First lady Jill Biden to undergo ‘procedure,’ White House says

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Joe Biden will accompany his wife, Jill Biden, early Wednesday morning to an appointment where she will undergo a “common medical procedure.”

The White House says both Bidens will then return to the White House and “resume their normal schedule.”

Later Wednesday, the president is set to address the nation on his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. He will then visit Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of many American service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The White House did not immediately detail the nature of the first lady’s procedure.

Source: First lady Jill Biden to undergo ‘procedure,’ White House says

DARPA unveils ‘COVID microchip,’ claims not for surveillance purposes | One America News Network

The Pentagon unveiled a coronavirus microchip that it claims can detect illness and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The tiny green thing in there, you put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body. And that signal means you’re going to have symptoms tomorrow,” retired Col. Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician said.

The implant was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which claimed the device can not be used for surveillance purposes.

Source: DARPA unveils ‘COVID microchip,’ claims not for surveillance purposes | One America News Network

If You Have This Blood Type, Your Risk of a Stroke May Be Higher

There are many factors that can put you at an increased risk of having a stroke —and blood type may be one of them, a new study says.

At the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) 2021 International Stroke Conference, research funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke looked at the association between blood type and stroke risk. According to the study, the researchers found that non-O blood types (A, B, or AB) may be at an increased risk of early-onset stroke for women who smoke and take oral contraceptives.

The researchers looked at nearly 350 women who had experienced a stroke before the age of 50 and compared their data to 383 women who had not had a stroke. They concluded that women with non-O blood types who smoked and took oral contraceptives were nearly twice as likely to have a stroke before turning 50.

Source: If You Have This Blood Type, Your Risk of a Stroke May Be Higher

Couple in their 40s found dead from COVID-19 in St. Louis County | ksdk.com

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Along Glen Bay Drive in Mehlville, there are lots of heavy hearts.

“It’s really a terrible, tragic thing,” said neighbor Chuck Duy.

St. Louis County police say last Thursday morning the husband and wife were found dead in their bed by their only child, a girl aged 11.

The girl made the grim discovery on Feb. 18, NBC reported. It was unclear whether she was living with her parents while they were quarantined.

“To lose both parents at one time you know for an 11-year-old, it’s really tragic,” neighbor Chuck Duy told KSDK-TV. “We’re praying for them. They were the nicest people. We’re so happy they moved into the neighborhood.”

Police say both were in their 40s and both died of COVID-19.

Source: Couple in their 40s found dead from COVID-19 in St. Louis County | ksdk.com

Organ transplant patient dies after receiving Covid-infected lungs

Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted Covid-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.

Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of Covid-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.

The incident appears to be isolated — the only confirmed case among nearly 40,000 transplants in 2020. But it has led to calls for more thorough testing of lung transplant donors, with samples taken from deep within the donor lungs as well as the nose and throat, said Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service.

Source: Organ transplant patient dies after receiving Covid-infected lungs

Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

Pushback among doctors and pharmacists is mounting to a state Department of Health pivot in vaccine strategy that aims to boost the number of COVID-19 inoculations by favoring bigger hospitals over smaller physician practices and clinics.

Within hours of the Health Department’s announcement Friday that it will shrink the number of providers administering COVID-19 vaccines by eliminating the smallest ones, three physician groups lodged their objections — calling the new policy a “misguided allocation change” and a “woeful mistake.”

“We urge acting secretary Alison Beam and Gov. Tom Wolf to immediately rescind the order to avoid further problems in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” their statement said. It was signed by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians and Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association.

Source: Doctors push back against new Pa. Health Department COVID-19 vaccine policy | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Sinovac Biotech said on Saturday that its unit’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use by the general public by China’s medical products regulator.

Source: China approves Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine for general public use | Reuters

Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com

The new website has a list of vaccine providers, how to contact them and a link to the state health department’s interactive map of vaccine providers.

Information on how to register for the covid vaccine and a quiz to determine when a person is eligible to get one can be found at www.co.westmoreland.pa.us/2934/29523/Vaccine-Info.

