Health Highlights: Aug. 24, 2020
Children Ages 6-11 Should Wear Masks in Certain Situations: WHO There's No FDA Conspiracy to Delay Coronavirus Vaccines, Treatments, Trump's Former Agency Head Says Worlds' First Confirmed Case of Coronavirus Reinfection Reported in Hong Kong Widespread Mask Use Could Save 70,000 U.S. Lives by Dec. 1: Researchers Recalled Wawona Peaches Linked to Salmonella Outbreak Pop Concert Held to Learn More About Coronavirus Spread
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Children Ages 6-11 Should Wear Masks in Certain Situations: WHO
Children ages 6-11 should wear masks in certain situations, the World Health Organization says.
In recommendations released Monday, WHO said a number of factors should be considered in decisions about whether children in that age range should wear masks, the Associated Press reported.
They include whether COVID-19 transmission is widespread where a child lives, the child's ability to safely use a mask, and adult supervision when children take masks on or off.
It's believed that children younger than 12 aren't as likely to transmit the virus as much as adults, and children generally have less severe virus symptoms than adults, especially seniors, the AP reported.
"Luckily, the vast majority of children who are infected with the virus appear to have mild disease or asymptomatic infection, and that's good news," said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical chief of the WHO's emergencies program.
However, some children can develop severe cases of COVID-19 and even die, she added.
Children younger than age 6 shouldn't wear masks, while those ages 12-18 should use them in the same way as adults, WHO recommended.
There's No FDA Conspiracy to Delay Coronavirus Vaccines, Treatments, Trump's Former Agency Head Says
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no secret agenda to delay trials for coronavirus vaccines and treatments, former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb says in response to an allegation by President Trump.
In a tweet Saturday, Trump claimed: "The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd," CBS News reported.
Gottlieb defended the agency in an appearance Sunday on "Face the Nation."
"I firmly reject the idea that they would slow-walk anything or accelerate anything for that matter, based on any kind of political consideration and any consideration other than what's best for the public health and a real sense of mission to patients," said Gottlieb, CBS News reported.
Gottlieb headed the FDA for two years under the Trump Administration.
World's First Confirmed Case of Coronavirus Reinfection Reported in Hong Kong
The world's first confirmed case of reinfection with the new coronavirus has been reported in Hong Kong.
That's cause for concern because it suggests that immunity to the coronavirus may last only a few months in some people, and there are implications for vaccines under development, according to The New York Times.
"An apparently young and healthy patient had a second case of Covid-19 infection which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode," University of Hong Kong researchers said Monday in a statement.
Several cases of suspected reinfection have been seen in the United States and elsewhere, but none were confirmed, The Times reported.
The 33-year-old man in Hong Kong had mild symptoms the first time he was infected, and no symptoms the second time. The researchers said his reinfection was discovered after he returned from a trip to Spain, and the strain he had closely matched one circulating in Europe in July and August.
"Our results prove that his second infection is caused by a new virus that he acquired recently rather than prolonged viral shedding," according to Dr. Kelvin Kai-Wang To, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong.
Recovered people can shed viral fragments for weeks, which can cause a positive test result even though there is no live virus, The Times reported.
There are millions of cases of coronavirus infection worldwide, so it's not unexpected that some people might be reinfected with the virus within a few months, according to experts.
Widespread Mask Use Could Save 70,000 U.S. Lives by Dec. 1: Researchers
There could be another 134,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States by Dec. 1 if no new prevention measures are introduced, and the number of deaths could be much higher if rules are relaxed, researchers report.
However, they also said that 70,000 lives could be saved if more people wore masks, CNN reported.
At least 176,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States so far. The team at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected that the total would reach about 310,000 by Dec. 1 if prevention measures remain the same.
However, if 95% of the U.S. population wore masks, the death toll would be 70,000 lower during the same period, CNN reported.
But if current mask mandates and social distancing restrictions are eased, the daily death toll could rise from 2,000 to 6,000 a day, the researchers said.
"It really depends on what our leaders do, [both] as individuals, and what governments do," IHME chief Dr. Chris Murray told CNN.
Recalled Wawona Peaches Linked to Salmonella Outbreak
A salmonella outbreak that's sickened 68 people in nine states may be linked to Wawona bagged or bulk peaches sold at a number of retailers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
In a recall notice issued last week, Prima Wawona said it's recalling "bulk/loose peaches distributed and sold from June 1 through August 3 and its bagged Wawona and Wawona Organic peaches distributed and sold from June 1 through August 19th because the products could possibly be contaminated with salmonella."
The peaches were sold by a number of retailers, including: ALDI, Target, Kroger, Jay-C, King Soopers, City Market, Fry's, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Smiths, Walmart and Wegmans.
Consumers who cannot remember when they bought peaches supplied by Prima Wawona should throw them away, and consumers who bought loose peaches before Aug. 3 and don't know if they are from Prima Wawona should throw them away, the FDA advised.
It said the investigation into the outbreak is ongoing.
Pop Concert Held to Learn More About Coronavirus Spread
About 1,500 people attended a pop concert in Germany to help researchers learn how the new coronavirus spreads in such situations.
Volunteers to the concert in a Leipzig arena on Saturday had to test negative for the coronavirus beforehand and had to wear a protective mask during the concert, the Associated Press reported.
Participants were equipped with contact tracers to record their movements in the arena and track the path of small respiratory particles (aerosols) that could carry the virus emitted by attendees during the concert.
Fluorescent disinfectants were used to highlight surfaces touched most often by the concert goers, the AP reported.
The study results are expected in four to six weeks, according to study leader Stefan Moritz, from University Hospital in Halle.