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Biden Pushes Vaccines, Masks as Best Defense Against Omicron Variant

Vaccines and masks will be the United States' first line of defense against the new Omicron variant, not lockdowns or border closures, President Joe Biden told the nation Monday.

"If people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there's no need for lockdowns," Biden said, noting that vaccinated people who've gotten a booster shot are expected to have the best available protection against the...

President Biden to Undergo Routine Colonoscopy

President Joe Biden is undergoing a routine colonoscopy Friday, and will briefly transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris while he's sedated for the procedure, the White House said.

The colonoscopy will be part of Biden's first routine physical exam as president, and will take place at Walter Reed National Military Center.

"As was the case when President George W. Bush had the...

Many Kids Separated From Families at U.S. Border Suffer PTSD

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Parents and children who were separated under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy have shown lasting psychological trauma -- even after being reunited, a new study finds.

Between 2017 and 2018, more than 5,000 children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the policy, whi...

Biden Expected to Name Former FDA Head Dr. Robert Califf to Lead Agency Again

Despite concerns about his close ties to the drug industry, President Joe Biden is expected on Friday to nominate Dr. Robert Califf, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to lead the agency once more.

Califf, who served during the last year of the Obama administration, has long been a consultant to drug companies and ran a Duke University research center that received fund...

Biden Announces New Lung Health Program for U.S. Veterans

A new program to help U.S. veterans with lung problems caused by inhaling toxins while deployed was announced on Veterans Day by President Joe Biden.

It will also assess the potential connection between cancers and time spent overseas breathing poor air, according to the White House.

"We're discovering there is a whole host of lung conditions related to deployment," Dr. Richard Meeh...

Hepatitis B Shots Advised for All U.S. Adults Under 60

All U.S. adults younger than 60 should be vaccinated against hepatitis B, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended Wednesday.

Until now, the shots were recommended only for certain groups of adults, including prisoners, health care workers, international travelers, people with diabetes and certain other conditions, and those who inject drugs or who have multiple sexual...

Medicare Could Negotiate Drug Prices Under Democrat Proposal

A measure designed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors has been added to President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate change bill that Democratic leaders hope to bring to a House vote this week.

For the first time, the measure would enable the federal government to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare, The New York Times reported.

Under the proposal, ...

Biden Administration Moves to Cut Methane Emissions That Threaten Climate, Health

A new rule to sharply cut methane emissions and other oil and gas industry air pollutants that harm health and contribute to climate change is in the works.

The new Clean Air Act rule proposed Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would cut 41 million tons of methane emissions between 2023 and 2035.

That's the equivalent of 920 million metric tons of carbon dioxi...

White House Announces COVID Vaccination Plan for Young Kids

The White House on Wednesday unveiled a national plan to roll out coronavirus vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds that is designed to make getting shots as easy and comfortable as possible for both kids and their parents.

Rather than mass vaccination sites, the Biden administration plans to have pediatric COVID shots delivered in settings that parents know and trust.

"Nationwide, more t...

Fully Immunized Colin Powell Dies of COVID: Can Vaccines Protect You?

Colin Powell, the first Black person to become Secretary of State, and a statesman who helped shape U.S. foreign policy for decades, died Monday of complications from COVID-19. He was 84.

"General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from COVID-19," the Powell family wrote in a Facebook

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of Johnson & Johnson Booster Shot

In a unanimous vote, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel on Friday recommended that the agency grant emergency use of booster shots of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine.

The FDA is expected to make a decision within days that will help guide the 15 million Americans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, many of whom have felt left out of the boo...

Vaccinated Foreign Travelers Can Enter United States Beginning Nov. 8

All international travelers who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus will be able to enter the United States beginning Nov. 8, an official at the White House told The New York Times.

The announcement came on the heels of news on Wednesday that the United States would reopen its land borders to fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico for the first time ...

State Lotteries Didn't Help Boost Vaccination Rates

A shot at winning $1 million did nothing to budge the number of people who got the COVID-19 jab.

According to a new study, lotteries in 19 states designed to encourage people to get vaccinated ...

Former FDA Chief Robert Califf a Contender to Head Agency Again

Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf is under strong consideration by the White House to once again lead the agency.

