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Attacks on Obamacare threaten coverage gains among minorities

Threats to Obamacare could deal a new blow to communities of color that have been disproportionately ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic as the nation is reckoning with generations of inequity.

The Affordable Care Act’s insurance subsidies, its expansions of Medicaid eligibility and its protections for preexisting conditions have especially helped Americans of color, narrowing historic disparities in access to health insurance and affordable care. The coverage gains are among the most significant since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid and the desegregation of American hospitals more than 50 years ago.

Now, President Donald Trump is again threatening to replace the law if he’s reelected. And exactly one week after the election, the Supreme Court, with its new 6-3 conservative majority, will hear oral arguments in a case brought by conservative states seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act. If the law is dismantled, the communities it aided the most stand to lose the most.

“Health care could be ripped away from millions and the numbers of uninsured Americans of color could skyrocket—aggravating the health care disparities that already exist in this country,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). “It’s especially infuriating that this is happening in the middle of a deadly pandemic that is disproportionately devastating so many seniors, Black, Brown and Native Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.”

Between 2013, the year before the Obamacare markets opened and Medicaid expansion began, and 2018, the rate of Latinx adults without health insurance plummeted from 40 percent to 25. The uninsured rate for Black adults fell from 24 percent to 14. For white adults, it dropped from 15 percent to 9, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

“There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act, though it left millions uninsured, narrowed the racial gap in health insurance coverage and that’s a good thing,” said Mary Bassett, the former New York City health commissioner who is now a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “Having millions suddenly lose their health insurance seems very likely to have an adverse impact.”

If the health law disappeared, the Urban Institute estimated that the gaps would widen once again, almost back to 2013 levels. And that assessment was in 2019 — before the devastation wrought by the coronavirus which is exacerbating inequality, in both health and the economy overall.

Especially affected would be people of color living in one of the 38 states that expanded Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for low-income people. Without health coverage, many would lose access to much-needed care for chronic health conditions — and become more vulnerable to serious complications from Covid-19.

Trump says he wants a health system that will give people more choice, at less cost. “It’s in court, because Obamacare is no good,” he said at his second and last debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Even the Affordable Care Act’s backers admit it was not a panacea. Health inequities, some driven by generations of systemic racism, persist. Private insurance remains out of reach

Morale sags among British health workers, and other news from around the world.

As Britain is hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections and deaths, the country’s doctors and nurses are bracing for what is expected to be a deluge of new patients over the next six months. But this time, they say, the wave is coming without the same sense of caution among a coronavirus-weary public, nor with a clear government strategy to contain the virus and address rapidly filling intensive care units.

Politicians across the political spectrum in Britain largely accepted the need for the country’s first lockdown in the spring, and doctors limped through the crisis, fueled by adrenaline and the hope that the government could keep an eventual resurgence of cases from inundating the health service again.

That hope has not been realized. With 367 deaths and 22,885 confirmed cases on Tuesday alone, Britain has a second wave of infections that could test its overextended health service even more severely than the first did.

A decision by England’s health service to restore normal services has meant that there are fewer unoccupied hospital beds now than there were in the spring, and fewer doctors available to redeploy to coronavirus wards.

Making matters worse, hospitals are already receiving the usual wintertime stream of patients with influenza and other illnesses that can fill them above 95 percent of capacity even in a normal year.

“The first time around, it’s almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of medical challenge,” said Paul Whitaker, a respiratory doctor in Bradford, in northern England, where the number of coronavirus patients has returned to its early May peak.

“At the time, it felt like the thing to do, because it was unavoidable and we had to do our bit,” said Tom Lawton, an intensive care doctor in Bradford. “It was that kind of Blitz spirit. Whereas this time, it feels like this could have been avoided, and clearly it has been avoided in a number of countries.”

In other developments around the world:

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Nurses comprise most coronavirus hospitalizations among health care workers, CDC says

Nurses comprised the highest percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations over other types of health care personnel, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The agency assessed data from the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). Of over 6,000 adults who were hospitalized with coronavirus between March to late May, 5.9% were health care workers.

