Latest From California Healthline:
California Healthline senior correspondent Angela Hart discusses how California’s big Medicaid experiment to bring social services to the sickest and costliest patients doesn’t help most patients. ( )
Sacramento Declares End To Mpox Outbreak: Sacramento’s Mpox outbreak has been resolved, a health spokesperson said Monday, after the county reported no new cases among residents for more than a month. Read more from The Sacramento Bee.
Blue Shield Reportedly Laying Off Hundreds Of Workers: Blue Shield of California will terminate 150 employees in the Sacramento region and 74 in Lodi as part of statewide layoffs affecting 373 people, according to notices the company filed with the state’s Employment Development Department. Read more from The Sacramento Bee.
Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today's national health news, read KHN's Morning Briefing.
More News From Across The State
Fentanyl Continues To Take Students’ Lives In Sacramento. Here’s How Parents And Schools Are Responding.
In the Sacramento neighborhood of Land Park, Jennifer tells the story of her 16-year-old son’s Fentanyl use, drug addiction and current rehabilitation. “Where to begin,” she says, overwhelmed, stumbling over a few sentences. Over in the suburb of Rocklin, Laura Didier starts her story at the end of her 17-year-old son’s life. “The last day that I saw my son alive was Christmas of 2020,” she says, her voice quivering, “and Christmas will never be the same.” (Prabha, 12/5)
San Francisco Chronicle:
SF Drug Crisis: Breed’s Tenderloin Center Is Closed. What's Next?
With the closure this week of the controversial Tenderloin Center, city leaders are shutting the book on an imperfect experiment to address San Francisco’s drug epidemic — a heartbreaking, complicated and costly crisis. When Mayor London Breed opened the center in January as the anchor to her Tenderloin emergency initiative, she said she hoped it would help get homeless people struggling with addiction into housing and treatment as part of her larger plan to cut fatal overdoses and open-air drug dealing. (Moench, 12/5)
Los Angeles Blade:
Health Orgs Distribute Fentanyl Test Strips & Narcan In WeHo
The Institute for Public Strategies’ West Hollywood Project joined activists and members of health organizations Being Alive Los Angeles, LGBT Center’s Trans Wellness Center, AHF, The Wall Las Memories APLA Health, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (LA CADA), and Los Angeles Department of Public Health to distribute overdose prevention information and resources along with life-saving Fentanyl Test Strips and Naloxone nasal sprays. (12/4)
Congress Has Its Sights Set Too Low On Addiction, Advocates Charge
With just weeks remaining in the current session, Congress appears poised to let Biden’s first two years in office come and go without enacting any significant reforms to the country’s system for preventing and treating addiction — a potential missed opportunity that advocates warn could cost thousands of lives. (Facher, 12/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Is Working Out While High L.A.'s Next Fitness Craze?
Morgan English was sitting on the fire escape in her Portland State University apartment, smoking weed, when she felt a pull toward a stationary bicycle. So she walked across the street to the gym. For the first time in her life, she said, exercise didn’t feel like punishment. (Mishkin, 12/5)
Apple Sues AliveCor Over Patents As Apple Watch Import Ban Deadline Looms
Apple Inc sued medical-device maker AliveCor Inc in San Francisco federal court on Friday, claiming AliveCor's wearable heart monitors violated its patent rights. (Brittain, 12/5)
Apple, AliveCor Go Head-To-Head Over Smartwatch Heart Monitoring
Two years after it accused Apple of copying its heart monitoring technology and putting it into millions of smartwatches, a small company called AliveCor may soon notch a fresh legal victory. But if you’re going to go to war with Apple, you’d better be ready to fight to the death. (Aguilar, 12/6)
Kaiser’s Northern CA Nurses Approve Contract With Big Raises
Nurses and nurse practitioners at Kaiser Permanente voted overwhelmingly to ratify a four-year labor contract that secured them the biggest wage increases in about 20 years, their union announced Monday. (Anderson, 12/5)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
San Diego's Avalon BioVentures Raises $135M To Invest In Biotech, Health Care Startup
Lichter said Avalon “is a San Diego story.” It operates an accelerator lab in Torrey Pines to help life science entrepreneurs vet their ideas. About two-thirds of its startups come out of universities and research institutes such as UC San Diego and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. (Freeman, 12/6)
'Beyond Vaccines': Biotech Is Booming In The Bay Area Despite A Cooling Economy
The pandemic led to an explosion of interest in biotech. While a cooling economy has slowed it slightly, the industry is still booming. Demand for lab space was at an all-time high in the Bay Area last year, and the industry is expected to increase its footprint locally by 30% this year. Along Oyster Point Boulevard in South San Francisco, bulldozers clear industrial warehouses. Huge construction crews busily replace single-story factories with skyscrapers. (McClurg, 12/5)
The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat:
Syphilis On The Rise Again In Sonoma County After Taking Dip During Pandemic
After modest declines during the pandemic, cases of syphilis, a dangerous sexually transmitted infection, are creeping upward in Sonoma County. (Espinoza, 12/5)
Voice of OC:
OC Supervisors Consider Declaring Systemic Racism And Inequity A Public Health Crisis
Orange County’s Republican-led Board of Supervisors is considering declaring a public health crisis over systemic racism and inequality. The proposed resolution, up for approval Tuesday, says “systemic racism” and inequities are key drivers of discrimination and harm to people’s physical and emotional health. (Gerda, 12/5)
The Pandemic Has Created Two Very Different Kinds Of Workplaces. That Especially Matters For Women.
