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Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills for COVID-19 May Average $3,800 in 2021: Study

Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 could now face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs, according to a new report.

In 2020, most health insurance companies waived co-pays, deductibles and other cost-sharing for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but many stopped doing that early this year, the University of Michigan researchers noted.

"Many insurers claim that it is ju...

Bill Clinton Discharged From Hospital After Recovery From Sepsis

Former President Bill Clinton was released from a California hospital on Sunday after being treated for sepsis.

Clinton, 75, was admitted for care at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, in Orange, last Tuesday after developing sepsis triggered by a urological infection.

A spokesperson for Clinton shared a

  • Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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  • October 18, 2021
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  • Mix n' Match COVID Vaccine Strategy Works Well: Study

    Mixing and matching different types of COVID-19 vaccines is highly effective, new research shows.

    The study found that protection against infection was stronger in people who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a second dose of an mRNA vaccine than in those who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

    The AstraZeneca vaccine is a vector-based vaccine, while th...

    RSV Is Common, Dangerous Infection: What Parents Need to Know

    Watch closely if your kids appear to have a common cold this fall or winter. It could instead be respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, and that makes it more likely to progress to a serious lower lung infection.

    RSV is back in force this year after a reprieve while many stayed home last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts at Penn State Health.

    "Th...

    Bill Clinton Expected to Be Discharged From Hospital on Sunday

    A spokesperson for former President Bill Clinton said late Saturday that the 75-year-old will be discharged from a California hospital on Sunday, CNN reported. Clinton was hospitalized at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, in Orange, earlier in the week after developing sepsis triggered by a urological infection.

    Speaking on Twitter on Saturday, spokesperson Ange...

    Bill Clinton Hospitalized for Sepsis

    Former President Bill Clinton has been hospitalized after developing sepsis that was triggered by a urological infection.

    Sepsis occurs when the body has an extreme response to an infection, and it can be life-threatening. Infections that can trigger sepsis most often start in the lung, urinary tract, skin or gastrointestinal tract. Without timely treatment, sepsis can quickly lead to tis...

    Lyme Disease Often Spotted at Later Stage in Black Patients

    FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The tell-tale sign of Lyme disease is its bulls-eye rash, but that might be harder to spot in Black people, who are often diagnosed with more advanced disease than white people are, new research suggests.

    The first sign of Lyme disease looks different on darker skin, and these differences are not usually reflected in images foun...

    Is a Really Bad Flu Season on the Way?

    It could be a bad flu season this year — and for a couple of years to come — in places in the United States where COVID-19 restrictions like social distancing and masking have been lifted, researchers warn.

    These sorts of measures caused flu cases to decline by more than 60% within the first 10 weeks after COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented in 2020, Columbia University researchers fo...

    More Than Half of COVID-19 Survivors Will Get 'Long COVID'

    Long-term symptoms of coronavirus infection, known as 'long COVID,' affects more than half of COVID-19 survivors, and health care systems should be prepared to treat them, researchers say.

    So far, 236 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and many have had lingering physical and mental health problems for six months or longer.

    "The burden of poor health in COV...

    Kids Can Carry High, Infectious Levels of COVID Coronavirus

    THURSDAY, Oct. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) – From newborns to new adults, young people who get COVID-19 can carry high levels of the virus and spread it to others even if they show no symptoms.

    That's the takeaway from a study of 110 people between 2 weeks and 21 years of age who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    Researchers found that infants, children and teens were equall...

    Merck Asks FDA to Approve First COVID Antiviral Pill

    Merck & Co. announced Monday that it had submitted an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use approval of the first antiviral pill targeted to COVID-19.

    Experts say authorization of molnupiravir, at this time only for use inhigh-risk Americans, could be a major advance in the struggle against COVID-19 because a convenient, more affordable trea...

    CDC Urges Flu Shots as Survey Shows Half of Americans Don't Plan on It

    A new survey showing that nearly half of U.S. adults are not likely to get a flu shot this season has prompted federal health officials to urge all Americans to get the flu vaccines.

    Even more troubling is that the poll of 1,110 respondents aged 18 and older also found that nearly 1 in 4 of those at high risk for flu-related complications said they don't intend to get a flu shot, The ...

    Could an App Help Kids With Severe Ear Condition Avoid Surgery?

    A pair of special headphones plus a free app might help kids with hearing difficulty due to "glue ear," a new, small study suggests.

    Glue ear is slang for a condition called otitis media with effusion (OME), where thick fluid builds up in the middle ear. It's very common in young children but strikes older kids as well, and often occurs after a cold or sore throat. Usually, the fluid goes...