Residents need to contact the vaccine provider to schedule an appointment. Supplies of the vaccine are limited, the county said.

The web page also has information on the state’s four phases of distribution. Information on the authorized vaccines and potential side effects can be found.

Source: Westmoreland creates website for vaccine info | TribLIVE.com

Sean Conley: Biden replaces controversial White House physician – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)President Joe Biden has replaced the controversial White House physician who offered misleading information about President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis last fall.

A White House official said Biden had selected Dr. Kevin O’Connor to replace Dr. Sean Conley as his doctor. It’s not uncommon for a president to name his own physician when taking office, though his two most recent predecessors each retained the incumbent doctor who had attended the men who served before them.
He administered Biden’s physical in 2019 and prepared a report that deemed the then-candidate “healthy” and “vigorous.” At 78, Biden is the oldest newly inaugurated president in history.
A White House physician is responsible for medical care of the President, the first family and White House staff. They oversee a team of doctors and nurses that comprise the White House Medical Unit, which is headquartered in the ground level of the White House.
White House physicians travel wherever the President does, including on the Marine One helicopter and aboard Air Force One. They can frequently be seen walking a few paces behind the President, carrying a large medical bag. They also traditionally perform an annual physical and provide a summary for reporters.
Both O’Connor and Conley hold degrees in osteopathic medicine, one of the two degrees in the United States with which physicians can practice medicine — either as a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathic medicine. About a quarter of US medical students train at osteopathic medical schools, according to the American Medical Association. Historically, doctor of osteopathic medicine programs have touted their methods as “more holistic.”
Conley drew scrutiny during Trump’s bout with coronavirus in the fall. He supervised a team of specialists at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where Trump was treated.
At first, he did not disclose the President had received supplemental oxygen, and defended the decision by saying he wanted to “reflect the upbeat attitude of the team.”
“I didn’t want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction, and in doing so it came off that we were trying to hide something,” Conley said.
He replaced Dr. Ronny Jackson, a Navy rear admiral who was nominated to be secretary of veterans affairs. Jackson later withdrew following a string of allegations that included he loosely handled prescription pain medications, was intoxicated during an overseas trip and created a toxic work environment. Jackson denied the allegations. He later ran for a Texas congressional seat as a Republican and won.
On Wednesday, Conley was seen departing the White House alongside Trump, who was making a final trip to Florida before his term ended.
This story has been updated with additional background information.

Source: Sean Conley: Biden replaces controversial White House physician – CNNPolitics

U.S. officials report more severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines | Reuters

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday it is carefully monitoring allergic reactions to the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc and urged individuals who had a serious reaction not to get the second dose.

In a conference call with reporters, the U.S. public health agency said allergic reactions are occurring at a rate of 11.1 per 1 million vaccinations. That compared with flu vaccines, in which such reactions occur at a rate of 1.3 per 1 million shots.

The severe reactions are still “exceedingly rare,” they said, stressing the need for people to get vaccinated when the shots become available to them, given the threat of death and serious disease from the coronavirus that has already claimed more than 357,000 lives in the United States alone.

Source: U.S. officials report more severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines | Reuters

Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana Every Day, According to Science

