July 30, 2021
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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.
Full Story: CNN (7/30) 
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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.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (7/28) 
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Pediatric Health Care
Researchers studied 22,046 children and found that patient portal reminders for pediatric influenza vaccines, whether framed as losses or gains, were not linked to an increase in first-dose influenza vaccination rates. However, the findings in Pediatrics also showed that the use of patient portal reminders was effective in getting children back for their second dose of the influenza vaccine.
Full Story: Contemporary Pediatrics (7/29) 
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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.
Full Story: HealthDay News (7/29) 
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Children with vitamin D deficiency had more cases of urinary tract infection than those without the deficiency, according to a study in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. The findings were based on data from 172 children age 2 to 60 months.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (7/28) 
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Trends & Technology
Arkansas and Oklahoma have seen a 60% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past two weeks, and children's hospitals in the states say more pediatric patients are becoming critically ill. Seeing that children are becoming more vulnerable is "a lot worrisome," said Dr. Stephanie DeLeon, a pediatrician at Oklahoma Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (7/28) 
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An online survey of 248 family physicians, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, showed that loneliness is a common issue among family medicine physicians and may be tied to burnout, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that 50.4% of responding physicians met the criteria for burnout.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (7/28) 
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A World Health Organization report titled Ethics & Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health warns about the risks of overestimating the benefits of artificial intelligence in health care at the cost of investments and strategies to achieve universal health coverage. The report, developed by a panel of experts, outlines six consensus principles for ensuring AI works to the public benefit and does not subordinate patient and community rights to commercial interests or government surveillance and social control.
Full Story: Healthcare IT News (7/28) 
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Health Policy & Regulations
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.
Full Story: The New York Times (7/30) 
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The White House is taking additional steps to boost the number of vaccinated Americans as a new wave of COVID-19 infections threatens areas with low vaccination rates with the mandate to require proof of vaccination from federal workers and contractors and payments of $100 for each newly vaccinated. "With freedom comes responsibility. So please exercise responsible judgment. Get vaccinated for yourself, the people you love, for your country," President Joe Biden said. Presently, the number of fully vaccinated Americans has reached 163.9 million, while the number of administered COVID-19 vaccine doses now totals 344.1 million, according to the CDC.
Full Story: Reuters (7/29),  Reuters (7/29) 
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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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