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Must-Reads Of The Week | Kaiser Health News

The Friday Breeze

Want to learn one of the best and most provocative tales from the week? Welcome to the Friday Breeze, the place we compile all of them — so that you’re set along with your weekend studying.

While we transition from one proficient e-newsletter editor to the subsequent, common readers will probably be subjected to one more visitor author, me, Rachel Bluth, a KHN reporter in Sacramento, California. Don’t fear although, we’re sustaining a way of continuity. The author is completely different, however the information is similar: unhealthy. Here are the tales you might need missed this week when you have been binge-watching Netflix to flee actuality.

Surge, Baby Surge

Does it really feel like spring? Looking solely on the coronavirus an infection charges, one may assume it was nonetheless April. States preserve insisting on reopening, and the virus has reached its highest U.S. case depend in two months.

Texas, Florida, Arizona and California have all seen record-breaking spikes in new circumstances this week. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “paused” reopening Thursday, after which went additional on Friday by closing bars and lowering restaurant occupancy. Which sounds vital till you notice folks can nonetheless gather in groups of 100.

As far as contact tracers can inform, most of those new circumstances aren’t coming from protests against police brutality, in line with NPR. Instead, circumstances are largely coming from household events in personal houses. States are discovering that their coronavirus sufferers skew younger and younger.

“In June, we’re seeing that now 2 out of 3 people that have contracted this disease are under 29,” Erika Lautenbach, director of the Whatcom County Health Department in Washington state, advised NPR. Now greater than ever, it’s time to inform your cousin to place down the White Claw and choose up a masks.

The Friday Breeze

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More states now require mask-wearing in public: California and Washington are the newest to hitch the ranks.

The excellent news is that whereas companies open across the nation, masks appear to be saving lives. Two sick hairstylists in Springfield, Missouri, prevented additional infections by sporting masks, in line with reporting from The Washington Post.

The unhealthy information is that individuals don’t like being advised what to do — though perhaps that isn’t information. A sheriff in Washington advised folks in his jurisdiction to flout masks guidelines, saying, “Don’t be a sheep.” For the file, there have been no studies yet about COVID-19 threat in livestock, so it would behoove us to all to be a bit extra like sheep, anyway. (Did you catch the pun there?)

Ditching the Dirt

Next, let’s talk about your bits. Groin, underarms, ft … the soiled bits. You ought to be washing them! Your fingers, too. But that may be sufficient, in line with scientists quoted in The Atlantic this month. Over-washing the remainder of your physique by showering an excessive amount of may result in eczema flare-ups and alter our our bodies’ pure defenses to germs and micro organism. More showering isn’t essentially higher for us, so it might be time to reevaluate how usually you bathe. And whereas we’re right here, please wash your hands.

I do know, I do know. It’s laborious to recollect to cowl your snout and wash your paws. If we are able to depend on something in these turbulent instances, it’s that capitalism all the time finds a method. This week, Apple announced a brand new characteristic to assist implement hand-washing pointers. A countdown timer reminds folks to scrub completely. According to NBC, it’s a play to promote extra tech to hospitals and clinics. It’s unclear on the time of publication how amenities that can’t afford private protecting tools can pay for Apple Watches. Perhaps most crucially, the replace will let customers add a CDC-recommended face masking to their customized emojis. Surely, with all these technological developments, a coronavirus remedy can’t be far off.

Testing and Testimony

Speaking of cures and coverings, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave the nation a hesitant shot of hope this week when he mentioned he’s “cautiously optimistic” a couple of vaccine being prepared by the top of this 12 months or early 2021.

That’s about all of the optimism he needed to give throughout his Tuesday testimony earlier than the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Fauci joined different high well being officers in telling lawmakers that discuss of a “second wave” of the coronavirus is untimely. We are nonetheless very a lot within the first wave.

“The virus is not going to disappear,” Fauci mentioned.

Dr. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for well being at HHS, mentioned even the 500,000 every day exams being carried out nationwide aren’t sufficient, and having solely 28,000 skilled contact tracers can also be inadequate.

Fauci additionally warned that flu season could be further harmful this 12 months, as a result of two upper-respiratory infections swirling across the inhabitants may spell catastrophe. Two lungs, two infections? At least we now have symmetry to stay up for this winter.

Immigration, Now With Health Policy Implications

Things are nonetheless unhealthy in rural America, the place testing in distant areas has been spotty at finest. Some officers are nervous issues will solely worsen, now that the Trump administration is proscribing H-1B visas, which carry sure expert employees into the nation. These visas have usually been used to get overseas docs into underserved rural communities who lack docs. After strain from enterprise pursuits, it seems the administration will exempt health care workers.

Americans might also be on the receiving finish of immigration restrictions quickly. The European Union is contemplating placing travel restrictions on guests from international locations the place the virus isn’t properly managed. With over 2.four million circumstances, issues aren’t wanting good for Americans making an attempt to summer time on the French Riviera this 12 months.

Well, let’s overlook about different international locations. This is America, religious birthplace of the street journey! At least we are able to go to different states, proper? Not so quick. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut introduced that guests from particularly hard-hit scorching spots must cool their heels in a two-week quarantine in the event that they wish to come to the tri-state space. Rhode Island is contemplating related measures. Visitors to Hawaii want a detrimental COVID take a look at to skip quarantine. President Donald Trump says these guidelines, like many others, do not apply to him.

Hugged A Tree Lately?

Has the common terror of the coronavirus distracted you from the specter of local weather change? Fret not! This week, we now have a two-for-one particular on existential crises, delivered to us by NPR. Scientists have discovered a correlation between deforestation and illness outbreaks like Ebola. Turns out that decimating animals’ pure surroundings pushes them nearer to people and will increase the probability of zoonosis (a enjoyable phrase for the terrifying prospect of a illness leaping from animals to people). We don’t have sufficient info but to know if the coronavirus was a direct results of deforestation, however perhaps the center of a pandemic is the incorrect time to keep cutting down trees.

I’ve been advised there may be non-coronavirus information nonetheless taking place, however I can’t affirm that. In lieu of actual information, take just a few of those feel-good tales to tide you over till the world improves: Mark Ruffalo obtained a kitten, this toad may not truly be extinct, and this cyclist rode his bike up and down a hill for over seven hours to beat a world file! See, all the things is okay.

Enjoy your weekend! Writing this was laborious and I by no means wish to do it once more. Stay protected, and wash your fingers and bits.

Rachel Bluth: rbluth@kff.org”>rbluth@kff.org, @RachelHBluth

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