Monday, October 31, 2022 – Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News Original Stories
Readers Boo Medical Debt and Viral Threats in Winning Halloween Haikus
We unmask the winner and runners-up in KHN’s fourth annual Halloween haiku competition — plus the original artwork they inspired as a special treat. ( )
Shopping for ACA Health Insurance? Here's What's New This Year
Consumers may find relief in some key changes made by Congress and the Biden administration, although other issues remain unsettled. (Julie Appleby, )
California Patients Fear Fallout From Third Dialysis Ballot Measure
Californians are facing the third statewide dialysis initiative in five years. The dialysis industry is spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat Proposition 29 and is running ads saying the measure would force clinics to close — a message that appears to be resonating with patients. (Rachel Bluth, )
‘Fourth Trimester’ Focus Is Pushed to Prevent Maternal Deaths
Public health investigators found that 53% of maternal deaths happened well after a mother left the hospital — from seven days to a year after the birth. (April Dembosky, KQED, )
Journalists Talk Medicare and Public Health Infrastructure
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances. ( )
Political Cartoon: 'Midnight Breath?'
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Midnight Breath?'" by Mike Peters.
After Roe V. Wade
Estimate Finds Legal Abortions Dropped 6% In Two Months After Roe Overturned
An analysis aiming to quantify the impact of the Dobbs decision finds that legal abortion fell nationwide by more than 10,000 in July and August. Numbers increased by about 12,000 in states where abortion is still legal, suggesting that half the women living in states where the procedure is banned traveled to another to secure one.
The New York Times: Legal Abortions Fell Around 6 Percent In Two Months After End Of Roe 
In the first two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, legal abortions nationwide declined by more than 10,000, a drop of about 6 percent, according to the first attempt at a nationwide count of abortions since the decision. (Sanger-Katz and Miller, 10/30)
In abortion news from Wisconsin and Missouri —
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin OB-GYN Programs Must Send Residents Across State Lines For Training Because Of Abortion Ban
The residents, in varying stages of completing their 4-year-long residencies in obstetrics and gynecology, will be participating in clinical rotations at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, doctors associated with each of the medical centers residency programs told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (Van Egeren, 10/28)
St. Louis Public Radio: Planned Parenthood Will Take Over Tri-Rivers Clinic In Rolla
Planned Parenthood will take over the former Tri-Rivers Family Planning center in Rolla starting Tuesday. The chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri said the health center will offer contraceptives, pregnancy tests and other reproductive health services to residents throughout Missouri. (Woodbury and Lewis-Thompson, 10/31)
In election updates —
ABC News: Do Voters Care About Abortion Heading Into Midterms?
Surveys have indicated younger female voters strongly oppose restrictions and care more about abortion rights than any other issue. Democrats were banking on abortion rights being a key issue going into the midterm elections, but a large percentage of Americans say it is not critical to their vote. (El-Bawab and Kekatos, 10/31)
San Francisco Chronicle: Prop. 1 Backers Challenge Claims That California Ballot Measure Would Remove All Abortion Restrictions
Campaigning for the Nov. 8 ballot measure that would protect abortion rights in the California Constitution, Attorney General Rob Bonta and two law professors attacked opponents for claiming — contrary to the language of state law — that Proposition 1 would legalize abortions up to the moment of birth. (Egelko, 10/28)
Opioid Crisis
Experts Downplay Risks Of Halloween 'Rainbow Fentanyl'
Worries over fentanyl-tainted Halloween candy were spurred when the Drug Enforcement Administration put out a PSA about the matter, USA Today says. An expert interviewed by NPR said the issue is "heavily politicized." Separately, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody renewed those warnings.
USA Today: Rainbow Fentanyl Passed Out On Halloween? Why Experts Say That's 'Absolutely Ludicrous.'
