Recently updated CDC guidance recommends that all people attending or visiting US schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, wear face masks whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. The guidance also recommends that people wear masks in public indoor spaces in areas with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission rates, including people who have been vaccinated.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the US must do everything possible to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates as the Delta variant continues to fuel infections across the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination coverage. States that have fully vaccinated fewer than 50% of residents are seeing almost triple the hospitalization rates and more than double the COVID-19 infection and death rates, on average, compared with states where more than half of residents have been vaccinated.
A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association documented 38,654 new pediatric COVID-19 cases for the week ending July 22, up 64% from the previous week's 23,551 cases. There have been just over 4.12 million pediatric cases of COVID-19 in 49 states -- excluding New York -- as well as Washington, D.C., New York City, Guam and Puerto Rico since the start of the pandemic, the report said.
Children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had a greater likelihood of developing adverse health conditions -- such as eye disease, nerve damage and kidney disease -- before age 30, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study also showed Black and Hispanic children were 80% and 57% more likely, respectively, to develop later complications than white children.
Three Medicaid programs in Kansas are teaming up with an addiction treatment company and primary care physicians to connect patients with virtual substance use services. The treatment company works with physicians to screen patients at home and then directs them to outpatient, peer support and counseling services.
The CDC has issued COVID-19 testing recommendations urging fully vaccinated people to get tested three to five days after exposure to the virus even if they don't experience symptoms. Prior recommendations indicated fully vaccinated people only needed testing after exposure if they were symptomatic.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill to expand the state's Medicaid program, making all people ages 50 and older with low income eligible for coverage beginning in May 2022 regardless of immigration status. The law could add about 235,000 people to the program with costs paid by the state.
The Federation of State Medical Boards has stated that physicians and other health professionals could risk loss of licensure for posting erroneous information about COVID-19 online, in the media and on social platforms. The statement said that physicians "have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health."
Hospitals in outlying areas of the US are relying on offsite physicians and other clinical staff to monitor and consult on COVID-19 patients via telehealth as part of expanded tele-ICU and tele-ER programs. Fiber optic-linked cameras and monitors allow nurses and physicians to check patients' vital signs and other issues remotely, and the technology can help close rural care gaps as well as reduce hospital burden, experts say.
AAFP Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Practice Advancement and Policy Stephanie Quinn writes in the In the Trenches Blog that the AAFP recently reminded lawmakers how forgiving medical school debt is an achievable way to strengthen the physician workforce and improve health equity.
It is a time in which we will redefine what it means to be human, for this is not just the start of a revolution, it is the start of an evolution.
David A. Sinclair, biologist, professor of genetics
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