It’s no surprise that COVID-19 again dominated healthcare headlines in June, and the month ended with the disappointing news that at least 16 states have now paused their reopening plans in response to a surge in new infections. Our healthcare roundup also looks at a landmark Supreme Court ruling on abortion, a link between menopause and Alzheimer’s, and police brutality as a public health issue.
Another new flu?
Even as COVID-19 continues to take lives around the world, Chinese researchers have identified a new flu called G4 that can infect humans. According to the scientists’ research paper, this swine flu has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” but Dr. Angela Rasussen, a virologist at Columbia University, says it’s too soon for the public to “freak out” and that G4 won’t necessarily become a pandemic.
G4 appears to have already infected humans in two Chinese provinces, where more than 10 percent of pig farm workers and 4 percent of the general population tested positive between 2016 and 2018.
Nashville’s healthtech community responds to COVID
Long recognized as a healthcare center, Nashville is now also an $8 billion healthtech hub. From products and services to training, Middle Tennessee healthtech companies have launched a range of initiatives to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.
Can your blood type help you survive coronavirus?
A team of European scientists may have found a possible explanation for why some people get seriously ill from COVID-19 while most barely show any symptoms at all. Their findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that people with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus and of developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk. People with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus
People with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus
Landmark abortion ruling
The Supreme Court has blocked a controversial Louisiana law that critics said would have essentially banned abortion in the state. The law would have barred doctors from performing abortions unless they had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law four years ago. However, even those celebrating the Louisiana ruling are concerned that the wording of a footnote by Chief Justice John Roberts could leave the door open for other states to try their luck with similar laws in the future.
Link between menopause and Alzheimer’s
It’s already known that women are more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than men, making up two thirds of those living with the neurocognitive disorder worldwide. Now, a new study suggests the hormonal changes of menopause might raise a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Researchers studied 85 women and 36 men aged between 40 and 65 who didn’t have any cognitive problems. They found that women who’d been through menopause were more likely to have risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
Police brutality as a public health issue
Authorities were pleasantly surprised when public protests against the death of George Floyd didn’t immediately lead to a spike in COVID-19 infections. Many of the protestors wore masks and health experts said it likely also helped that the demonstrations were held outdoors.
Meanwhile, several leading health groups are speaking out against police brutality, calling it a public health issue that leads to poorer health outcomes for communities of color, especially during a pandemic.
“Police brutality in the midst of public health crises is not crime-preventive – it creates demoralized conditions in an already strained time,” American Medical Association President Patrice Harris and Board Chair Jesse Ehrenfeld said in a statement. “Excessive police force is a communal violence that significantly drives unnecessary and costly injury, and premature morbidity and death. Our country – our society – demands more.”