Showing posts with the label Helath news

The Nightmare Pandemic Economy Joe Biden Is Inheriting, in 5 Charts

When President-elect Joe Biden steps into White House in January, he will inherit two inextricably linked crises: The worsening COVID-19 pandemic and a wide-reaching recession. As U.S. coronavirus cases are spiking to all-time highs , he will be responsible for keeping Americans safe while guiding a fragile economy through recovery. That’s a tall order—and a somewhat paradoxical one. A fully open economy will most certainly lead to more viral spread and likely result in more deaths , while a closed economy could contain the virus but bring about even more financial hardship. And as the weather cools and fewer people want to dine, drink or otherwise spend time outside, it will become even harder to find the right mix of policies to both curb spread and keep businesses (and their employees) afloat. Biden has already demonstrated a more hands-on approach to the pandemic than U.S. President Donald Trump. In his first order of business after being projected the winner, the Pres

Why You May Not Be Able to Get Pfizer’s Frontrunner COVID-19 Vaccine

The freezer in your kitchen likely gets down to temperatures around -20° C (-4° F). “That keeps your ice cream cold, but it doesn’t turn your ice cream into an impenetrable block of ice,” says Paula Cannon, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. Pfizer’s promising COVID-19 vaccine , by contrast, must be stored at about -70° C (-94° F)—a temperature cold enough to harden ice cream into a spoon-breaking block of ice, and that only specialized freezers can produce. Those cold storage requirements are raising serious questions about who could get the Pfizer vaccine if it’s approved, and when. The reality, experts say, is that the Pfizer vaccine probably won’t be available to everyone, at least not right away. Large medical centers and urban centers are the most likely to have the resources necessary for ultra-cold storage. People without access to these facilities, such as those living in

Stanford vs. Harvard: Two Famous Business Schools’ Opposing Tactics for the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Northern California, the stories got weird almost immediately upon their return for the fall semester. Students say they were being followed around campus by people wearing green vests telling them where they could and could not be, go, stop, chat or conduct even a socially distanced gathering. Some say they were threatened with the loss of their campus housing if they didn’t follow the rules. “They were breaking up picnics. They were breaking up yoga groups,” says one graduate student, who asked not to be identified so as to avoid social media blowback. “Sometimes they’d ask you whether you actually lived in the dorm you were about to go into.” On the other side of the country, students at the Harvard Business School gathered for the new semester after being gently advised by the school’s top administrators, via email, that they were part of “a delicate experiment.” The students were given the ground rules for the term, then re

Will Thanksgiving Be a COVID-19 Disaster? In Canada, the Answer Was ‘Yes’

As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike across the United States, public-health officials, local leaders and others are urging Americans to rethink their typical Thanksgiving plans this year. “I would encourage everyone to follow the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] guidelines and plan for a smaller dinner, with your immediate household family only,” New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said during a Nov. 5 press briefing; his state, like many others, is facing a frightening new wave. “We do not want anyone’s Thanksgiving to lead to more cases of COVID-19.” Prolonged indoor gatherings of many people from different households, after all, are a major risk factor for viral spread. Moreover, it’s tough to keep a mask on when you’re busy shoving grandma’s turkey and stuffing into your face, and alcohol consumption can make people less careful about practicing social distancing. One especially alarming analysis suggests the odds of having at least one COVID-19-posi

The Political Coronavirus Paradox: Where The Virus Was Worst, Voters Supported Trump the Most

We will never know whether President Donald Trump could have won reelection if a novel coronavirus hadn’t torn across the planet in the final year of his presidency, just as the months-long impeachment saga was drawing to a close. (Did you remember that Trump was impeached?) There’s a strong argument that the President’s delayed response and mishandling of the pandemic was the one thing during campaign season that no amount of his trademark misdirection could deflect. But while early indications suggest that the deadly disease was the most driving factor among those who voted for President-elect Joseph Biden, while the moribund economy it spurred was of most concern to the outing President’s supporters, there lies a strange conundrum here: The regions of the country that Trump carried have also been those most plagued by COVID-19 since late August, according to TIME’s analysis of Associated Press voting results by county and the local rates of COVID-19 since March. On Nov. 3,

The Most Promising Alzheimer’s Drug in Years Took a Thrashing From an FDA Advisory Committee

For several years, doctors and patients have been closely following the development of the drug aducanumab, hoping that it might finally be the first medication to stop the cycle of failure that has been the fate of dozens of Alzheimer’s drug candidates that have come before. If approved, it would become the first treatment for Alzheimer’s; current medications address symptoms of the disease but do not tackle the root causes of the neurodegenerative illness. Those hopes were slowly quashed during a seven-hour meeting of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee last week. The committee, made up of independent experts in Alzheimer’s and statistics, heard from Biogen, the makers of aducanumab , as well as from FDA scientists who reviewed data submitted by the company. They focused their attention on three major studies the company provided for consideration: one showing the drug was effective in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, a second that showed the oppo

Contact Tracing Apps Were Big Tech’s Best Idea for Fighting COVID-19. Why Haven’t They Helped?

When the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services launched COVID Trace, one of the nation’s first COVID-19 contact-tracing smartphone apps, on Aug. 24, state health authorities “strongly recommended” all 3 million-plus Nevadans download and use the app. But two and a half months later, adoption remained well short of that ambitious goal—the app has been downloaded just under 70,000 times as of Nov. 9, representing just under 3% of the state’s adult population. A total of zero exposures were registered in the app throughout the month of September, during which the state reported more than 10,000 new cases. One of the first positive test results logged into the app was submitted in early October by Nevada’s pandemic response director, who himself had contracted the virus. Nevada is currently reporting roughly 1,200 new COVID-19 cases daily, and the app doesn’t seem to be making a difference. While researchers have worked for months to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatm

FDA Allows Emergency Use of Antibody Drug to Fight COVID-19

(WASHINGTON) — U.S. health officials have allowed emergency use of the first antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental approach against the virus that has killed more than 238,000 Americans. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday cleared the experimental drug from Eli Lilly for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-19 not requiring hospitalization. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV. The therapy is still undergoing additional testing to establish its safety and effectiveness. It is similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus last month. Early results suggest the drug, called bamlanivimab, may help clear the coronavirus sooner and possibly cut hospitalizations in people with mild to moderate COVID-19. A study of it in hospitalized patients was stopped when independent monitors saw the drug did not seem to be helping in that situation. The government previously reached an agreement

Rural Hospitals Are Dying. This One Saved Itself—And Its Community

In September 2017, two weeks after Hurricane Irma pummeled South Georgia, Angela Ammons found her hospital on life support. It was her first day as CEO of Clinch Memorial Hospital. As she walked the halls, past oversized framed photos of the nearby Okefenokee Swamp, she felt relieved that the hurricane had spared the facility, but overwhelmed by the growing list of longstanding problems, from broken equipment to low staff morale. Soon after, an auditor informed Ammons of the hospital’s ninth consecutive year in the red. The hospital had just enough cash to pay for a couple more days of operations. With only two of its 25 patient beds filled and little revenue coming in, Ammons didn’t know if she could make payroll. If nothing changed, she would be forced to close a hospital that had served the 6,650-person Clinch County, including the small town of Homerville, Georgia, for over six decades. “Rural hospitals are an endangered species,” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health

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