Marijuana is now legal in more states than ever before, with medical marijuana proving an essential tool to relieve symptoms caused by chemotherapy and AIDS, or for those in chronic pain. Others just use it to relax, especially during stressful times (like the ones we’re going through now). But it’s important to note that smoking marijuana doesn’t come without risks, particularly if you do it every day. Here is what could possibly happen, so you can be aware of the risks as well as the rewards. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.  1 You Might Impair Your Senses&Have Mood and Behavior Changes Daily marijuana use can lead to “feelings of fatigue or apathy; feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or panic; temporary hallucinations,” says Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads. As well as, “trouble taking care of oneself and lack of hygiene practices; disconnecting from activities or people they once enjoyed; impaired memory and confusion.” 2 You Put Yourself at Risk for Respiratory Diseases “Chronically inflamed airways that result in a chronic cough, sore throat, or runny nose, and put the user at a higher risk for respiratory diseases or illnesses,” says Dr. Rhoads.  3 You Might Develop Marijuana Use Disorder “Make no mistake about it, smoking marijuana daily carries with it very real potential for addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that between 9% and 30% of those who use regularly will develop marijuana use disorder,” says Dr. Mary Gay. “I have observed significant negative effects on clients who habitually use marijuana including reduced academic performance, job loss, legal consequences, depression, anxiety, and in several cases, psychotic symptoms requiring hospitalization.” 4 You May Have an Increased Risk of Heart Issues “Compared with placebo, marijuana cigarettes cause increases in heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and forearm blood flow via increased sympathetic nervous system activity,” says Dr. Kim Langdon. “In addition, marijuana has been associated with triggering heart attacks in young male patients. Smoking marijuana has been shown to increase the risk of MI onset by a factor of 4.8 for the 60 minutes after marijuana consumption, and to increase the annual risk of MI in the daily cannabis user from 1.5% to 3% per year.” 5 You Might Cause Functional and Structural Changes in Your Brain “Functional MRI studies have also revealed functional and structural changes in brain areas involved in reward processing after chronic cannabis use and in the processing of emotion,” says Dr. Langdon. “Some studies show a higher incidence of schizophrenia in chronic adolescent and teenage use of marijuana.” 6 You Might Have Changes in the Homeostasis in Your Body “Daily use of cannabis can desensitize the endocannabinoid system and override its natural capacity to maintain homeostasis. In layman’s terms, using medical marijuana too frequently can knock your endocannabinoid system out of whack a bit, which can have an effect (though not always a negative one) on some of your body’s natural processes, like your sleeping habits, mood, appetite, memory, and fertility,” says Dr. Daniel Whitelocke, M.D., Founder of AR MMJ Cards. “Because the endocannabinoid system was only identified as recently as the 1990s, experts are still working toward fully understanding it.” 7 You Might Have Pregnancy Issues “Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and can harm your baby’s development,” says the CDC. “Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant can cause health problems in newborns— including low birth weight.” 8 You May Have Fertility Issues Smoking daily increases the chances of having “problems with decreased fertility in both males and females,” says Dr. Rhoads. It can also be a factor in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.  RELATED: What Taking Ibuprofen Every Day Does to Your Body 9 What About Withdrawal? “Withdrawal from cannabis seems to induce a lack of motivation. Cognitive dysfunction and memory problems are other potential problems such as abnormal response to stress,” says Dr. Langdon. “A clinical diagnosis of cannabis withdrawal includes irritability, anger or aggression, nervousness or anxiety, sleep difficulty, decreased appetite or weight loss, restlessness, depressed mood, and physical symptoms causing significant discomfort such as shakiness or tremors, sweating, fever, chills, and headaches.” 10 On the Other Hand…  “Marijuana is said to be a fantastic muscle relaxant, and people swear by its ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease.

Source: Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana Every Day, According to Science

Boston Doctor Develops Severe Allergic Reaction After Getting Moderna Vaccine – The New York Times

The patient, who has a severe shellfish allergy, recovered quickly with treatment. Until now, reports of severe reactions had been linked to the Pfizer vaccine.

Source: Boston Doctor Develops Severe Allergic Reaction After Getting Moderna Vaccine – The New York Times

Finger-pointing abounds as states get fewer vaccines than planned | Ars Technica

As we’re waiting for word on the authorization of a second vaccine for use in the US, glitches have been striking the distribution of the first through the federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed.” This week, the US saw the first use of the vaccine developed by a Pfizer/BioNTech collaboration. But immediately afterward, many states started saying that orders for shipments in the ensuing weeks were being cut. After some in the federal government had indicated that the problem might be in production, Pfizer issued a statement indicating that it had doses in its warehouse ready to ship out but no indication of where to ship them to.

