Health Highlights: Dec. 21, 2021

Biden Administration will buy, distribute 500 million rapid COVID tests. The tests will begin to be available in January and be distributed free to Americans, the President will announce in a speech slated for Tuesday. Other steps to fight the fast-spreading Omicron variant include sending out hundreds of federal vaccinators and providing 1,000 military medical personnel to assist at overloaded hospitals. Read more

Omicron now dominant variant in United States. New data shows the variant now accounts for 73% of new infections That rate suggests that there were more than 650,000 Omicron infections in the U.S. last week alone, the CDC said. Read more

FDA approves first long-term HIV PrEP by injection. The agency gave its OK to Apretude, which is given first as two initiation injections administered one month apart, and then every two months thereafter. It’s the first approved option to prevent HIV infection in at-risk people that does not involve taking a daily pill. Read more

Repeat cortisone shots may be OK for arthritic knees. The injections have gotten a bad rap in recent years as a treatment, because steroids are known to damage cartilage. But a new study suggests that if used wisely, the shots are as safe as another type of injection used to treat knee arthritis. Read more

Data review supports ‘intermittent fasting’ as weight-loss tool. The regimen is all the rage, and now a new analysis shows this style of eating really does produce weight loss and may even improve certain markers of heart health. Read more

Throat cancers tied to HPV infection are on the rise. Rates of oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the middle part of the throat, are rising rapidly among older men throughout the United States. They’re also growing among women in the Southeast and Midwest, new research shows. Read more

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