It's been an annual tradition for people to raise concerns of drugs like marijuana edibles or dangerous objects such as needles to be inside candy for the holiday. But this time around has been different, at least to Joel Best, a sociology and criminal justice professor at the University of Delaware who has spent decades studying the scare of tainted Halloween treats. "This year has been especially unusual because you have prominent people pointing to a particular danger, which, of course, is the danger of rainbow fentanyl," Best told USA TODAY. "This has been very strange." (Mendoza, 10/26)
NPR: How Concerns Over Rainbow Fentanyl Became This Year's Halloween's Monster
Although it's normal to hear concerns over what a child may receive when they go trick-or-treating, misinformation this year has been particularly persistent. In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alerted the public to the existence of bright-colored fentanyl pills that resemble candy — now dubbed "rainbow fentanyl." The DEA warned that the pills were a deliberate scheme by drug cartels to sell addictive fentanyl to children and young people. Although the agency didn't mention Halloween specifically, people remain alarmed this holiday following the DEA's warning. Drug experts, however, say that there is no new fentanyl threat to kids this Halloween. (Heyward, 10/31)
WOODTV.Com: What Are The Chances Of Fentanyl In Halloween Candy? 
There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding rainbow fentanyl. Mainly that it’s supposed to target children. But according to Dr. Nicholas Goeders, professor and chair person of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Neuroscience with LSU Health Shreveport, that’s not true. “I do not believe they’re targeting children. I think this is an attempt to be able to smuggle more of the product across the border because if it looks like it’s something legitimate, then it might not be as likely to be seized,“ Goeders said. (Tabb and Nexstar, 10/29)
WQCS: Florida's Attorney General Warns About 'Rainbow' Fentanyl Ahead Of Halloween
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning families about the possibility of "rainbow" fentanyl disguised as candy being distributed on Halloween. Law enforcement nationwide have seized brightly colored fentanyl pills that resemble candy — some of these deadly drugs have been found in toy and candy boxes, officials say. (10/28)
See the Drug Enforcement Agency’s flyer explaining the dangers of fentanyl:
What Every Parent and Caregiver Needs To Know About Fake Pills 
More about fentanyl —
Bay Area News Group: Fentanyl Is Behind 1 Out Of 5 Deaths Of Californians Ages 15-24
Fentanyl overdoses are leaving their toll not only in tragically familiar places like San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district but also inside teenagers’ bedrooms in some of the Bay Area’s most upscale neighborhoods. More and more often, users have no idea the drugs they are taking include fentanyl. (Nickerson, 10/30)
AP: As Fentanyl Drives Overdose Deaths, Mistaken Beliefs Persist
As fentanyl gains attention, mistaken beliefs persist about the drug, how it is trafficked and why so many people are dying. (Mulvihill, 10/28)
Public Health
Focus Falls On Health Experts On Twitter, After Elon Musk Bought It
Twitter has become a vital tool for many health organizations, Modern Healthcare reports, playing a role in marketing, information dispersal, and more. The San Francisco Chronicle asks if covid experts will stay on Twitter after its purchase by Elon Musk.
Modern Healthcare: Elon Musk Owns Twitter. Should Healthcare Organizations Be Worried?
Twitter is an important tool for many healthcare organizations, and has helped transform the industry's marketing strategies since its founding in 2006. Health systems, insurers and others use the platform to reach consumers and disperse information. (Hudson, 10/28)
San Francisco Chronicle: Will COVID Experts Stay On Twitter? Here’s What UCSF’s Wachter Says
UCSF Department of Medicine chair Dr. Bob Wachter, a prominent voice on Twitter for his COVID expertise, tweeted on Saturday that he is “staying put for now” on the platform despite concerns in the wake of Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase. (Hwang, 10/30)
In related news about verified health news on Twitter —
CNET: Twitter Reportedly Plans To Charge $20 A Month For Verified Accounts 
The blue tick is seen by some as a status symbol. To qualify, accounts must be "notable, authentic and active." That includes accounts of government officials; people representing prominent brands; news organizations and journalists; activists; celebrities; athletes and others. They're also fairly rare. In 2021, on 360,000 accounts, or 0.2% of Twitter's monetizable daily active users, were verified. (Musil, 10/30)
Covid-19 Crisis
Even Without Paxlovid Treatments, Covid Can 'Rebound': Study
A new study finds covid symptoms can recur days or weeks after a person recovers from a covid infection, even if no Paxlovid treatment was involved. CIDRAP reports the statistics: 30% of "untreated" patients had symptoms rebound.
