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Americans over 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic, research shows

Americans over 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic compared to this time last year, and there could be consequences to their physical and mental health, researchers reported Tuesday.



a group of people in a store: A customer gets rung out at Friendly Discount liquor store in Westbrook on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.


© Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images
A customer gets rung out at Friendly Discount liquor store in Westbrook on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by about 14% from 2019, the researchers reported in the journal JAMA Network Open. That increase averages out to about one additional drinking day per month by 75% of adults.

RAND Corporation sociologist Michael Pollard and colleagues analyzed a nationally representative sample of 1,540 people ages 30 to 80. The participants completed a survey about their drinking habits between April 29 and June 9 of 2019 and then again between May 28 and June 16 of 2020.

The volunteers reported they drank alcohol on more days every week. They also reported increases in the number of drinks they had; the number of heavy drinking days; and the number of alcohol related problems over the last 30 days between 2019 and 2020.

Frequency of drinking increased by 17% among women, 19% among people aged 30 to 59 and by 10% among White people.

Heavy drinking among women increased by 41% — about one additional day of heavy drinking for one in every five women. Nearly one in 10 women, or 39%, reported an increase in alcohol-related problems, the researchers found.

“At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviors, mental health issues and violence,” the World Health Organization said in April.

The researchers say it’s important to watch for whether the increases in alcohol consumption persist over the pandemic, and whether there will be physical and mental health consequences as a result.

A dangerous combination

The uptick in drinking among adults isn’t necessarily a surprise. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Director Dr. George Koob said that the US has seen similar increases in alcohol consumption during other times of crisis, like after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and some recent hurricanes.

However, the increase in drinking during this crisis could be especially dangerous. Experts say it may actually increase the risk of Covid-19 spread and severe illness.

Not only is alcohol often consumed in crowded settings, like bars and parties, said Koob; it lowers a person’s inhibitions, making it more likely people will allow close contact and talk more, raising the likelihood they could spread the virus.

Excessive alcohol use has been linked to a weakened immune system and other negative health effects, also.

“About half the people that have acute respiratory distress syndrome are individuals who have misused alcohol,” said Koob. “We worry that if you’re drinking excessively, that could set you up, if you contract the virus, with a more severe respiratory problem.”

Substance use issues could be on the rise

Experts are also concerned about substance use disorder. Increasing levels of alcohol consumption and sales indicate a rise could

San Mateo County Reports 53 New Coronavirus Cases, No Deaths

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — San Mateo County Health reported 53 additional coronavirus cases Tuesday.

The latest report brings the countywide case count to 9,950.

The county reported no additional coronavirus-related fatalities Tuesday, leaving its COVID-19 death toll at 150.

There were 32 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in San Mateo County as of Tuesday, of which nine were being treated in intensive care units.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area and beyond, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday enacted new protections for commercial rental tenants who can prove financial hardship directly tied to COVID-19-related causes, but opted to not expand existing protections for residential renters beyond those already in place.

The supervisors unanimously approved adding commercial renter protection to a Sept. 22 urgency ordinance that already provides some protection for residential renters who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic and can prove it.

San Mateo County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a resolution to contract for up to $5 million to increase COVID-19 testing.

Since March, the county has partnered with Verily, Alphabet Inc.’s life sciences research organization that launched the Project Baseline program to provide free COVID-19 testing.

The original resolution, adopted March 24, allowed the county to contract with entities providing COVID-19 related services for a maximum of $500,000, paid from the county’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

The amended resolution increases the agreement threshold to $5 million as the county aims to increase testing to over 1,000 tests daily, up from the previous daily average of 600 to 700 tests.

Contra Costa County moved out of the state’s most restrictive coronavirus reopening tier Tuesday, allowing some businesses like gyms and restaurants to resume operating indoors with limited capacities.

Contra Costa was one of the last remaining counties in the greater Bay Area remaining in the in the Widespread tier, also frequently denoted as Tier 1 or the purple tier, due to an elevated rate of new cases.

“The credit really belongs to the residents of Contra Costa, who have adapted to the new normal and modified their lifestyles to reduce the spread of COVID in the county,” said county Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.

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There have been 814,062 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 15,717 coronavirus-related deaths in California as of Tuesday afternoon according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States had 7,180,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 205,774 coronavirus-related fatalities as of Tuesday afternoon.

There have been 33,484,488 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,004,129 deaths reported globally as of Tuesday afternoon.

