Democrats Introduce Bill Holding Tech Companies Liable for ‘Health Misinformation’

Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Luján

Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday removing liability protections from online platforms that promote content deemed health misinformation.

The bill, proposed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan on Thursday, seeks to carve out an exception from Section 230 liability shields enjoyed by online platforms, such as Facebook or YouTube, if those platforms boost content classified as health misinformation, Vox first reported.

The legislation, known as the Health Misinformation Act, directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a definition of health misinformation, and strips liability protections from platforms “if the provider promotes that health misinformation through an algorithm used by the provider.” HHS defined health misinformation in an advisory last week as “information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence.”

Read More

Commentary: Vegan Diets and If It Makes Kids Shorter and Weaker

Vegan dish

Diets that exclude meat and fish (vegetarian) or all animal products including dairy and eggs (vegan) are becoming increasingly popular for health, environmental and ethical reasons.

Past research in adults has linked vegetarian and vegan diets with a reduced risk of heart disease but a greater risk of fractures, caused by low calcium intakes. But the impact on children has not been evaluated, until the release of a new study this week.

The researchers found a link between shorter heights and lower bone mineral content among vegan children, compared to meat-eaters. But they didn’t show vegan diets caused the difference. Nor can they say the differences will last into adulthood.

Read More

Commentary: Combating Global Food Insecurity 

As COVID-19, violent conflicts, and natural disasters persist around the world, an increasing number of people face an additional crisis: food insecurity.  Although food insecurity existed in many low- and middle-income countries prior to 2020, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated this global challenge.

Today, according to the United Nations World Food Program Live Hunger Map, an estimated 870 million people live on insufficient food consumption.  This figure has increased since 2019, when an estimated 821 million people did not get enough food to eat. 

Within the 79 countries in which the World Food Program operates, the number of people suffering from acute malnutrition or worse has doubled to 270 million people since 2019.

Read More

At Least 40 Percent of NIAID and FDA Employees Have Not Been Vaccinated, According to Fauci and Marks

Doctor giving vaccination to patient

At least 40 percent of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FDA official Dr. Peter Marks.

During a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Richard Burr (R-Va.) asked Fauci, Marks, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky what percentage of their own employees were vaccinated.

Both Fauci and Marks estimated that a little more than half—perhaps around 60 percent of their employees—have been vaccinated. Walensky waffled, saying only that she was “encouraging employees to get vaccinated,” but couldn’t say how many have actually done so.

Read More

U.S. Fertility Rate Declines for Sixth Straight Year

Infant feet

During 2020 the US birth rate fell 4% lower than the year before – the largest drop in nearly 50 years, according to government data released Wednesday.

The report showed the number of births fell across all ethnicities and origins.

“This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979,” the National Center for Health Statistics said.

Read More

U.S. Senate Confirms Dr. Rachel Levine as Assistant Secretary of Health

Rachel Levine

Dr. Rachel Levine became the highest-ranking transgender official to serve in federal office with her confirmation Wednesday in the U.S. Senate.

Levine joins the Department of Health and Human Services as assistant secretary of health after President Joe Biden nominated her for the post in January.

At the time, Biden described Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of Health as an “historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

Read More

Commentary: Why Is the Gut So ‘Emotional’?

You don’t get a ‘sinking’ feeling in your feet, nor butterflies in your fingers, nor elation in your shoulders. You feel these sensations in your stomach. But why?

As RCS originally reported nine years ago, the gut is home to at least 100 million neurons, and perhaps as many as 500 million, by far the most outside of the brain. Concentrated in the lining of the gastrointestinal system, embedded in the esophagus and even the anus, these neurons constitute what scientists have dubbed the “enteric nervous system.” Through the vagus nerve, this ‘second brain’ has a direct line to the primary one in your skull, and as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, it likes to talk.

Read More

National Mental Health Crisis Emerges Among Youth During Pandemic Lockdowns: Reports

Children and young adults are experiencing increased mental health issues, and suicide also is on the rise within the age group at least in part because of ongoing state shutdowns, according to several reports.

Within months of governors and local authorities shuttering schools, children were increasingly brought to emergency room doctors and specialists, according to a by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read More

Michigan Health Professionals to Be Required to Undergo Implicit Bias Training

Health professionals in Michigan will soon be required to undergo implicit bias training in order to obtain a license, registration or renewal of license and registration, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday.

Whitmer said the move was recommended by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which was created to respond to the impact COVID-19 had on communities of color.

Read More

Whitmer Joins Coalition of 12 Governors To Ask Trump to Open Insurance Enrollment

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined a coalition of 12 governors to ask President Trump to allow for a special enrollment period to allow for increased access to affordable health care.

Whitmer is joining the governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The letter asks for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange.

Read More

Michigan Has Third-Highest Rate of Infection in Country at 35.3 Percent

Michigan is keeping pace with some of the most-infected states in the country, with more than 35 percent of tests coming back with confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

As of Monday evening, Michigan has 6,498 confirmed positive cases out of 18,391 total tested — an infection rate of 35.3 percent. By comparison, New Jersey has an infection rate of 39.7 percent with 16,636 confirmed cases and New York has an infection rate of 35.7 percent with 66,497 confirmed cases. New York and New Jersey are the top two most-infected states in the country, followed by Michigan. California is currently the fourth most-infected state with 6,447 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 21.5 percent.

Read More

Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer Asks Trump for Major Disaster Declaration

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has submitted a request to President Trump to ask him for a major disaster declaration, which would allow the state to aid its residents in a variety of ways.

If granted in full, the declaration would allow the state to provide meals for families in need, rental assistance and temporary housing, as well as funding for field hospitals and mental health support.

Read More

Delaware Says It Reports Negative Cases to CDC, Will Report to Public

The Delaware Department of Health has confirmed that it is reporting both positive and negative test results of coronavirus testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite not making that information available to the public.

“Yes, we are reporting both positive and negative results to the CDC,” a spokesperson said in an email to The Michigan Star on Wednesday. “We absolutely understand the interest in knowing the number of negative test results received, as well as the number of positives.”

Read More

CVS Will Hire 50,000 Workers, Company Announces

CVS Health plans on hiring 50,000 employees to fill full-time, part-time and temporary positions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, the company announced on Monday.

Available roles include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service employees. CVS said many roles will be filled by employees from current CVS Health clients that have had to furlough workers, such as Hilton and Marriott.

Read More

Michigan Coronavirus Cases Up to 53

Michigan currently has 53 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after 20 more cases were recently confirmed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Sunday.

The virus, identified by medical professionals as COVID-19, has been confirmed in seven different counties: Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Kent County, Wayne County, Ottawa County and St. Clair County. It has also been confirmed in the city of Detroit.

Read More

State Officials Activate Michigan Joint Information Center in Preparation for Coronavirus

State officials activated the Michigan Joint Information Center on Tuesday in order to assist state communications about the spread of the coronavirus disease.

There are currently no known cases of the coronavirus in Michigan.

The JIC allows responding public information officers across the state to post and access the latest verified information.

Read More

Michigan Medicaid to Waive Copays, Cost-Sharing for Coronavirus Treatment

The Michigan Medicaid program will waive copays and cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment, according to an announcement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday.

“We must take steps to ensure every Michigander has access to the care they need to combat the spread of this disease,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That’s why the State of Michigan is stepping up by waiving fees for testing and treatment associated with coronavirus.”

Read More