    Los Angeles Passes Country's Strictest Vaccine Mandate

    One of the strictest coronavirus vaccine mandates in the United States has been approved in Los Angeles.

    The city council on Wednesday voted 11-2 in favor of a measure that requires proof of full vaccination for all customers and staff at bars, restaurants, nail salons, spas, gyms, sports arenas, museums, indoor city facilities and other locations, the Associated Press reported. ...

    Studies Show Power of Pfizer Vaccine Starts to Wane After Two Months

    Two new studies confirm that the immunity offered by two doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine drops off after about two months, although protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death holds strong.

    The reports, from Israel and Qatar, add to evidence that suggests even fully vaccinated people need to continue to guard against COVID-19 infection.

    In one

  • Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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  • October 7, 2021
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  • U.S. to Buy $1 Billion Worth of Rapid COVID Tests

    The Biden administration said Wednesday that it plans to purchase $1 billion worth of rapid, at-home coronavirus tests and take other actions to quadruple the number of tests available to Americans by December.

    By the end of the year, the number of at-home tests should increase to 200 million a month, according to the White House, which will also expand the number of pharmaci...

    WHO Approves First Malaria Vaccine, a Lifesaver for Children Worldwide

    The first vaccine to protect against malaria has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and could prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of children a year.

    Malaria kills about half a million people worldwide annually. Nearly all of those deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and include 260,000 children under the age of 5, The New York Times reported.

    ...

    COVID Hospitalizations Are Rising Among Unvaccinated Pregnant Women

    Since the rise of the Delta variant, one Texas hospital has seen a surge in severe COVID-19 among pregnant women — nearly all unvaccinated.

    Researchers at the Dallas hospital found that in late August and early September, 10% to 15% of pregnant patients who tested positive for COVID-19 needed to be hospitalized for severe illness.

    That was more than double the percentage of a year...

    Nearly 200,000 COVID Home Tests Recalled Over False Positives

    Almost 200,000 Ellume COVID-19 home testing kits have been recalled because they may be more likely to give a false positive result.

    The problem with the rapid antigen tests was identified in mid-September and caused by variations in the quality of one of the raw materials used in the products, Ellume CEO Dr. Sean Parsons told The New York Times.

    The Ellume test kits receiv...

    Tree Rings Show Hurricanes Becoming Wetter, Longer, More Dangerous

    The rings of stately pines on the coasts of North and South Carolina offer telling long-term evidence of climate change and a chilling forecast for the future.

    The upshot: The last 300 years have gotten wetter and wetter, making hurricanes ever more dangerous.

    "Our findings suggest that the maximum amount of rainfall from these storms is increasing and is likely going to continue to...

    Pfizer Vaccine 90% Effective Against Severe COVID-19 for at Least 6 Months: Study

    Full vaccination with the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been 90% effective in protecting against hospitalization for at least six months, a new study shows.

    That includes the time during which the highly contagious Delta variant has been circulating in the United States.

    For the study, researchers analyzed Kaiser Permanente Southern California data on more than 3.4 mil...

    Medical Mistrust Fuels Vaccine Hesitancy Among Hispanics

    Misinformation and medical mistrust are major drivers of vaccine hesitancy among U.S. Hispanics, new research shows.

    The researchers also found that protecting other family members is an important factor in convincing Hispanics to get vaccinated.

    The small study included 22 Hispanic mothers in Oregon and 24 of their children who were in grades 9 to 12. At the time of the study, Hisp...

    Flu Shot Even More Important During Pandemic: Expert

    Although the focus is on the COVID-19 vaccine, don't forget to also get your flu shot — it's important, an expert says.

    "In the United States, it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against the flu, and there are many vaccines available that will fit your need based on age and other important risk factors," said Dr. Pedro Piedra. He is a professor of mole...

    1 in 4 Parents Say Their Kids Have Been Quarantined Since School Started

    One-quarter of U.S. parents report that their child has had to quarantine because of possible COVID-19 exposure since school started, a new poll finds.

    The nationally representative survey of 1,519 people conducted between Sept. 13 and Sept. 22 included 414 people who identified themselves as parents of children aged 17 and younger. Still, about two-thirds of parents said they thought sch...

    Merck to Ask FDA for Emergency Approval of Its New Antiviral Pill for COVID

    Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said Friday that it will seek federal approval for emergency use of its new antiviral pill molnupiravir, after a clinical trial showed the drug halved the risk of hospitalization or death when given to high-risk people shortly after infection with COVID-19.