The New York Times: Covid Symptoms Can Rebound Even If You Don’t Take Paxlovid 
When the antiviral treatment Paxlovid came into wider use for Covid-19 infections earlier this year, doctors who prescribed it and patients who took it noticed that symptoms sometimes flared up again a few days after having gone away. Some people even tested negative before they experienced the rebound. But this puzzling phenomenon can occur whether you take Paxlovid or not, according to a new study. Researchers found that when patients received a placebo instead of treatment, a portion of them still experienced a rebound of their symptoms after they had initially improved. (Sheikh, 10/27)
CIDRAP: Study: 30% Of COVID Patients Had Rebound After 2 Days Without Symptoms
Nearly one third of 158 untreated COVID-19 patients experienced symptom rebound after being symptom-free for at least 2 consecutive days, finds a study of US adults published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. (10/28)
In related news —
The Atlantic: COVID Antibody Treatments Are In Decline
For the first couple of years of the coronavirus pandemic, the crisis was marked by a succession of variants that pummeled us one at a time. The original virus rapidly gave way to D614G, before ceding the stage to Alpha, Delta, Omicron, and then Omicron’s many offshoots. But as our next COVID winter looms, it seems that SARS-CoV-2 may be swapping its lead-antagonist approach for an ensemble cast: Several subvariants are now vying for top billing. (Wu, 10/29)
More on the spread of covid —
Fortune: Forget About A Single Strain: The New COVID Calculus Is All About Viral Families 
Gone are the simple early COVID pandemic days of 2020—in terms of viral evolution, at least. The transfer of power used to be relatively straightforward from variant to variant, from the original strain, to Alpha, to Delta, to Omicron—one washing over the world before another took over. Now, it’s a battle royale between prominent viral “families” warring to keep power within the lineage. No single family—BA.5, XBB, nor BQ—has achieved global success this fall. Not yet, at least. (Prater, 10/29)
CIDRAP: WHO Advisers Weigh In On Omicron XBB And BQ.1 Subvariants 
The WHO advisory group said XBB and BQ.1 don't currently diverge sufficiently from each other or from other Omicron lineages that have extra immune escape mutations to warrant a variant of concern designation or a new label. "The two sublineages remain part of Omicron, which continues to be a variant of concern," the group said. (Schnirring, 10/28)
Bloomberg: China Dismisses ‘Fabricated’ Virus Leak Theory Vanity Fair, ProPublica Revived
China lashed out at a report about a lab in the city of Wuhan where the coronavirus first appeared, saying it was driven by politics in the US. (10/31)
More Mobile, Less Verbal: Pandemic Impact On Babies Studied
A study from Ireland finds that babies born during the isolation of covid lockdown are less likely to communicate with gestures or sounds by age 1, but are quicker to crawl.
The Washington Post: Many Lockdown Babies Slower At Social Development, Faster At Crawling, Study Says 
Early in the pandemic, when much of the world was in lockdown, many parents and other caregivers expressed fears about how a historic period of prolonged isolation could affect their children. Now, a study out of Ireland has shed some light on this question. Its results suggest that babies born during Ireland’s first covid-19 lockdown were likely to be slower to develop some social communication skills than their pre-pandemic peers. They were less likely to be able to wave goodbye, point at things and know one “definite and meaningful word” by the time they turn 1. On the other hand, they were more likely to be able to crawl. (Timsit, 10/28)
Also —
AP: Massive Learning Setbacks Show COVID's Sweeping Toll On Kids 
The COVID-19 pandemic devastated poor children’s well-being, not just by closing their schools, but also by taking away their parents’ jobs, sickening their families and teachers, and adding chaos and fear to their daily lives. The scale of the disruption to American kids’ education is evident in a district-by-district analysis of test scores shared exclusively with The Associated Press. The data provide the most comprehensive look yet at how much schoolchildren have fallen behind academically. (Toness and Lurye, 10/28)
The Center Square: Back In The Classroom After The Pandemic, Children With Special Needs Are Struggling 
Beverly Johns, board president for Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois and a teacher with 40 years of experience working with children with behavioral problems, told The Center Square that the worst thing that can happen now is to pressure children to catch up. (Cross, 10/29)
Outbreaks and Health Threats
Research: Long-Term Problems May Be Triggered By Common Infections
A report highlights growing evidence that even relatively typical infections could cause long-term health issues akin to the way long covid hits some people. Meanwhile, in Texas, the first child in the U.S. this season has died from influenza.
