Health

Biden has an eye on China as he heads to South Korea, Japan

President Joe Biden's six-day trip to South Korea and Japan aims to build rapport with the Asian nations’ leaders. Biden will also be trying to send an unmistakable message to China that Russia’s faltering invasion of Ukraine should give Beijing pause about its own saber-rattling in the Pacific. Biden departs Thursday and is set to meet newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Their talks will touch on trade, the global supply chain and North Korea’s nuclear program. Biden will also meet with leaders of the alliance known as the Quad, which includes Japan, Australia and India.

Biden invokes Defense Production Act for formula shortage

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and has authorized flights to import supply from overseas. He is facing mounting political pressure over a domestic shortage caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula manufacturing plant. The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers. Biden is also authorizing the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to fly formula supplies that meet federal standards from overseas to the U.S., in what the White House is calling “Operation Fly Formula.”

New Zealand hands out extra cash to fight 'inflation storm'

New Zealand’s government says it will hand out an extra few hundred dollars to more than 2 million lower-income adults to help them navigate what it describes as “the peak of the global inflation storm.” The payments are part of a package of new measures announced in the government’s annual budget. Other plans include increasing health spending by a record amount, putting more money into reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting defense spending. A report by Treasury painted a rosy picture of the nation’s economy through next year but warned growth would slow markedly from 2024 due to rising interest rates, a reduction in the government’s pandemic spending, and supply issues made worse by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US case of monkeypox reported in Massachusetts man

Massachusetts has reported a case of monkeypox in a man who recently traveled to Canada. Health officials said Wednesday they are looking into whether the case is connected to small outbreaks in Europe. Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa and the rare cases in the U.S. and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there.  A small number of confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain. Health officials said the U.S. case poses no risk to the public. The Massachusetts resident is hospitalized but in good condition. Last year, Texas and Maryland each reported a case in people who traveled to Nigeria.

North Korea's suspected COVID-19 caseload nears 2 million

North Korea has reported 262,270 more suspected COVID-19 infections as its pandemic caseload nears 2 million. The new suspected cases were reported Thursday, a week after the country acknowledged its outbreak and scrambled to slow transmissions. North Korea’s outbreak could be worse than reported because the country lacks virus tests and may be trying to soften the political impact on authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un. Despite the vast numbers of sick people and the efforts to curb the outbreak, workers continue to gather at farms, mining facilities, power stations and construction sites. Experts say North Korea cannot afford a lockdown that would hinder economic production.

Biden invokes Defense Production Act for formula shortage

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and has authorized flights to import supply from overseas. He is facing mounting political pressure over a domestic shortage caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula manufacturing plant. The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers. Biden is also authorizing the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to fly formula supplies that meet federal standards from overseas to the U.S., in what the White House is calling “Operation Fly Formula.”

Doctor who fought church gunman remembered as kind protector

Friends and colleagues of Dr. John Cheng say they were not surprised the quiet, kind and calm sports medicine physician saved others by rushing a gunman firing on a Southern California church luncheon. The 52-year-old father who was raised in East Texas was known for doing all he could to protect people. He even had taken courses to prepare for such a horrific event, concerned about the growing number of mass shootings. Active shooter experts say that preparedness combined with Cheng’s serene disposition likely gave him a proclivity for acting heroically. Cheng was killed and five were wounded in Sunday's shooting. Authorities credit him for saving perhaps dozens of lives.

Stocks fall sharply as Target's woes renew inflation fears

Stocks closed sharply lower on Wall Street Wednesday as dismal results from Target renewed fears that inflation is battering U.S. companies. The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, fell 4%. Target lost a quarter of its value, dragging other retailers down with it, after saying its profit fell by half in the latest quarter as costs for freight and transportation spiked. That comes a day after Walmart cited inflation for its own weak results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1,164 points, or 3.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq pulled back 4.7%. Treasury yields fell as investors sought safer ground.

Jill Biden, Selena Gomez lead talk on youth mental health

Selena Gomez joined first lady Jill Biden and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at the White House on Wednesday for a conversation about youth mental health. The singer/actor has been public about her own struggles. In 2020, Gomez revealed that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Gomez, Biden and Murthy held a conversation with a group of young people who shared how they had improved their own mental health. The strategies they shared ranged from finding a therapist to using baking as a way to encourage conversation with others. Biden praised the courage she said it took for them to come forward.

