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2016 Presidential Election Led To More Heart Attacks, Strokes, Study Says


  • Data shows more heart attacks and stroke hospitalizations in the two days right after the 2016 presidential election
  • Sociopolitical stress may have triggered the cardiovascular events, researchers say
  • According to a recent survey, many people see the political climate of the country as a “significant source of stress”

Can political events trigger heart ailments? A new study found that more people were hospitalized with acute cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the days immediately following the 2016 presidential election than before it.

For the new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente, researchers looked at acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke diagnoses, as well as emergency diagnoses of chest pains and unstable angina among adults in the Kaiser Permanente data, which includes 4.6 million people.

The researchers compared data from the two days right after the election with the same two days in the week prior to it. They found that cardiovascular hospitalizations in the two days immediately after the elections was 1.6 times higher than the previous week. The rate of cardiovascular hospitalizations was 353.75 per 100,000 people in the two days prior to the election and it rose to 573.14 per 100,000 in the next two days.

“Results were similar across sex, age, and race/ethnicity groups,” the researchers wrote in the study report. They said the results could be a result of the sociopolitical stress people experienced at the time.

The risk for cardiovascular events is high after a stressor or trigger event, the researchers said. 

“The risk of onset of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke is increased within hours to days after psychological triggers, including anger, depression, anxiety, and stress,” the researchers wrote.

This includes major events such as earthquakes and terror attacks. For instance, there was 70% more evaluations of angina and myocardial infarction on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks. In this case, it appears that the “trigger” event may be the presidential election.

In a report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) in July, 77% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans said the political climate in the country is a “significant source of stress.”

In another nationwide survey by the APA, 68% of the adult respondents noted that the 2020 presidential election is a big source of stress. By comparison, the number was lower during the 2016 presidential election with 52%.

“This is a wake-up call for every health professional that we need to pay greater attention to the ways in which stress linked to political campaigns, rhetoric and election outcomes can directly harm health,” corresponding author David Williams, of Harvard T.H. Chan School, said in a news release.

Although the researchers noted that further studies were needed to understand the relationship between cardiovascular events and sociopolitical stress, the results could be a reminder for people to be more aware of their stress levels and take the necessary precautions to care for their cardiovascular health.

The study is published in the Proceedings of

Pelosi eyes 25th Amendment panel to assess presidential capacity

Pelosi plans to introduce legislation to create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment to assess the president’s capacity to hold office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation Friday that would allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove the president, insisting it’s not about President Donald Trump but inspired by the need for greater congressional oversight of his White House.

Pelosi has been raising questions about Trump’s mental fitness since his COVID-19 diagnosis and demanding more transparency about his health. The bill would set up a commission to assess the president’s ability to lead the country and ensure a continuity of government. It comes one year after Pelosi’s House launched impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“This is not about President Donald Trump — he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi said at a press conference at the Capitol.

Just weeks before the Nov. 3 election, with no hopes of the bill becoming law, the rollout was quickly dismissed as a stunt by Trump’s team and top allies.

“It’s an absurd proposal,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox.

“Absolutely absurd,” said Senate Majority Leader McConnell during an appearance in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

The president’s opponents have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment for some time, but are raising it now, so close to Election Day, as the campaigns are fast turning into a referendum on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pelosi said Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID-19 diagnosis and when, exactly, he first contracted COVID as others in the White House have become infected. More than 210,000 Americans have died and millions more have tested positive for the virus, which shows no signs of abating heading into what public health experts warn will be a difficult flu season and winter.

The legislation that would create a commission as outlined under the 25th Amendment, which was passed by Congress and ratified in 1967 as a way to ensure a continuity of power in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

It says the vice president and a majority of principal officers of the executive departments “or of such other body as Congress” may by law provide a declaration to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” At that point, the vice president would immediately assume the powers of acting president.

“Let Congress exert the power the Constitution gave us,” Pelosi said Friday standing before a poster of the amendment.

Pelosi was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a constitutional scholar, who has proposed similar bills in the past.

“In times of chaos we must hold fast to our Constitution,” he said Friday.

Raskin said the commission would be launched “only for the most extreme situations.”

But, as Congress showed by impeaching — and acquitting the president over the past year — the legislative branch is determined to exert itself at times as a check on

New England Journal Of Medicine Takes Stance On Presidential Election For First Time

If you had a nickel for every time you’ve heard the phrase “unprecedented times” this year, you’d probably have a lot of nickels. Well, here’s another thing that’s truly been unprecedented: major scientific journals telling you to not vote for one of the major candidates in an upcoming U.S. Presidential election. For the first times in their long histories, The Lancet and Scientific American have clearly urged people to not re-elect current U.S. President Donald Trump this November 3. Scientific American went one step further by endorsing Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden for President, as Tommy Beer described for Forbes. And now a third prestigious scientific journal, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), has taken a stance with an editorial entitled, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum.” Take a wild guess from the title as to what they may think of the Trump administration.

