Health

Kansas looking at $50M for businesses restricted over COVID

Kansas is moving to provide $50 million in relief to businesses forced by state or local officials to shut down or restrict their operations during the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican-controlled Legislature on Monday approved a bill setting up the new program and sent it to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on lawmakers’ last scheduled day in session this year. The measure is aimed at small businesses and would allow them to receive up to $5,000 for 2020 and 2021 if state and local officials imposed COVID-19 restrictions. Many of the restrictions were lifted by the summer of 2020.

Pfizer says 3 COVID shots protect children under 5

Pfizer says three small doses of its COVID-19 vaccine protect kids under 5. The company released preliminary results on Monday and said it plans to give the data to U.S. regulators later this week. It's the latest step toward letting the littlest kids get the shots. The 18 million tots under 5 are the only group in the U.S. not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. The Food and Drug Administration has begun evaluating data from rival Moderna. That company hopes to offer two kid-sized shots by summer. The FDA has set tentative dates next month for its scientific advisers to publicly debate data from Pfizer and Moderna.

If Roe falls, some fear repercussions for reproductive care

If the Supreme Court follows through on overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion will likely be banned or greatly restricted in about half of U.S. states. But experts and advocates fear repercussions could reach even further, affecting care for women who miscarry, couples seeking fertility treatments and access to some forms of contraception. Many supporters of abortion bans insist they are only interested in curtailing abortion, and legislation passed so far often has exceptions for other reproductive care. But rumblings in the GOP have doctors concerned, and laws banning abortion could also have unintended side effects.

Opponents of federal vaccine mandate seek rehearing

A federal appeals court is being asked to reconsider its decision allowing the Biden administration to require that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month vacated a lower court ruling and ordered dismissal of a lawsuit against the federal employee vaccine mandate, which was ordered by President Joe Biden in September. However, that 2-1 ruling by the appellate panel doesn’t take effect until May 31. On Saturday, opponents of the mandate filed a petition asking that the April ruling be vacated and that the full 17-member court hear new arguments in the case.

Argentine president to pay fine for party during quarantine

Argentina’s president and first lady will pay a fine of about $24,000 for hosting a party in July 2020 that violated quarantine orders the head of state himself had signed. Those prohibited group gatherings as a way to stem the spread of COVID-19. The fine will be in the form of a donation to Argentina's public health network. It will close a criminal case that was launched last year after photos emerged of the first lady’s birthday celebrations at a time when Argentines were largely forbidden from leaving their homes.

UK's Boris Johnson awaits judgment of 'partygate' report

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been shadowed by career-threatening scandal for months — but so far has escaped unscathed. This week he faces one more threat to his political future: a comprehensive report into lockdown-breaching parties in government offices that is expected to be published within days. Senior civil servant Sue Gray is due to release her findings on “partygate,” the scandal over gatherings in Johnson’s 10 Downing St. residence and nearby buildings during the pandemic. A hint of what the report might contain came Monday when broadcaster ITV published four photographs showing Johnson raising a glass in front of a group of people amid wine bottles and snacks. Critics said the photos proved Johnson had lied and should resign.

NC Medicaid expansion gets serious attention from Senate GOP

North Carolina Senate Republicans are strongly considering legislation that would expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults. The idea is contained in a summary of a wide-ranging health care access measure being discussed by state senators. The Associated Press obtained the summary. Such legislation would mark an extraordinary turnabout by Senate Republicans set against expansion for a decade. Senate leader Phil Berger said last year he was now open to expansion, which is a top priority for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. House Speaker Tim Moore said last week he'd be surprised if expansion could be approved before the legislative session ends around July 1.

Court ruling extends uneven treatment for asylum-seekers

In one of the busiest corridors for illegal border crossings, Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans are often released to pursue asylum in the United States. Meanwhile, Hondurans struggle to be allowed to pursue asylum after entering the country. The opposite fortunes illustrate the dual nature of border enforcement under pandemic-era limits on seeking asylum, known as Title 42 authority. President Joe Biden wanted to end them Monday, but a federal judge in Louisiana issued a nationwide injunction that keeps them intact. Some nationalities are heavily affected by Title 42, while others aren't.

What's next for COVID-19 vaccines for youngest US children

Parents hoping to get their youngest children vaccinated against COVID-19 have some encouraging news. Pfizer said Monday that three doses of its vaccine offers strong protection to those under 5. That news comes a month after Moderna said it would ask regulators to OK its two doses for the youngest kids. But before the shots are available, health officials must analyze the safety and efficacy data from the company studies to decide whether to recommend the shots. The first public meeting to discuss the shots is scheduled for mid-June.

Lower Incomes May Mean Lower Survival After Heart Attack

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- If you're poor and have a severe type of heart attack, the chance you'll live through it is significantly lower than that of someone with more money, new research shows.

Emergency Shipment of Baby Formula Arrives From Europe

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- A 35-ton shipment of hypoallergenic baby formula from Switzerland arrived in the United States on Sunday, the first delivery in what the Biden administration is calling "Operation Fly Formula" to deal with a nationwide shortage.

Pediatric Mental Health Crises Up During First Year of Pandemic

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- During the first pandemic year, there were increases in the proportion of pediatric patients presenting to hospital with suicidal ideation/suicidal attempts, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and obsessive compulsive and related disorders, according to a study published online May 17 in Hospital Pediatrics.

Maryland's Sen. Van Hollen returns home after minor stroke

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland says he's home again after suffering a minor stroke. The Maryland Democrat tweeted Sunday that it was great to be home “after a long week.” Van Hollen said in a statement May 15 that he experienced lightheadedness and acute neck pain while delivering a speech in western Maryland. He sought medical attention upon his return home and an angiogram indicated a minor stroke in the form of a small venous tear at the back of his head. Van Hollen said he's been told there are no long-term effects or damage. The 63-year-old Van Hollen was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving seven terms in the U.S. House.

Odds of COVID-19 Mortality Lower for Women Receiving HRT

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use is associated with reduced odds of all-cause mortality among women with a recorded diagnosis of COVID-19, according to a study published online May 17 in Family Practice.

Drug Therapy for AUD May Cut Risk for Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Receipt of medical addiction therapy for alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with a reduced incidence of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), according to a study published online May 20 in JAMA Network Open.

Gabapentin May Cut Opioid Needs for Oral Mucositis Pain During RT

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For patients receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, higher doses of gabapentin are well tolerated and associated with delayed time to first opioid use for additional pain control during radiotherapy (RT), according to a research letter published online May 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Physicians Often Experience Mistreatment, Discrimination

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Mistreatment and discrimination by patients, families, and visitors are commonly experienced by physicians, according to a study published online May 19 in JAMA Network Open.

Formal Training in Cardio-Obstetrics Uncommon

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Formal training in cardio-obstetrics is uncommon and there are considerable knowledge gaps related to cardiovascular care of pregnant patients, according to a study published in the April 19 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Antibody Levels After COVID-19 Vaccination Inversely Linked to Body Weight

MONDAY, May 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Following COVID-19 vaccination, there is an inverse correlation between anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibody levels and body weight, according to a study published online May 19 in JAMA Network Open.

EU to keep budget rules looser for longer amid war fallout

The European Union is extending looser limits on spending by member countries for an extra year in a bid to counter the economic fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The European Commission recommended Monday that the EU’s regular rules on national budget discipline be suspended through 2023. The 27-nation bloc’s executive arm says member countries need the longer fiscal flexibility to tackle heightened economic risks due to the Ukraine war. The EU deactivated its full controls on national debt levels in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the laxer framework was ending this year. Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni says the EU is still “far from economic normality.”