Buffalo shooter let some people see plans just before attack

Shortly before police say he opened fire, the white gunman accused of killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket allowed a small group of people to see his long-simmering plans for the attack, which he had been chronicling for months in a private, online diary. Discord, the chat platform where 18-year-old Payton Gendron kept the diary, confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to the group about a half-hour before Saturday’s attack at Tops Friendly Market, which he live-streamed on another online service, and that some of them accepted.

Medicaid Expansion Affected Overall Survival Rates Among Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was associated with an increase in two-year overall survival among patients newly diagnosed with cancer, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Smokers Who Shift to Vaping May Improve Other Health Measures

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing combustible cigarettes with vaping in one's 30s may be associated with key markers of healthy and successful aging, according to a study published in the May issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

More Cases of Monkeypox Emerge in Portugal as Outbreak Widens

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- After four new cases of typically rare monkeypox infection were spotted in Britain earlier this week, the illness has now been confirmed in five young men in Portugal and 15 other suspected cases are being investigated, health officials in that country said Wednesday.

Ashley Biden positive for COVID-19, skips Latin America trip

The White House says Ashley Biden, the daughter of President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, has COVID-19 and will no longer accompany her mother to Latin America trip. Her diagnosis was announced just before the first lady flew to Ecuador, the first stop on her three-country tour. It's the second time in recent weeks that the coronavirus has caused Ashley Biden to miss out on traveling with her mother. She backed out of a trip to Eastern Europe earlier in May after learning she was a close contact of someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. The White House says the president had not seen his daughter in about a week.

Lawyers: Georgia man's death sentence is unconstitutional

Lawyers for a Georgia man whose execution was put on hold by a judge this week are arguing in court filings that he is ineligible for execution because of his cognitive impairments. Lawyers for Virgil Delano Presnell Jr. said in a filing with the Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday that he is a “cognitively disabled man” whose execution is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that the execution of intellectually disabled people is unconstitutional. Presnell’s lawyers argue that includes people like him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Federal agency sends team to probe Tesla crash that killed 3

The U.S. government’s road safety agency has dispatched a team to investigate the possibility that a Tesla involved in a California crash that killed three people was operating on a partially automated driving system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday confirmed that it had sent a special crash investigation team to probe the May 12 crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach. The investigation is part of a larger inquiry by the agency into crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems such as Tesla’s Autopilot. Since 2016, the agency has sent teams to 34 crashes in which the systems were either in use or suspected of operating. According to a NHTSA document released Wednesday, of the 34, 28 involved Teslas.

US health secretary tests positive for COVID on Germany trip

President Joe Biden’s top health official has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest member of his Cabinet to be infected with the virus. A spokeswoman for U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said he tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday while visiting Berlin. Becerra is fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms. The spokeswoman said he will continue to work in isolation in Berlin. Becerra was last at the White House last Thursday and is not considered a close contact of Biden. Becerra was in Berlin for a two-day meeting of health ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy nations taking place later this week.

After Buffalo massacre, NY governor seeks action on guns

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is touting a package of executive orders and gun control bills in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket. The Democrat's executive orders would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others. New York is among states that have a so-called “red flag” law. It allows law enforcement officials to petition a court to take away someone’s firearms if they are potentially dangerous because of a mental health problem. Appearing with the governor Wednesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said racism and violence pose an “existential threat to this country.”

A third of US should be considering masks, officials say

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking. Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions. Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Officials said Wednesday those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors  — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice.

Cosmetic Outcome Comparable With 1-, 2-cm Suture Spacing

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- One-centimeter suture spacing is not associated with improved cosmetic outcomes compared with 2-centimeter suture spacing on wounds, according to a study published online April 27 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Biden's burdens grow: Sagging global economy adds to US woes

President Joe Biden embarks for Asia on Thursday facing a new risk for the economy at home: a global economic slowdown caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the pandemic shutting down Chinese cities and factories. The world economy cannot any ballots in this year's elections, but it's a hidden force in the voting that will decide if Democrats retain control of the House and Senate. It’s one more challenge that highlights a steep climb for Biden, whose approval ratings have plunged as prices for everyday goods in the U.S. have soared.

Risk for Ectopic Pregnancy Increased for Women With Psoriasis

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Women with psoriasis have a significantly increased risk for ectopic pregnancy (EP), which is highest for those with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, according to a study published in the June issue of JAAD International.