Nurses comprised the highest percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations over other types of health care personnel, per the CDC. (iStock)

Nurses comprised the highest percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations over other types of health care personnel, per the CDC. (iStock)

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER WORKING TOGETHER AS NURSES TO TREAT CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS: ‘WE’RE JUST CALLED TO STEP UP’

Almost one-third of the hospitalized health care workers were nurses. In total, over 36% of health care personnel worked in nursing-related jobs, including certified nursing assistants.

“Nurses are frontline workers and might be at particular risk for exposure because of their frequent and close patient contact, leading to extended cumulative exposure time,” according to the CDC report.

Of all the health care personnel, nearly 90% had at least one underlying condition, and obesity was the most common at 73%. Nearly one-third of the workers required intensive care, and 4% died.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Nurses make up a significant proportion of health care workers in the U.S. The CDC noted that, in 2019, registered nurses comprised about one-third of health care practitioners. 

Serious cases of COVID-19 among health care workers at risk of transmission “could decrease the workforce capacity of the health care system,” the CDC wrote.

The agency stressed the importance of face masks while inside health care facilities to lower the risk of virus transmission. Eye protection was advised during patient contact in areas with elevated community virus spread.

The data had limitations, including how it was unknown whether workers were infected in the workplace or out in the community. 

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Vaccine hopes rise as Oxford jab prompts immune response among old as well as young adults

LONDON (Reuters) – One of the world’s leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines produces a immune response in both young and old adults, raising hopes of a path out of the gloom and economic destruction wrought by the novel coronavirus.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc, which is helping manufacture the vaccine, said on Monday.

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, as the world tries to plot a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready but he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out mostly in the first half of 2021.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“The programme is progressing well, (but) we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

COMMON COLD VIRUS

Work began on the Oxford vaccine in January. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.

The chimpanzee cold virus has been genetically changed to include the genetic sequence of the so-called spike protein which the coronavirus uses to gain entry to human cells. The hope is that the human body will then attack the novel coronavirus if it sees it again.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported earlier.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

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Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response among adults

A test tube labelled vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said its potential Covid-19 vaccine had produced a similar immune response in both older and younger adults.

Adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly — the age group at highest risk from the coronavirus — were also found to be lower, AstraZeneca said. The drugmaker’s potential Covid-19 vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford.

The announcement is likely to boost hopes of a Covid vaccine being developed before the end of the year.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told CNBC via email.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Shares of the company rose around 0.8% on the news.

Drugmakers and research centers are scrambling to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an attempt to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.15 million lives.

Dozens of candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization, with some already conducting late-stage tests before seeking formal approval.

The vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is thought to be one of the frontrunners to secure regulatory approval.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot has previously said the drugmaker’s vaccine would likely provide protection against contracting the coronavirus for about a year.

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Global Animal Healthcare Market – Featuring Bayer AG, C. H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co. KG, and Cadila Healthcare Ltd. Among Others

The animal healthcare market is poised to grow by USD 7.98 billion during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201026005398/en/

Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled Global Animal Healthcare Market 2020-2024 (Graphic: Business Wire)

The report on the animal healthcare market provides a holistic update, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis.

The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current global market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment. The market is driven by the rise in incidences of zoonotic diseases.

Technavio suggests three forecast scenarios (optimistic, probable, and pessimistic) considering the impact of COVID-19. Download Free Sample Report on COVID-19 Recovery Analysis

The animal healthcare market analysis includes the product segment and geographic landscapes. This study identifies the increasing role of organic tracing elements in improving livestock production as one of the prime reasons driving the animal healthcare market growth during the next few years.

This report presents a detailed picture of the market by the way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources by an analysis of key parameters.

The Animal Healthcare Market covers the following areas:

Animal Healthcare Market Sizing

Animal Healthcare Market Forecast

Animal Healthcare Market Analysis

Companies Mentioned

  • Bayer AG

  • C. H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co. KG

  • Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

  • Dechra Pharmaceuticals Plc

  • Elanco Animal Health Inc.

  • Heska Corp.

  • Merck & Co. Inc.

  • Norbrook Laboratories Ltd.

  • Virbac SA

  • Zoetis Inc.

