Policy Updates 10/14/2022

  1. Flu and RSV

NBC News: Flu Off To An Early Start As CDC Warns About Potentially Severe Season
"We've noted that flu activity is starting to increase across much of the country," especially in the Southeast and south-central U.S., the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told NBC News. (Edwards, 10/13)

Bloomberg: New Vaccine Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus Is 83% Effective In Older Adults
The experimental shot against respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, protected volunteers against a disease that causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year in a key trial. GSK said it plans to submit it for approval in the second half. (Fourcade, 10/13)

  1. Mental Health

CNN: Poor Mental Health In US Teens Exacerbated By Negative Experiences During Covid-19 Pandemic, Survey Finds
A new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most adolescents experienced negative events during the Covid-19 pandemic – and those experiences were linked to higher prevalence of poor mental health and suicide attempts. Nearly three-quarters of high school students in the US reported experiencing at least one adverse childhood experience in 2021, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, food insecurity or loss of a parent’s job during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also included were electronic bullying, dating violence and sexual violence. (McPhillips, 10/13)

NBC News: Anxiety Screening Should Start In Kids As Young As 8, Health Panel Says
Pediatricians should screen children as young as 8 for anxiety and kids 12 and older for depression during routine well checks, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said Tuesday. (Edwards, 10/11)

ABC News: FDA Confirms Adderall Shortage In The US
After weeks of individual reports of frustration with getting Adderall prescriptions filled, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed Wednesday a nationwide shortage of the immediate release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts, commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall. (Pezenik, Salzman and Egan, 10/13)

  1. COVID

CNBC: U.S. Extends Covid Public Health Emergency
The U.S. has extended the Covid public health emergency through Jan. 11, a clear demonstration that the Biden administration still views Covid as a crisis despite President Joe Biden’s recent claim that the pandemic is over. (Kimball, 10/13)

Reuters: U.S. Authorizes Updated COVID Booster Shots For Children As Young As 5
U.S. health regulators authorized the use of Omicron-tailored COVID-19 booster shots from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc in children as young as 5, a move that will expand the government's fall vaccination campaign. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday green-lighted Moderna's bivalent vaccine for those aged six and above, while Pfizer's updated shot was authorized in children aged five and above. (10/12)

CIDRAP: COVID-19 Vaccines May Help Prevent Placentitis, Stillbirth In Pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccination may protect pregnant women and their fetuses against virus-related placentitis (inflammation of the placenta) and stillbirth, concludes a review study published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The research will also be presented next week at ID Week in Washington, DC. (10/12)

NPR: What The White House Sees Coming For COVID This Winter
The U.S. should prepare for a spike in COVID cases this winter as more people gather indoors and infections already begin to rise in Europe, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha says. ... "We are seeing this increase in Europe, and Europe tends to precede us by about four to six weeks," Jha told NPR. "And so it stands to reason that as we get into November, December, maybe January, we are going to see an increase in infections across much of the country." (Kelly, Jarenwattananon and O'Connor, 10/13)

  1. Children’s Health

NBC News: Babies Born During The Pandemic May Have Delayed Communication Skills
Around 89% of the infants studied who were born between 2008 and 2011 could articulate a full word like "bowl" or "cup" at 12 months old, compared to around 77% of infants born during the early months of the pandemic. The share of infants who could point at objects fell from 93% to 84%, and the portion who could wave goodbye fell from 94% to 88%. (Bendix, 10/12)

San Diego Union-Tribune: Surge Of Respiratory Illness Pops Up At Patrick Henry High, Rady ER Inundated
Alarming surges of respiratory illness at a San Diego high school and the region’s only children’s hospital are strong evidence that a fierce flu season has arrived early this year. (Sisson, 10/12)

  1. Climate Change

KHN: Climate Change Magnifies Health Impacts Of Wildfire Smoke In Care Deserts
Smoke began billowing into the skies of northwestern Nevada in September, clouding the mountains, dimming the sun — and quashing residents’ hopes that they would be spared from wildfires and the awful air quality the blazes produce. The lung-irritating particles were blowing in from burning forests in California and settling in Douglas County, Nevada, home to nearly 50,000 people, prompting warnings that air quality had reached hazardous levels. (Appleby and Orozco Rodriguez, 10/12)

  1. Health Coverage

KHN: ‘Separate And Unequal’: Critics Say Newsom’s Pricey Medicaid Reforms Leave Most Patients Behind
It wasn’t exactly an emergency, but Michael Reed, a security guard who lives in Watts, had back pain and ran out of his blood pressure medication. Unsure where else to turn, he went to his local emergency room for a refill. Around the same time, James Woodard, a homeless man, appeared for his third visit that week. He wasn’t in medical distress. Nurses said he was likely high on meth and just looking for a place to rest. (Hart, 10/12)

Stat: As Large Health Systems Bleed Money, Children’s Hospitals Are Faring Well
Children’s hospitals were spared from the worst ravages of the pandemic, putting them in a much stronger financial position than their acute-care peers. (Bannow, 10/11)

  1. Women’s Health

Capital & Main: Los Angeles County Struggling To Shrink Black Infant Death Rate
Early in 2018, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced an ambitious health care goal for 2023: Cut the gap between Black and white infant mortality in L.A. County by 30%.For decades, Black babies in L.A. County were dying at a significantly higher rate than white babies, primarily because they were born too early or too small. (Ross, 10/5)

Capital & Main: Toxic Pollutants A Growing Concern For Pregnant Mothers And Babies
Deborah Bell-Holt lives near a decades-old drilling site in South L.A., where oil sucked to the surface comes laced with dangerous pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, methane and toluene. What comes up must go somewhere, and Bell-Holt is sick at the prospect of how much toxic pollution ends up inside the bodies of her family and friends. “There are moments where I’m so furious,” says Bell-Holt, 69, who has fostered six children. All of them, like her, suffer chronic asthma, a problem linked to the proximity of oil drilling. Some children have terrible skin problems. Her husband has been battling leukemia for several years. As if that wasn’t enough, Bell-Holt now worries about a new generation. “My oldest child is 26, and she has a child that’s 3 years old, and they’re both asthmatic, and they both live here.” (Ross, 10/6)

Capital & Main: New Solutions Unveiled To Curtail L.A. County’s Black Infant And Maternal Death Rates
Earlier this year, Los Angeles County opened the application window on a new universal basic income (UBI) program called “Breathe,” which guarantees 1,000 residents $1,000 a month for three years. Participants must be 18 or older, live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and have household incomes at or below 100% of the county’s Median Household Income threshold. Anyone who fits the criteria, including expectant mothers, can apply to “Breathe.” (Ross, 10/7)