Axios: COVID Uptick Hints At Our Future With The Virus
A recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is hinting at how the virus will keep raising a predictable seasonal threat. But experts warn the U.S. is lacking critical tools to help manage future waves. Infection levels are still relatively low, and immunity from prior infections and vaccinations means the virus is unlikely to reach the same high levels seen during past fall and winter waves. (Moreno, 8/4)

NBC News: Updated Covid Boosters Could Be Authorized By End Of Month, Pfizer Says
The Food and Drug Administration could authorize Pfizer's updated Covid boosters by the end of August, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during an investor call Tuesday. The drugmaker asked the FDA in June to authorize an updated version of its Covid booster that is designed to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant, a coronavirus strain that began circulating widely last winter. Moderna made a similar request that same month. (Lovelace Jr., 8/1)

  1. Children’s Health

Stat: CDC Recommends RSV Monoclonal Antibody For Infants
A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously voted Thursday to recommend wide use among infants and some high-risk children of an antibody designed to protect against RSV, the country’s leading cause of infant hospitalization. The 10-0 recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was adopted hours later by CDC Director Mandy Cohen. (Mast, 8/3)

CalMatters: The Debate Over Flavored Medicine For CA Kids
If you’re a parent, you know how difficult it can be to get your kids to take medicine that tastes bad. Parents can remedy this by requesting their children’s prescription medicine to be flavored at the 3,000 pharmacies in California that are able to do so. But an unintended consequence of a 2019 law may make this long-standing practice run afoul with not only a nationwide standard, but also with the federal government. (La, 8/2)

CIDRAP: Overall Risk Of Pediatric ICU Stay, Death In COVID-19, MIS-C Low, Study Shows
A University College London–led team finds a very low risk of pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission and death from COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) during the first 2 years of the pandemic, with the highest risk among children with complex medical problems and neurodisabilities. The researchers conducted a population-level analysis of hospitalizations after COVID-19 infection in England among youth 0 to 17 years old from February 1, 2020, to January 31, 2022. They linked national hospital data with data on COVID-19 testing, vaccination, PICU admissions, and death. (Van Beusekom, 8/1)

  1. LGBTQ+ Health

The New York Times: Medical Group Backs Youth Gender Treatments, But Calls For Research Review
The American Academy of Pediatrics backed gender-related treatments for children on Thursday, reaffirming its position from 2018 on a medical approach that has since been banned in 19 states. But the influential group of doctors also took an extra step of commissioning a systematic review of medical research on the treatments, following similar efforts in Europe that found uncertain evidence for their effectiveness in adolescents. (Ghorayshi, 8/3)

Medi-Cal Covers Gender-Transition Treatment, but Getting It Isn’t Easy

Pasha Wrangell has faced delays getting gender-affirming care because of red tape and limited providers. Over more than two years, Wrangell has received only about half the total electrolysis sessions recommended. Wrangell’s insurer through Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, acknowledges the shortage of practitioners. (Bernard J. Wolfson, 8/3 )

  1. Mental Health

San Francisco Chronicle: Nearly 90% Of Teens And Young Adults Have Mental Health Challenges
Nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. teens and young adults say they experience mental health challenges regularly, according to a national survey released Thursday by the Harris Poll and health insurer Blue Shield of California. Eighty-seven percent of people ages 14 to 25 say they have mental health challenges on a regular basis, the survey found. It was conducted May 31 to June 13 and included responses from 1,368 people, including 318 in California. (Ho, 8/3)

Sacramento Bee: California Ballot Measure Proposed For Psychedelic Treatment
Psychedelics such as LSD, ketamine and psilocybin, used by therapists to assist in the treatment of certain mental illnesses, could receive billions for state-funded research under a newly proposed bond initiative. Dr. Jeannie Fontana, a Los Angeles internal medicine physician, filed paperwork last month to place a $5 billion measure on the November 2024 ballot to create a new state agency for studying the effects of psychedelic-assisted therapy for people diagnosed with PTSD, substance abuse and other mental health issues. (Angst, 8/1)

Bloomberg: Adderall Shortage Has US FDA, DEA Urging ADHD Drugmakers To Boost Production
US drug regulators and law enforcement officials asked pharmaceutical companies to manufacture more Adderall, an ADHD medication that has been in short supply for nearly a year. The Food and Drug Administration, which reviews drugs for safety and effectiveness, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which polices controlled substances like stimulants, “have called on manufacturers to confirm they are working to increase production,” the agencies wrote in a letter Tuesday. (Swetlitz, 8/1)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Gave Up On A Mental Health Program — And Is Handing Back Millions In Grants
Providers insist that what are known as child and adult outreach triage teams were saving some of L.A. County’s sickest residents by closing a gap in care. Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, however, said they were underwhelmed by the teams’ performance. (Seidman, 7/31)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Gave Up On A Mental Health Program — And Is Handing Back Millions In Grants
It seemed like any other night. Silverio Lujan’s teenage daughter was distant and listless. Then, before he knew it, she had a fistful of pills and a knife in her hand and threatened to end her life. Panic-stricken, he dialed 911. After an evaluation, an intensive-care team from a local nonprofit quickly intervened with Lujan, 34, and his 13-year-old daughter. For three months after the February episode, the team wrapped itself into the lives of the South L.A. family. Both father and daughter received therapy. (Seidman, 7/31)

