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U.S. could see 100,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, Fauci says

The U.S. could see as many as 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day if the current trajectory is not averted, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said during a Senate committee hearing yesterday. The U.S. is currently seeing around 40,000 new cases daily, but many states that moved quickly to reopen businesses are finding themselves having to shut things down again in response to spikes in cases. “What was thought to be unimaginable turns out to be the reality we’re facing right now,” Fauci said, adding that “outbreaks happen, and you have to deal with them in a very aggressive, proactive way.” What would 100,000 cases a day look like? Some experts say that that situation would quickly overwhelm hospitals around the country, which is already the cases in states such as Texas. Read more from STAT's Helen Branswell

Is there a measured way to contain Covid-19, without full lockdowns?

As states like Texas, Florida, and Arizona post record high daily numbers of Covid-19 cases, there's also an opportunity for scientists and public health officials to evaluate which measures — especially less restrictive ones than the total lockdowns employed when the first wave of states were being ravaged by the pandemic — could work to contain the new outbreaks. Texas has paused elective medical procedures, for instance, while Arizona is closing gyms, bars and restaurants for at least a month. “This is a good step to getting a handle on the epidemic,” disease ecologist Ana Bento tells STAT's Andrew Joseph, adding, “It still might not be enough.” If that's the case, especially if people don't also follow distancing and masking guidelines, then states might once again have to consider more extreme measures such as complete lockdowns. 

Lifelong discrimination could lead to an increased risk for high blood pressure

The medical community is increasingly recognizing the harmful effects of systemic racism and discrimination on health, and a new study finds that lifelong discrimination could be among the reasons to explain a heightened risk of high blood pressure among Black individuals. Researchers looked at data from around 2,000 individuals enrolled in a heart study in Jackson, Miss., who didn't have hypertension when they were enrolled, and who were followed up with at least twice through 2013. More than half the group developed hypertension over the 13-year study period. Participants who scored higher on a survey measuring perceived everyday discrimination were also more likely to have developed hypertension. The findings represent an association, and future research ought to consider how discrimination as a stressor may drive other behaviors (such as dietary habits) that also result from stress. 

Inside STAT: Hospitals tap AI to nudge clinicians toward end-of-life conversations


As a few hospitals and clinics deploy cutting-edge artificial intelligence programs to help with palliative care, physicians using these systems are grappling with how to integrate an algorithm with such big implications into their complex and frenetic workflow. STAT's Rebecca Robbins spoke with 15 clinicians, hospital executives, and AI experts to learn how these models — which generate calculations to spur clinicians to have end-of-life conversations — are being deployed and how they may be received by patients and providers if used more widely. The goal is to trigger important talks that may otherwise be ignored. “A lot of times, we think about it too late — and we think about it when the patient is decompensating, or they’re really, really struggling, or they need some kind of urgent intervention to turn them around,” Stanford physician Samantha Wang tells Rebecca. Read more here

The link between depression in mothers and their offspring

A new review of six studies further underscores the link between depression in mothers and the development of similar symptoms in their children during adolescence. The studies in the review, which included data from nearly 15,600 mother-child pairs, revealed that children born to mothers who experienced depression during or in the year following pregnancy were 70% more likely to also have depression as adolescents or adults. Women who experienced depression during pregnancy than in the year after giving birth were slightly more likely to have children who also experience depression, and daughters born to mothers with depression were also more likely to experience the condition than sons. 

AARP report highlights music for mental well-being

AARP's Global Council on Brain Health just released a report outlining the benefits of music for brain health and includes recommendations for older adults to improve their mental well-being. The report highlights previous research showing music can stimulate parts of the brain responsible for movement and memory, and that music could be used to help those with Parkinson's disease improve talking as well as help stroke patients recover from their illness. The report also draws from a recent survey conducted by AARP, which found that adults who reported listening to music or making music were more likely to report their overall health as excellent or very good. Recommendations to individuals include listening to music as a way to motivate exercise, while community recommendations include starting groups such as choirs to encourage regular music-making activities. 

What to read around the web today

  • Opinion: Structural racism is why I’m leaving organized psychiatry. STAT
  • In early February, the coronavirus was moving through New York. The New York Times
  • Ignored by doctors, transgender people turn to DIY treatments. Undark
  • Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus. Associated Press/Kaiser Health News
  • The tricky math of herd immunity for Covid-19. Quanta

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Wednesday, July 1, 2020


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