USA Today: Common Infections May Trigger Lasting Health Problems, Studies Suggest
In most people, norovirus causes a few days of misery spent in the bathroom and then is quickly forgotten. Epstein-Barr virus can pass without any indication at all. And many people shrug off COVID-19. But a growing body of research suggests that in some unlucky few, the immune system overreacts to these seemingly minor insults, leaving years or even a lifetime of symptoms. (Weintraub, 10/31)
In updates on the flu —
The Hill: Texas Girl First Child In US To Die From Flu This Season
Officials in Hidalgo County, Texas, have confirmed that a 3-year-old girl’s death earlier this month was flu-related. The child’s death is the nation’s first confirmed pediatric flu death in the United States for the 2022 flu season, according to CDC data updated Friday morning. (Masso and Nexstar, 10/28)
Stat: With Hospitalizations Ticking Up, Flu Season Appears Off To Early Start
There are increasing signs that flu season is off to a very early start in parts of the United States, with the cumulative hospitalization rate higher than it has been at this point in the fall for more than a decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. (Branswell, 10/28)
Axios: Flu Season Arrives Early With Highest Severity In Over A Decade
Influenza is hitting the U.S. harder and earlier this year, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday shows. (Habeshian, 10/28)
In updates on acute flaccid myelitis —
Stat: Polio-Like Syndrome In Kids Seems Not To Flare, Adding To Mystery
Physicians who treat children who develop a strange polio-like syndrome known as acute flaccid myelitis had been steeling themselves this fall for an onslaught of cases of the irreversible condition, which appears to be triggered by infection with an enterovirus known as EV-D68. (Branswell, 10/31)
Health Industry
Fla. Medical Board Becomes First In US To Seek Ban On Gender-Affirming Care For Minors
The guidance drew backlash from LGBTQ+ advocates and medical experts, NBC News reported. Protesters outside the meeting yelled "Shame!" and held a "die-in."
NBC News: Florida Medical Board Votes To Ban Gender-Affirming Care For Transgender Minors
Florida’s medical board is the first in the country to pursue such a rule, but Florida is among a wave of states where officials have attempted to restrict gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. By the end of Friday’s five-hour meeting, protesters began yelling “Shame!” at the board members, and some of them staged a “die-in” in the lobby of the Orlando International Airport, where the meeting was held. (Yurcaba, 10/29)
Modern Healthcare: Providers Cut Gender-Affirming Care Amid Political, Violent Threats
Clinics that specialize in gender-affirming services have historically been the main sources of support for LGBTQ patients amid shifting laws and public opinion. As demand for LGBTQ-inclusive health services has increased in recent years, major institutions have expanded the care they provide to this population. (Hartnett and Devereaux, 10/28)
On medical debt —
Axios: Arizona Tests A Progressive Take On Medical Debt Relief
An Arizona ballot initiative addressing medical debt collection could provide an important test next week of whether a populist progressive approach to health care costs can fly in conservative-led states. (Reed, 10/31)
Axios: The Case For Redefining "Never Events" For Hospitals
When is it acceptable for a hospital to send debt collectors after low-income patients? The answer should be "never," argues a new article published in JAMA Health Forum. (Reed, 10/28)
In other health care industry news —
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: After Weeks Of Drama, Disappointment, Atlanta Medical Center To Close
The doors to Atlanta Medical Center in downtown will be locked at 12 a.m. Tuesday, ending a century of health care for the poor at that site and leaving city and state officials still searching for a way to continue caring for nearby residents. (Thomas, 10/31)
The Colorado Sun: Medicaid Denials For Colorado Children With Severe Disabilities Set Off Panic
Parents of children with medical needs so severe they need round-the-clock nursing care at home are in “sheer panic” as the state Medicaid program notified them this fall that their services have been denied or reduced. (Brown, 10/28)
KHN: ‘Fourth Trimester’ Focus Is Pushed To Prevent Maternal Deaths
