Turns out it really might be “A Bug’s Life.” Scientists calculated the number of ants on Earth, and the result is “unimaginable.”
In health news, President Biden said the COVID-19 pandemic “is over,” a comment that comes as hundreds of people are still dying daily from the virus.
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President draws heat over pandemic comment
President Biden is drawing criticism from lawmakers and public health experts who warn his assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic is over could undermine the administration’s rollout of new booster shots, as well as efforts to secure more funding from Congress.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden told “60 Minutes” in an interview that ran Sunday.
“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this [the Detroit Auto Show resuming] is a perfect example of it,” Biden said during a trip to Detroit last week in an interview with Scott Pelley.
Biden’s comments reflect the administration’s efforts to signal a return to normalcy and show progress in efforts to control the pandemic.
But the remarks also contradict some of the White House’s top advisers.
“The pandemic isn’t over. And we will remain vigilant, and of course, we continue to look for and prepare for unforeseen twists and turns,” Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, told reporters on Sept. 6.
Biden’s remarks are also likely to complicate efforts to convince lawmakers to include in a must-pass government spending bill a $22.4 billion request for additional vaccines and treatments.
“One can imagine that by saying the pandemic is over now, you know, the small window of opportunity or the possibility that there might be additional COVID funding becomes almost impossible at this point,” said Josh Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Federal health officials said the funding is crucial to help meet immediate short-term domestic needs, like testing and research and development of next-generation vaccines and therapeutics. It also would help to prepare for future variants.
The White House declined to comment.
Read the full story here.
Feds push for monkeypox funding as cases fall
Monkeypox cases are declining in many areas of the country, but the Biden administration is warning that the virus still poses a danger and pushing for lawmakers to approve its multibillion-dollar funding request to combat it.
More than 23,000 infections have been confirmed in the U.S. during the outbreak, but the growth has slowed.
Cases have dropped about 50 percent in the past month, according to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from an average of 440 cases a day on Aug. 16 to 170 cases a day on Sept. 14.
The administration is taking credit for the progress made so far.
“There’s no question that the work we’ve done to rapidly increase vaccine supply, get people vaccinated, [ramp] up the availability of testing and treatments, and educate individuals on how they can protect themselves is making a tremendous difference. The administration’s strategy is working,” Bob Fenton, White House monkeypox response coordinator, said during a recent press briefing
The White House requested $4.5 billion for monkeypox response in the upcoming government spending bill. The funding would go towards increasing access to vaccinations, testing, treatment and operational support, as well as helping to combat monkeypox globally.
But also, caution: Officials are warning that the virus remains a threat, especially if the administration does not have enough funding to help end the outbreak.
“We should note that we have made strong progress, and we’re encouraged by the cases, the case rate of rise declining,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “And yet we are keeping our — the gas pedal heavily, heavily downward — pedal to the metal — as we continue … the vigilance here.”
Funding concerns: Federal officials said they can’t just repurpose previously allocated COVID-19 funding for monkeypox, because legislative language in previous supplemental spending bills restricts the use of funds to COVID-19-related matters only.
Read more here.
FDA WARNS COOKING WITH OTC DRUGS CAN CAUSE HARM OR DEATH
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning young people against engaging in an online trend that challenges people to cook with over-the-counter drugs, saying there are “significant risks” in using these medications incorrectly.
“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways,” the FDA said in a consumer update last week.
“Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs. Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it,” said the agency.
How we got here: At the beginning of this year, the trend took off on social media apps such as TikTok where people would marinate chicken with liquid NyQuil. Online users were aghast at this “challenge,” which appears to have jumped in popularity after one account claimed that the “sleepy chicken” helped with their cold symptoms.
However, mentions of “NyQuil chicken” go as far back as 2017 on Twitter, as Mic reported earlier this year. It’s unclear if these demonstrations are meant to be taken humorously or sincerely, but some attempts to recreate the food have been posted on social media this year.
Read more here.
AUTISM DIAGNOSIS IN ADULTHOOD LINKED TO HIGHER RATE OF PSYCHIATRIC CONDITIONS
Autism researchers are interested in whether there could be differences between autism patients who get diagnosed early in life versus later in life.
Getting an earlier diagnosis could help a person gain a better understanding of themselves or get medical help. A new study looks at data to try to understand if there are differences between people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as children compared to people who were diagnosed as adults.
In a study published in Autism Research, an analysis of data on 4,657 legally independent autistic adults finds differences in co-occurring conditions between groups of adults who were diagnosed as a child versus as an adult.
People who were diagnosed with autism as adults (aged 21 or older) were
2.7 times more likely to have co-occurring mood, anxiety, personality or eating disorders than people who were diagnosed in childhood. They also reported lifetime diagnoses of psychiatric conditions at a higher rate, at 3.2 versus
2.8 for people diagnosed during childhood.
“Experiences of childhood- versus adulthood-diagnosed people are likely to be quite different,” said lead researcher Vanessa Bal, the Karmazin and Lillard Chair in Adult Autism at Rutgers University, to Spectrum.
Read more here.
CDC: 80% of pregnancy-related deaths preventable
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a recent study concluding that more than 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths that occurred in
36 U.S. states from 2017-2019 were preventable.
A review of pregnancy-related deaths in those states during the three-year time period found that a total of 839 deaths were preventable out of the 996 deaths where such determinations were made.
The CDC analyzed 1,018 pregnancy-related deaths overall, finding that mental health conditions, hemorrhage and cardiac and coronary conditions were the three leading causes of pregnancy-related death.
Mental health conditions, including drug overdoses, accounted for 22.7 percent of deaths, hemorrhage for 13.7 percent and cardiac and coronary conditions for 12.8 percent.
The leading causes of pregnancy-related death differed between ethnicities. Cardiac and coronary deaths led among those identified as Black, mental health conditions led among those identified as Hispanic and White, and hemorrhage led among those identified as Asian.
Black Americans were disproportionately affected. The group makes up 13.8 percent of the U.S. population but 31.4 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
House Democrat presses bill to encourage more diversity in clinical trials run by NIH (Stat) The clock is ticking for U.N. goals to end poverty — and it doesn’t look promising (NPR) ‘Out of control’ STD situation prompts call for changes (AP)
STATE BY STATE
A rural doctor gave her all. Then her heart broke (The New York Times) Centene to pay $166 million to Texas in Medicaid drug pricing settlement (Kaiser Health News) Low-income Utahns still aren’t enrolling in Medicaid (Axios)
THE HILL OP-EDS
The success of Biden’s ‘cancer moonshot’ depends on the follow through Was the queen’s death necessary for progress?
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.
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