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September 18,  2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.




HHS chief overrode FDA officials to ease testing rules (Politico)

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar led an escalating pressure campaign against his own Food and Drug Administration this spring and summer, urging the agency to abandon its responsibility for ensuring the safety and accuracy of a range of coronavirus tests as the pandemic raged.  Then in late August, Azar took matters into his own hands. Overriding objections from FDA chief Stephen Hahn, Azar revoked the agency’s ability to check the quality of tests developed by individual labs for their own use, according to seven current and former administration officials with knowledge of the decision.

Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a coronavirus vaccine now would be 'colossally stupid' (Los Angeles Times)

Vaccine experts are warning the federal government against rushing out a coronavirus vaccine before testing has shown it's both safe and effective. Decades of history show why they're right.  Their concern that the FDA may be moving too quickly heightened when FDA Commissioner Dr. Steven Hahn told the Financial Times that his agency could consider an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a Covid-19 vaccine before late stage clinical trials are complete if the data show strong enough evidence it would protect people.

Will COVID-19 become a seasonal illness? (Healthline – Jamie Reno)

New research suggests that COVID-19 could develop into a seasonal illness once herd immunity is achieved. Some experts, however, say herd immunity may be difficult to obtain. They say a vaccine is the best way to achieve community-wide immunity.They also note it’s important to develop treatments for COVID-19 as well as a vaccine to help prevent it.

Coronavirus-related deaths of young teachers raise alarm as new school year begins (CBS)

Teachers in at least three states have died after bouts with the coronavirus since the beginning of the new school year. The deaths have left a teachers' union leader worrying that the return to in-person classes will have a deadly impact across the U.S. if proper precautions aren't taken.


Two major Antarctic glaciers are tearing loose from their restraints, scientists say (Washington Post)

At the bottom of the planet, the world’s most dangerous glaciers are breaking free.

In rare bipartisan climate agreement, senators forge plan to slash use of potent greenhouse gas (Washington Post)

In a rare defiance of the Trump administration, key Senate Republicans joined Democrats Thursday in agreeing to phase down a set of chemicals widely used in air conditioners and refrigeration that is warming the planet. While the Trump administration has balked at embracing a global agreement to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, a dogged push by U.S. firms and environmental groups appears to have overcome the administration's resistance to curbing one of the world's most potent drivers of climate change.

US banning use of WeChat, TikTok for national security (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Commerce Department said President Trump’s proposed ban of the apps WeChat and TikTok will go into effect Sunday to “safeguard the national security of the United States.”

Cooling off without air-conditioning (Washington Post)

A “Cold Tube” pavilion offers relief outdoors from heat and humidity.

Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus (Reuters)

Scientists said on Monday they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Venus a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may inhabit Earth's inhospitable neighbor, a tantalizing sign of potential life beyond Earth.


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