Colds and Flu? They Are Coming Back.
In other public health news, workplace shootings are on the rise, a new tool provides window into health disparities and the pandemic's impact on climate change.
As Covid Dissipates In U.S., Colds And Flu May Return With A Vengeance
A curious thing happened during the Covid-19 pandemic: With masks, social distancing, and Purell galore, we kept most other germs at bay. Flu vanished. Cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which in a normal winter puts nearly 60,000 children under age 5 in the hospital, were nonexistent. Most of us appeared to sidestep the soup of bugs that cause colds. But as masks come off, schools reopen, and some travel resumes, we should expect a resurgence of these viruses — perhaps a big one. Some experts fear we’re in for a nasty cold-and-flu season or two, pointing to a combination of factors that could make for a rough re-entry to the mixed microbes world. (Branswell, 5/27)
Why We're Seeing A Spike In Workplace Shootings
Workplace mass shootings are rare, but the killing of eight people by a fellow employee at a Northern California rail yard on Wednesday marks the third such rampage in under two months. That could foreshadow a rise in this type of violence after the nationwide shutdown of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Oswego. (Romo, 5/27)
A New Tool Puts Health Disparity Data In The Public’s Hands
Over and over, the pandemic has reinforced the reality of racial disparities in the U.S. health system. But that story remains difficult to see in the data, which is still inconsistently collected and reported across the country. On Wednesday, a coalition of researchers and advocates launched a tool they hope will fill some of those gaps: the Health Equity Tracker, a portal that collects, analyzes, and makes visible data on some of the inequities entrenched in U.S. medicine. (Palmer, 5/26)
The Pandemic Didn't Slow Climate Change. It's Actually Speeding Up, Experts Warn
The average temperature on Earth is now consistently 1 degree Celsius hotter than it was in the late 1800s, and that temperature will keep rising toward the critical 1.5-degree Celsius benchmark over the next five years, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. Scientists warn that humans must keep the average annual global temperature from lingering at or above 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic and long-term effects of climate change. Those include massive flooding, severe drought and runaway ocean warming that fuels tropical storms and drives mass die-offs of marine species. (Hersher, 5/26)
Los Angeles Times:
Startup Orchid Claims It Picks Healthier Embryos. Does It?
The decision of whether to have a child can be hard even under the best of circumstances. For those with a family history of debilitating disease, it’s often gut-wrenching. If only there were some way to answer the all-important question: Will my child be healthy? To those potential parents, a San Francisco startup is offering a solution: a genetic test of their embryos so they can select the one with the lowest risk of disease. (Peterson, 5/26)