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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

White House pledges additional 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to other countries

President Biden said yesterday that U.S. would share an additional 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with the world in the next six weeks, bringing the U.S.'s total commitment to 80 million doses. The additional 20 million doses will come from existing supplies of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, marking the first time that U.S.-assigned doses will be shipped overseas (AstraZeneca's vaccine has been earmarked for the other 60 million doses). Biden also announced that he was appointing Covid-19 task force lead Jeff Zients to spearhead this new effort to get vaccine doses to the rest of the world. It's unclear which countries will get doses and also how many doses each place can expect to get. 

CDC veteran Anne Schuchat to resign in second high-level departure from agency

CDC principal deputy director Anne Schuchat is stepping down from her role to retire this summer, Politico first reported. Schuchat's departure marks the second high-profile exit of a CDC official in recent weeks: Nancy Messonnier, who had led the agency’s Covid-19 pandemic response, also recently announced she was leaving. Like Messonnier, Schuchat clashed with the Trump administration when she tried to warn about the looming crisis early last year even while the White House tried to play down fears. Schuchat has been at the CDC for more than 30 years, and in her current position since 2015. “I’m pretty much in love with the place,” Schuchat told STAT about the CDC. “I feel so optimistic about CDC’s future and the nation’s public health system that this is the right time for me to move on.”

Text-based program helps young adults quit vaping

As policymakers and public health professionals find ways to combat the youth vaping epidemic, a new study finds a text-based quitting program helped some young adults stay off vaping. The study, conducted by the nonprofit group Truth Initiative, recruited nearly 2,600 people aged 18-24. Nearly 1 in 4 of those in the texting group — which included supportive and encouraging messages from former vape users — were no longer vaping at seven months of follow-up. In contrast, only about 19% in the control group — whose members only received periodic check-ins about how their quitting was going —reported no longer vaping at follow-up. Future research should focus on teens who vape, the study authors suggest, since they are among the age group that most uses e-cigarettes and other devices. 

Inside STAT: How Ashish Jha became network TV’s everyman expert on Covid

Whether it's answering journalists' questions on the news or chatting with Elmo's dad on "Sesame Street," Ashish Jha has become somewhat of an everyman expert on TV since the start of the pandemic. The 50-year-old recently took over as dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, and it's his credentials as a public health expert — and his ability to communicate across expertise levels — that have made him a booking agent's favorite in the past year. Thinking about his audience, Jha says, “They want to hear what the new variants mean to them, when their kids might be eligible for a vaccine. That’s what people actually care about.” Read more on Jha in a new profile from STAT's Damian Garde here

SCOTUS to hear arguments in case challenging Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court said yesterday that it would hear a case that sets up a direct challenge to 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which affirmed the right to abortion in the U.S. The new case revolves around the question of whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive on its own outside the womb. In 2018, Mississippi enacted a law outlawing abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, but that law had since been blocked by lower courts. The Supreme Court, with its new 6-3 conservative majority, will begin hearing arguments during its next term, starting in October, and a decision may not come until 2022. 

Nearly 1 in 10 youth identify as gender-diverse

Nearly 1 in 10 youth identify as gender-diverse, according to a small new survey. The survey, conducted in 2018, was administered to nearly 5,000 students at a midsized city school district in the Northeast U.S. More than 3,100 students completed the survey, and 9% reported that their gender did not align with the one they were assigned at birth. Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American children were more likely than white kids to say they were gender-diverse. Gender-diverse youth have higher rates of mental health conditions and often have trouble accessing health care, and study's authors write that the findings underscore the need to reevaluate outdated health care structures that may be keeping these youth from getting appropriate care. 

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 53,497
Deaths yesterday: 389

What to read around the web today

  • Women in health care are at a breaking point — and they’re leaving. The 19th
  • Congress is ready to grill AbbVie’s CEO over drug pricing. STAT+
  • The pandemic surge at home is threatening an Indian vaccinemaker’s bid to protect the world. Science
  • Desperate for treatment, Covid 'long haulers' push for 9/11-style health registry. Politico
  • Endless scrolling through social media can literally make you sick. National Geographic
  • How one startup is turning unwieldy health records into a patient-friendly platform. STAT+

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

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