Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Dutch hospitals are feeling the strain from a surge in COVID-19 patients but the worst has yet to come, the head of the country’s hospital association said on Monday. The number of COVID-19 patients in Dutch hospitals increased to around 2,000 on Monday, including almost 400 in intensive care, reaching the highest level since May.
Washington state, in $95 billion opioid trial, blames drug distributors for crisis
Washington state’s attorney general on Monday argued that three large drug distributors’ excessive shipments of pain pills helped create the U.S. opioid epidemic, calling it the “worst man-made public health crisis in history,” at the start of a trial seeking $95 billion from the companies. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made that argument as a trial got underway in the state’s bid to recover more money from the distributors McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and AmerisourceBergen Corp than it would receive in a $26 billion nationwide settlement.
U.S. CDC raises COVID-19 travel warnings for Czech Republic, Hungary
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised against travel to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Iceland because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in those countries. The CDC raised its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High” for the three countries, telling Americans they should avoid travel there.
Britain to extend COVID booster rollout to over-40s
Britain’s COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout is to be extended to people aged between 40 and 49, officials said on Monday, in a bid to boost waning immunity in the population ahead of the colder winter months. Currently all people aged 50 and above, those who are clinically vulnerable and frontline health workers are eligible for boosters, and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said that the rollout would be extended.
Explainer-Delta dominates the world, but scientists watch for worrisome offspring
The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus now accounts for nearly all of the coronavirus infections globally, fueled by unchecked spread of the novel coronavirus in many parts of the world. So far, vaccines are still able to defend against serious disease and death from Delta, but scientists remain on alert. Here is what we know:
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, one of a handful of Indian drug companies licensed to make a new COVID-19 pill developed by Merck, said on Monday it was open to making a similar pill from Pfizer, thought to be even more effective. The new drugs, which unlike vaccines can be used to treat patients once they contract coronavirus infection, are expected to be a huge market. Merck has given out licenses to manufacturers in developing countries to ensure a swift global supply, and companies are hopeful that Pfizer will do the same.
U.S. administers 442 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CDC
The United States had administered 442,005,260 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Monday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 440,559,613 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Nov. 14.
Vaccines not linked to menstrual changes; COVID, flu shots can go together
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. No link seen between vaccines and menstrual changes
Austria locks down unvaccinated as COVID cases surge across Europe
Austria imposed a lockdown on people unvaccinated against the coronavirus on Monday as winter approaches and infections rise across Europe, with Germany considering tighter curbs and Britain expanding its booster programme to younger adults. Europe has again become the epicentre of the pandemic, prompting some countries to consider re-introducing restrictions in the run-up to Christmas and stirring debate over whether vaccines alone are enough to tame COVID-19.
Landmark opioid trial of 3 major pharmacy chains nears its end
A lawyer for two Ohio counties urged a federal jury on Monday to hold three major pharmacy chains responsible for fueling an opioid epidemic in their communities as the first trial the companies have faced over the drug crisis neared its end. Mark Lanier, a lawyer for Lake and Trumbull counties, told a federal jury in Cleveland that a verdict in the case against CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc would have ramifications all across the country.
(With inputs from agencies.)