90% of U.S. Can Ditch Masks; $6B Sackler Settlement; FDA Rejects New COVID Vaccine – Medpage Today

by Kristen Monaco, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
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The CDC now says that 90% of U.S. counties are considered to have low or medium COVID risk, meaning they don’t meet the agency’s new criteria for indoor masking.
Florida’s Senate voted to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy; the bill, already passed in the state House, will head to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) desk. (CNN)
Is TikTok harmful to kids’ health? That’s what a new investigation launched by more than a half-dozen state attorneys general are trying to find out. (AP)
The Sackler family and their company, Purdue Pharma, reached a $6 billion deal with states to settle thousands of lawsuits over their role in the opioid crisis. (New York Times)
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, is asking Big Tech companies to give up more information on the spread of COVID misinformation on their platforms, including sources and the numbers of people exposed. (New York Times)
Meanwhile, a group of doctors keep calling out physicians who spread misinformation about unproven COVID treatments. (ABC News)
As of 8 a.m. ET on Friday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. was 79,196,394 cases and 956,262 deaths, increases of 52,509 and 1,743, respectively, from the same time yesterday.
Recently authorized bebtelovimab is the only monoclonal antibody to cover all mutations of Omicron and its circulating sublineages, according to a study in Nature.
FDA declined to grant an emergency use authorization to the Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine for use in those ages 2 to 18 years, co-developer Ocugen announced.
The agency also announced final “recall ready” guidance to help companies quickly pull products during voluntary recalls.
In related news, the FDA is taking heat over its handling of the recent baby formula recall, and House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has requested an investigation by the inspector general. (Politico)
Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) returned full-time to the Senate after suffering a stroke in the cerebellum in January. (Washington Post)
Under a proposed law, some nurse practitioners in California would be permitted to perform abortions without the supervision of a doctor. (AP)
Ukraine was on high alert on Thursday after one of its nuclear power plants — the largest in Europe — was shelled by Russia; radiation levels are reported to be stable. (AP)
The State Department said Americans leaving Russia or Belarus won’t need a negative COVID test to come home. (Reuters)
During the Omicron surge in New York City, the rate of hospitalized Black residents was double that of white residents, in part due to lower vaccination and booster rates. (New York Post)
The House passed a bill to expand VA healthcare eligibility for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their service. (The Hill)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a plan to create mental health courts in every county in the state to connect homeless individuals with psychiatric treatment, medication, and housing. (AP)
Civica Rx, a non-profit drugmaker, announced plans to make three types of lower-cost insulin — biosimilars of Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog — available in the U.S. by 2024. (Reuters)
The Biden administration said it plans to license COVID-19 medical technology to the World Health Organization to help low- and middle-income countries gain greater access to medications. (The Hill)
In a vote of 48-47, the Senate passed a bill to end the national emergency declaration for the pandemic, but President Biden already threatened to veto the bill. (Politico)
The NFL and its players union agreed to suspend COVID protocols, including mandatory testing of players and staff, for the 2022 season. (NPR)
Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor suffered a data breach, potentially exposing 3,000 patients’ health information. (MLive)
Pfizer Canada recalled its blood pressure drug quinapril HCl/hydrochlorothiazide (Accuretic) due to N-nitroso-quinapril impurity. (Reuters)
Kristen Monaco is a staff writer, focusing on endocrinology, psychiatry, and nephrology news. Based out of the New York City office, she’s worked at the company since 2015.
The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.
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