Key Topics Covered:

Executive Summary

Market Landscape

  • Market ecosystem

  • Value chain analysis

Market Sizing

Five Forces Analysis

Market Segmentation by Product

  • Market segments

  • Comparison by Product placement

  • Pharmaceutical – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • Feed additive – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • Biologicals – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • Market opportunity by Product

Customer landscape

Geographic Landscape

  • Geographic segmentation

  • Geographic comparison

  • North America – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • Europe – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • APAC – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • South America – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • MEA – Market size and forecast 2019-2024

  • Key leading countries

  • Market opportunity by geography

Drivers, Challenges, and Trends

  • Market drivers

  • Volume driver – Demand led growth

  • Volume driver – Supply led growth

  • Volume driver – External factors

  • Volume driver – Demand shift in adjacent markets

  • Price driver – Inflation

  • Price driver – Shift from lower to higher-priced units

  • Market challenges

  • Market trends

Vendor Landscape

  • Overview

  • Vendor landscape

  • Landscape disruption

Vendor Analysis

  • Vendors covered

  • Market positioning of vendors

  • Bayer AG

  • C. H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co. KG

  • Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

  • Dechra Pharmaceuticals Plc

  • Elanco Animal Health Inc.

  • Heska Corp.

  • Merck & Co. Inc.

  • Norbrook Laboratories Ltd.

  • Virbac SA

  • Zoetis Inc.

Appendix

About Us

Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. Their research and analysis focuses on emerging market trends and provides actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine prompts immune response among adults old and young, AstraZeneca says

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults, and adverse responses were lower among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, hammered the global economy and shuttered normal life across the world.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

The Financial Times reported earlier that the vaccine, being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups – among those most at risk from the virus.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech’s 22UAy.F candidate.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

OXFORD VACCINE

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready though he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out.

“I would expect the bulk of the roll out to be in the first half of next year,” Hancock told the BBC.

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it’s not my central expectation that we’ll be doing that this year, but the programme is progressing well, we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine was developed by Oxford University scientists and licensed to AstraZeneca in April, which took on the task of scaling trials and production.

The vaccine is likely to provide protection for about a year, CEO Pascal Soriot said in June.

The British drugmaker has signed several supply and

The Latest: Iowa Has Among US’s Highest Infection Rates | World News

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa has among the nation’s highest coronavirus infection and death rates and residents should avoid gatherings in most counties, federal health experts say.

Iowa had 238 new cases and 2.8 deaths per 100,000 people last week, about double the national per capita average between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reported.

The task force report of Oct. 18 was released Friday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The grim statistics came as Iowa’s hospitals faced a surge of coronavirus patients. The number hospitalized hit a record 536, according to data released Thursday.

In all, 90% of Iowa’s 99 counties are experiencing high or moderate levels of virus transmission.

The report recommends “mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private and ensuring flu immunizations.”

The state reported a one-day record of 31 deaths on Wednesday and 38 more in the two days since for a total of 1,617.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— France surpasses 1 million coronavirus cases

— WHO says Northern hemisphere at ‘critical juncture’ with rising cases, deaths

— FDA approves first COVID-19 drug: antiviral remdesivir

— UN chief says G-20 leaders must coordinate to fight coronavirus. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is frustrated leaders of 20 major industrialized countries didn’t do it in March as he proposed.

— Schools from New Jersey to California have been hit with teacher and staff layoffs. Urban areas lacking the property wealth of suburban communities are especially vulnerable to budget cuts, with many schools hoping for a new round of federal money.

— An online Japanese-language text messaging service for suicide prevention has grown to 500 volunteers since March.

Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

PHOENIX — Arizona health officials on Friday reported an additional 975 known COVID-19 cases and six more deaths, the fourth day this week in which the state’s daily case report topped 900.

The additional cases and deaths reported by the Department of Health Services increased the state’s totals to 235,882 cases and 5,865 deaths.

Arizona in the past month has seen a gradual increase in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations but levels remain well below the thousands of cases reported on some days in June and July when Arizona was a national hot spot. The outbreak diminished in August and September as many local governments imposed mask mandates and the state re-imposed some business restrictions.

According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks, going from 598 new cases per day on Oct. 8 to 880 new cases per day on Thursday.

PARIS — France has surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach the mark.

The national health agency announced 42,032 new

Ex-Google AI chief Fei-Fei Li among Chinese honoured by US Academy of Medicine

The former head of Google’s artificial intelligence project in China is one of a number of ethnically Chinese scientists to be elected this year to the United States’ prestigious National Academy of Medicine.