The FDA hasn't had a permanent head for more than eight months and is being overseen by acting commissioner Janet Woodcock. Under federal law, President Joe Biden has until mid-November to pick a new FDA leader, but three people with inside kn...

California Expands Access to Free Menstrual Products in Schools

Free menstrual pads and tampons must be provided in restrooms at all California public schools and colleges starting in the 2022-2023 academic year.

The bill, signed on Oct. 8 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, adds to a 2017 law requiring low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide students with free menstrual products, the Associated Press reported.

The new law expands that t...

Over Half of Police Killings Aren't Reported, Blacks Most Likely Victims

While high-profile cases like the 2020 killing of George Floyd have cast a harsh spotlight on police violence in the United States, researchers say deaths attributable to it have been underreported for at least 40 years.

That's the key finding in a new study published Sept. 30 in The Lancet.

For the study, a team from the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Se...

Americans Divided on Biden's Vaccine Mandate, Poll Finds

Americans are of two minds about President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate, with political party affiliation playing a pivotal role in their opinions, a new poll finds.

Most Democrats are for it and most Republicans are against it, the survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed.

Overall, the

  • Steven Reinberg
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  • September 30, 2021
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  • Second Report on Toxins in Baby Foods Finds Continuing Problems

    Despite the troubling findings of a congressional report released earlier this year on toxins in baby foods, a new report finds even more manufacturers are selling baby foods that contain potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.

    The toxins in question include dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, among others.

    "No level of toxic heavy metals and exposure to them ...

    EPA to Sharply Limit Refrigerant Production in New Climate Rule

    In a move to combat global warming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday that it will restrict U.S. production and use of hydrofluorocarbons by 85% over the next 15 years.

    Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are potent greenhouse gases often used in refrigerators and air conditioners, and they are vastly more powerful than carbon dioxide. These gases can leak into the a...

    Biden Administration Buys More Monoclonal Antibody Treatments to Ward Off Shortage

    As severe cases of COVID-19 rise and demand surges for monoclonal antibody treatments, the U.S. government is ordering more from two key suppliers.

    Monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-engineered immune system proteins, can help trigger a healthy immune response against COVID-19 infection.

    The Biden administration has also taken over distributing the therapeutics, to help avoid shor...

    Appeals Court Backs Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates

    The law on whether or not students in Florida schools will be required to wear masks has changed again.

    On Friday the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee reinstated that state's ban on school mask mandates, CBS News reported.

    The issue has been in flux since July, when Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order barring school districts from requiring that stu...

    COVAX Cuts Global COVID Vaccine Supply Estimates By a Quarter

    Fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses than expected will be available through the global COVAX program, affecting many less-affluent nations waiting on these doses.

    The United Nations forecast last week that it would have about 25% fewer vaccines to distribute through COVAX this year — 1.4 billion compared to an earlier projection for 1.9 billion doses,

  • Cara Murez
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  • September 13, 2021
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  • Judge Rules Against Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates

    School districts in Florida can require their students to wear masks, despite the governor's order blocking mask mandates -- for now at least.

    A circuit court judge in Leon County ruled Wednesday that the state can't enforce Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates,CBS News reported.

    "We're not in normal times. We are in a pandemic," said Leon County Circuit Judge...

    More Affordable Housing, Healthier Hearts?

    One of the keys to good health could be in the hands of those who decide zoning policies for their communities.

    Inclusionary zoning policies that provide for affordable housing were associated with lower rates of heart disease for those who benefited from these dwellings, according to a new U.S. study.

    "Many cities around the country are facing a severe shortage of affordabl...

    Pentagon Says Troops Must Start Lining Up Now for COVID Shots

    Unvaccinated U.S. troops must immediately start getting COVID-19 vaccines, says a memo issued Tuesday by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

    The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which recently received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will be added to the list of required shots for U.S. troops. They'll be able to get their shots at their bases and from their commands worldwid...

    American Dental Association Pushes for Dental Coverage Under Medicaid

    Dental care should be a required part of Medicaid coverage for adults in every state, the American Dental Association and nearly 130 other organizations urge in a letter to Congress.

    The groups called on lawmakers to support and advance a bill called the Medicaid Dental Benefit Act.