Yep, “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum,” may sound like the life and times of a dust ball and how an encounter with a vacuum cleaner really sucks. But in this case, it summarized what the Editors for NEJM wrote about the Trump administration’s continuing response to the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. And spoiler alert, it was not positive, unless you count positively scathing as positive. They described the pandemic as a “test of leadership” and “here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

In the immortal words of Tag Team, whoomp! There it is. It’s really the first time since since its founding in 1812 that the esteemed medical journal has taken a clear position on a U.S. presidential election. That was a streak of about 208 years, which is approximately 7592 Scaramuccis, that has now been broken. This is by no means small news in the scientific and medical communities. Some scientists and physicians avoid discussing Presidential politics like a radioactive piece of Shoofly pie covered in sludge. But as many prominent scientists have recently point out, the upcoming election is no longer about “partisanship.” When major scientific journals have to take such a stance, you know the upcoming election is not your typical election.

The editorial went on to state that “the magnitude of this failure is astonishing,” and point out how the U.S. “had ample warning,” but was “incapable of testing effectively and couldn’t provide even the most basic personal protective equipment to health care

Presidential debate plans teeter, as Pelosi probes Trump fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled plans Thursday to probe Donald Trump’s capacity to govern after he contracted Covid-19, as the US president unspooled a rant against critics and threw the debate schedule with Joe Biden into turmoil.

With just 26 days until the November 3 election, Washington’s top Democrat took the extraordinary step of proposing a commission to probe Trump’s fitness for the job — and whether he needs removal under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.

But with tensions building over Trump’s diagnosis and questions about his judgment, his doctor gave him the green light to resume public activities this weekend, opening the door for Trump’s return to the campaign trail.

“Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagement at that time,” Trump’s physician Sean Conley said in a statement.

Having been held back from campaigning, Trump raged on Fox Business television, insulting Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris as a “monster,” branding illegal immigrants “rapists,” and urging indictments of Biden and former president Barack Obama.

And in remarks that caught Pelosi’s attention, the 74-year-old Trump quipped that he beat Covid because “I am a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young.”

Pelosi warned that Trump is suffering from a “disassociation from reality (that) would be funny if it weren’t so deadly.”

Senior House Democrat James Clyburn cautioned on CNN that Trump was exhibiting “very erratic behavior” that has drawn public concern.

As they questioned the president’s claim to be rapidly recovering from Covid-19 and Pelosi announced her upcoming probe, Trump fired back on Twitter.

“Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation,” he wrote. “They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”

– Anxious times – 

Trump’s rejection of next week’s debate because organizers decided to go virtual due to his bout with Covid-19 upended the calendar of debates — usually a set piece series of three that candidates arrange well in advance.

After back and forth between Trump and Biden’s campaign, it appeared likely that only two debates will take place in total, with the next being October 22 and the one scheduled for Miami on October 15 now scrapped.

With Biden surging in opinion polls and able to travel — the veteran Democrat visited Arizona Thursday where he and Harris launched a campaign bus tour — these are anxious times for Trump.

He is still recovering from his three-night hospital stint, while the White House itself has become a viral hotspot, with dozens of people close to Trump testing positive.

Trump’s decision to boycott next week’s debate, which would have been in town hall format with audience members asking questions, will mean missing a rare opportunity to try and best Biden in a direct televised confrontation.

Trump told Fox Business that the bipartisan debate commission’s decision to make the debate a virtual affair was “not acceptable.”

He accused organizers of trying to “protect”

Vice presidential debate: Kamala Harris claims she won’t take vaccine if Trump recommends

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said Wednesday that she would not take a vaccine recommended by President Trump during a heated debate clash over the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Harris accused Vice President Mike Pence, head of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, of failing to disclose critical information to Americans in the early days of the pandemic. When asked about a poll showing half of Americans would not take a vaccine as soon as it is available, Harris indicated that she was skeptical of Trump’s involvement in the rollout of a potential vaccine.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Harris, citing a recent report from Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, accused the Trump administration of downplaying the severity of the pandemic and bungling its initial response to the novel coronavirus. The California senator said Americans “have had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration.”

Pence fired back at Harris, asserting the Trump administration would have a vaccine “in record time” and potentially by as soon this year. He noted that five U.S. companies were conducting phase three clinical trials of potential vaccines.