Fei-Fei Li, a Beijing-born computer science professor at Stanford University and a Twitter board director, was among 90 new regular members announced by the academy on Tuesday as “individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service”.

Membership is considered one of the highest honours in the fields of health and medicine, according to the academy, which includes top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci among its ranks.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Li was elected “for helping establish the field of vision-based artificial intelligence, engendering diverse high-yield medical applications, including her current innovative focus on health-critical clinician and patient behaviour recognition”.

She was a rising star at Google, where she worked as chief scientist for AI and machine learning (AI/ML) before leaving amid controversy surrounding the company’s contracts to develop AI tools for the Pentagon.

Twitter adds former Google AI chief Fei-Fei Li as board member

Leaked emails discussing the initiative, called Project Maven, prompted outrage among Google employees, who said they suggested Li – a frequent public advocate for the ethical use of AI – was more worried about the company’s public image than the ethical concerns of the technology.

Before that, she oversaw basic AI research, all of Google Cloud’s AI/ML products and engineering efforts, and a new Google AI lab in China.

Also elected to the academy was Harvard University physics professor Zhuang Xiaowei, who received her undergraduate degree at the University of Science and Technology before her postgraduate studies at UC Berkeley and Stanford.

She was recognised for “pioneering super-resolution imaging and imaging-based single-cell genomics” which helped uncover novel structures in cells, novel spatial and functional organisation of cells in tissues, and examples of how mis-regulation may cause disorders.

The Chinese researchers caught in a US academic no-man’s land

The academy also announced 10 new international members, including Wang Chen, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the country’s leading state research institution.

Wang, who also heads the state-backed Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, was selected for “his leadership of China’s three leading medical bodies and his impactful clinical research and medical reforms”.

Researchers in the US who are ethnically Chinese or from China have been increasingly caught in the crosshairs of deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, with the US government stepping up its crackdown on foreign influence in science and technology research.

In July this year, the US National Science Foundation revealed that most cases of alleged violations of American rules on foreign disclosures since 2018 had been related to China. US researchers with ties to China have also been investigated for potentially violating funding rules.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Ex-Google AI chief Fei-Fei Li

Rhode Island Among States With Highest Childhood Obesity Rates

Rhode Island is among U.S. states with the highest rates of childhood obesity, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to this year’s State of Childhood Obesity report, about 1 in 7 children nationwide are considered obese — or about 15.5 percent.

At 11th in the nation, our state falls higher than the U.S. average. This year’s report says roughly 17.5 percent of YOUR STATE children ages 10 to 17 are considered obese.

“Childhood obesity remains an epidemic in this country,” Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a release. “We must confront these current crises in ways that also support long-term health and equity for all children and families in the United States.”

The focus of this year’s report, according to a release by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is prioritizing childhood health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the study, researchers say the pandemic and ongoing economic recession have worsened many of the broader factors that contribute to obesity, including poverty and health disparities.

Emerging research links obesity with increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including among children. Evidence from other vaccines also has led some experts to predict that a COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective in those with underlying medical conditions such as obesity.

The pandemic also exacerbates conditions that put children at risk for obesity.

School closures have left millions of children without a regular source of healthy meals or physical activity. In addition, millions of caregivers have lost income or jobs, making it more difficult for families to access or afford healthy foods.

To determine the most recent childhood obesity rates, the foundation used data from the 2018-19 National Survey of Children’s Health, along with information collected through a separate analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The report also highlights the obesity rates in younger children, high school students and adults. Here’s a look at how Rhode Island rates:

  • Children ages 2 to 4 (participating in WIC — the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program): 15.4 percent, or 11 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Children aged 10 to 17: 17.5 percent, or 11 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • High school students: 14.3 percent, or 28 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults: 30 percent, or 35 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults with diabetes: 10.4 percent, or 30 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults with hypertension: 33 percent, or 30 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Here are a couple findings of note from this year’s report:

Childhood obesity is more prevalent in children of color: About 11.7 percent of white children are considered obese. Rates are significantly higher for Hispanic (20.7 percent), Black (22.9 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (28.5 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (39.8 percent) children.

Income also affects the prevalence of obesity: About 21.5 percent of youths