    "Poor oral health hurts more than our mouths," the

  • Robert Preidt
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  • August 20, 2021
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  • WHO Slams COVID-19 Booster Shots in Wealthy Nations

    Wealthy nations shouldn't be giving COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to their citizens while poor nations struggle to get first doses of vaccines, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday.

    The U.N. health organization called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September, even for the elderly, health care workers and other high-risk groups.

    "I understa...

    Lowering Medicare Age Could Help Close Racial Gaps in Health Care: Study

    Could reducing racial disparities in health care be as simple as lowering the age at which Americans qualify for Medicare?

    Yes, claims a new study that suggests lowering eligibility from age 65 to age 60 could go a long way toward addressing inequities in health insurance, access to care and self-reported health decline.

    Racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage fall by mo...

    Who's Most Likely to Refuse a COVID Vaccine?

    COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among American adults fell by one-third in the first five months of 2021, a new study finds, but distrust of vaccines and the government are still keeping many people from getting vaccinated.

    Researchers analyzed data gathered from about 1 million Americans a month between January and May as part of an ongoing national COVID-19 survey. Those who said they would ...

    U.S. to Stick With International Travel Restrictions

    The rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant around the world means that the United States will continue with COVID-19 international travel restrictions for now, a White House official said Monday.

    The Delta variant now accounts for 83% of all U.S. coronavirus cases, according to the U.S. Ce...

    Many Hit Hard by Pandemic Now Swamped by Medical Debt

    The coronavirus pandemic has left plenty of Americans saddled with medical bills they can't pay, a new survey reveals.

    More than 50% of those who were infected with COVID-19 or who lost income due to the pandemic are now struggling with medical debt, according to researchers from The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates a high-performing health care system.

    "T...

    Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs

    Can Costco beat Medicare Part D when it comes to prescription drug prices?

    Apparently so, claims a new study that found that roughly half of generic medications were cheaper when purchased from the discount retailer than from the government program.

    The researchers compared the prices paid by Medicare Part D plans (including patient out-of-pocket payments) for 184 generic prescripti...

    Novavax's COVID Vaccine Shines in Latest Trial

    Novavax, a Maryland biotechnology company that has struggled mightily with delays in developing its coronavirus vaccine, announced Monday that its two-shot regimen was over 90% effective overall in a trial that unfolded even as more contagious variants emerged.

    Among 30,000 volunteers - all of them from either the United States or Mexico - vaccinated people were completely protected ...

    Girl's Tragedy Has Parents Calling for Changes to Car Design

    Jay-Fay Fraser was in the back seat of her father's sedan, heading home from feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving 2016, when another car rear-ended them on the highway.

    The driver's seat collapsed backward from the sudden force of the rear impact, slamming into Jay-Fay's head, her mother, Michelle Fraser, recounted.

    "She lurched forward, the seat collapsed backward, and it basically...

    There's Been a Shift in Who's Funding Alzheimer's Research

    The U.S. government and nonprofits are replacing drug companies as the main drivers of Alzheimer's disease research, two new studies show.

    The findings are from an analysis of national data by Jeffrey Cummings, a research professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Integrated Health Sciences.

    In one study, his team found that the number of Alzheimer's clinical trials ...

    It's Still Tough to Find Prices on Most U.S. Hospital Websites

    U.S. hospitals have been required to make their prices public since 2019, but 18 months into the rule more than half weren't doing it, a new study finds.

    In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule requiring hospitals to publish their "chargemasters" on their websites. A chargemaster is a rundown of a hospital's services, along with their list prices - something akin to the manufactur...

    FDA Poised to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes, a move that the agency has tried before and one that public health experts and civil rights groups have pushed for years.

    Menthol cigarettes have been marketed aggressively to Black Americans for decades: About 85% of Black smokers use menthol brands, the FDA said, and research shows menthol cigarettes...

    Eviction Bans Helped Stop COVID's Spread in Cities: Study

    Eviction bans during the COVID-19 pandemic reduced infection rates not only in people who avoided displacement but also in their communities, according to a new study.

    "When it comes to a transmissible disease like COVID-19, no neighborhood is entirely isolated," said study author Alison Hill, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

    I...

    Canada's Menthol Cigarette Ban Boosted Quit Rates: Would the Same Happen in U.S.?

    Could banning menthol cigarettes be key to lowering smoking rates overall?

