All Public health stories

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.

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.

The race between COVID vaccines and emerging variants

America is in a race to vaccinate people before the country is overwhelmed by variants that are spurring a fourth wave of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Spring is here, and when cases were dropping, hope was rising for a more normal summer. But experts warn this will only happen if people keep social distancing, wearing masks and getting vaccinated as soon as they can.

Mar 31, 2021 - World

France to close schools for 3 weeks, impose domestic travel ban as COVID surges

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

France is requiring schools nationwide to close for three weeks and is imposing a domestic travel ban to help control the "accelerating" coronavirus pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.

Driving the news: It's the third lockdown for the country since the pandemic began, and a departure from the recent regional approach. The move comes as Europe battles a third wave of the coronavirus, driven in part by more transmissible variants.

Mar 29, 2021 - Health

J&J to supply 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to African Union

Photo: Misha Jordaan/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson has inked a deal with the African Union (AU) to supply up to 400 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine starting in the third quarter of the year, the drugmaker announced Monday.

Why it matters: Disparities in vaccine access remain a challenge for Africans, especially as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus variant that originated in South Africa.

Mar 27, 2021 - World

Germany warns next coronavirus wave could be country's worst yet

The city centre in Offenbach, Germany. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images

German officials warned Friday the third wave of the coronavirus in the country is going to be "harder to curb" and could be far worse than the previous two.

Why it matters: The number of new confirmed cases has jumped in recent weeks largely due to the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and the relaxation of some lockdown measures, according to Reuters.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Mar 26, 2021 - Health

Public health spending has been stagnant for a decade

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Data: Alfonso YN, US public health neglected: flat or declining spending left states ill equipped to respond to COVID-19; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Public health spending in most of the country stayed flat or declined in the decade following the Great Recession, "leaving states ill equipped to respond to COVID-19 and other emerging health needs," according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

By the numbers: The study found that public health spending dropped from $80.40 per capita in 2008 to $75.83 in 2018.

Mar 24, 2021 - Health

U.S. needs to expand rapid COVID-19 testing, experts say

Photo: Axios

The U.S. needs to ramp up the use of rapid COVID-19 testing in order to curb the pandemic and prepare for reopening, two public health experts said on Wednesday during an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Experts warn that vaccinations likely do not provide long-term immunity and that the pandemic is far from over. Jennifer Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins, and Michael Mina of Harvard's Kennedy School of Public Health, say mass testing will be imperative to tracking outbreaks and containing the virus in the coming months.

Senate Confirms Vivek Murthy as surgeon general

Vivek Murthy. Photo: Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 57-43 on Tuesday to confirm Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.

Why it matters: His appointment will allow him to reprise a role he previously held. Murthy served as surgeon general under the Obama administration but was dismissed in 2017, a year before the end of his term, by the Trump administration.

Mar 19, 2021 - Health

All veterans, their spouses, caregivers will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Veterans, their spouses and caregivers will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as doses are available, according to newly finalized legislation.

Why it matters: The VA has counted more than 11,000 deaths and recorded more than 223,500 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the medical system.