— Bay City News contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on the San Mateo Patch

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SMC Supes Approve $5M Coronavirus Testing Contract With Verily

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — San Mateo County moved to ramp up coronavirus testing Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Verily worth up to $5 million.

The county has partnered with Verily, Alphabet Inc.’s life sciences research organization that launched the Project Baseline program to provide free COVID-19 testing, since March.

The original resolution, adopted March 24, allowed the county to contract with entities providing COVID-19 related services for a maximum of $500,000, paid from the county’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

The amended resolution increases the agreement threshold to $5 million as the county aims to increase testing to over 1,000 tests daily, up from the previous daily average of 600 to 700 tests. Verily provides 17 percent of the county’s testing, according to Louise Rogers, San Mateo County’s chief of health.

COVID-19 testing is available Tuesday through Saturday at the San Mateo County Event Center. San Mateo County also partners with Verily to provide mobile testing sites on rotation in various cities.

In addition to Verily, the county also introduced targeted, neighborhood-level testing for at-risk communities, which would make testing more accessible via walk-in sites.

The neighborhood test sites also allow for testing of people under 18 years old, which Verily currently does not provide.

Targeted testing is available in cities such as East Palo Alto and San Mateo. Another site will open in Redwood City.

The goal of targeted testing is to decrease barriers to testing and to increase health education, according to Deputy County Manager Justin Mates.

A full testing schedule is available at https://www.smcgov.org/testing. County officials encouraged residents to seek COVID-19 testing through private providers, which account for about 80 percent of total testing.

Increased testing could also help the county move toward a less restrictive tier of California’s blueprint for a safer economy, a framework that places counties into colored tiers based on their test positivity and adjusted case rate. The case rate is adjusted based on testing volume.

San Mateo County is in the red (substantial risk) tier, after moving from the most restrictive purple tier on Sept. 22.

— Bay City News and Patch Editor Gideon Rubin contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on the San Mateo Patch

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Coronavirus cases among young adults jumped by more than 50 percent in August nationally, the CDC says

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says coronavirus infections among young adults increased significantly from August to September as colleges and universities reopened around the country. 

The CDC study released Tuesday found that between Aug. 2 and Sept. 5, weekly COVID-19 cases among adults aged 18-22 increased 55 percent nationally. 


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The Northeast region experienced a 144 percent increase in coronavirus cases among young adults, while the Midwest recorded a 123.4 percent increase, according to the report. 

The health agency emphasized that the jump in cases was not solely attributable to increased testing. 

As about 45 percent of young adults in the age range are enrolled in colleges and universities, the CDC said it is likely the resumption of in-person classes is part of the reason for the rise in cases. 

The CDC notes previous reports showed young adults are less likely than any other age group to adhere to health guidance meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

While young adults are at lower risk for severe disease and death if they contract the virus compared to older adults and those with preexisting conditions, they can certainly transmit the virus to those at higher risk and can also become seriously ill themselves. 

“Young adults, including those enrolled in colleges and universities, should take precautions, including mask wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene, and follow local, state, and federal guidance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said in its report. 

“Institutions of higher education should take action to promote healthy environments,” the agency said. 

In a separate study published by the CDC on Tuesday, researchers looked at an unnamed North Carolina university that experienced a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and clusters within two weeks of opening the campus to students, forcing the school to transition to online classes. 

Between August 3 and 25, nearly 700 coronavirus cases were identified and most cases occurred in people aged 22 or younger. 

“Student gatherings and congregate living settings, both on and off-campus, likely contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the university community,” researchers wrote in the report. 


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Overnight Health Care: NYC reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen | Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we are awaiting the health care questions at the first presidential debate tonight.



Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: NYC reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen | Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million | Pelosi cites 'positive' talk with White House on coronavirus aid


© Getty
Overnight Health Care: NYC reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen | Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million | Pelosi cites ‘positive’ talk with White House on coronavirus aid

Moderator Chris Wallace will ask about COVID-19 and the Supreme Court, so we expect questions about President Trump’s response to the pandemic and the looming oral arguments for a Trump-backed lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Also, New York City is reporting an uptick in cases, and the global COVID-19 death toll has passed 1 million.

Let’s start with NYC…

New York City reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen

New York City reported that its daily positivity rate of coronavirus tests surpassed 3 percent on Tuesday for the first time since June, with the bulk of the increase coming from certain Queens and southern Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) called the 3.25 percent positivity rate “cause for real concern” in a Tuesday press briefing. The nine at-risk ZIP codes are predominantly Orthodox communities. De Blasio said the statewide rate is about 1 percent.

