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CDC Estimates 3 in 4 Kids Have Had Coronavirus Infections

April 26, 2022

(Associated Press) – Three out of every four U.S. children have been infected with the coronavirus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers estimated in a report Tuesday. The researchers examined blood samples from more than 200,000 Americans and looked for virus-fighting antibodies made from infections, not vaccines. They found that signs of past infection rose dramatically between December and February, when the more contagious omicron variant surged through the U.S. The most striking increase was in children. The percentage of those 17 and under with antibodies rose from about 45% in December to about 75% in February.  (Read More)

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Tempers Flare Over Emotion-Sensing AI

April 25, 2022

(Axios) – Software that uses machine learning to attempt to detect human emotions is emerging as the latest flashpoint in the debate over the use of artificial intelligence. Why it matters: Proponents argue that such programs, when used narrowly, can help teachers, caregivers and even salespeople do their jobs better. Critics say the science is unsound and the use of the technology dangerous. (Read More)

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Satellite Images Reveal Another Mass Grave Site Near Mariupol

April 25, 2022

(Axios) – New satellite images show the construction of another mass grave site in Vynohradne, Ukraine near Mariupol, which remains under siege, Maxar Technologies said Friday. The big picture: The discovery follows previous satellite imagery showing the construction of mass grave sites in Bucha and Manhush. (Read More)

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Adenovirus Probable Cause of Mysterious Child Hepatitis

April 25, 2022

(BBC) – Health officials say there is mounting evidence that a common virus is linked to rare cases of hepatitis that have been occurring in some young children. Globally, there have been 169 cases recorded, and one death. In the UK alone, 114 children have become ill and 10 have needed a liver transplant.  The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says a strain of adenovirus called F41 is looking like the most probable cause. (Read More)

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Majority of Family Members of Covid Patients Treated in the ICU Reported PTSD Symptoms

April 25, 2022

(STAT News) – A majority of family members of Covid-19 patients treated in ICUs reported significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the following months, according to a study published Monday that sheds new light on the impact of hospital visitation restrictions during the pandemic. The prevalence of PTSD symptoms was roughly twice the rate typically seen after a family member’s ICU stay before the pandemic, which the authors said was likely explained by the lack of access to loved ones during their ICU stay. (Read More)

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‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

April 25, 2022

(New York Times) – American adolescence is undergoing a drastic change. Three decades ago, the gravest public health threats to teenagers in the United States came from binge drinking, drunken driving, teenage pregnancy and smoking. These have since fallen sharply, replaced by a new public health concern: soaring rates of mental health disorders. In 2019, 13 percent of adolescents reported having a major depressive episode, a 60 percent increase from 2007. Emergency room visits by children and adolescents in that period also rose sharply for anxiety, mood disorders and self-harm. And for people ages 10 to 24, suicide rates, stable from 2000 to 2007, leaped nearly 60 percent by 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Read More)

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UK: More Links Between Common Virus, Hepatitis in Children

April 25, 2022

(Associated Press) – British health officials investigating the cause of a spike in acute hepatitis, or liver inflammation, among children said there is increasing evidence that it is linked to a common virus. The U.K. Health Security Agency has recorded 111 cases of unexplained hepatitis in children under 10 since January. Ten of the children needed liver transplants. The U.N. health agency said it has so far received reports of at least 169 cases of “acute hepatitis of unknown origin,” and that one death had been reported. (Read More)

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FDA Faces Push to Loosen Rules for Sperm Donations

April 25, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – After years of public criticism, the Food and Drug Administration in 2020 relaxed its rules regarding blood donation by men who have sex with men. Now the agency is being asked to consider revising its policy again—this time to facilitate sperm donations by these men. The FDA requires sperm banks to test all donors for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and other pathogens and to quarantine vials for at least six months so that the donors can be retested. In addition to establishing these precautions, the agency has long prohibited donations from men who acknowledge having had a male sex partner within the previous five years. (Read More)

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Covid-19 Cases Jump in Beijing as New Deaths Triple in Shanghai

April 25, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Beijing said it is at a critical point in its efforts to halt a Covid-19 outbreak in the city, as new cases spread from school students and a tour group, while deaths in Shanghai more than tripled from a day earlier. The Chinese capital recorded 22 new cases on Sunday, its highest daily tally this year. Shanghai, which a week ago had recorded no new deaths in the latest wave of infections, said 39 Covid patents died Saturday—more than three times Friday’s toll. While still low by global standards, the latest numbers are a challenge to the ability of China’s top leaders to wipe out outbreaks with their zero-Covid policy. (Read More)

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UN: Human Rights ‘Horror Story’ Is Unfolding in Ukraine

April 22, 2022

(Axios) – The United Nations is seeing growing evidence of war crimes in Ukraine as a “horror story” of human rights violations unfolds, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Friday. Driving the news: Russian forces during the nearly two months of war have “indiscriminately shelled and bombed populated areas, killing civilians and wrecking hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure, actions that may amount to war crimes,” the UN said. The UN specifically cited reported atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where it documented “the unlawful killing, including by summary execution, of some 50 civilians.” (Read More)

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Possible Mass Graves Near Mariupol as Russia Attacks in East

