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CDC backtracks, saying fully vaccinated people can go maskless indoors

Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks indoors and return to pre-pandemic activities, according to new guidance from the CDC yesterday. The recommendation comes just two weeks after more cautious guidance from the agency and after recent criticism that the CDC was being overly conservative in its communications. The CDC did make some exceptions, however. Masks will still be required on public transit as well as on airplanes, and that health care facilities would also continue to mandate their own requirements and follow other guidelines for infection control. What's still unclear, short of asking people to show proof of vaccination, is how private establishments may distinguish between those who are vaccinated and those who aren't. 

Many U.S. adults still not up-to-date with regular vaccinations, CDC report finds

A new CDC report finds that vaccination rates for non-Covid-related essential vaccines are still low among adults in the U.S. Here's more from the study, which looked at data from 2017-2018: 

  • Trends by vaccine: Only about 46% of those aged 19 and over got a flu vaccine. Fewer than 12% of adults had been vaccinated against hepatitis A, while less than 32% got a Tdap vaccine to prevent tetatus, diphtheria, and pertussis. 
  • Trends by race and ethnicity: Generally, white adults were more likely to be up to date with vaccinations than adults from other racial groups. Even among health care providers, white providers tended to have higher rates of vaccination for Tdap, influenza, and hepatitis B vaccines. 
  • Other trends: Those with insurance were more likely to be current with vaccinations as were those born in the U.S. versus those who were born elsewhere. 

Black women are likelier to die from triple-negative breast cancer than white women

Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive disease that disproportionately affects Black women, and a new study finds these women are also likelier to die from the disease than white women. Previous research had found that Black women were less likely to be screened and therefore treated in time. In the new study, which pulled data from more than 23,200 women with TNBC, researchers found that Black women were nearly 30% less likely to get surgery and 10% less likely to get chemotherapy compared to white women. During a nearly four-year follow-up period, more than 14% of the initial study population had died. Black women were nearly 30% more likely to be in this group than white women, and was a consistent trend across a range of demographics, including geography and disease stage. 

Inside STAT: Uncertain protection from Covid vaccines leaves cancer patients in limbo

Michele Nadeem-Baker and her dog, Gabby.

While many adults in wealthy nations are celebrating their newly acquired "vaccinated" status, some aren't yet letting go of Covid-19 precautions. The immune system of many immunocompromised people — those who take special medication to prevent rejection of transplanted organs and patients with certain cancers — can't produce enough antibodies and a robust enough response to protect against the coronavirus, leaving them in limbo about returning to normalcy. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patient Michele Nadeem-Baker is one such person. “It’s not over yet for patients like me,” she tells STAT's Elizabeth Cooney, who has more here.

Physicians across genders say social media is useful for professional advancement

As physicians increasingly turn to social media platforms to communicate their work and connect with others in their field, a new study finds few gender disparities in how physicians say they these platforms help with professional advancement. In a survey of nearly 580 physicians, men and women were equally likely to say they used social media platforms to build their professional network and that it helped increase collaboration across specialties and institutions. However, men were more likely to say social media helped expand their research portfolio and led to a speaking engagement or scholarship opportunities. Women were likelier to say social media helped them find a support network. 

WHO announces winners of global health-centered film festival

The WHO just announced winners of its second annual Health for All film festival, which received 1,200 applications for three categories. Taking the prize for the universal health coverage category is an animated documentary from El Salvador called "Phosphôros," a tribute to the health care workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. The health emergencies category winner is a Jordanian film called "Stressed: A pandemic of fear," which highlights the elevated stress levels among Middle Eastern kids displaced by the pandemic. Finally, the winner of the better health and wellness category is an entry from India called "The journey of hope," which portrays the story of a 10-year-old girl's weekly overnight journeys to get cancer treatment at a faraway hospital. Winners will be recognized at a ceremony today and will get $10,000 in grants to put toward more filmmaking on health issues. 

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 38,087
Deaths yesterday: 802

What to read around the web today

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