  1. Federal Appointment

The Washington Post: NIH Taps Jeanne Marrazzo To Succeed Fauci As Infectious-Disease Chief
Jeanne M. Marrazzo, a University of Alabama at Birmingham infectious-disease expert, will succeed Anthony S. Fauci this fall as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, federal officials announced Wednesday. The $6.3 billion research institute is among the largest of the 27 institutes and centers that constitute the National Institutes of Health, America’s flagship biomedical agency. NIAID is also particularly prominent given its involvement in the response to the coronavirus pandemic and other diseases; it has also received attention because of Fauci’s own high profile and Republicans’ ongoing efforts to investigate the institute’s workings. (Diamond and Roubein, 8/2)

  1. Medicaid

Stat: Uninsured Rate Hits ‘Record Low’ — Right Before Millions Start Losing Medicaid Coverage
Roughly 7.7% of Americans didn’t have any health insurance as of this past March — a “record low” uninsured rate, according to the latest health insurance survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, that uninsured rate — which still translated to more than 25 million Americans with no health coverage — is almost certainly higher now. That’s because the data don’t include the millions of low-income Americans who have lost the Medicaid coverage they gained during the pandemic. (Herman, 8/3)

NPR: Medicaid Drops Nearly 4 Million People Since Pandemic Protections Expired
At least 3.7 million people have lost Medicaid, according to reports from 41 states and the District of Columbia, KFF reports. And 74% of people, on average, are losing coverage for "paperwork reasons," says Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform at KFF. She described some of those reasons. "They didn't get the renewal notice in time. They didn't understand what they needed to do," says Tolbert. "Or they submitted the documents, but the state was unable to process those documents before their coverage was ended." (Simmons-Duffin, 8/3)

AP: Paperwork Problems Drive Surge In People Losing Medicaid Health Coverage
The nation’s top health official implored states to do more to keep lower-income residents enrolled in Medicaid, as the Biden administration released figures Friday confirming that many who had health coverage during the coronavirus pandemic are now losing it. Though a decline in Medicaid coverage was expected, health officials are raising concerns about the large numbers of people being dropped from the rolls for failing to return forms or follow procedures. (Lieb, 7/28)

  1. Disparities

CNN: Black Parents And Their Children Are More Likely To Experience Unfair Treatment When Seeking Medical Care, Study Finds
Black parents and their children are more likely to experience unfair treatment when seeking medical care than others, a new study from the Urban Institute found. The study, released earlier this week, is based on data from the nonprofit's Health Reform Monitoring Survey, the latest round of which was conducted in June. Researchers found that about 22% of Black parents said they were judged unfairly or mistreated because of their race or ethnicity, language, health insurance type, weight, income, disability or other characteristics. (Gamble, 8/3)

  1. Healthcare Workforce

NBC News: Gay Louisiana Doctor Says He’s Leaving The State Over Its ‘Discriminatory’ Legislation
One of Louisiana’s few doctors specializing in pediatric heart conditions is leaving the state after the Legislature passed a variety of bills aimed at restricting rights for LGBTQ people. Dr. Jake Kleinmahon works at Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans as the medical director of the hospital’s pediatric heart transplant, heart failure and ventricular assist device programs. He is just one of three doctors in the state with that specialization, he told WDSU, an NBC affiliate in New Orleans. (Yurcaba, 8/3)

CIDRAP: Healthcare Workers' Depression Increased In Second Year Of Pandemic
A study today of 2,564 Czech healthcare workers finds that their prevalence of depression increased twice during the pandemic. The study is published in Scientific Reports. ... "This change was explained the most by increased stress, contact with COVID-19 patients, and experience of death due to COVID-19," wrote the authors, who employed a number of models to show how and why participants saw increased rates of depression. "Perceived stress has been consistently found to be a risk factor for depression in HCWs over the course of [the] COVID-19 pandemic." (Soucheray, 8/1)

Becker's Hospital Review: Black Med Students 50% More Likely To Leave MD Training, Study Finds
Half of Black medical students pursuing an MD degree leave before finishing — an attrition rate that is significantly higher than that of their peers, research published July 31 in JAMA found. ... Between the 2004 and 2012 study timeframe, only 17 percent of White MD students did not finish their training compared to 29 percent of Black students. (Hollowell, 8/1)

CalMatters: California Needs Thousands Of Nurses, But Leaders Can’t Agree On How To Fill Jobs
Ashley Hooks always planned to retire at Lakewood Regional Medical Center, where she has been a nurse for 12 years. But now, Hooks said, staffing issues are so bad and burnout so severe that she’s rethinking how she wants to spend the rest of her career. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of nurses at the hospital dropped from just below 500 to 330 according to her union’s roster, said Hooks, who is 53. (Hwang, 7/31)

  1. Women’s Health

Axios: Giving Birth In America Continues To Get Deadlier
It's becoming ever more dangerous to give birth in America, especially for Black women, older women and those living in rural areas, according to a pair of new reports from March of Dimes and Milken Institute. The dismal U.S. maternal health statistics are usually a sidebar in the abortion wars, but many experts believe that increasing the number of births by further restricting access to abortion will only worsen the situation. (Owens, 8/2)