Puerto Rico Suffered Lingering Health Effects From 2017 Hurricane

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Higher rates of obesity, high cholesterol and more were identified as long-term health impacts in survivors of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added 22 international destinations to its “very high” covid risk list, including Israel and Australia.


USA Today:
Hurricane Maria Leaves Long-Term Health Woes In Puerto Rico, Study Says


A new study that found long-term health problems in Hurricane Maria survivors underscores the devastating health consequences of climate change on communities of color, experts say. In the aftermath of the September 2017 storm, Puerto Ricans suffered higher rates of obesity, arthritis, high cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The analysis, which compared data from more than 800 participants two years before and after Maria, also found that more than twice as many participants reported eye disease, fatty liver disease and osteoporosis following the hurricane. (Hassanein, 1/17)

In global covid news —


Reuters:
U.S. CDC Warns Against Travel To 22 Destinations Over COVID-19 


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday advised against travel to 22 nations and territories because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases, including for Israel, Australia, Egypt, Albania, Argentina and Uruguay. The CDC elevated its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High,” telling Americans they should avoid travel to those destinations, which also include Panama, Qatar, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Suriname, Saint Lucia and Bolivia. (Shepardson, 1/18)


NPR:
These 5 Things Could Help Stabilize The Pandemic In Europe, WHO Expert Says


Omicron is hitting Europe like a tidal wave, moving west to east, and is likely to infect half of all Europeans by March, according to the World Health Organization. Dr. Hans Kluge is the WHO regional director for Europe and said while omicron cases were expected to peak in mid-January, it would vary between countries, with the Balkans just now starting to feel the worst of it. Because omicron spreads so easily, Kluge said the strategy in Europe was shifting from reducing transmission to shielding the most vulnerable and avoiding disruption of the economy, schools and health care. (Davis, 1/18)


The Washington Post:
Europe’s Unvaccinated Are Locked Out Of Public Life, As Covid Rules Tighten


After many rounds of rules targeting the unvaccinated, the chamber musician’s new life is unrecognizable from the old. Claudio Ronco once performed all over Europe, but now he can’t even board a plane. He can’t check into a hotel, eat at restaurant or get a coffee at a bar. Most important, he can’t use the water taxis needed to get around Venice, his home for 30 years — a loss of mobility that recently prompted him to gather up two of his prized cellos, lock up his Venetian apartment and retreat with his wife to a home owned by his in-laws one hour away in the hills. “Isolation,” Ronco called it, on the fourth day in a row that he hadn’t left the house. (Harlan and Pitrelli, 1/17)


Bloomberg:
Hamsters, Wings, Shrimp Ensnared By China’s Covid Zero Zeal


As the goal to stamp out coronavirus infection becomes harder to reach, with more transmissible variants and a world awash with the pathogen, mainland China and Hong Kong are pointing to a wide range of non-human routes as potential evaders of their strict control measures. The crackdowns, which range from parcels to fish and four-legged pets, come despite experts outside of China warning such methods of transmission are unproven and unlikely. (1/19)

In other developments from around the world —


AP:
World’s Oldest Man Dies At 112, Guinness World Records Says


Saturnino de la Fuente, a Spaniard described by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man, died Tuesday at the age of 112 years and 341 days, the records agency said. De la Fuente passed away at home in León, a city in northwest Spain, it said. Guinness World Records named De la Fuente as the world’s oldest man in September, when he was 112 years and 211 days. It said he was born in the Puente Castro neighborhood of León on Feb. 11, 1909. He survived the Spanish flu pandemic that broke out in 1918. (1/19)


Bloomberg:
Marijuana Legalization: Thailand Plans To Decriminalize Cannabis Possession


Thailand plans to decriminalize marijuana, moving a step closer to clearing its use for recreation, after becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical cannabis and its use in food and cosmetics. The nation’s Food and Drug Administration is set to propose the removal of marijuana from a list of controlled drugs to the narcotics control board on Wednesday. Once cleared by the board, the proposal will need to be approved by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul before it becomes effective. (Chuwiruch, 1/18)


Bloomberg:
Menopause Strains U.K. Workforce With Women Planning To Quit


Almost a fifth of the female workforce who are experiencing the menopause are considering leaving their jobs, a survey shows. The study commissioned by the childcare service Koru Kids showed that most women don’t get any support at work for their symptoms, and almost a quarter of them aged are unhappy in their jobs because of it. About 18% are thinking about quitting all together, the survey of 2,000 women between the ages of 45 to 67 showed. (Konotey-Ahulu, 1/17)


Modern Healthcare:
UPMC Picks CEO Of Its First Hospital In China 


Cleveland native Dr. Randy Jernejcic first realized his love for China in medical school at Ohio State University. He spent the summer of 1994 working at a hospital in Wuhan, a city that at the time had few foreigners coming through. “It started off my real long history of going back to China and taking part in different aspects of healthcare in China,” Jernejcic said. Jernejcic will soon return to the county of more than 1.4 billion people as CEO of Chengdu Wanda UPMC International Hospital, China’s first hospital run by an American academic medical center. The 500-bed hospital still under construction is slated to open in March 2023. It’s the first of five hospitals UPMC plans to develop with Wanda Group, a multinational conglomerate based in Beijing that specializes in film and real estate. (Bannow, 1/17)


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.



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