Tessa Byars has seen friends scale back at work, transition to part-time jobs, and even swap careers in an attempt to juggle child care and a paycheck. But Byars, 40, never questioned whether she would have to do the same. Her employer, Patagonia, provided 16 weeks of paid maternity leave along with onsite child care at her office in Ventura, Calif., where she works in internal communications. Those benefits allowed Byars to take the time she needed after giving birth to her two children and when the time came, bring both of them back to work with her. (Mueller, 12/5)
COVID Antivirals: Supply Is Increasing. Use Isn’t
As California gears up for a winter of respiratory illnesses, health officials and providers often reference one encouraging factor — the greater availability of COVID-19 treatments and antivirals like Paxlovid. But many patients aren’t using them. “We have a concerning low rate of outpatient COVID-19 treatments, especially for vulnerable populations,” Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, chief equity officer at the California Department of Public Health, told doctors in an online event in November. “We want to remind the provider community that therapeutics are in ample supply and that most adults have qualifying conditions.” (Ibarra, 12/5)
Pfizer Asks FDA To Clear Updated COVID Shot For Kids Under 5
Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its updated COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5 — not as a booster but part of their initial shots. Children ages 6 months through 4 years already are supposed to get three extra-small doses of the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — each a tenth of the amount adults receive — as their primary series. If the Food and Drug Administration agrees, a dose of Pfizer’s bivalent omicron-targeting vaccine would be substituted for their third shot. (Neergaard, 12/5)
Pfizer, BioNTech Countersue Moderna Over COVID-19 Vaccine Patents
Pfizer Inc and its German partner, BioNTech SE, fired back at Moderna Inc on Monday in a patent lawsuit over their rival COVID-19 vaccines, seeking dismissal of the lawsuit in Boston federal court and an order that Moderna's patents are invalid and not infringed. (Brittain, 12/5)
Myocarditis After Covid Vaccine Low Among Teens, Young Adults, New Study Finds
The incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis after Covid vaccination is low and most patients make a full recovery, a large international study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital found. (Lovelace Jr., 12/5)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Black COVID Patients Were Delayed Treatment Because Of One Medical Device. Why Are Doctors Still Using It?
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, East Bay Dr. Stephanie Brown began noticing a startling trend. Many of her Black patients were getting worse, even while their oxygen measurements said the opposite. Like her fellow emergency-room physicians, Brown was relying on pulse oximeters, the standard tool for measuring a patient’s blood oxygen level, to assess a critical cut-off point determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Anything below 95% indicated a severe case of COVID-19 and the need for more intensive treatment, while those at 95% and above typically had milder symptoms. (Miolene, 12/5)
Long-COVID Symptoms In Teens May Evolve Over Time
Long-COVID symptoms in adolescents may change over time, finds a study of nearly 5,100 non-hospitalized 11- to 17-year-olds in the United Kingdom published yesterday in The Lancet Regional Health-Europe. ... The prevalence of shortness of breath and fatigue in those who reported them at 6 or 12 months appeared to increase at both 6 and 12 months in those who tested positive. But examination of individual questionnaires showed that the prevalence of these two symptoms actually declined at baseline or 6 months. The same pattern was also seen in participants who tested negative. (Van Beusekom, 12/5)
MIT Technology Review:
A New App Aims To Help The Millions Of People Living With Long Covid
The new app, called Visible, aims to help people manage that process by collecting data every day in order to understand how their symptoms fluctuate. Users measure their heart rate variability (the variation in time between beats) every morning by placing a finger over the phone’s camera for 60 seconds. This measures the pulse by recording small changes in the color of the user’s skin. (Williams, 12/5)
Flu Shots Are A "Very Good Match" To This Season's Strains, CDC Says
"We look in real time as to how well we think the influenza match is to what's circulating. And right now, the good news is that it looks like it is a very good match," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a briefing on Monday. (Tin, 12/5)
Flu Rates Surge Before Holidays As White Kids’ Shots Lag
US health officials are struggling to address flagging influenza vaccination rates among kids that appear slowed primarily by decreases among White children. (John Milton and Baumann, 12/5)
Strep Throat Symptoms: What Are The First Signs And How To Treat It?
While the United Kingdom has reported the deaths of six children due to strep A, U.S. health officials on Tuesday said there hasn't been a "notable increase" in streptococcal disease here. Regardless, it's always good to be prepared. Here's everything you should know about strep throat, from symptoms to treatment to spread. (Kaufman, 12/5)