Health Highlights: Aug. 3, 2020

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

McDonald’s, Target and Gap Say Shoppers Must Wear Masks

As the pandemic coronavirus continues to ravage the country, McDonald’s, Target and Gap will now require both staff and shoppers to wear face masks, CBS News reported Saturday.

McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski told “CBS This Morning” the company made the change in response to the pandemic.

More than 155,000 Americans had died from the virus according to Johns Hopkins University and over 4.6 million have been infected with COVID-19.

“We’ve for quite some time required our crew to wear masks, but we thought that in light of what we’re seeing, it’s prudent now that we also ask our customers to wear masks in the restaurant as well,” Kempczinski told CBS.

Gap Inc. and Target have instituted a similar policy.

About 90% of Target stores required customers to wear masks due to local and state regulations, but the policy is being spread “to include guests at all stores nationwide,” the retailer said in a statement.

Gap said,”given the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Canada, we want to do everything we can to help stop the spread of the virus.” Their policy includes Old Navy and Banana Republic stores, CBS reported.

Many Americans, however, resist wearing masks even though the scientists say they can help save lives. Some companies have backtracked on policies requiring masks, CBS noted.

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, for example, no longer mandate masks, while Lowe’s said it wouldn’t enforce a face mask policy days after it started it.

Some stores are concerned that enforcing mask requirements could put workers at risk, noting that violent incidents have occurred.

Walmart and CVS said they will limit enforcing the mask mandate. McDonald’s Kempczinski told CBS he did not rule out getting authorities involved if customers who refuse to wear masks cause trouble.


Salmonella Has FDA Warning Consumers to Avoid Certain Red Onions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking consumers to avoid red onions from Thomson International Inc., a California supplier, because they might be tied to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infection.

“The FDA has been working with CDC, state, local and international partners on a rapidly developing investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections likely linked to red onions,” Frank Yiannas, FDA’s deputy commissioner for food policy and response, said in a statement.

Canadian health officials have linked a similar outbreak to red onions from the United States, he said. The FDA has now also tied the U.S. outbreak to red onions from Thomson International.

“Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve red, white, yellow, or sweet onions from Thomson International and if you cannot tell if your onion is from Thomson International Inc., or your food product contains these onions, you should not eat, sell or serve it, and should throw it out,” Yiannas said.

Thomson International has told the agency that it will recall all white, yellow and sweet onions that might have come in contact with contaminated red onions.


1st U.S. Face Transplant Recipient Dies

The first U.S. patient to receive a partial face transplant, Connie Culp, died at 57, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Her death comes nearly 12 years after her surgery and after her husband shot her in the face in a murder-suicide attempt in 2004. Culp’s husband spent seven years behind bars.

The shotgun blast destroyed her nose, her cheeks and she lost most of her vision. Her face was so grotesque that kids called her a monster, the AP reported.

Culp had 30 operations to fix her face, which left her unable to eat solid food, breathe on her own, or smell.

In December 2008, she underwent a 22-hour operation to replace 80% of her face with material from a donor, Anna Kasper. This was the fourth face transplant in the world, though the others were not as extensive.

Her surgery was performed at the Cleveland Clinic, where she died Wednesday from complications from an infection not related to the transplant, the AP. said.

Dr. Frank Papay, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery institute and part of Culp’s surgical team, said in a statement that she was “an incredibly brave, vibrant woman, and an inspiration to many.”

“Her strength was evident in the fact that she had been the longest-living face transplant patient to date. She was a great pioneer and her decision to undergo a sometimes-daunting procedure is an enduring gift for all of humanity.”

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