental and neurological problems, scientists said on Tuesday. (Kelland, 4/6)

USA Today:
COVID News: Half Of New COVID Cases In Just 5 States

Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots. New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000. (Hayes, 4/7)

New York Post:
Michigan Officials Investigating After 246 ‘Fully Vaccinated’ Residents Get COVID-19, 3 Die: Report

The group — whose cases were reported between Jan. 1 and March 31 — tested positive at least two weeks after receiving the last dose of the inoculation, a health official told the Detroit News. “Some of these individuals may ultimately be excluded from this list due to continuing to test positive from a recent infection prior to being fully vaccinated,” Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email Monday. (Steinbuch, 4/6)

Stat:
Covid-19 Reinfections Still Seem Rare, But The U.S. Lacks Good Data 

Reinfections from Covid-19 continue to seem rare, and are not responsible for the current, stubbornly high case counts in the United States, according to scientists and the latest findings. At least, that’s what researchers are left to conclude. Experts say the country and individual states don’t have strong systems to determine how frequently people are getting reinfected — another consequence of the nation’s limited surveillance network. They’re calling for better data collection and analysis around second cases of Covid-19. (Joseph, 4/7)

AP:
Health Department IDs Missouri’s First Case Of Virus Variant

Missouri’s health department on Tuesday announced it identified the first case of a new vaccine variant in the state. Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services announced a Jackson County resident tested positive for a COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa. (Ballentine, 4/7)

Politico:
Senior Trump And Biden Officials Knew For Months About Problems At Vaccine Plant

Senior officials in the Trump and Biden administrations knew of oversight and quality assurance problems at Emergent BioSolutions’ Baltimore plant months before the company accidentally contaminated 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter and an internal report. Officials with the Trump administration’s vaccine program, Operation Warp Speed, and the Department of Health and Human Services were sent a report in June 2020 on Emergent’s inner workings. Written by a government official, the document concluded that the company’s plan for manufacturing urgently needed Covid-19 vaccines was inadequate. Emergent’s problems hiring and retaining skilled workers meant that it could not guarantee success in producing the shots, said the two people, who read the report and described it to POLITICO. (Banco and Owermohle, 4/6)

The New York Times:
U.S. Bet On Covid Vaccine Manufacturer Even As Problems Mounted 

More than eight years ago, the federal government invested in an insurance policy against vaccine shortages during a pandemic. It paid Emergent BioSolutions, a Maryland biotech firm known for producing anthrax vaccines, to have a factory in Baltimore always at the ready. When the coronavirus pandemic arrived, the factory became the main U.S. location for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, churning out about 150 million doses as of last week. (Hamby, LaFraniere and Stolberg, 4/6)

The Washington Post:
Biden Administration To Launch $9,000 Funeral Assistance Program For Covid Victims

The Biden administration next week will launch a funeral assistance program that will provide up to $9,000 to cover the burial costs of each American who died of covid-19 — the largest program of its type ever offered by the federal government. The program is open to families regardless of their income, as long as they show documentation and have not already received similar benefits through another program. (Jordan and Sullivan, 4/6)

Politico:
Congress Shoveled Out Billions To Boost Contact Tracing. It May Have Come Too Late. 

Beleaguered state and local coronavirus contact tracing programs are about to get billions of dollars in aid from Congress. But that likely won’t be enough to overcome the latest surge of cases, reporting gaps and other complications that now make it all but impossible to quickly track chains of transmission. It’s the latest challenge for a public health effort that’s been stymied by a shortage of disease trackers — and by infected patients who are unwilling to quarantine or turn over close contacts. (Ollstein and Goldberg, 4/6)

Roll Call:
Democrats Hope To Extend New Insurance Subsidies Before 2022 Midterms

Health insurance shoppers who buy coverage on the state and federal exchanges are likely to see a discount in their premiums as soon as next month, thanks to the recent COVID-19 relief law, but prices could rise again in 2023 if Congress doesn’t extend new subsidies before then. As Democrats consider what aspects of their health agenda their next legislative push may include, lawmakers say they plan to extend the enhanced premium tax credits that were authorized through 2022 in the COVID-19 relief law enacted last month, but they haven’t laid out a specific plan for doing so. (McIntire, 4/7)

