April 22, 2021
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A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association documented over 88,000 new pediatric COVID-19 cases for the week ending April 15, representing 20.6% of all new cases for the week in the US and surpassing the previous high of 19.1% recorded three weeks ago. There have been over 3.6 million pediatric cases of COVID-19 in 49 states excluding New York, as well as Washington, D.C., New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam since the start of the pandemic, accounting for 13.6% of all reported COVID-19 cases in those areas.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (4/21) 
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The Biden administration is thinking about requiring US tobacco companies to reduce the amount of nicotine in all cigarettes to non-addictive or minimally addictive levels, according to sources. The administration is also considering banning the sale of menthol cigarettes, with the FDA set to decide on whether to pursue the policy by Apr. 29.
Full Story: The Hill (4/20),  The Wall Street Journal (4/19) 
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Pediatric Health Care
A study in JAMA Network Open found links between a better performance in working memory at age 10 and a lower risk for hypomania symptoms at ages 22 to 23; higher sustained attention at age 8 and a lower risk for depressive symptoms at ages 17 to 18; better performance on inhibition at age 10 years and a lower risk for psychotic experiences at ages 17 to 18; and higher sustained attention at age 8 and a lower risk for borderline personality disorder symptoms at ages 11 to 12, with all links remaining after controlling for potential psychopathological overlay, aside from working memory and hypomania. The findings were based on data involving 5,315 individuals with psychopathological measures.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (4/21) 
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A study in JAMA Psychiatry found that children with two depression-affected generations had the highest risk of depressive and other psychiatric disorders, compared with those with one or no affected generations. The findings were based on data involving 11,200 children with a mean age of 9.9 years.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (4/21) 
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Researchers studied 6,700 youths ages 10 to 19 and found that 18% of those ages 10 to 15 drank alcohol at least monthly, with an increased risk of more frequent drinking for each additional hour of social media use. The findings in the journal Addiction also showed that 30% of those ages 16 to 19 reported drinking at least weekly, with those spending over an hour on social media each day having an increased likelihood to binge drink.
Full Story: Irish Examiner (4/22) 
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Trends & Technology
Long-term effects of COVID-19 pandemic on health care likely will include having a mix of in-person and virtual care, more home care and monitoring, and increased reliance on cloud-based platforms, experts told the virtual CHIME21 Spring Forum. Cook Children's Health Care System CIO Teresa Meadows said the pandemic will lead to greater consumerization of health care, with a focus on health literacy and care provided outside hospital and office settings.
Full Story: HealthLeaders Media (4/21) 
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The US poverty rate climbed by half a percentage point to 11.7% between February and March, the highest level since the pandemic started, according to research released by economists Bruce Meyer from the University of Chicago, Jeehoon Han from Zhejiang University and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame. White Americans, women, children, people with less education and individuals living in states with more restrictive unemployment insurance payment rules experienced the sharpest increase in poverty.
Full Story: MarketWatch (tiered subscription model) (4/21),  Bloomberg (4/20) 
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Health Policy & Regulations
House Democrats plan to release portions of legislation targeting drug prices, including a measure that would permit HHS to negotiate drug prices, according to a senior aide. Lawmakers hope to see the provisions included in President Joe Biden's American Families Plan, which is expected to be released next week.
Full Story: The Hill (4/21) 
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President Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the US achieved his administration's goal of administering 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days as president, adding that his new goal is to reach all Americans who are old enough to be vaccinated. Biden also announced a tax credit program for businesses with fewer than 500 workers that offer vaccine-related paid leave to their employees.
Full Story: The Guardian (London) (free registration) (4/21),  NBC News (4/21) 
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Free school meal waivers to remain through 2022
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden's administration has announced that USDA waivers, which were set to expire in September for schools to serve free meals to all students, will be extended through the 2021-22 school year. Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations for the School Nutrition Association, called the continuation of the waivers a "lifesaver" for students, their families and school staff.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/20),  The Hill (4/20) 
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Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.
Karle Wilson Baker,
poet, writer
April 22 is Earth Day
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