Sunday's health stories

Apr 4, 2021 - Health

America's 2nd COVID-19 Easter marked by low church attendance

A girl celebrates Easter in Saint Patrick's Cathedral on April 4, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

A new Pew Research survey found that only 27% of adults in the U.S. planned on attending an in-person Easter service this year, a 17 point drop from a group that otherwise would have reported 44% church attendance, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Although the U.S. has ramped up its vaccination rates and many states are preparing for reopening, rituals of normal life—including religious holiday celebrations—continue to be hobbled by the pandemic.

Apr 4, 2021 - Health

CDC investigates salmonella outbreak linked to wild birds in eight states

Common siskin, carduelis spinus. Photo: Prisma Bildagentur/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an outbreak of salmonella in eight states that has sickened 19 people, the CDC confirmed in a statement Thursday.

Why it matters: The CDC notes that wild songbirds—such as pine siskins—can be common vectors for the spread of salmonella, and most of the people infected in this outbreak said they had been in contact with a wild bird prior to their illness or owned a bird feeder.

Apr 4, 2021 - Health

Pope Francis urges vaccine distribution to poor countries in Easter message

Pope Francis delivers his traditional Easter message in Vatican City, Vatican on April 4. Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Pope Francis, while giving his Easter Sunday message, urged the international community to overcome delays in vaccine shipments, "especially in the poorest countries."

Why it matters: The global COVAX vaccine initiative, backed by the United Nations as a way to get vaccines to poorer countries, warned of supply delays in late March that would affect millions of doses.

Apr 4, 2021 - Health

Infectious diseases expert: U.S. is "at the beginning" of a fourth COVID-19 surge

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, warned on Sunday that the U.S. is at the precipice of a fourth surge of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Data shows the U.S. may be at the start of a fourth wave that would foster the growth of new variants, which would likely be less susceptible to existing vaccines. A fourth surge would almost certainly be less deadly than the previous three, thanks to widespread vaccination of the elderly.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

France cuts economic growth forecast as it enters third COVID lockdown

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)

France is cutting it's GDP growth forecast to 5% from 6% as the country enters a four-week national lockdown aimed at slowing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The lockdown, France's third since the start of the pandemic, comes amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases across much of Europe that has seen some countries reimpose restrictions.

Johnson & Johnson takes control of COVID vaccine output in Baltimore

Employees in Februar work in a lab at Emergent Biosolutions, which has been manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced late Saturday that it's "assuming full responsibility" for manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccine at a Baltimore plant where 15 million doses were ruined last week.

Of note: AstraZeneca said Saturday night it is in "full cooperation with the U.S. government" moving production from the facility, run by Emergent BioSolutions, which been producing both vaccines.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

Argentina's president tests positive for COVID after vaccination

President Alberto Fernández during the opening session of the 139th period of the Argentine Congress on March 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko - Pool/Getty Images

Argentina's President Alberto Fernández announced Saturday that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Of note: Fernández received his first dose of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 21 and the second on Feb. 11, per the Wall Street Journal.

Half of Latino renters depend on eviction relief

Members of the Los Angeles Tenants Union protest against evictions and give out food for the homeless in February. Photo: Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

Around 56% of Hispanic renters said in March, before an U.S. eviction moratorium was extended, that they were otherwise likely to be forced to leave their homes in the next two months, per Census data.

Why it matters: Evictions contribute to a greater spread of COVID-19 as people experiencing homelessness end up in crowded infection-prone situations, according to studies, and coronavirus is already more easily spread among Latino families due to cramped living conditions and multigenerational homes.

Apr 3, 2021 - Health

TSA reports most passenger screenings since beginning of the pandemic

Photo: DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

TSA on Friday screened 1,580,785 people across U.S. airports, a record high since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The numbers come one day after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said that while the agency now says fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk, the CDC is still not recommending nonessential travel due to the rise in virus cases, NPR reports.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Bangladesh to enforce week-long lockdown amid swell of COVID-19 cases

Photo: Ahmed Salahuddin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Bangladeshi government on Saturday announced plans to impose a seven-day national lockdown starting Monday as coronavirus cases surge in the country, Bloomberg reports.

Details: Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader made the announcement in an online press conference in Dhaka, saying the country hit a record-high on Friday, with more than 6,800 new cases reported for the day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.