The Washington Post:
Long Lines, Frustration At Walk-Up Vaccine Site In Maryland 

Excitement gave way to frustration outside a mass vaccination site in Hagerstown, Md., on Tuesday, as hundreds of people seeking the coronavirus vaccine without appointments were turned away and others were left waiting as long as seven hours for their shots. (Tan, 4/6)

Boston Globe:
Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition, Alleging Unsanitary Conditions, Wants Grove Hall CVS To Stop Vaccinating

The Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition is asking officials to shut down the vaccination program at the CVS in Grove Hall after the civil rights group alleged that the store was unsanitary and allowed people seeking vaccinations to gather close together while waiting over the weekend. Louis Elisa, a member of the group’s steering committee, visited the CVS on Saturday after hearing concerns from neighbors and found a trash can overflowing with refuse and “a crowd of people bunched up together” as they awaited shots of the vaccine, he said in a phone interview Monday night. (Fox, 4/6)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Online Scammers Traffic In Fake COVID Vaccination Cards, Authorities Warn

Fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards are being sold online, and authorities have warned individuals not to buy or make one — which is illegal. “Be aware of individuals selling fake COVID-19 vaccination record cards and encouraging others to print fake cards at home,” the FBI said in a public service announcement last week. “Fake vaccination record cards have been advertised on social media websites, as well as e-commerce platforms and blogs.” (Flores, 4/5)

Drudge Report:
Local Teen Diagnosed With Guillain-Barre Syndrome Questions COVID-19 Vaccine After Receiving First Dose

Wyatt McGlaun, a teenager in The Woodlands, said he got Guillan-Barre syndrome a few weeks after his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “I wanted to get the vaccine. I felt it was the right thing to do,” McGlaun said. “I wanted to travel and enjoy my last summer before college.” However, he said, he got extremely weak and had difficulty walking when he was admitted to CHI St. Luke’s in The Woodlands where he was diagnosed. (Hernandez, 4/5)

USA Today:
COVID Vaccine Side Effects Study: Rashes, Skin Reactions Not Dangerous

Getting COVID-19 can cause all manner of odd skin reactions. A new study finds some of them, including COVID toes, a measles-like rash and shingles also can be rare, and thankfully brief, side effects of getting the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. The minor, though sometimes itchy and annoying, reactions were seen in a database of 414 cases of delayed skin problems linked to the vaccines and reported to health care professionals. The cases were collected between December and February before the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been authorized, so it was not included. (Weise, 4/7)

Houston Chronicle:
Gov. Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order Against Requiring Vaccine Passports In Texas

Gov. Greg Abbot issued an executive order early Tuesday banning state agencies from requiring “vaccine passports” to enter public spaces or receive public services. The passports, either digital or printed, would verify that a person has been fully immunized against COVID-19 and allow people to more freely travel and shop. (Harris, 4/6)

Becker’s Hospital Review:
How A Massachusetts Hospital Supply Leader Spotted Fake N95 Masks

A supply chain manager at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass., told CBS Boston that after ordering 30,000 3M N95 masks from a third-party vendor, he was able to spot from a shipping box label that the masks were counterfeit. Barry O’Shaughnessy, a procurement manager at the hospital, told the publication that he went through a third-party vendor to get the masks since he wasn’t able to get enough from the hospital’s normal suppliers.  (Anderson, 4/6)

CNN:
A New York Woman Is Thriving After Receiving The First Trachea Transplant 

After years of struggling to breathe and fearing she might suffocate in her sleep, Sonia Sein says she feels well enough to dance around with her grandchildren after undergoing the first-ever human trachea transplant at Mount Sinai in New York. “For me, it felt like right after, I was able to breathe. When I took that first breath it was heaven,” said Sein, who had the life-changing surgery in January. (Williams, 4/6)