    New research suggests it's possible, after finding that a ban on menthol cigarettes in Canada was linked to a large increase in the number of smokers who quit.

    The impact of the menthol ban in Canada suggests that a similar ban in the United States would have even greater benefits since menthol cigarettes are...

    Public Lost Trust in CDC During COVID Crisis: Poll

    Americans' trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, an opinion poll finds.

    Researchers polled more than 2,000 Americans in May 2020 and questioned most again five months later. Respondents were asked to rate their trust of the CDC, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a low-to-h...

    How Bad Was COVID in Your State? Governor's Party Affiliation Was Key

    Could whether your governor is a Democrat or a Republican have influenced how many coronavirus cases and deaths your state has seen during the pandemic?

    Yes, claim researchers who discovered a strong link between the two -- by late last summer, the odds of dying from COVID-19 was nearly twice as high in states whose governors were Republicans versus states with Democratic governors....

    Pandemic Is Hitting Hospitals Hard, Including Their Bottom Line

    U.S. hospitals are expected to lose billions again in 2021, leaving them in dire financial shape as the COVID-19 pandemic guts the industry for a second year.

    Hospitals could lose $53 billion to $122 billion in revenue in 2021, between 4% and 10% of their total revenue, according to an analysis prepared by consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates for the American Hospital Association.

    Bans on Evictions, Utility Shutoffs Are Curbing COVID Infections: Study

    Bans on evictions and utility shutoffs during the pandemic may not only be keeping people safe and warm in their homes: They might also limit the spread of COVID-19, new research suggests.

    Over the first nine months of the pandemic, the study found, U.S. counties with those policies reduced COVID-19 infection rates by about 4%.

    The impact on deaths appeared greater: Moratoria on evi...

    Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Helped Keep Millions of Americans From Going Hungry

    Expanded unemployment benefits, passed by Congress last spring to ease the economic pain of the pandemic, appear to have held hunger at bay for millions of Americans, new research shows.

    Called "The CARES Act" when it was put into effect nearly a year ago, the law expanded who is eligible for unemployment benefits and how long that coverage would last. A weekly federal supplement of $600 ...

    Retired Doctors, Nurses Will Be Approved to Give COVID Vaccine, White House Says

    WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Retired doctors and nurses are being called to the front lines of the U.S. coronavirus vaccination effort, the White House COVID-19 Response team announced Wednesday.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is amending its rules to allow retired health professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccine shots, said Jeff Zients, the Whi...

    What's Killing Detainees at U.S. ICE Facilities?

    Thirty-five detainees in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities have died since April 2018, often because of preventable causes, such as COVID-19, flu and suicide, according to a new study.

    One of them was a Mexican citizen who had first entered the United States two decades ago. He died after a month in custody.

    Medical records indicated the 54-year-old man appea...

    Frustrations Mount for U.S. Seniors Seeking Access to COVID Vaccines

    Irene Greenhalgh, 83, considers herself a pretty computer-savvy senior, but even she got lost in a maze of websites and e-mails trying to get an appointment for her COVID-19 vaccine.

    One health provider's e-mail provided links to sites that were giving vaccinations, but the dates listed were a week old. A board of health's website proved glitchy and unusable.

    After weeks of searchin...

    Moves, Evictions Often Trigger Harmful Breaks in Health Care: Study

    Research brings grim findings for these economically tough times: People who must move because they can't make the rent often miss out on needed medical care.

    The study, of over 146,000 California residents, found a connection between unaffordable housing and health care use: Of people who'd moved in the past five years because they couldn't afford the mortgage or rent, about 27% had skip...

    New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Ignore Recommendations on Sugar, Alcohol

    The Trump administration rejected a scientific advisory group's advice Tuesday that people further reduce their added sugar and alcohol intake as part of the 2020 update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

    An independent advisory committee charged with helping the federal government update the guidelines issued its report in July. Noting the U.S. obesity epidemic and increasing rate...

    COVID Vaccine Won't Reach All the World's People Until 2022: Study

    Amid hopes stirred by the recent rollout of an approved COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, a new study warns that shots may not be available to nearly one-quarter of the world's people until 2022.

    A second study estimates that 3.7 billion adults worldwide are willing to get the vaccine.

    Together, these two findings suggest that getting people immunized could be as big a challeng...