Health Highlights: May 13, 2020
U.S. Project Would Produce Hundreds of Millions of Prefilled Syringes if Coronavirus Vaccine Developed Doctors Should Watch for Inflammatory Syndrome in Kids Tied to Coronavirus: CDC New York City May Have Had Thousands More COVID-19 Deaths Than Thought
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Project Would Produce Hundreds of Millions of Prefilled Syringes if Coronavirus Vaccine Developed
A deal for hundreds of millions of syringes that could be used to quickly administer a possible vaccine against the new coronavirus has been reached between the U.S. government and a private company.
The $138 million partnership is with ApiJect Systems America, which makes inexpensive prefilled plastic syringes designed to be used in developing countries, NBC News reported.
The aim of the Project Jumpstart initiative is to produce 100 million prefilled syringes by the end of 2020 and more than 500 million in 2021 if a vaccine against the new coronavirus becomes available, government officials said.
The project will "help significantly decrease the United States' dependence on offshore supply chains and its reliance on older technologies with much longer production lead times," said Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, NBC News reported.
Doctors Should Watch for Inflammatory Syndrome in Kids Tied to Coronavirus: CDC
American physicians should watch for a dangerous inflammatory syndrome in children that may be linked to coronavirus infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control says in an alert.
It will go out on the Health Alert Network to thousands of physicians and other clinicians nationwide, a CDC spokesman told CNN.
"We will provide a working case definition of what cases look like," the spokesman said, and doctors will be asked to report cases to state and local health departments to help the CDC gather information about the syndrome.
Children with the syndrome may have persistent fever, inflammation, poor function in one or more organs, and other symptoms similar to shock, CNN reported.
The CDC spokesman said the agency and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists are developing a definition of the syndrome that could be released Wednesday or Thursday.
The first documented cases were in New York, but diagnoses began appearing in more states this week, CNN reported.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the New York State Department of Health is investigating about 100 possible cases of the illness in children, and that two children and a teen had died of the syndrome.
State data show that the majority of cases are in children ages 5-9 (29%) and ages 10-14 (28%), CNN reported.
New York City May Have Had Thousands More COVID-19 Deaths Than Thought
There may have been thousands more COVID-19 deaths in New York City so far than official figures suggest, according to a new analysis released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It found that between March 11 and May 2, there were about 24,000 more deaths in New York City than would normally be expected during that time period, which is about 5,300 more deaths than were attributed to the new coronavirus during those weeks, CBS News reported.
Some of those excess deaths could have been caused by COVID-19 but weren't included in official tallies because the person died at home, or because healthcare providers didn't know the person was infected, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene researchers.
They said another factor could be that people delayed seeking care for conditions such as heart disease or diabetes because they were afraid of contracting the coronavirus, or their care was delayed due to hospitals being overwhelmed by the coronavirus crisis, CBS News reported.
As of Sunday, New York City had recorded nearly 14,800 COVID-19 deaths confirmed by a lab test and another nearly 5,200 probable deaths where no test was conducted.