AP:
Woman Recovering After Rare Windpipe Transplant From Donor

Sonia Sein said she spent the last six years “trying to catch every breath at every moment” after extensive treatment for her severe asthma damaged her windpipe. She is breathing freely again after getting an unusual transplant. In January, doctors at New York’s Mount Sinai replaced her trachea, the tube that ferries air from the mouth to the lungs. (Renault and Ritzel, 4/6)

NPR:
Woman Gets New Trachea In Groundbreaking Transplant Surgery

A medical team in New York City says it has performed the first complete surgical transplant of a windpipe. The trachea is basically a tube that transports air to and from the lungs, so you might think it would be easy to transplant. But not so. In fact, trachea transplants have been one of the last big challenges in this area of medicine. (Harris, 4/6)

CIDRAP:
Doctor Group Advises Shorter Antibiotic Course For Common Infections 

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has released new guidelines recommending a short course of antibiotics for four common bacterial infections. The best practice advice, published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, addresses antibiotic therapy for four of the most common bacterial infections seen in inpatient and outpatient settings: community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), acute bronchitis with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), urinary tract infection (UTI), and cellulitis. The recommendations are based on published clinical guidelines and peer-reviewed literature, including randomized clinical trials that have compared shorter antibiotic courses to longer ones. (Dall, 4/6)

CIDRAP:
Study Shows HPV Vaccine Exposure In Pregnancy Is Safe

New data on women who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine inadvertently in early pregnancy shows the vaccine did not cause miscarriages or adverse birth outcomes, according to a study yesterday in JAMA Network Open. The HPV vaccine is not recommend in pregnancy, but safety data are limited on inadvertent exposure. (4/6)

Stat:
Fibrogen Admits False Safety Data For Anemia Pill Shared With FDA, Investors

Fibrogen acknowledged Tuesday that the company has been touting false heart-safety data for its experimental anemia pill for at least two years — a shocking revelation that raises even more questions about the drug’s approvability. Shares of Fibrogen fell 27% to $25 in Tuesday’s after-hours trading session as investors questioned the credibility of the company’s management team and mulled the ramifications of revised heart-safety data that may no longer be strong enough to pass muster with the Food and Drug Administration. (Feuerstein, 4/6)

New York Post:
Why Redheads Feel Less Pain, According To Scientists

They may be ginger — but their skin isn’t. In a seemingly paradoxical study, US researchers found that redheads have a preternaturally high pain tolerance — wait for it — due to a mechanism that ups their susceptibility to sunburns. “These findings describe the mechanistic basis behind earlier evidence suggesting varied pain thresholds in different pigmentation backgrounds,” said Dr. David Fisher of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Massachusetts. He led the fiery study published in the journal Science Advances. (Cost, 4/6)

Philadelphia Inquirer:
Immunotherapy May Not Help Certain Liver Cancer Patients, Study Finds

Until recently, the standard treatment for patients newly diagnosed with advanced liver cancer was a drug that blocks certain cell molecules. Unfortunately, Sorafenib has rough side effects and usually doesn’t work; only about 11% of late-stage patients survive five years. Immune-boosting drugs called checkpoint inhibitors are improving that grim outlook. A year ago, results of a groundbreaking clinical trial led to the first approval in a dozen years of a new initial treatment regimen that includes Tecentriq, a checkpoint inhibitor. (McCullough, 4/7)

Boston Globe:
MIT Scientists Launch Initiative To Solve Biotech’s ‘Missing Women’ Problem

A group of prominent MIT scientists that formed to address gender inequities in the biotech industry released a report Tuesday that says male faculty at the school start companies at a higher rate than their female peers, and proposes a way to help close the gap. The report ― which comes after two years of research by the Boston Biotech Working Group ― outlines a plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, that calls for collaborations between the university, venture capital firms, and faculty. (Anissa Gardizy, 4/6)

Stat:
Akili’s Therapeutic Game Will Be Tested As A Treatment For Covid ‘Brain Fog’

Akili, which made history last summer by earning regulatory clearance for the first video-game based therapy, now plans to test if its software can help adults suffering from Covid “brain fog.” Two randomized remote studies, one conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the other by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will assess whether AKL-T01, the treatment that Akili commercially markets for ADHD as EndeavorRx, can help improve cognition symptoms in Covid survivors. (Aguilar, 4/7)

The Washington Post:
Drug Companies Keep Merging. Why That’s Bad For Consumers And Innovation. 