April 22, 2022

(Associated Press) – Satellite photos of what appeared to be rows upon rows of freshly dug mass graves on the outskirts of Mariupol brought the horrors of the war increasingly into focus, as Russia pounded away Friday at Ukrainian holdouts in the city’s steel mill and other targets in a drive to seize the country’s industrial east. (Read More)

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New Details of Shanghai Nursing Home Covid Deaths Suggest City Is Overwhelmed

April 22, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Shanghai, which has been in near complete lockdown for a month to contain the current wave of the virus, the worst to hit China since the pandemic began in Wuhan two years ago, has reported 450,000 Covid-19 cases since March 1. Yet for weeks, Shanghai officials reported no deaths in the entire city from Covid. On April 18, officials finally started announcing a death count, and now says 36 people have died this week, mostly elderly.  A Wall Street Journal reconstruction of the Donghai hospital outbreak provides a more complete picture of the suffering in China’s financial capital, with at least 40 deaths of Donghai residents alone as of April 6. The deaths came after Covid spread through the hospital, sickening hundreds of patients and staff, according to more than a dozen patient families and health workers, WeChat messages and hospital documents. (Read More)

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For Kids with Down Syndrome, a New Device Offers Hope for Treating Difficult Sleep Problems

April 21, 2022

(STAT News) – Kate Dougherty pairs all of her son Elliot’s doctor’s appointments with a treat, like a trip to his favorite lunch spot or a professional bull riding show — one of Elliot’s favorite sports, right behind baseball and basketball. So when they flew from Missouri to Boston in 2018 for Elliot to have a new device implanted into his chest to treat his sleep apnea, the treat had to be big. Three days after the surgery, Elliot was at his first Red Sox game. Since then, “it’s been a miracle,” his mother said. (Read More)

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A Psychedelic Therapist Allegedly Took Millions from a Holocaust Survivor, Highlighting Worries About Elders Taking Hallucinogens

April 21, 2022

(STAT News) – Research on psychedelics has brought these drugs closer to legalization as treatments for depression, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions. But a STAT investigation highlights the vulnerability of older people who take these mind-altering drugs to financial abuse, and the need for clear regulations around both how they’re used and the people supervising patients. (Read More)

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N.C. Becomes Second U.S. State to Report Unusual Cases of Hepatitis in Kids

April 21, 2022

(STAT News) – Health authorities in North Carolina say they are investigating two cases of hepatitis in young children, making the state the second to report cases that appear to be linked to an outbreak that is being seen in a growing number of countries. Bailey Pennington, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, told STAT of the cases in an email on Thursday, saying the state is both conducting surveillance for other possible cases and working with its poison control center and epidemiologists to try to determine the cause of the illnesses. (Read More)

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Vaccine Medical Exemptions Are Rare. Thousands of Nursing Home Workers Have Them.

April 21, 2022

(ProPublica) – Today, 88% of nursing home residents and 89% of employees are fully vaccinated, outstripping the rate among the general public. Even as cases soared to record levels in January with the rise of the omicron variant, the death rate of nursing home residents was a fraction of what it was during the surge at the end of 2020. But with the pandemic now in its third year, thousands of workers have found a way to avoid getting vaccinated, claiming what experts say are questionable medical exemptions from a federal mandate for health care employees, which went into effect this year. (Read More)

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Surprisingly Low Shanghai COVID Death Count Spurs Questions

April 21, 2022

(Associated Press) – An Associated Press examination of the death toll sheds light on how the numbers have been clouded by the way Chinese health authorities tally COVID-19 statistics, applying a much narrower, less transparent, and at times inconsistent standard than the rest of the world. (Read More)

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Rates for Measles, Other Vaccinations Dip for Kindergartners

April 21, 2022

(Associated Press) – A smaller portion of U.S. children got routine vaccinations required for kindergarten during the pandemic, government researchers said Thursday, raising concerns that measles and other preventable diseases could increase. Rates were close to 94% for measles, whooping cough and chickenpox vaccinations for the 2020-21 school year. That was down 1% from a year earlier and means 35,000 U.S. children entered kindergarten without evidence that they were vaccinated for extremely contagious diseases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report. (Read More)

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Alleged Covid-19 Fraud Schemes Totaling $150 Million Draw Criminal Charges

April 21, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Federal prosecutors have charged about 20 people in the past two weeks with allegedly engaging in various fraud schemes related to the Covid-19 pandemic that amounted to about $150 million in improper government claims, around $20 million of which have been paid, officials said. The Justice Department has stepped up efforts to uncover theft from programs that were pumping billions of dollars into the healthcare system after the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. The new cases are filed in districts around the country, and provide a sweeping look at how some healthcare providers allegedly sought to cheat Medicare and other programs by bundling charges for unnecessary services—or those that weren’t ever provided—with the delivery of relatively inexpensive Covid-19 tests. (Read More)

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Shanghai Allows 4 Million Out of Homes as Virus Rules Ease

April 20, 2022

(Associated Press) – Shanghai allowed 4 million more people out of their homes Wednesday as anti-virus controls that shut down China’s biggest city eased, while the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast of Chinese economic growth and warned the global flow of industrial goods might be disrupted. A total of almost 12 million people in the city of 25 million are allowed to go outdoors following the first round of easing last week, health official Wu Ganyu said at a news conference. Wu said the virus was “under effective control” for the first time in some parts of the city. (Read More)

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