“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable, and Senator, I just ask you to stop playing politics with peoples’ lives,” Pence said. “The reality is that we will have a vaccine, we believe, before the end of this year, and it will have capacity to save countless American lives and your continuous undermining of confidence in a vaccine is just unacceptable.”

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Fact-checking the 2020 vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic his Democratic challenger, California Sen. Kamala Harris, face off in Salt Lake City Wednesday night for the lone 2020 vice presidential debate.

The live, 90-minute debate, moderated by USA Today Washington Bureau chief Susan Page, touched on the coronavirus, the economy, climate change, the Supreme Court and more.

Below, ABC News will fact check what both candidates say. Refresh for the latest updates.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris arrive for the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris arrive for the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris arrive for the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Pence misleads when comparing COVID-19 pandemic to H1N1, Obama administration response

PENCE’S CLAIM: “We actually do know what failure looks like in a pandemic: It was 2009, the swine flu arrived in the United States. … When Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, not 7.5 million people contracted the swine flu, 60 million Americans contracted the swine flu.”

FACT CHECK: While Pence is correct that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the 2009 swine flu pandemic infected an estimated 60.8 million Americans in its first year, it is misleading to compare the two outbreaks given H1N1’s far lower fatality rate, and similarly misleading to call the Obama administration’s response a “failure.”

The CDC estimates up to 575,000 lives were lost to the swine flu worldwide. Of those, fewer than 13,000 were American, due in part to the Obama administration’s “complex, multi-faceted and long-term response,” the CDC later wrote. Thus far, COVID-19 has taken the lives of over 210,000 Americans, a little over eight months since the first known case of the virus was discovered in the United States.

“The team, in my opinion, in 2009, really demonstrated that the planning was worth it. Nothing is ever perfect. But I felt just so impressed and so proud of the job CDC did in 2009,” Dr. Julie Gerberding, a CDC director during the George W. Bush administration, told ABC News.

–John Verhovek and Lucien Bruggeman

Pence overstates China travel restrictions

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the vice presidential debate in Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah, Oct. 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

FACT CHECK: At the end of January, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation to restrict travelers who had visited China in the previous 14 days from entering

Biden, Harris Split on Coronavirus Vaccine at Vice Presidential Debate | America 2020

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday kicked off the first and only vice presidential debate by highlighting their divide over the coronavirus pandemic.

Surveys have shown a significant number of people would not be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. Harris indicated she would be eager to get a vaccine if it were recommended by experts.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pence accused Harris of sowing doubt over the vaccine.

“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence said.

Harris, like her running mate Joe Biden during the previous presidential debate, painted the Trump administration as not having a plan for the pandemic, which has infected over 7.5 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 211,000.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris said.

The seven-day average for new coronavirus infections is over 43,000 cases, according to government statistics compiled by USAFacts. That average for fatalities is about 680 deaths. While cases and deaths are below what they were during their previous peaks, they are still elevated.

(Courtesy of USAFacts)

(Courtesy of USAFacts)

Pence said that it is a “great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made” to say efforts over the last eight months haven’t worked.

Pence, in response to a question from moderator Susan Page, also defended the event in the Rose Garden 11 days ago where social distancing was not observed and very few were seen in masks. President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus following the event.

“Many of the people who were at that event, Susan, actually were tested for coronavirus, and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise,” Pence said.

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Watch live: Kamala Harris, Mike Pence go head-to-head in vice presidential debate

Oct. 7 (UPI) — Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence are preparing to square off in their first and only debate Wednesday night, which will be staged with expanded COVID-19 safety precautions just days after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The debate is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and will be broadcast live nationally.

As of early Wednesday, though, the Commission on Presidential Debates was working to iron out details for the safety measures. Trump announced he’d tested positive for the virus a little more than two days after he participated in a debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The commission has said that Harris and Pence will be spaced 12 feet apart for their debate, instead of the 7 feet originally planned.

Since the spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged Americans to keep at least 6 feet away from anyone not in their household. The agency updated its guidance Monday to indicate that, under certain conditions, the coronavirus can spread more than 6 feet away in poorly ventilated spaces.

The two parties were at odds on Tuesday night, however, about whether there should be plexiglass dividers between Harris and Pence to protect them. Biden’s campaign requested the dividers, but Pence asked that divider be placed on his side of the stage.

“If she wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable,” Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told The Washington Post. “It’s not needed.”

Pence’s position on the issue is representative of the vast divide between the two camps on the seriousness of the pandemic. Pence and Trump have repeatedly downplayed the threat while Biden and Harris have warned of its dangers and routinely advocated for protective measures. More than a million people worldwide and 210,000 patients in the United States have died of the disease so far.

