HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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May 11, 2021 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.

HEALTH

SCIENCE AND TECH

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

HEALTH

He Bought Health Insurance for Emergencies. Then He Fell Into a $33,601 Trap. (Pro Publica)

Since the Trump administration deregulated the health insurance industry, there’s been an explosion of short-term plans that leave patients with surprise bills and providers with huge revenue.

New analysis finds global Covid death toll is double official estimates (StatNews)

A new analysis of the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic suggests 6.9 million people worldwide have died from the disease, more than twice as many people as has been officially reported. In the United States, the analysis estimates, 905,000 people have died of Covid since the start of the pandemic. That is about 38% higher than the current death estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 561,594. 

Promising results vs. COVID variants from Moderna, Pfizer vaccines  (CBS)

Moderna says early trial results show increased immunity against COVID-19 variants first found in Brazil and South Africa among people who took a booster shot or an experimental new vaccine. And a new study shows Pfizer's original vaccine has proven highly effective against the variant first spotted in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile Moderna said Thursday it will start seeking full approval of its vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month. It's currently in use under an emergency authorization. Pfizer had already said it would begin trying for that full FDA approval by month's end.

Vaccinations mean hugs and kisses are back on tap this Mother’s Day (San Diego Union-Tribune)

 When Holly Balardeta spent Saturday shopping, lunching and celebrating Mother’s Day weekend with her mom, she was able to give a gift she couldn’t last year: a hug.

SCIENCE AND TECH

These electric self-driving tractors could make farming much greener (CNN)

A startup based in California says it can help farmers be greener and more profitable by offering what it describes as the world's first fully electric, self-driving tractor. The compact tractor can be programmed to perform tasks such as plowing, harvesting and mowing, and can operate for up to 10 hours from a five-hour charge, according to its makers, Monarch Tractor. Although it doesn't need a driver, to comply with US regulations it must have a designated remote operator who receives real-time alerts and can stop the vehicle if needed. It has sensors that can detect livestock and crops, and collision prevention systems that allow it to operate autonomously alongside farm workers.

Elon Musk reveals he has Asperger's on Saturday Night Live (BBC)

"Look, I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that's just how my brain works," he said. "To anyone who's been offended, I just want to say I reinvented electric cars, and I'm sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?"

Debris from Chinese space rocket booster lands in Indian Ocean, China reports (Washington Post)

The Long March husk was one of the largest objects to ever reenter Earth’s atmosphere on an uncontrolled trajectory. There were no immediate reports of damage.