Happy Friday! In information that’s technically actually good and thrilling however can be type of icky: yarn constituted of human pores and skin may ultimately be used to sew up surgical wounds as a technique to lower down on detrimental reactions from sufferers. As CNN reports, “The researchers say their ‘human textile,’ which they developed from skin cells, can be used for knitting, sewing and even crochet.” My face has been caught within the scream emoji since I learn this story, so please be a part of me. (Also for individuals who suppose neat!, be certain to take a look at Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, which has a journal bound with human skin and is definitely very cool.)
Now on to what you could have missed this week.
It’s that point of yr! President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union handle to Congress, the place he declared the nation’s future to be “blazing bright.” During his speech he promised to “never let socialism destroy American health care,” inspired Congress to ship him a invoice on drug pricing (to which Democrats started chanting the title of the laws the House has already handed), and touted his administration’s push for worth transparency in well being care.
He additionally mentioned that Democrats had been making an attempt to offer well being protection for immigrants who’re within the nation illegally; referred to as for a ban on abortions which might be late in time period; promised to at all times shield Medicare; mentioned greater than 7 million folks have been shifted off meals stamps throughout his time period; and took credit score for a drop in medical insurance premiums. Various retailers reality checked these statements — which vary from utterly false to deceptive to true — so I’ll hyperlink to a set of them.
And now for the coronavirus roundup, the place I sifted by means of a whole lot of tales so that you don’t should. Before we dive in, only a reminder that there are nonetheless solely 12 confirmed instances within the U.S.
— As coronavirus instances in China skyrocket previous 30,000 (with 636 deaths), Chinese officers at the moment are performing house-to-house searches in Wuhan, amassing the sick and warehousing them in quarantine facilities. In town, there’s a rising sense that the residents are being sacrificed for the nice of the remainder of the nation. “There must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever,” mentioned Vice Premier Sun Chunlan.
— The demise of one of many first Chinese medical doctors to warn a few coronavirus outbreak despatched waves of grief and anger by means of a nation that’s rising increasingly more annoyed with how its authorities is dealing with the outbreak.
— After per week of instances leaping by double-digit percentages, well being officers nonetheless say it’s too early to declare that the virus has peaked.
— Hundreds extra Americans had been evacuated from China and can be quarantined by the U.S. authorities. But the outrageous reality I discovered this week is that these folks (and their insurers) are on the hook for any medical prices that come up from being quarantined. For those that are deemed unable to afford medical insurance, the federal government will choose up the tab but it surely may outsource a few of these prices to packages like Medicaid when attainable. The evacuees additionally should pay for his or her flight out of China and the price to get to their remaining vacation spot when the quarantine is over.
— In what appears a bit like the beginning of a dystopian actuality TV present, 1000’s of cruise passengers are being quarantined on two ships off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong. A 3rd cruise has been turned away from a number of ports.
— This story is an attention-grabbing have a look at how the primary case within the U.S. was found, and extra broadly showcases native public well being officers who are sometimes those on the entrance strains of a brand new outbreak.
— The majority of human illnesses, together with the coronavirus, are zoonotic, or handed from animals to people. If you need a transient abstract of some notable ones all through historical past, try this piece from WSJ that features a shout-out to a 5,300 mummified man who, earlier than he died from an arrow, suffered from Lyme illness.
— Not to be all doom and gloom, it appears to be people’ lot in life to continually be at warfare with pathogens. That means even when we include the coronavirus, there’s simply one other lethal pathogen ready within the wings.
Meanwhile, this yr’s pressure of the flu is hitting kids notably arduous. More than half of the constructive flu exams from public well being labs this season have been in kids and adults underneath the age of 25.
It is perhaps arduous to deal with something however the outcomes snafu on the Iowa caucuses, however advocates for disabled voters are additionally reporting again on how the efforts to broaden entry performed out. The Iowa Democratic Party took strides this yr to higher assist disabled voters take part, and for some the expertise was constructive. Others, nevertheless, mentioned that actuality seemed rather a lot totally different than what the get together’s messaging promised.
In idea, employers pay their staff much less as a result of a part of their advantages package deal consists of medical insurance. But if the nation moved towards a “Medicare for All” mannequin, would staff see their wages improve dollar-by-dollar of what was being spent on protection? Not essentially.
Although the Trump administration’s roll-out of the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” program that might encourage states to shift towards a block-grant fashion of funding drew a number of consideration, a little-noticed change that would result in massive cuts flew considerably underneath the radar. Governors of each events, nevertheless, are sounding the alarm that an arcane fiscal accountability rule may result in cuts as much as $49 billion a yr.
As is commonly the case with bans, youngsters are already discovering a means across the e-cigarette taste restrictions that went into impact this week. The FDA solely regulated reusable vaping merchandise, however disposable pods (with flavors like pink lemonade) are broadly out there at fuel stations and the like.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie abruptly fired his undersecretary, James Byrne, this week in what he referred to as a “simple business decision.” Wilkie was compelled to defend the choice as a result of Byrne was well liked by the veterans neighborhood, and the loss was simply the most recent in a protracted string of turnovers on the high of the troubled company. Some additionally questioned if the dismissal had something to do with the investigation of sexual assault allegations by Navy veteran Andrea Goldstein.
And within the miscellaneous file for the week:
— Following the latest deaths of 15 inmates, the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the Mississippi jail system, which appears to be within the grips of a violent disaster.
— Anonymous reporting programs which have been set as much as assist forestall faculty shootings have truly been serving to fight the epidemic of suicides in teenagers. Schools and native officers are pouring billions of into stopping the following mass assault, and but self-harm and suicidal ideation are what college students are reporting way more typically than any type of suspicious exercise. Public well being officers say this ought to be a wake-up name about the true menace to younger folks.
— How do you elevate youngsters to arrange them for the projected damaging results of local weather change with out inflicting extra trauma, nervousness and despair in a technology that’s already struggling to deal with such psychological well being points? It’s a effective line to stroll, specialists say.
And that’s it from me! Have an ideal weekend.