Health Highlights: Sept. 1, 2020
GM, Ford Finish Making 80,000 Ventilators California Chicken Plant Closes After 8 Employees Die from COVID-19 Flexible School Meals Program Extended by USDA Sharing Resources With Family Members Could Extend Their Lives: Study
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
GM, Ford Finish Making 80,000 Ventilators
General Motors and Ford have completed U.S. government contracts to make 80,000 medical breathing machines for the U.S. government to help treat COVID-19 patients.
Ford made 50,000 and GM made 30,000 of the machines designed by Ventec Life Systems, the Associated Press reported.
GM made the ventilators at a converted auto electronics plant in Kokomo, Indiana, at a cost of $489.4 million. Ford's contract was worth $336 million and it made the ventilators at a factory near Detroit that was converted to make the medical equipment.
The Ford plant will return to producing auto parts, while GM will turn control of its Kokomo plant to Ventec, which will continue to make ventilators there and in Bothell, Washington, the AP reported.
California Chicken Plant Closes After 8 Employees Die from COVID-19
A Foster Farms chicken processing plant in Livingston, California where eight workers died of COVID-19 and 392 tested positive will be closed for a week of cleaning.
Following an order from county public health officials, the plant is scheduled to close from the evening of Sept. 1 to the evening of Sept. 7. Along with deep cleaning of the plant, all 1,400 people at the facility will be tested for COVID-19, CBS News reported.
If necessary, the plant closure will be extended, according to a statement from Foster Farms.
The company also said it would take additional measures ordered by county health officials. "We further agree with the Merced Public Health Department that opportunities exist to enhance social distancing, add to professional healthcare staffing that will oversee COVID-19 programs and improve COVID-19 related employee communication."
Flexible School Meals Program Extended by USDA
The flexible free school meals program that provided food to children during the summer will be extended at least through the fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Monday.
The agency had planned to end the program at the start of September but was under pressure from lawmakers to extend it, CBS News reported.
In a statement Monday, the USDA said it's "extending a suite of nationwide waivers for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the end of 2020, or until available funding runs out."
That includes: "Allowing SFSP and SSO meals to be served in all areas and at no cost; Permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times; Waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary; Allowing parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children," CBS News reported.
Sharing Resources With Family Members Could Extend Their Lives: Study
Providing your children or elderly parents with money or other resources could help them live longer, according to a new study.
It found an association between the amount and frequency of intergenerational wealth transfers -- which can include money, houses, benefits or time -- and the length of recipients' lives, CNN reported.
"At the beginning of life you are reliant on others," said study author Tobias Vogt, assistant professor, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. "It's a good idea to help others throughout the course of our lives."
The study was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.