    The new medication is just one of several antiviral pills now being tested in studies, and experts s...

    CDC Pushes Hard on Vaccination for Pregnant Women in New Advisory

    The country's leading health agency on Wednesday implored all Americans who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant to get a coronavirus vaccine.

    COVID-19 poses a serious risk to women who are expecting, since they are vulnerable because of pregnancy's dampening effect on their immune system, experts say.

    But less than one-third of pregnant women have received cor...

    SmartWatches Detect Viral Infection Before Symptoms Surface in Study

    Someday, your smartwatch might be able to tell you if you're coming down with a virus and how sick you'll be — even before symptoms start.

    In a small study, researchers showed that a wearable device, like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, could detect which patients had the H1N1 flu and which had a common cold.

    "One of our goals was to be able to detect that infection before a person feel...

    AI Model Predicts Which Animal Viruses Are Likely to Jump to Humans

    Artificial intelligence (AI) might be able to spot the next virus to jump from animals to humans, Scottish researchers report.

    Identifying diseases before they become a threat to humans is challenging, because only a few of the nearly 2 million animal viruses can infect humans. By developing machine learning models, researchers can analyze genetic patterns of viruses that might infect peo...

    Delta Variant Convinced Many to Get Vaccinated: Poll

    The highly contagious Delta variant is the reason more people have decided to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a new poll shows.

    But the survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation also found that among unvaccinated Americans, nearly 75% say they believe that the nee...

    You Think You Had COVID Before: Are You Really Immune Now?

    It seems like common sense for people who've had COVID-19 to think they now have natural immunity, and therefore don't have to bother getting vaccinated.

    Common sense, yes, but also incorrect, infectious disease doctors say.

    Your case of COVID — especially if it was very mild — probably didn't create enough of an immune response to provide lasting protection against SARS-CoV-2, ...

    Pfizer to Ask FDA Soon for Approval of Its COVID Vaccine for Younger Children

    Pfizer plans to request approval for use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children under 12 soon.

    "It is a question of days, not weeks," Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla told ABC News on Sunday when asked about when the company will submit vaccine data on children aged 5 to 11 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for childr...

    Mask Mandates in Schools Curb Infections, CDC Studies Show

    Wearing masks in schools appears to sharply curtail the spread of COVID-19, despite the dominance of the highly contagious Delta variant, two new U.S. studies show.

    Published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reports found there were fewer outbreaks in schools that required masks.

    In the first study, researchers focused on students in two Arizona counties, ...

    Saline Spray Could Slow COVID's Spread in the Lungs: Study

    A saltwater solution may help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus in its tracks, Brazilian researchers report.

    However, although saline may keep the virus from replicating, it does not offer full protection against infection or a cure for COVID-19.

    "It's not a single solution, and it would have to be used in the first few days after infection," said researcher Cristiane Guzzo, a professor of...

    DNA Sensor Can Spot When COVID Is Contagious

    A new DNA sensor can detect viruses and tell if they are infectious or not in minutes, a new study finds.

    The sensor was developed by using DNA technology, and does not require the need to pretreat test samples. Researchers demonstrated this technique with the human adenovirus (which causes colds and flu) and the virus that causes COVID-19.

    "The infectivity status is very important...

    Cancer in Hispanics: Good News and Bad

    Hispanic people in the United States have lower cancer rates than white people, but they are much more likely to develop certain preventable cancers.

    "The good news is that overall cancer rates are lower in Hispanic people, but we are seeing very high rates of infectious disease-related cancers, many of which are potentially avoidable," said study author Kimberly Miller, a scientist at th...

    Can Llama Antibodies Fight COVID in Humans? New Research Says They Might

    The future of COVID-19 treatments might include a tiny antibody made by llamas.

    British researchers credit a llama named Fifi with their finding.

    The investigators said these llama nanobodies, which are also produced by camels, could eventually be produced in a lab and administered by a nasal spray, binding tightly to the COVID-19 virus and neutralizing it.

    The potential solu...

    Antibodies to Early Strains of COVID May Not Fight New Variants: Study

    Antibodies from current COVID-19 vaccines don't bind well to the new variants of the virus, a study finds.

    Researchers collected data from previously published papers about the sequence of antibodies produced by the vaccines. They focused on antibodies against the spike protein, a part of the virus that binds to receptors on human cells to infect them. It's the target of most vaccines.

    Which Kids Are at Highest Risk From COVID?

    Older children and kids with chronic diseases are those most likely to wind up in the hospital with COVID-19, researchers have found.

