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



For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


Study: COVID-19 Mortality Twice as High Among Native Americans (U.S. News)

Data from 14 states confirms the deadly and disproportionate toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on American Indians and Alaska Natives.

New Data Reveal Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full. Is Yours? (NPR)

The federal government on Monday released detailed hospital-level data showing the toll COVID-19 is taking on health care facilities, including how many inpatient and ICU beds are available on a weekly basis. Using an analysis from the University of Minnesota's COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, NPR has created a tool that allows you to see how your local hospital and your county overall are faring. (Jump to look-up tool.)

200 hospitals have been at full capacity, and 1/3 of all US hospitals are almost out of ICU space (CNN)

More Americans who don't even have coronavirus are suffering from soaring Covid-19 hospitalizations. Newly released data from the US Department of Health and Human Services show at least 200 hospitals were at full capacity last week.  And in one third of all US hospitals, more than 90% of all ICU beds were occupied. Coronavirus patients occupied 46% of all staffed ICU beds -- up from 37% in the first week of November.

1 in every 800 North Dakota residents now dead of COVID (Forbes)

Just two weeks after joining the growing list of states where at least one in every 1,000 residents has died from coronavirus-linked causes, North Dakota’s grim statistic has escalated: as of Tuesday, one in every 800 North Dakotans has been claimed by Covid-19. 

Iowa Is What Happens When Government Does Nothing (The Atlantic)

The story of the coronavirus in this state is one of government inaction in the name of freedom and personal responsibility. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has followed President Donald Trump’s lead in downplaying the virus’s seriousness. She never imposed a full stay-at-home order for the state and allowed bars and restaurants to open much earlier than in other places…This week, the state’s test-positivity rate reached 50 percent. Iowa is what happens when a government does basically nothing to stop the spread of a deadly virus.

She gave birth to a healthy baby but died of Covid-19 before she could hold him (CNN)

Erika Becerra was eight months pregnant when she was diagnosed with Covid-19. In November, she was induced and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. After an otherwise normal delivery in Detroit, Michigan, Becerra was immediately intubated because she was having trouble breathing. Three weeks later, on Friday, Becerra died…Other than being pregnant, Becerra didn't have any underlying health conditions.

Fauci urges Black community to be confident in COVID-19 vaccine: "The time is now to put skepticism aside" (CBS)

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday urged confidence in coronavirus vaccines during a conversation with leaders of a coalition of Black doctors, faith leaders, and academics. Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from the virus than their White counterparts, the CDC says, but because of a long history of mistrust, studies suggest Black Americans are less likely to get vaccinated than other ethnic groups. 

'Fauci Effect' Drives Record Number Of Medical School Applications  (NPR)

The number of applicants is up 18% this year over last year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC, driven by the example of medical workers and public health figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  “It’s unprecedented," said Geoffrey Young, the AAMC's senior director for student affairs and programs, who compares it to another response to a traumatic moment in American history: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Your Top COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Answered As FDA Gives The Green Light : Shots - Health News  (NPR)


…If I get vaccinated, can I go back to life as normal?  No, not right away. Studies of the new vaccines only measured whether vaccinated people developed symptoms, not whether they got infected. It's possible that they got light infections — not enough to make them ill, but enough to pass the virus on to others…The CDC is calling for those who are immunized to continue wearing masks and practicing safe physical distancing until more is learned. "Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations," as well as how many people are getting vaccinated and whether the virus is still spreading in communities, it says in an FAQ.


Russia suspected in major cyber attack on U.S. government agencies (NPR)

Russian hackers working for the Kremlin are believed to be behind breaches of U.S. government computer systems at the departments of Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security that may have lasted months before they were discovered, according to U.S. officials and media reports.

10 states sue Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior (CNN)

Texas and nine other states sued Google on Wednesday, alleging that the company has stifled competition and enjoys "monopolistic power." The complaint is the latest attack on the search giant and its dominance in online advertising. It alleges that Google abuses its ownership of digital ad marketplaces to unfairly enrich itself at the expense of fair competition.

Toledo Zoo discovers Tasmanian Devils that glow (NPR)

You could say that a new discovery at the Toledo Zoo in Ohio is being met with glowing reviews. A conservation technician recently discovered that the zoo's Tasmanian Devils are biofluorescent.



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