The city, an early U.S. epicenter for the pandemic, saw its numbers steadily fall over the summer but has seen an increase in recent weeks.

The uptick is disrupting the city’s attempts to reopen schools, which de Blasio has already delayed. The mayor said that if the city’s seven-day rolling average reaches 3 percent, public schools will have to close again.

Read more here.

Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million, with no end in sight

More than a million people worldwide have died after contracting the novel coronavirus less than a year after it first spilled over to humankind, a devastating toll that includes deaths in both the wealthiest and some of the poorest countries.

At least 33 million people have tested positive for the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the true number of infected is likely multiple times higher. Surveys in the United States and other nations have suggested that only about 1 in 10 people who contract the virus ever test positive.

According to a Johns Hopkins University count, the global COVID-19 death toll stood at 1,000,555 by Monday evening.

And the true number of deaths is likely substantially higher as well. Excess mortality rates across the world show more people have died this year than is typical – signs either that the virus is killing more people than currently known, or that people with other health issues are unable or unwilling to access the treatment they need.

Read more here.

Student gatherings, congregate living contribute to rapid coronavirus spread at universities: CDC

Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Universities that resume in-person

Danger Is Approaching for Coronavirus Vaccine Stocks

The Covid-19 vaccine race appears to be entering the home stretch. For biotech investors, the trouble could be just beginning.

Despite a recent pullback, biotech investors are pricing in multiple Covid-19 vaccine breakthroughs in the near future.

Pfizer


PFE -0.60%

and its partner

BioNTech


BNTX 0.54%

could have late-stage clinical data as soon as the end of October, while data from

Moderna


MRNA -0.04%

is expected soon after.

Johnson & Johnson


JNJ -0.03%

and

Novavax


NVAX -2.91%

have also recently begun their own late-stage trials and could have data within a few months.

Optimism abounds: Moderna’s shares have more than tripled so far this year, while Novavax stock has surged more than twentyfold. The so-called “vaccine trade” has become very popular with retail investors. After all, the federal government has opened its checkbook to companies trying to develop vaccines. What’s more, the total addressable market includes all of humanity, at least in theory.

That euphoria belies the volatile nature of drug development: The vast majority of drug candidates never reach the market. Those that do often suffer unpredictable bumps in the road. Potential safety or efficacy issues can emerge at any point in the development process.

For the vaccine trade, this isn’t just a theoretical risk:

Inovio Pharmaceuticals


INO -6.84%

on Monday said a planned vaccine trial would be delayed due to questions from regulators. Earlier this month,

AstraZeneca


AZN 0.66%

paused its vaccine trials after a patient became ill, though it has since resumed some of them. Such snags are commonplace, but can be very painful: Inovio shares fell 28% on Monday and have lost about two-thirds of their value in three months.

The risks to investors don’t necessarily evaporate even with successful results. The massive vaccine funding effort, which has been a boon for the sector, could become less advantageous for individual stocks as competition comes into focus. Differentiation among vaccine candidates has yet to harm stock prices, but investors should look for that dynamic to change. Without late-stage data to evaluate, it is impossible to say who is winning or losing the race.

A drug that is sufficiently safe and effective to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration won’t necessarily be widely distributed if a competitor has superior data. Then there are important drug delivery issues to consider: for instance, both the Moderna and the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine require a booster shot, but the Johnson & Johnson treatment doesn’t

The risks don’t vanish even for the winner of the race, should one emerge. While the federal government will control any vaccine distribution effort at first, it is unclear how many people will actually take the vaccine once it’s available for average consumers. It will be incumbent on any manufacturer to persuade the public that the shot is worth getting.

Spreading bets around could help, but that strategy also has limits. Some smaller developers have no product sales and would benefit greatly from a blockbuster sales opportunity. But for larger companies, that benefit is

Colleges must do more to stop coronavirus spread, CDC says




a close up of a sign


© Yahoo News



WASHINGTON — The coronavirus is spreading among young people on college campuses, a trend that college administrators and the public health officials working with them must do more to prevent. Those are the conclusions of two studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. 

