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Study: Less restrictive reproductive rights reduce birth complications risk by 7%

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are 7% less likely have low birth weight babies than those living in states with more stringent laws, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The risk was 8% lower for Black women living in less-restrictive states, the data showed.

“Our study provides evidence that reproductive rights policies play a critical role in advancing maternal and child health equity,” study co-author May Sudhinaraset, of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion, states have had “substantial discretion” in creating policies governing whether Medicaid covers the costs of contraception or reproductive health care.

Some states have taken steps that effectively limit access to abortion services and other reproductive care, Sudhinaraset and her colleagues said.

Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than any other race group, experience more maternal health complications than White women and generally have lower quality maternity care, they said.

In addition, women of color are more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes.

Compared to infants of normal weight, low-birth-weight babies face many potential health complications, including infections early in life and long-term problems, such as delayed motor and social development or learning disabilities.

Sudhinaraset and her colleagues analyzed birth record data for the nearly 4 million births that occurred in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in 2016, comparing reproductive rights policies and adverse birth outcomes in each state.

They also evaluated if the associations were different for women of color and immigrants.

The findings indicate that expanding reproductive rights may reduce the risk of low-birth weight, particularly for U.S.-born Black women, the researchers said.

“Important policy levers can and should be implemented to improve women’s reproductive health overall, including increasing abortion access and mandatory sex education in schools,” Sudhinaraset said.

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COVID-19 Complications: Registry Aims to Track Virus Impact on Heart | U.S. News Hospital Heroes

The intensive care unit remained fully operational, primarily to treat patients with the new virus, as well as those who needed emergent care. But that meant clinicians like Dr. James de Lemos, cardiologist, didn’t have much to do, since many of the non-COVID-19 procedures he performed, like echocardiograms and surgeries to put in heart stents, were postponed or canceled.

De Lemos and many of his colleagues were frustrated; they wanted to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but felt sidelined. “We sort of felt powerless, working a lot from home during this terrible public health challenge,” de Lemos says.

Determined to take on the COVID crisis in some way, de Lemos, his colleagues and the cardiovascular fellows they work with brainstormed a way to join the battle: They launched a registry to collect comprehensive data on COVID-19 patients in the Dallas area. The registry also includes detailed information on how the virus attacks the heart of some patients.

UT Southwestern is a teaching hospital. De Lemos is a professor of medicine in the hospital’s cardiology division. He’s also a former director of the hospital’s cardiovascular fellowship program, and remains involved in the initiative.

The purpose of the registry is to help clinicians determine which therapies are most effective in treating COVID-19, based on the collected data. In November, de Lemos and his colleagues are scheduled to present some of their findings at a virtual meeting of the American Heart Association. The research is on race and ethnic differences in COVID-19 presentation and the impact of obesity in the severity of the illness. The findings of the studies are embargoed until then.

Within a few weeks of launching the local effort, de Lemos and his colleague, Dr. Sandeep Das, pitched the AHA on the idea of expanding the registry, taking it nationwide. The AHA quickly agreed. To date, de Lemos and his colleagues have collected data on about 15,000 COVID-19 patients from more than 100 hospitals in 35 states.

Texas is one of the states that’s been hit the hardest by the pandemic. As of Oct. 1, it had recorded more than 700,000 novel coronavirus cases, second only to California.

A registry is an observational study that tracks patients with a particular condition and collects detailed information about who they are – their age, gender, race and ethnic background – and how they respond to different treatments. De Lemos and his colleagues collect these data points – which have been de-identified so patients can remain anonymous – from participating hospitals. Patients do not have to opt in to participate in the research, and are not asked to.

Creating a registry is particularly important when clinicians are seeking to develop therapies to treat a new illness, like COVID-19, de Lemos says. Researchers use detailed hospital records to learn how patients responded to different treatments.

In the early days of the pandemic, it was widely believed that COVID-19 was a disease of the lungs; the vast majority of

Donald Trump’s age and weight may cause Covid complications, doctors say

Doctors have warned that the US president, Donald Trump, has numerous factors placing him at risk of complications from Covid-19, including his age and being overweight.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters


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Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters

The 74-year-old on Friday announced on Twitter that he and his wife, Melania Trump, had both tested positive for the virus. A study published in March in medical journal, The Lancet, found that while the overall death rate for people with Covid-19 was 1.4%, this rose to 8.6% for people in their 70s. The study was based on data from China.

Dr Barry Dixon, an intensive care physician at St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne, said Trump’s risk would increase if he developed pneumonia, which is associated with a high Covid-19 mortality rate, especially in patients over 65 and those who have cardiovascular disease or conditions affecting blood vessels of the brain.

“He’s at a much higher risk of dying if he does develop that bad pneumonia,” Dixon said. “There are other risk factors and co-morbidities such as whether you are a heavy smoker, have diabetes, or have heart disease. The key risk factors for Trump that we know about are his age and the fact he’s overweight, and they’d be high-risk factors.”



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing next to a woman: US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus on 2 October.


© Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters
US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus on 2 October.

