The daily number of COVID-19 tests administered across the US dropped 3.6% to 750,000 over the past two weeks -- possibly due to frustrations with long lines and delayed results -- even as deaths continue to increase and confirmed infections surpassed 4.7 million. Concerns about reduced testing prompted experts at Harvard's Global Health Institute to call for distribution of $1 saliva-based antigen tests to all Americans for regular testing, an approach they say would detect five times more COVID-19 infections than the existing system, even though the paper-based tests have lower accuracy.
Researchers evaluated seven febrile infants ages 60 days or younger who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and found that four were admitted from the hospital emergency department and three were direct transfers from outside hospitals. The findings in Pediatrics also showed that none of the patients had severe outcomes, required supplemental oxygen or had abnormal chest X-ray findings.
CDC researchers reviewed the acute flaccid myelitis outbreak in 2018 and found that more than 50% of the cases ended up in the intensive care and almost 1 in 4 needed a ventilator to survive after the child's muscles grew too weak to breathe properly. The findings in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also showed that the number of confirmed cases of AFM had increased with every-other-year outbreaks, with 120 cases in 2014, 153 in 2016 and 238 in 2018, and that a new outbreak could strike hundreds of youths in the US within the next few months.
A study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that higher levels of bisphenol A exposure in children were linked to increased likelihood of having general symptoms of asthma, such as chest tightness or coughing; additional days with asthma symptoms and emergency department visits. The findings, based on data involving 148 predominantly low-income and African American 5- to 17-year-olds, also showed that the association between asthma severity and BPA exposure was statistically significant for the boys in the sample and not the girls.
A study in Pediatric Diabetes found that children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes who received continued psychological care for 2 years had stable glycemic control and less frequent severe hypoglycemia episodes. The researchers, who based the findings on data from 31,861 type 1 diabetes patients in Germany, noted that the addition of non-psychological interventions -- such as educational interventions and knowledge-based teachings -- to diabetes education programs could also have contributed to the decreased rate of severe hypoglycemia among those who had continued psychological care.
A study in JAMA Network Open found that parents of youths admitted for a life-threatening injury or illness to the pediatric intensive care, cardiology or oncology departments who received videoconference-based acceptance and commitment therapy showed significantly greater improvement in post-traumatic stress symptoms, with their average Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Version 5 scores declining to 17.8 from 23.3, compared with a decline to 26.2 from 31.7 among parents in the waiting list control group.
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Hospitals on the US News and World Report 2020-21 Best Hospitals Honor Roll are taking a variety of approaches to reducing health care disparities. Cindy Barnard, vice president of quality at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, says the focus is on creating robust partnerships with its communities, having a diverse and inclusive workforce, and doing patient-centered quality improvement in areas of clinical vulnerability and disparities.
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The FDA has released final guidance offering details on how drugmakers and sponsors should prepare and submit pediatric study plans. According to the guidance, sponsors required to submit initial pediatric study plans must do so within 60 calendar days after the end-of-Phase 2 meeting, or at a time agreed on by the company and the FDA.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has expressed cautious optimism for the speed at which COVID-19 vaccines are being developed. "Historically, if you get a vaccine that has a moderate to high degree of efficacy, and you combine with that prudent public health measures, we can put this behind us," Fauci said.
Administration officials and congressional Democrats said after a meeting Tuesday that they are still far from reaching an agreement on a fifth pandemic relief package, but they are hoping to reach a deal this week. President Donald Trump has said the administration is considering issuing an executive order to bring back enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits that expired last week if negotiations on the package continue to lag.