For several weeks a year, the work of nurse-midwife Karen Sheffield-Abdullah is really detective work. She and a team of other medical investigators with the North Carolina public health department scour the hospital records and coroner reports of new moms who died after giving birth. These maternal mortality review committees look for clues about what contributed to the deaths — unfilled prescriptions, missed postnatal appointments, signs of trouble that doctors overlooked — to figure out how many of them could have been prevented. (Dembosky, 10/31)
KHN: Open Enrollment For Marketplace Health Plans Is Soon. Here’s What You Need To Know
It’s fall again, meaning shorter days, cooler temperatures, and open enrollment for Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance — sign-ups begin this week for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2023. Even though much of the coverage stays the same from year to year, there are a few upcoming changes that consumers should note this fall, especially if they are having trouble buying expensive policies through their employer. In the past year, the Biden administration and Congress have taken steps — mainly related to premiums and subsidies — that will affect 2023 coverage. Meanwhile, confusion caused by court decisions may trigger questions about coverage for preventive care or for abortion services. (Appleby, 10/31)
KHN: Journalists Talk Medicare And Public Health Infrastructure 
KHN’s chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed the future of Medicare on Newsy’s “The Why” on Oct. 20. … KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed her reporting on public health infrastructure and health equity in rural America on San Diego State University’s “If I Could Change One Thing” podcast on Oct. 26. (10/29)
Mental Health
Wait Lists For Therapy Are Huge And 'Not Going Away,' Psychologists Say
A “tidal wave of need” has led to wait lists at some hospitals that are regularly six months or longer, The Washington Post reports.
The Washington Post: A Psychiatry Wait List Had 880 Patients; A Hospital Couldn’t Keep Up
This summer, Massachusetts General Hospital had a staggering 880 people on its wait list for psychiatric services. The list had grown so large that the hospital issued an unusual plea to its physicians: Stop referring psychiatry patients for non-urgent care. “Our triage staff is not able to make any progress in this wait list with the current number of incoming referrals,” the Aug. 18 letter to physicians said. (Zimmerman, 10/29)
The Washington Post: 10 Ways To Get Mental Health Help During Therapist Shortage
A significant number of mental health professionals are not accepting new clients. Others have long waiting lists. The Washington Post asked mental health professionals what advice they would give people who are struggling to find a therapist. About 300 experts from across the country responded with advice on getting an appointment — and tips on what people can do in the meantime to try to help themselves. Here are their recommendations. (Bever, 10/29)
More on mental health and depression —
NPR: Ketamine Lifts Depression Longer With Positive Feedback
Computer games designed to boost self-esteem appear to prolong the antidepressant benefits of the mind-bending anesthetic ketamine. A recent study of 154 people found that those who played games featuring smiling faces and positive messages remained free of depression up to three months after a ketamine infusion, a team reports in the American Journal of Psychiatry. (Hamilton, 10/31)
The New York Times: Young People On TikTok Are Self-Diagnosing
In recent years, discussions about mental health have proliferated on social media, particularly on TikTok, where the format allows for easily digestible, intimate videos that appear in a never-ending algorithmic feed. And for those researching various disorders, it has become increasingly easy to find bite-sized definitions and self-assessment quizzes online. While this bounty of unfiltered resources can serve to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, there are downsides. (Caron, 10/29)
North Carolina Health News: Suicide Prevention: “Ask A Question, Save A Life” 
Twenty-seven years ago on Valentine’s Day, Fonda Bryant had decided to kill herself. She credits a perceptive relative for stepping in and saving her life. Today, Bryant is a certified suicide prevention instructor and begins each hour and a half training by sharing her own story of living with clinical depression as a suicide attempt survivor. (Knopf, 10/31)
If you are in need of help —
Dial 9-8-8 for 24/7 support from the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. It’s free and confidential.