    Conditions such as obesity, diabetes and neurologic problems, among others, put kids at risk for severe COVID-19, according to a new U.S. study.

    "There's a myth circulating out there that children don't get sick from COVID-19, and that's kind of ...

    COVID Has Killed More Americans Than the Spanish Flu Did in 1918

    As the highly contagious Delta variant has swept across the United States, the country has reached a tragic milestone.

    COVID-19 has now killed more Americans than the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic did, when roughly 675,000 people died.

    It didn't have to be that way.

    "Big pockets of American society — and worse, their leaders — have thrown this away" by not getting vaccinated, ...

    HPV Infection Tied to Higher Odds of Premature Delivery

    Pregnant women infected with certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) may have a heightened risk of preterm birth, a new study suggests.

    HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts. Most of the time, the immune system clears the infection. But some strains of HPV become persistent in a minority of people — and, over time, may lead to certain cancers.

    I...

    Delta Variant Now Fueling 99% of U.S. COVID Cases

    If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States right now, it's almost certainly caused by the Delta variant.

    The highly transmissible variant, which caused crippling surges in India and Britain this past spring and fueled case spikes in the United States this summer, is now responsible for over 99% of all cases tracked in this country, according to the latest data from the

    Study Spots People at High Risk of Severe Breakthrough COVID

    A study of millions of people vaccinated against COVID-19 has identified those at greatest risk of hospitalization and death after breakthrough infection.

    The most vulnerable are those who are immunosuppressed from chemotherapy, a recent bone marrow or solid organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS. Also at risk are people with neurological disorders (such as dementia and Parkinson's disease), nur...

    FDA Panel OKs Pfizer Booster Shot for  People 65 or Older, But Not Younger

    An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended a third Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine booster shot for all Americans aged 65 or older, as well as for those deemed to be at high risk for severe illness.

    According to The New York Times, that vote came after a near unanimous decision (16 to 2) by the same independent panel of experts that sa...

    Long-Haul COVID in Kids Typically Ends Within 3 Months: Study

    In kids and teens, symptoms of long COVID rarely last more than 12 weeks, a new international study reports.

    The researchers also found that exposure to the highly contagious Delta variant did not result in more serious disease in children compared to earlier variants, and that most cases of COVID-19 were asymptomatic or mild.

    Despite those reassurances, the study did include a trou...

    FDA Advisory Panel to Meet on COVID Booster Shots

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisors will meet Friday to consider whether it is safe and effective for Americans to receive a third "booster" dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

    The FDA posted the materials it intends to use in the review on Wednesday. The advisory panel will review a variety of evidence, including new data from Israel, the Associated Press<...

    Is Flu Ready for a Comeback? Get Your Shot

    Health officials are bracing for a viral double whammy this fall and winter.

    "This year, we expect influenza and COVID-19 to circulate at the same time," said Dr. Jonathan Grein, director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

    That's why Grein and his colleagues remind Americans that it's time to get your seasonal flu shot. This fall, it's not only a key to keepin...

    Hospitalizing the Unvaccinated Has Cost U.S. Nearly $6 Billion

    The cost of providing hospital care for unvaccinated Americans has reached $5.7 billion in just three months, CBS News reported.

    Between June and August, about 287,000 people who were not vaccinated were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the United States, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Peterson Center on Healthcare, which collaborated to track healt...

    Why Are More U.S. Babies Being Born With Syphilis?

    The number of U.S. infants born with syphilis is climbing at an alarming pace, reaching a high not seen since the 1990s, according to new government figures.

    Newborn syphilis, a potentially fatal condition, was at one time nearly eliminated in the United States. But the disease has seen a resurgence in recent years — and 2020 was no exception, say researchers with the U.S. Centers for D...

    Biden Administration Buys More Monoclonal Antibody Treatments to Ward Off Shortage

    As severe cases of COVID-19 rise and demand surges for monoclonal antibody treatments, the U.S. government is ordering more from two key suppliers.

    Monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-engineered immune system proteins, can help trigger a healthy immune response against COVID-19 infection.

    The Biden administration has also taken over distributing the therapeutics, to help avoid shor...

    Even When Undergoing Treatment, People With MS Gain From COVID Vaccines

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients undergoing a treatment that depletes a type of immune cell that fuels MS attacks still have a strong response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, a new study finds.

    "The message from this study is clear — it is worthwhile for patients with MS receiving [anti-CD20] treatment to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which will prevent severe illness," said researcher E. John Whe...