The Federal Trade Commission’s acting chairwoman, Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, recently announced that the agency would collaborate with regulators in Canada and the European Union to review its guidelines for evaluating drug company mergers. This move may signal more active policing of consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry. For prescription drug users and society at large, this is a welcome — and long overdue — change, one with the potential to spur innovation and offer more treatment options to Americans. In the past few decades, three waves of mergers have substantially increased concentration in the pharmaceutical industry. The first wave occurred from approximately 1988 to 1991, with the second following between approximately 1996 and 2002. The third began in 2010 and remains ongoing. (Robin Feldman, 4/6)

Modern Healthcare:
Biosimilars Need A Policy Boost, Experts Say

Physicians and patients are warming up to biosimilars but policy tweaks are needed to boost utilization, industry observers said. Around three-quarters of physicians see biosimilars as equally safe and effective as their corresponding biologic and 71% of patients are willing to take them with a doctor’s recommendation, according to a new NORC at the University of Chicago survey of more than 1,200 physicians and patients. But the therapies’ adoption has been slowed by price manipulation and patent litigation. (Kacik, 4/6)

Stat:
Medical Device Firms’ Payments To Doctors Outstrip Those From Pharma

The medical device industry gave doctors consulting fees, lunches, lodging, and other incentive payments worth $904 million between 2014 and 2017, per a new study — more than $80 million more than the pharmaceutical industry lavished on physicians over the same time period. Experts told STAT that the findings, published Monday in Health Affairs, raise new questions about the industry’s influence on physician behavior — particularly since the medical device industry pulls in far less in revenue than the pharmaceutical industry. (Diaz, 4/6)

Modern Healthcare:
Centene Says Ohio AG Lacks ‘Basic Understanding’ Of Medicaid Program

Centene Corp. criticized the Ohio attorney general for lacking a “basic understanding” of the state’s $26 billion Medicaid program, claiming he wasted taxpayer time and money accusing Centene of overcharging the state by millions in drug costs. “There are no secrets here; there is nothing that needs to be hidden or, in fact, that even justifies the filing of this lawsuit,” Centene wrote in a federal court filing in Ohio on Friday. (Tepper, 4/6)

ABC News:
Disneyland Announces New Details On Reopening Plan, Reservation System And Safety Guidelines 

With its April 30 reopening date approaching, Disneyland Resort has announced details of how it plans to safely welcome guests for the first time in over a year. The reopening plan includes new rules regarding ticket reservations as well as enhanced health and safety measures. (Azari, 4/6)

ABC News:
Baby Bath Seat Sold On Amazon Recalled Due To Drowning Hazard 

A baby bath seat sold exclusively on Amazon has been recalled due to drowning concerns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said about 5,000 BATTOP Foldable Infant Bath Seats are being recalled after the product failed to meet the federal safety standard for baby bath seats. (Pelletiere, 4/6)

NBC News:
Why One Organization Is Placing Sanitation Units Under Bridges And In Atlanta’s Parks

Terence Lester has spent nearly half his life helping people dealing with homelessness live with dignity. When the pandemic began to overtake cities and stretch hospitals to capacity, he understood the existential challenges the homeless would encounter as they tried to avoid contracting the deadly virus. One simple obstacle: hand-washing. (Bunn, 4/6)

AP:
Lawmakers Call YouTube Kids A ‘Wasteland Of Vapid’ Content 

A House subcommittee is investigating YouTube Kids, saying the Google-owned video service feeds children inappropriate material in “a wasteland of vapid, consumerist content” so it can serve them ads. The inquiry comes despite Google agreeing to pay $170 million in 2019 to settle allegations that YouTube collected personal data on children without their parents’ consent. (Ortutay, 4/6)