Also —
San Francisco Chronicle: Ex-Girlfriend Of Suspect In Paul Pelosi Attack Says He Struggled With Mental Illness, Drugs, Believed He Was ‘Jesus For A Year’
The imprisoned longtime partner of David DePape, the suspect in the attack on U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, said Sunday that mental illness and drug use had caused him to deteriorate so profoundly that he once grew convinced that “he was Jesus for a year.” (MIshanec, 10/30)
Lifestyle and Health
EPA To Boost Blood Screening For Lead In Midwest Children
NPR reports on a new plan from the Environmental Protection Agency to screen more kids for lead in their blood, alongside other measures to reduce lead exposure. In other news, undetected hearing loss, "almond moms" on TikTok, dialysis services on the ballot in California, and more.
NPR / Midwest Newsroom: EPA To Screen More Midwest Kids' Blood To Tackle Lead Threat
A study shows about half of children in the United States have detectable levels of lead in their blood, despite federal regulations that ban or restrict its use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a new strategy to reduce exposure, particularly in low-income and communities of color that are disproportionately affected. (Horton, 10/28)
In other health and wellness news —
The Washington Post: You May Have Hearing Loss And Not Know It. Here’s What It Sounds Like
The problem with identifying hearing loss is that many people don’t know what they are missing. One study found that about 24 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 who think they have excellent hearing actually have measurable hearing damage. (Morris and Steckelberg, 10/28)
NBC News: Young Women On TikTok Want The Next Generation To Avoid Becoming ‘Almond Moms’
Some experts who spoke with NBC News likened the term “almond moms” to those who have orthorexia, or an obsession with proper or "healthful" eating, according to the National Eating Disorders’ website. (Rosenblatt, 10/28)
The Washington Post: Is A Hiatal Hernia Causing Your GI Symptoms? What To Look For
You’re eating a quick lunch and you get a weird sensation — you feel not only nauseated but also like something is stuck in the middle of your chest. You could chalk it up to eating too fast, but if it happens regularly, it’s worth considering whether you have a hiatal hernia. (Mulcahy, 10/30)
From California and Massachusetts —
KHN: California Patients Fear Fallout From Third Dialysis Ballot Measure 
Toni Sherwin is actually looking forward to the procedure that will relocate her dialysis port from her chest to her arm, which will be easier to keep dry. Since she started dialysis in February — as part of blood cancer treatment — she has washed her hair in the sink and stayed out of her pool to prevent water from getting into the port. Three times a week, Sherwin, 71, drives to a dialysis clinic in Elk Grove, California, the suburb south of Sacramento where she lives, and lies tethered to a machine for about four hours while it filters her blood. The treatment exhausts her, but she feels well cared for and knows the clinic workers will call the police if she doesn’t show up for an appointment and they can’t get in touch with her directly. (Bluth, 10/31)
The Boston Globe: More Dental Insurers Spend To Stop Question 2
Until this month, the opposition to a state ballot question requiring that a large share of dental insurance premiums be spent on care was almost entirely financed by one company: Delta Dental of Massachusetts. It looks like the reinforcements have arrived. (Chesto, 10/30)
Here are the the winners of this year’s Halloween haiku contest —
KHN: Readers Boo Medical Debt And Viral Threats In Winning Halloween Haikus 
You did it again, readers! We received more than three dozen Halloween haiku submissions in KHN’s fourth annual Halloween haiku contest. Our expert panel of judges took the ghastly challenge of choosing the best head-on … or off. Here’s the winner, which was recited by Julie Rovner on last week’s “What the Health?” podcast, plus a sampling of finalists illustrated by Oona Tempest. The judges’ favorites drew inspiration from real-life viral outbreaks and the burden of haunting medical bills. Keep an eye on KHN’s social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) for more of our favorites. Enjoy! (10/31)
Editorials And Opinions
Different Takes: US Physicians Are Burned Out; Abuse Victims Suffer High Rate Of Undiagnosed Concussions
Editorial writers weigh in on these public health topics.
