Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
COVID worsens asthma in children; booster after infection not as beneficial vs Omicron
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. COVID-19 worsens asthma in children
U.S. CDC says travelers should still wear masks on airplanes
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday recommended travelers continue to wear masks in airplanes, trains and airports despite a judge’s April 18 order declaring the 14-month-old transportation mask mandate unlawful.
The CDC said it based its recommendation on current COVID-19 conditions and spread as well as the protective value of masks.
Beijing curbs public transport as COVID spreads in China
The Chinese capital Beijing shut dozens of metro stations and bus routes on Wednesday in its campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid the fate of Shanghai where millions of residents have been under strict lockdown for more than a month. New evidence has emerged that China’s uncompromising battle against the coronavirus, believed to have emerged in a market in the city of Wuhan in late 2019, is undermining its growth and hurting the international companies invested there.
Main negotiators reach ‘outcome’ on COVID vaccine IP waiver -WTO
The four main parties to negotiations on an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines have prepared an “outcome document” for approval by the broader membership, the WTO said on Tuesday, with its chief hoping for a final deal by June. WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has made vaccine equity her top priority since taking office in 2021, has been working for months to broker a compromise between the United States, the European Union, India, and South Africa to break an 18-month-long impasse.
Opioid distributors reach $518 million settlement with Washington state
Washington has reached a $518 million settlement with drug distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp, and Cardinal Health Inc, ending a months-long trial over the companies’ alleged role in fueling the opioid epidemic in the state. McKesson will pay $197 million, while AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal will each contribute $160.5 million to the settlement.
India releases 2020 death data ahead of WHO COVID mortality study it objects
India registered about 475,000 more total deaths in 2020 than the previous year, government data released months ahead of schedule on Tuesday showed, as the World Health Organization readies its estimates of excess COVID-19 deaths whose methodology New Delhi has opposed. Some experts estimate India’s actual COVID death toll is as high as 4 million, about eight times the official figure, especially as a record wave driven by the Delta variant killed many people in April and May of last year. The WHO’s estimate will be published on Thursday.
Protesters rallied under the slogan “off our bodies” in cities across the United States on Tuesday, demanding abortion rights be protected after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Thousands of people turned out for an abortion-rights rally in New York City, one of the largest demonstrations as Americans awoke to political and social upheaval, months before voters go to the polls in congressional midterm elections.
Oklahoma governor signs ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, effective immediately
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Tuesday that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, immediately outlawing almost all abortions in the state. The law, passed by the Republican-led legislature, relies on private citizens to sue providers or anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks to be enforced. It is modeled after a Texas law that has withstood legal challenges since it took effect in that state in September.
Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday that the potential Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade represents an attack on women and lashed out at Republicans for “weaponizing” the issue, offering a first glimpse of how the White House might use the battle for abortion rights to energize voters in the upcoming midterm elections. “If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, it will be a direct assault on freedom,” Harris, a Democrat, told attendees at a gala hosted by Emily’s List, an organization that works to get abortion-rights Democrats elected to office.
Canada leaders affirm right to choose after leak of draft U.S. ruling overturning abortion rights
Canada’s Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister affirmed on Tuesday their support of women’s right to choose after a leaked draft ruling suggests the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared to strike down a landmark decision legalizing abortion.
The Bloc Quebecois, a federal political party, also moved a motion in Canada’s Parliament Tuesday to recognize a woman’s “free choice in the matter of abortion.”
(With inputs from agencies.)