AP:
How To Talk To Believers Of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are causing real-world problems by discouraging some people from getting vaccinated, wearing masks or following other guidelines. Some bizarre theories about the virus have prompted believers to burn 5G cell towers, shut down vaccination clinics or even ingest poisons touted as cures. Experts on misinformation and psychology interviewed by The Associated Press offer several tips for individuals wondering how to talk to friends or family who believe conspiracy theories about COVID-19. Here’s what they suggest. (4/6)

Los Angeles Times:
California Aims To Fully Reopen Its Economy June 15 

California is aiming to fully reopen its economy June 15, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives and businesses of millions across the state. Officials emphasize the move hinges on two factors: a sufficient vaccine supply and stable and low hospitalization numbers. (Money and Luna, 4/6)

Modern Healthcare:
Healthcare Providers Enter Philadelphia’s Legal Fight To Enact Gun Laws

New filings in an ongoing lawsuit by Philadelphia city officials against the state over the right to enact municipal gun control regulation sheds light on how healthcare stakeholders may tackle gun violence. An amicus brief filed Monday in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania by gun control advocates that included the city of Philadelphia and the organization CeaseFire Pennsylvania included statements from nine area physicians. (Ross Johnson, 4/6)

AP:
State Urges Homeowners To Test Wells For Arsenic, Uranium

Connecticut health officials are urging homeowners who rely on well water to have their systems checked for arsenic and uranium contamination. The advice comes as the result of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey released Tuesday that found almost 4% of private wells in the state have elevated levels of arsenic and 4.7% have higher concentrations of uranium than acceptable under guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (4/6)

AP:
Nebraska Advances Unemployment Benefit For Family Caregivers

Nebraska residents who stop working temporarily to care for a family member with a serious health condition could claim unemployment benefits under a bill that lawmakers advanced Tuesday. Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval with a 27-11 vote. (4/6)

AP:
ACLU Sues McMaster For Ordering State Workers’ Office Return

The American Civil Liberties Union this week sued South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, arguing that his executive order requiring state agencies to “immediately expedite” employees’ return to the office during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic exceeds the governor’s authority. The complaint, filed Monday in state court, asked that a judge halt McMaster’s order, which the ACLU said “is contrary to the safety, security, and welfare of the state.” (Kinnard, 4/6)

ProPublica:
The Emergency 911 System Where Callers Still Don’t Always Get Proper CPR Instructions 

It’s been nearly two years since Rhode Island lawmakers approved funding to train all 911 call takers to provide CPR instructions over the phone, but new data shows no improvement in people’s chances of receiving CPR in the critical minutes prior to the arrival of first responders. Only about one in five people who went into cardiac arrest in their homes or someplace other than a hospital or health care setting in Rhode Island last year received CPR before police, fire or emergency medical providers showed up, according to data provided to The Public’s Radio by the state Department of Health. The state’s bystander CPR rate has remained between 19% and 21% since 2018. (Arditi, 4/6)

AP:
UK Starts Administering Moderna Vaccine

The U.K. is administering the first doses of the Moderna vaccine, the third authorized in the country against the coronavirus. Patients at the West Wales General Hospital were receiving the jab on Wednesday. Britain has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, enough for 8.5 million people. (4/7)

Reuters:
Oxford Pauses Vaccine Study In Kids, Awaits More Data On Blood Clot Issues

The University of Oxford said on Tuesday it had paused a small U.K. trial testing the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca in children and teenagers, as it waits for more data on rare blood clotting issues in adults who received the shot. The trial disruption is the latest blow to the vaccine, once hailed as a milestone in the fight against the pandemic, after several countries restricted its use in light of reports of medical issues after inoculations. (4/6)

AP:
Official: EU Agency To Confirm AstraZeneca Blood Clot Link

A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based agency, told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday that the European Union’s medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement on the topic this week. (Winfield and Pylas, 4/6)

AP:
EU Life Expectancy Drops Across Bloc Amid Virus Pandemic

Life expectancy across much of the European Union has dropped last year, as the 27-nation bloc struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The EU statistical agency Eurostat said Wednesday that “following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, life expectancy at birth fell in the vast majority of the EU member states.” It said the biggest drop was in Spain, with a loss of 1.6 years compared with 2019. (4/7)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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