Dixon said mild symptoms at onset were not an indicator that someone would avoid more severe disease. He said it was around the one-week mark where people either seemed to improve or decline rapidly.

“We tend to see people with very mild symptoms for the first week, that is typical, and in the second week typically people either develop pneumonia or not,” he said.

“If you see someone who just got it, they’ve just tested positive, typically they look well. But we would tell those patients to isolate at home and to come to hospital if they feel short of breath. Because in that second week of the virus, people can go from looking very good to pretty rotten even over just 24 to 48 hours.

“It’s a quick deterioration, and that’s what we saw with [British prime minister] Boris Johnson.”

Infectious diseases physician Prof Peter Collignon said he would have concerns for “anyone with Covid” given there was mortality associated with the virus.

Related: Donald Trump tests positive for Covid-19: what we know and don’t know

“My advice would be first of all, check his underlying conditions such as heart and lung conditions, and from there you’d make an assessment of whether he stays home or goes to hospital,” he said.

“If he’s well enough to walk and breathe OK, then he’d be fine to go home for a while. But a proportion

North Carolina college student, seemingly otherwise healthy, dies of Covid-19 complications

A college student and former high school basketball player has died from Covid-19, highlighting the virus’s danger even toward the young and healthy.



a view of a city


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Chad Dorrill, a 19-year-old sophomore at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, died this week after complications from Covid-19, according to the university. He was diagnosed with the virus earlier in September.

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Dorrill lived off campus, and all of his classes were online. The university did not say how he contracted the virus.

“When he began feeling unwell earlier this month, his mother encouraged him to come home, quarantine, and be tested for COVID-19,” Sheri Everts, chancellor of App State, said in an announcement to the university community.

“After testing positive for COVID-19 in his home county, he followed isolation procedures and was cleared by his doctor to return to Boone.”

When he returned to school, Dorrill began experiencing further difficulties, Everts said. His family then picked him up, and he was hospitalized.

“Despite generally being at lower risk for severe illness, college-age adults can become seriously ill from COVID-19. As we approach the halfway mark to the last day of classes for the Fall semester, we are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases in students,” Everts warned.

Classes — a mix of online and in-person — began in August. Since March 27, more than 600 people at the university have contracted the virus, according to the school’s tally.

Dorrill is not the first undergraduate student to die from Covid-19, but his death raises even more urgent questions around the safety of college campuses, even as universities urge safety measures amidst reopening.

CNN reached out to Dorrill’s family for comment, but has not immediately received a response.

Liam Dunman, a student at App State, said the death “definitely resonated” with him.

“You don’t hear about people our age dying from it at all, so it definitely got a little bit more real for me,” he told CNN affiliate WSOC.

In the state of North Carolina, there have only been five reported deaths from Covid-19 in people ages 24 and under and more than 56,000 confirmed cases, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

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“Super healthy” Appalachian State student dies following COVID-19 complications

The University of North Carolina system reported its first coronavirus-related student death on Tuesday since several campuses reopened with at least partial in-person learning last month. Chad Dorrill, a 19-year student at Appalachian State University who his mother and former coach described as a “super healthy” athlete, died on Monday due to coronavirus complications, officials said.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, but the grief cuts especially deep as we mourn a young man who had so much life ahead,” said a statement from Peter Hans, chancellor of the system overseeing the state’s 16 public colleges and universities. “I ache for the profound sadness that Chad Dorrill’s family is enduring right now. My heart goes out to the entire Appalachian State community.”

Dorrill was a graduate of Ledford High School in Thomasvile, CBS affiliate WFMY-TV reports. His former high school coach, Jason Anderson, told the station it’s hard to come to terms with Dorrill’s death.

“This is a perfectly healthy 19-year-old kid that two years ago was running up and down the floor playing 30 out of 32-minute games,” Anderson said.

The Piedmont Pacers, a travel basketball team that Chad Dorrill played on, said Dorrill was their all-time leading scorer and member of the 2018 USSSA National Championship team.

Dorrill’s mother released a statement though the team. “The doctors said that Chad is the rarest 1-10,000,000 case but if it can happen to a super healthy 19-year old boy who doesn’t smoke, vape or do drugs, it can happen to anyone,” Susan Dorrill said, according to WFMY.

The university reported a new high of 159 current COVID-19 cases among students on Tuesday. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for the virus since in-person classes resumed last month. Appalachian State remains open for in-person instruction.

Three North Carolina colleges, including UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University, have halted physical classes for undergraduate students, after reporting a series of coronavirus outbreaks  shortly after students returned to campus. Nearly 1,000 UNC students have tested positive for COVID-19 since classes resumed in August. ECU surpassed 1,000 cases earlier this month, followed shortly thereafter by NC State.

In a message to the university community on Tuesday, App State Chancellor Sheri Everts reminded college students to take the virus seriously and follow public health guidelines.

“His family’s wishes are for the university to share a common call to action so our entire campus community recognizes the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines,” Everts wrote. “Despite generally being at lower risk for severe illness, college-age adults can become seriously ill from COVID-19.”

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