Health Highlights: Aug. 17, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Coronavirus Pandemic’s Impact on Homeless People in U.S. Not As Bad as Feared

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on homeless people in the United States hasn’t been as severe as feared, data show.

For example, just over 1,200 of the estimated 66,000 homeless people in Los Angeles have been diagnosed with the virus, along with more than 200 of the estimated 8,000 homeless people in San Francisco, the Associated Press reported.

In Washington State’s King County, which includes Seattle, more than 400 of an estimated 12,000 homeless residents have been infected with the virus.

In Arizona’s Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, nearly 500 of about 7,400 homeless people have tested positive, including nine who died, the AP reported.

In New York City, homeless people have accounted for more than 1,400 infections and 104 deaths among more than 226,000 positive cases and 19,000 deaths.


1st Post-Lockdown Cruise Departs From Italy

The first Mediterranean cruise from Italy after that country’s pandemic lockdown left Genoa on Sunday evening.

Before boarding the MSC Grandiosa for the seven-night cruise, passengers had their temperatures checked and took COVID-19 tests, and anyone who tested positive for the virus, or had a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms was denied boarding, the Associated Press reported.

During the cruise, passengers must wear face masks in elevators and other areas where it’s not possible to social distance. The crew was quarantined before the start of the cruise.

When the Italian government gave approval earlier this month for cruises to resume, it limited ships to 70% of capacity, the AP reported.


Neck Gaiters ‘Worse Than Nothing’ in Preventing Coronavirus Spread

Thin, stretchy neck gaiters are “worse than nothing” when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus, according to researchers.

The Duke University team said using a neck gaiter as a face covering could actually spread the virus further than using no face covering at all, CBS News reported.

The researchers tested a common type of neck gaiter made of thin, stretchy polyester. Neck gaiters are worn around the neck and can be pulled up to cover the mouth and nose.

“The neck gaiter that we tested did essentially nothing, and worse than nothing, because it appeared to make large droplets into small droplets,” study co-author Isaac Henrion told CBS News.

Instead of stopping droplets that can contain the coronavirus from escaping into the air, the neck gaiter appeared to turn large droplets into smaller ones that can linger in the air, the researchers found.

They said more testing is needed because some gaiters might work better than others, depending on how they’re made, CBS News reported.


Cyclospora Outbreak Source Still Unknown: FDA

The source of an outbreak of Cyclospora infections that have affected 690 people in 13 states is still unknown, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The outbreak may be linked to salad products made by Fresh Express that contain iceberg lettuce and red cabbage and were sold in several regions of the U.S., including Fresh Express branded products as well as products made by Fresh Express for retail store brands sold at ALDI, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, ShopRite, and Walmart.

The products, which have the product code Z178 or a lower number, and “Best by” dates through July 14, 2020 were recalled by Fresh Express on June 27.

The FDA’s investigation identified several farms in the U.S. that may have provided product used in the recalled Fresh Express salads that were recalled, and found Cyclospora in samples collected from an irrigation canal in Florida.

However, the FDA wasn’t able to determine if the Cyclospora in the canal is a genetic match to outbreak-causing variety, so there’s currently not enough evidence to conclusively determine the cause of this outbreak.

The FDA said it’s continuing to try to determine the source and impact of Cyclospora in the canal.


President Trump’s Brother Dies Following Serious Illness

Robert Trump, the younger brother of President Donald Trump, died on Saturday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He was 71.

“It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight,” President Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.”

Robert Trump was born in New York on Aug. 26, 1948, the youngest of five children of Fred Trump Sr. and his wife, the former Mary Anne MacLeod. The eldest son, Fred Jr., died of an alcoholism-related illness in 1981 at 42, the Washington Post reported.

President Trump went to see his brother on Friday, and called him again on Saturday when it became apparent that his brother was not expected to live much longer, the Times reported. President Trump held a brief news conference on Saturday and did not discuss his brother’s health, but friends who spoke to him said he was downcast, the Times reported.

Robert Trump had been hospitalized for more than a week in June. A family friend told the Times that he had been on blood thinners and had experienced brain bleeds after a recent fall.

Robert Trump recently made news when he filed a lawsuit to stop publication of a book by the president’s niece, Mary, titled Too Much and Never Enough, ABC reported.

Leave a Reply