Health Highlights: May 7, 2020
Trump Personal Valet Tests Positive for Coronavirus U.S. Job Losses During Pandemic Hitting Minorities Hardest New Lung Cancer Treatment Approved by FDA Thousands of COVID-19 Cases Among Inmates and Staff at U.S. Prisons and Jails: CDC U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Home From Hospital Human Trials of Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine Begin in U.S.
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Trump Personal Valet Tests Positive for Coronavirus
One of U.S. President Donald Trump's personal valets has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The White House confirmed Thursday that the unidentified valet, a member of the U.S. Navy, tested positive after exhibiting symptoms Wednesday morning, CNN reported.
"We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus," deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. "The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health."
The valets belong to an elite military unit dedicated to the White House and often work very close to the President and first family. News that someone close to Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was "hitting the fan" in the West Wing, according to CNN.
U.S. Job Losses During Pandemic Hitting Minorities Hardest
Job losses among Americans during the coronavirus pandemic are nearly twice as high among Hispanics than among whites, and rates among blacks are also higher than among whites, a new survey finds.
The Washington Post-Ipsos poll of 8,000 adults and over 900 laid-off workers found that 20% of Hispanic adults, 16% of blacks, 11% of whites, and 12% of other racial groups have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic.
The survey also found that people most likely to have lost their jobs include younger and blue-collar workers, and those without college degrees.
U.S. companies cut 20.2 million jobs from their payrolls in April alone, the ADP Research Institute said Wednesday, the Post reported.
Last month, the Department of Labor said that more than 700,000 jobs had been lost and that the unemployment rate had increased from 3.5% to 4.4%.
Those figures could climb to job losses of more than 20 million and an unemployment rate of 16% when the department this Friday releases the first jobs report covering an entire month of shutdowns, according to said Heidi Shierholz, policy director at the Economic Policy Institute, the Post reported.
COVID-19 death rates are higher among Hispanics and blacks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Lung Cancer Treatment Approved by FDA
The first targeted therapy for adults with aggressive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Tabrecta (capmatinib) is approved for the treatment of adult patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with specific mutations that have spread to other parts of the body.
The FDA also approved the FoundationOne CDx assay (F1CDx) as a companion diagnostic for those specific mutations.
"Lung cancer is increasingly being divided into multiple subsets of molecularly defined populations with drugs being developed to target these specific groups," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
"Tabrecta is the first approval specifically for the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have mutations that lead to MET exon 14 skipping. This patient population now has an option for a targeted therapy, which they didn't have prior to today," Pazdur said in an agency news release.
Thousands of COVID-19 Cases Among Inmates and Staff at U.S. Prisons and Jails: CDC
Thousands of inmates and staff in U.S. correctional facilities have tested positive for the new coronavirus and dozens have died, a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says.
The CDC analyzed data from 37 health departments nationwide and 32 of them reported at least one laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case among inmates or staff at 420 separate jails and prisons, CBS News reported.
As of April 21, 4,893 inmates at those facilities had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 88 had died, and there have been 2,778 cases of COVID-19 among staff and 15 deaths.
The report authors noted that because they didn't have nationwide data, their findings don't represent the total number of cases in all U.S. correctional facilities, CBS News reported.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Home From Hospital
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned home Wednesday after nonsurgical treatment in hospital on Tuesday for an infection caused by a gallstone.
"She is doing well and glad to be home," a statement from the court read, CNN reported. "The Justice will return to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for follow-up outpatient visits over the next few weeks to eventually remove the gallstone non-surgically."
On Monday, Ginsburg went for outpatient tests at a hospital in Washington that "confirmed that she was suffering from a gallstone that had migrated to her cystic duct, blocking it and causing an infection," according to the court.
Ginsburg, 87, had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung in late 2018, was treated for pancreatic cancer in August 2019, and fractured three ribs in a fall in November 2018, CNN reported.
Human Trials of Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine Begin in U.S.
An experimental coronavirus vaccine began human trials in the United States on Monday, Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech said.
If the trials show that the vaccine is effective, it could be available for emergency use in the United States as early as September, The New York Times reported.
The experimental vaccine, called BNT162, is being jointly developed by the two companies and the first human trials of the vaccine began in Germany last month.
In the United States, the plan is to test the vaccine on 360 healthy volunteers in the first stage of the study, with up to 8,000 more participants added by the end of the second stage, The Times reported.
Other companies have also launched human trials of experimental coronavirus vaccines, but no vaccine has yet been approved to fight the virus.