Both candidates also have been tested daily since at least Friday, when Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive. A number of Trump aides and associates have also tested positive, including aide Hope Hicks, adviser Stephen Miller, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel, campaign manager Bill Stepien and campaign adviser Chris Christie.

Biden and Harris have tested negative multiple times since the debate in Cleveland a week ago.

First presidential debate takes place in Cleveland

President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (R), with Chris Wallace moderating, face off in the first of three scheduled 90-minute presidential debates in Cleveland on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Trump’s health looms over fate of second presidential debate

a man standing in a room: Trump's health looms over fate of second presidential debate

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Trump’s health looms over fate of second presidential debate

President Trump’s bout with COVID-19 is casting uncertainty over the second presidential debate, even as both campaigns signal a willingness to participate in next week’s event.

The president intends to participate in person at the debate in Miami, his campaign said Tuesday. Democratic nominee Joe Biden told reporters a day earlier that he would defer to medical experts on whether it would be safe to hold the event but appeared willing to take part if they signed off.

As the debate commission mulls how to move forward given all the unknowns, health experts suggested it’s not worth the risk for the two candidates, both in their 70s, to debate in person when there are alternatives available.

“With technology the way it is right now, why bother? You don’t actually need to do a debate with two people standing together physically in a room,” said Jill Roberts, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida.

“And in that case, we wouldn’t have to worry about whether one person was positive or who was at risk,” she said.

The town hall forum for the debate, slated for the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, means voters will be in the auditorium with the candidates and moderator. The setting creates an added layer of risk, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance Monday stating the coronavirus can spread through “airborne transmission” to people who are more than 6 feet away in indoor, poorly ventilated spaces.

Both candidates this week signaled a readiness to attend and participate in person, even though both are more than 70 years old, putting them at higher risk for having serious complications from COVID-19.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami. It will be great!” the president tweeted Tuesday.

Biden has been on the campaign trail in recent days and has tested negative for the virus multiple times after sharing the stage with Trump in Cleveland for the first debate on Sept. 29. On Monday, the day Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Biden said he would defer to health experts on the second debate.

Video: MEDICAL MONDAY: Weighing In On President Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis (CBS SF Bay Area)

MEDICAL MONDAY: Weighing In On President Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis



“I’m not an expert on it, but I think we should be very cautious, as I’ve thought all along,” he told reporters. “And I’m going to continue to listen to the scientists. But I’m looking forward to having a town hall meeting if that occurs.”

The biggest wild card is Trump’s health, both in terms of whether he will be well enough to debate in person and whether he will be far enough along in his recovery to avoid endangering others in the building.

Trump said he first tested positive on Thursday after returning

Trump says he feels ‘great’ and will be at the next presidential debate.

President Trump announced his plans on Tuesday to go on with the next presidential debate in Miami, against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The debate, set for Oct. 15 in Miami, would be two weeks after Mr. Trump tested positive for the notoriously unpredictable coronavirus.

According to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr. Trump could still be contagious on Oct. 15, depending on how severe his case has been and exactly when his symptoms began.

People with mild to moderate cases, the agency says, probably are not infectious once 10 days have elapsed since symptom onset. But the timeline expands to about 20 days in more severe cases — and Mr. Trump might meet the criteria for being classified as a severe case, based on the treatments he received at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Eager to get back on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that he was “FEELING GREAT!” on Tuesday, and the doctor overseeing his care, Sean P. Conley, said in a written update made public by the White House that the president “continues to do extremely well,” adding, “Today he reports no symptoms.”

Dr. Conley said the president’s oxygen saturation level was normal on Tuesday, in the 95 to 97 percent range. At one point earlier in his illness, however, it fell to 93 percent. Many medical experts consider Covid-19 patients to have severe cases if their oxygen levels drop below 94 percent.

Before Mr. Trump left the hospital on Monday evening, he issued a message telling people not to be afraid of Covid-19 and saying, “Don’t let it dominate your life.” His comments drew outrage from scientists, ethicists, doctors and friends and relatives of the deceased, who had hoped the president’s own experience with the disease would lead him to take it more seriously.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump again compared Covid-19 to the flu on social media, a reprise of earlier false claims that the illnesses were comparable in lethality; experts say seasonal influenza is much less deadly than coronavirus.

“We are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” he tweeted.

Facebook later took down Mr. Trump’s post about the flu, saying in a statement that “we remove incorrect information about the severity of Covid-19, and have now removed this post.”

The post received nearly 570,000 likes and comments and was shared nearly 50,000 times before it was taken down.

Mr. Trump posted the same false claim that the flu was responsible for more deaths than the coronavirus on Twitter. On Tuesday morning Twitter added a label to the tweet that hides the message, saying that the tweet violated its policies by spreading misleading information about Covid-19.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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