Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Markets Tumble Worldwide On Fears Of Coronavirus Outbreak

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Experts caution that it is still too early to understand how big an economic impact the virus will have, but the stock market took a hit on Monday on news of how quickly the virus was spreading within China.

Legislation Criminally Penalizing Doctors Who Treat Transgender Teens Goes Against Best Medical Practices

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Most teens seeking care aren’t getting permanent surgeries, but rather injections that pause the process of puberty. A new wave of bills from conservative states, including South Dakota and Kentucky, want to make it illegal for doctors to give such care, despite testimony that the injections help diminish depression and suicidal thoughts. “They’re not listening to any health care providers,” said Dr. Alexis Chávez, a psychiatrist. “And they’re advancing something that’s very dangerous to make a statement.”

Do No Harm? Guantanamo Bay Hearings Shine Harsh Spotlight On Doctors’ Roles In Interrogations

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A judge is hearing testimony about how Guantanamo Bay inmates were treated, including disturbing accounts about medical professionals’ behavior toward the prisoners. “The physicians were present in interrogations that were harmful and life-threatening, and that violates the first principle of medical ethics: First, do no harm,” said Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired Army general.

Based On Trump’s Past Responses To Pandemics, Experts Worry About A Harmful Overreaction From President

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“With the Ebola epidemic, it was urging quarantines, travel bans, overreacting in all the ways that would be counterproductive. I would hate to see that now,” said Lawrence Gostin, a senior professor at Georgetown University, of President Donald Trump’s past responses to outbreaks. Public officials say the coronavirus isn’t spreading in the U.S. yet, and that threat for Americans remains low. Still, anxiety and panic over the illness is ramping up as the possible cases in the U.S. climbs past 100.

Chinese Government Grapples With Rising Public Fury As Coronavirus Continues To Spread

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The death toll from the virus climbs past 100, with thousands of more cases reported. Chinese officials are trying to stem a tide of criticism over how they are handling the outbreak. U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci criticized Chinese leaders for not inviting U.S. and other international investigative agencies to join them in researching the new virus.

How Insulin Prices Have Become A Clear, Simply Rallying Cry For 2020 Democratic Candidates

KHN Morning Briefing

Unlike other health care issues, the rise in insulin prices isn’t that complicated. The personal stories of patients rationing insulin with fatal results paints a clear picture of pharmaceutical companies profiting that candidates can leap upon. In other pharmaceutical news: Democrats target Republicans over high drug costs, presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg wants to go after patent protections, pharma bro Martin Shkreli faces new fraud accusations, and more.

It’s Traumatic For All Involved When An ER Patient Must Be Restrained. But What’s The Right Solution?

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Researchers talked to patients who had been restrained, and they characterize the experience as “traumatic as hell.” But emergency departments are more and more handling mental health patients in an over-stressed system, and there needs to be a way to control an agitated person. In other public health news: “doctor dogs,” in vitro fertilization, severe combined immunodeficiency disease, hospital grown recalls, and more.

On 75th Anniversary Of Auschwitz Liberation, Many Wonder If ‘Never Again’ Will Last Through The Ages

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As the living memory of World War II and the Holocaust fades, the institutions created to guard against a repeat of such bloody conflicts, and such barbarism, are under increasing strain. “More and more we seem to be having trouble connecting our historical knowledge with our moral choices today,” said Piotr Cywinski, the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. It was a solemn day as survivors and others marked the anniversary of the liberation.

Grocery Pharmacy Consolidations Forcing Mom-And-Pop Drugstores To Close

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Smaller pharmacies can’t compete with the big chains, so they’re heading toward a status as relics. In other pharmaceutical news: Americans’ tough choice when insurers don’t cover a certain drug, hospitals create their own drugs, and a battle over a preterm birth drug.

China Invested Billions To Rate As A Giant In Health Sciences. Now That Infrastructure Is Put To The Test.

KHN Morning Briefing

Nearly a month after discovering the first cases, Chinese health officials have made little progress in stopping its spread. Experts say China’s skills in certain basic public-health tasks, such as outbreak investigations, are uneven. So what does all that mean for China’s investments in becoming a world leader in health? Meanwhile, Chinese scientists are testing an HIV drug to treat coronavirus symptoms. And media outlets take a look at the science behind the outbreak and response.

China’s ‘Mother Of All Quarantines’ To Contain Escalating Coronavirus Outbreak Could Actually Backfire, Experts Warn

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Quarantines of the level China instituted on the Hubei province lock in the sick and the healthy together, are nearly impossible to maintain, stress governmental resources, and sow a distrust with the government at a crucial point in the crisis. “This is just mind-boggling,” said University of Michigan medical historian Howard Markel. The death toll from the illness in China climbs to 80.

U.S. Coronavirus Count Has Ticked Up To 5, But Experts Say You Really Shouldn’t Be Panicking

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The total number of confirmed cases in the United States now sits at five. But experts say it’s unlikely Americans are in any real danger right now. “Don’t panic unless you’re paid to panic,” said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist. “Public health workers should be on the lookout. The government should be ready to provide resources. … But for everyone else: Breathe.”

On Same Day As March For Life, Trump Threatens California Over Requirement That Private Insurers Cover Abortion

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President Donald Trump cemented his relationship with the anti-abortion movement when he became the first sitting president to speak in person at the annual March for Life last week. On the same day, his administration announced that it would give California 30 days to lift a requirement that insurers cover abortion or that federal funds would be cut off from the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom dismissed the threat.