Chicago Tribune: The Health Of Our Nation’s Health Care System Is Under Attack 
The life expectancy of Americans has dropped for two consecutive years. The first year, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, was consistent with other countries. The second year was not. (Sheldon Jacobson, 10/31)
The Washington Post: This Group Has A Shocking Concussion Rate. It's Not Football Players
Research at Ohio’s domestic violence agencies has shown that over 80 percent of survivors accessing services have experienced some type of abuse that could lead to concussion or another type of brain injury. (Rachel Ramirez, Luke Montgomery and Julianna Nemeth, 10/31)
USA Today: How Texas' Abortion Laws Nearly Caused Woman's Death From Pregnancy
Amanda Zurawski was losing her baby. Nothing would change that.Still, she had to wait three days to become sick enough, under Texas law, for doctors to intervene. (Bridget Grumet, 10/30)
Newsweek: The Story We're Telling About Youth Mental Health Is Hurting Our Kids 
If you watch the news or follow current events, stories about the youth mental health crisis shape how you think about young people—and how young people think about themselves. (Nat Kendall-Taylor and Andrew J. Fuligni, 10/28)
Stat: Hospitals Need To Pay Attention To Website Accessibility 
It would be anathema for a health care facility in the U.S. to have a main entrance that’s not physically accessible to all people. Yet many of their digital front doors block people with disabilities. They need to change that. (Amanda Krupa, Jill B. Roark and Kirsten Barrett, 10/31)
NBC News: I'm Not Trans, But Gender-Affirming Care Saved My Life At 15
The care that I received is just one small example of the gender-affirming care that cisgender folks receive regularly. We just call it “health care.” (Justin T. Brown, 10/30)
Viewpoints: Should We Be Worried About Avian Flu Crossover?; Sewage Data Is The Future Of Covid Tracking
Opinion writers tackle bird flu, covid, and virus research safety.
The New York Times: What Viral Chatter Tells Us About Bird Flu 
In early September, scientists at the University of Florida confirmed that a bottlenose dolphin, found dead in a canal in the Gulf Coast in March, carried a highly pathogenic kind of avian influenza. Its brain was inflamed. (David Quammen, 10/31)
Bloomberg: How To Solve The Covid Testing Data Problem
For the first time, we’re heading into a Covid winter mostly free of restrictions. People are tired of mandates and rules, tired of lining up for tests and even, as booster rates show, tired of getting shots. (Faye Flam, 10/29)
The Boston Globe: Long COVID Affects Millions. What Is Being Done About It? 
Recent data have brought more bad news about long COVID-19. Roughly 18 million American adults (7 percent of the adult population) have at least one symptom that has lasted 12 weeks after infection. (Katie Bach and David Cutler, 10/31)
The Atlantic: Let’s Declare A Pandemic Amnesty 
I have been reflecting on this lack of knowledge thanks to a class I’m co-teaching at Brown University on COVID. We’ve spent several lectures reliving the first year of the pandemic, discussing the many important choices we had to make under conditions of tremendous uncertainty. (Emily Oster, 10/31)
The New York Times: A Plea For Making Virus Research Safer 
Viruses far more devastating than the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 have plagued humankind. Smallpox, for example, killed up to 30 percent of people it infected. Thanks to science, it’s now a plague of the past, with the last natural infection occurring in 1977. (Jesse Bloom, 10/30)
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Hospital Investigated for Allegedly Denying an Emergency Abortion After Patient's Water Broke
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