All in all, it’s about what you’d expect in the first weeks of a massive undertaking like this.

One of the first states to report problems was Illinois, where its governor, J.B. Pritzker, said that it had indications it would only be receiving half the expected doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week. Since then, over a dozen states have indicated that they’ll be receiving fewer doses than planned in the second week

Source: Finger-pointing abounds as states get fewer vaccines than planned | Ars Technica

Veterans at VA Pittsburgh nursing home get COVID-19 vaccine

More than 100 local veterans were the Pittsburgh area’s first nursing home residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System said Thursday.

VA Pittsburgh said the vaccine was provided to every eligible veteran who wanted it in the community living center at the H. John Heinz III campus.

The healthcare system said vaccinations for front-line health care workers have also begun.

“VAPHS is one of the first 37 VA sites across the country selected to provide the vaccines for its ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures,” the VA Pittsburgh said in a news release.

Source: Veterans at VA Pittsburgh nursing home get COVID-19 vaccine

The wagontrain of COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin in historic US effort

KALAMAZOO, Michigan (AP) — The first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States headed Sunday from Michigan to distribution centers across the country, with the first shots expected to be given in the coming week to health care workers and at nursing homes.

Shipments of the Pfizer vaccine will set in motion the biggest vaccination effort in American history at a critical juncture of the pandemic that has killed 1.6 million and sickened 71 million worldwide.

Initially, about 3 million doses were expected to be sent out, and the priority is health care workers and nursing home residents as infections, hospitalizations and deaths soar in the U.S. With numbers likely to get worse over the holidays, the vaccine is offering a bright spot in the fight against the pandemic that’s killed nearly 300,000 Americans.

Source: COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin in historic US effort

Uniontown Hospital intensive care unit at capacity

UNIONTOWN, Pa. —A two-week surge in COVID-19 patients has pushed Uniontown Hospital on the brink of capacity.

“We have doubled our COVID-19 inpatient volume twice in the past two weeks,” Uniontown Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Surabhi Gaur said.

Fifty-seven people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 at the Fayette County hospital, enough to push the hospital to the verge of being at capacity.

“We’re typically licensed for about 140 beds, and we’re pushing that capacity as we speak,” Gaur said. “We’re in the high 130s.”Officials said the 15-bed intensive care unit is filled with COVID-19 patients. A drastic reduction of elective surgeries has helped the hospital shift those rooms into beds for non-COVID patients requiring intensive care.

Source: Uniontown Hospital intensive care unit at capacity

F.D.A. Panel Gives Green Light to Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine – The New York Times

The blessing of these experts means that the agency will likely OK the vaccine’s use, paving the way for health care workers to begin getting shots next week.

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine passed a critical milestone on Thursday when a panel of experts formally recommended that the Food and Drug Administration authorize the vaccine. The agency is likely to do so within days, giving health care workers and nursing home residents first priority to begin receiving the first shots early next week.

The F.D.A.’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, voted 17 to 4, with one member abstaining, in favor of emergency authorization for people 16 and older. With rare exceptions, the F.D.A. follows the advice of its advisory panels.

Source: F.D.A. Panel Gives Green Light to Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine – The New York Times

New outpatient center to open in Greensburg | News | tribdem.com

GREENSBURG – A new UPMC outpatient center will open Monday in Greensburg.

The 2,520 square-foot multi-specialty clinic at

410 Pellis Road will be staffed by 14 clinicians from UPMC East in Monroeville, bringing an array of services.

“Every day, an average of 228 Greensburg-area residents travel to a UPMC location for their health care,” UPMC East President Mark O’Hern said. 

“One of our goals in serving our communities is to make it as easy as possible for patients to obtain the high-quality care and services they need close to home, conveniently and efficiently.”

Orthopedic and sports medicine, heart and vascular, pain management, gastroenterology, general surgery and women’s health services will be available.

The new center is less than two miles from UPMC competitor Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

Source: New outpatient center to open in Greensburg | News | tribdem.com