One of those studies looked at national trends, while the other examined a series of recent coronavirus outbreaks at the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus at Chapel Hill. The conclusions were the same: Close living conditions, a renewal of social gatherings and disregard for mask wearing can result in viral spread. And since some 33 percent of college students live with their parents — and virtually all somehow interact with older members of their communities — that spread can afflict more vulnerable people.



a man and a woman standing on a sidewalk: Safety ambassadors Paul Ensslin, left, and Matthew Porter, right, assist a UNC-Chapel Hill student into class on Aug. 10. (Ted Richardson/Washington Post via Getty Images)


© Provided by Yahoo! News
Safety ambassadors Paul Ensslin, left, and Matthew Porter, right, assist a UNC-Chapel Hill student into class on Aug. 10. (Ted Richardson/Washington Post via Getty Images)

“To prevent cases on campuses and broader spread within communities,” the CDC researchers wrote, “it is critically important for students, faculty, and staff members at colleges and universities to remain vigilant and take steps to reduce the risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in these settings.”

Researchers recommended limits on social gatherings, mask-wearing requirements and living arrangements that do not crowd students into dormitories. At the same time, they acknowledged that “institutes of higher education present a unique set of challenges because of the presence of congregate living settings and difficulty limiting socialization and group gatherings.”

Some colleges have moved to expel or otherwise punish students who break rules by holding parties. That has resulted in backlash among some elected officials, particularly those close to President Trump. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for example, has gone as far as to propose a “bill of rights for students” that would protect them from repercussions for partying in the midst of the pandemic. 

“That’s what college kids do, and they’re at low risk,” DeSantis explained. While that is accurate in the narrowest sense, someone who is at a low risk for serious health complications can easily transmit the virus to a person at higher risk, such as an elderly parent or grandparent, or a peer who has a disorder that makes them more susceptible to the virus.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 18 coronavirus clusters — that is, groups of five or more related cases — appeared within days of students returning to campus on Aug. 3. In-person classes began on Aug. 10 but were moved online the following week as case counts increased. By Aug. 25, there were 670 coronavirus cases on campus. Encouragingly, none of them resulted in either hospitalization or death.

Of the 18 clusters, eight could be traced back to dormitories, while another five were centered on the school’s robust fraternity and sorority system. Four of the outbreaks affected athletic teams. 

Nationally, cases among people between the ages of 18

Student gatherings, congregate living contribute to rapid coronavirus spread at universities: CDC

Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Universities that resume in-person learning should reduce the capacity of on-campus housing, increase consistent use of masks, increase testing for COVID-19 and discourage student gatherings, the authors of the CDC report concluded. 

The report looked at one university in North Carolina that experienced a “rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and clusters” within two weeks of opening campus to students. 

Between August 3 and 25, nearly 700 COVID-19 cases were identified, mostly among patients 22 or younger, suggesting most cases were among undergraduate students. 

While the report doesn’t name the university — a common practice for CDC reports — the demographics and statistics listed match up with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, which ended in-person instruction two weeks after classes began following outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus. Students also were not required to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus.

Thirty percent of cases were linked to at least one cluster, defined by the CDC as five or more linked cases, such as a common residence, sports team, or membership of a fraternity or sorority. 

The CDC identified 18 clusters in total, the largest one connected to a university-affiliated apartment complex. 

“Student gatherings and congregate living settings, both on and off-campus, likely contributed to the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the university community,” the authors of the report wrote. 

By the time the university moved to online instruction Aug. 19, more than 330 COVID-19 cases had been reported to the local health department, despite taking a number of mitigation measures, including decreasing the capacity of dining halls and classrooms. 

Still, residence halls had opened at between 60 percent to 85 percent capacity, with most students in double rooms, according to the CDC’s report. 

About 5,800 students — 30 percent of enrolled undergraduates — were living on campus as of August 10. 

Among undergraduate students who tested positive for COVID-19, 36 percent lived on campus, and at least 8 percent were members of a fraternity or sorority. Eight percent were student athletes. 

As of Aug. 25, none of the students were hospitalized or had died, according to the report, but any longer-term complications are unknown because of “limited clinical follow-up,” according to the report. 

While healthy children are young adults are unlikely to face severe COVID-19 illness, they can spread it to others who are at higher risk for complications, according to a separate CDC report published Tuesday. That report found a 55 percent increase in COVID-19 cases among 18-22 year-olds between Aug. 2 and Sept. 5, as college campuses were reopening. While many colleges and universities required students be tested before or after arriving on campus, the increase in cases is not solely related to more testing, the authors of the report wrote. 

“It is likely that some of this increase is linked to resumption