October 18, 2021
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Top Story
Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated against the disease, and those who have not been vaccinated are six times more likely to test positive, according to a CDC analysis. The report documented 665 cases per 100,000 unvaccinated people as of as of Aug. 29, while there were 150 cases per 100,000 of those who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 125 per 100,000 among those who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and 86 per 100,000 of those who received Moderna's vaccine.
Full Story: The Hill (10/15) 
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Health Care News
The US seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 cases fell 12.5% to 84,555 from the prior week, marking the fourth straight week of decline, while the weekly average for COVID-19 deaths fell 13.4% to 1,241, according to the CDC. The seven-day average for COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped 8.8% to 6,659 for the period ending Oct. 12, while average daily vaccinations declined by 11.3% to 841,731 as of Oct. 14.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (10/15) 
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Research presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' annual meeting showed that 65.6% of pregnant, symptomatic COVID-19 patients and 60.9% of pregnant, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients at a Texas hospital had cesarean deliveries, compared with a 31.7% US cesarean average in 2019. Neonatal intensive care unit admission was needed for 43.8% of infants born to symptomatic mothers and 36.2% born to asymptomatic mothers.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (10/13) 
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A study in Genomic Medicine found artificial intelligence technology may be used to quickly and accurately diagnose rare conditions in critically ill children. "Artificial intelligence holds promise to greatly simplify and speed genome interpretation by integrating predictive methods with the growing knowledge of genetic disease," the researchers wrote.
Full Story: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (10/15) 
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Distractions may help you become a better runner
A small study in the Human Kinetics Journals found that the more novice female runners paid attention to their body, the more physically and psychologically draining running became. Additionally, the more runners distracted themselves from the physical aspects of running -- such as by watching a video while on a treadmill -- the easier running became, and their performance improved, suggesting the findings could be used to help workouts feel more tolerable.
Full Story: The New York Times (10/14) 
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Pharmaceutical News
The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee has recommended that the agency authorize a second dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for all people who received J&J's single-dose vaccine. The panel recommended that the second dose be administered at least two months after administration of the first shot, though the FDA still has to make a final decision on the matter.
Full Story: Reuters (10/15) 
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Pfizer and partner BioNTech have announced that they have submitted documentation to the European Medicines Agency on their COVID-19 vaccine to support its use in children between ages 5 to 11. The vaccine has only received authorization in the US and EU for children ages 12 and older.
Full Story: Reuters (10/15) 
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Hot Topics
Emerging Trends, Products and Technologies
As hospitals have become crowded with COVID-19 patients, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have had to delay health care for serious illnesses, a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found. Many patients say they are seeing negative outcomes as a result, and clinicians have reported issues like cancers being diagnosed at a later stage.
Full Story: National Public Radio (10/14) 
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A recent report from the CDC found that there were 42,000 more deaths from Alzheimer's disease and other dementia deaths nationwide in 2020, a 16% increase, compared with the average number of deaths in the past five years. "[Alzheimer's patients'] memory impairment also prevents them from taking protective measures against COVID, such as remembering to put on masks, so it impairs their ability to keep themselves safe," said Jennifer Reeder, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's director of education and social services.
Full Story: Daily News (New York) (tiered subscription model) (10/17) 
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Health Policy and Legislative News
The National Health Service Corps will receive $100 million from the American Rescue Plan to address the shortage of health care workers, according to the Biden administration. The funding will help recruit primary care providers in places challenged by recruitment and retention issues. "This investment will make a tremendous impact on access to primary care and addressing health disparities at a critical time," said Diana Espinosa, acting administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Full Story: NBC News (10/14) 
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Administration returns pandemic data tracking to CDC
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Biden administration is shifting oversight of the government's pandemic data-tracking system from HHS' Office of the Chief Information Officer back to the CDC amid scrutiny over the government's handling of the public health data infrastructure, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. The public health tracking system, called HHS Protect, collects information from over 6,000 hospitals on COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates as well as use of ICU beds, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 tests and therapeutics.
Full Story: Bloomberg (10/14) 
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