Fauci bids farewell with a final plea: Get vaccinated

Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief Covid-19 adviser, offered Americans one final warning as he prepares to leave government, ending a tumultuous turn in the national spotlight that earned him enduring affection from some and unrelenting hostility from others.

“Please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” Fauci said.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert came to the White House podium for what was billed as the final time after more than 100 briefings that made him the public face of the government’s pandemic response through two presidential administrations. Fauci, who turns 82 next month and has led the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 38 years, gave no hint of what comes next, but promised to cooperate with House Republicans who have pledged to probe his role in the Covid response.

His message Tuesday — encouraging vaccination and vigilance against a virus still killing roughly 300 Americans a day — offered critics and supporters a taste of what turned Fauci, a career civil servant, into a household name.

To some, his straight talk about how Americans should navigate an unprecedented health emergency made him a folk hero, generating a line of merchandise from oven mitts to bobblehead dolls. To others, his push for mitigation measures such as vaccines, masks and social distancing that meant closing schools and businesses rendered him a villain, and he faced withering criticism, death threats and conspiracy theories about his role in Covid-19’s origins.

That rhetoric, which was coarsened by former President Donald Trump, turned vaccines into a partisan issue that Biden White House officials are still contending with as only a fraction of eligible Americans have received the updated Covid-19 bivalent booster.

“As a physician, it pains me because I don’t want to see anybody get infected,” Fauci said. “I don’t want to see anybody hospitalized, and I don’t want to see anybody die from Covid. Whether you’re a far right Republican or a far left Democrat doesn’t make any difference to me.”

His farewell was interrupted on multiple occasions when a reporter in the back of the briefing room shouted down her colleagues, demanding to know what Fauci had personally done to investigate the virus’ origins, ultimately prompting White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to intervene.

Fauci didn’t react, sticking to the message he’s been hammering home for months: urging people to get the updated Covid booster shot ahead of the colder months during which public health officials expect to see a surge in new infections.

“Immunity and protection wanes over time,” he said, working to counter skepticism from people who don’t see the need for a third, fourth or fifth shot. “You need to update the protection we know is good protection.”

As the holidays approach, the nation is staring into the face of what many have warned could be a “tripledemic:” hospitals are grappling with an unprecedented wave of pediatric respiratory virus, flu cases are rising, and an uptick in Covid-19 cases portends a possible surge as new variants circulate.

The sluggish pace of vaccinations against both Covid-19 and flu in recent weeks are frustrating Biden health officials, who have lamented the fact that hundreds of people are still dying each day in large part because of skepticism around the updated shots. There’s also growing fear that the combination of Covid-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus, which has spiked in young children this fall, will take an outsize toll on the nation’s overworked health care workforce — laying the groundwork for overwhelmed hospitals and postponed care early next year.

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday it is launching a “six-week sprint” to encourage more Americans to get the updated shot before the end of the year, with a focus on reaching seniors and communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

The administration said it is sending $350 million in new funding to community health centers to set up pop-up and mobile vaccine sites and $125 million to get the vaccine to older Americans and people with disabilities.

CMS is also reminding nursing homes they are required to educate and offer vaccines to residents, and HHS will launch an ad campaign urging seniors to talk with providers about seeking treatment for Covid-19.

Biden officials in recent weeks have scoured the health department for whatever little funding is available to make its post-Thanksgiving vaccination push. Earlier this month, the administration requested more funding from Congress to stay ahead of a possible winter surge, but Republicans have said its inclusion in an end-of-year spending package is unlikely.

Officials have also sought to highlight evidence that the latest booster offers far more protection against severe illness, senior administration officials told POLITICO.

A study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the updated mRNA booster provided “significant additional protection” against symptomatic Covid-19 in individuals who had received the original mRNA vaccines.

Though the data is limited, it builds on more robust studies from Pfizer and Moderna that indicate Americans who get the updated vaccine are better protected against Covid heading into a winter.

“We can prevent essentially every Covid death in America,” said White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, who also spoke at the briefing. “That is a remarkable fact, 2½ years after we found this virus first in our country. But it’s going to take all of us to make that happen.”

‘I have no trouble testifying’

Though this was likely Fauci’s last appearance at a White House press briefing, there is still a chance he will participate in at least one more Covid briefing, officials said. Aides are also mulling doing a bigger “goodbye” event in December that would focus specifically on Fauci’s departure from government.

Fauci has stressed that he is not retiring but moving onto another phase of his career. He has remained tight-lipped about his future plans, officials said, in a bid to keep the focus on the administration’s outstanding work and minimize the risk of giving Republicans new reasons to put him back in the spotlight.

He may not be able to avoid it. House Republicans have said flexing their new oversight powers to probe the Biden administration’s Covid-19 response will be a priority in the new Congress, and have pledged to hold Fauci “accountable for obscuring the truth behind the origins of Covid-19.”

Fauci told POLITICO in an interview this summer that he was prepared for the attacks that could come in a Republican-controlled House, but insisted it was not part of his calculus for retirement.

“They’re going to try and come after me, anyway,” he said. “I don’t think they can say anything about the science. … If that’s what you want to investigate, be my guest. My telling somebody that it’s important to follow fundamental good public health practices … what are you going to investigate about that?”

He reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday. “If there are oversight hearings, I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress if asked,” he said. “I have testified a few hundred times over the last 40 years or so, so I have no trouble testifying. We can defend and explain and stand by everything that we said.”

Reflecting back on his time helping lead the U.S. pandemic response, Fauci said that in early 2020 he never imagined that he, or the nation, would be facing a “three-year saga of suffering and death” that would kill so many Americans, and cited the evolving variants as one of the thorniest elements to navigate.

At the same time, he said, Covid-19, while “really, really very important” is only a “fragment” of the decades he’s spent in public service.

“I’ll let other people judge the value, or not, of my accomplishments,” he said. “But what I would like people to remember about what I’ve done is that every day for all of those years, I’ve given it everything that I have and I’ve never left anything on the field. So if they want to remember me — whether they judge, rightly or wrongly, what I’ve done — I gave it all I got for many decades.”

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  • 20 минут назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    ‘Fit and healthy’ woman diagnosed with cancer after suffering from ‘lesser-known symptoms’

    Cancer doesn’t always cause the most obvious symptoms, which makes knowing the subtle signs front and centre. A 27-year-old was hit with a cancer diagnosis after experiencing “lesser-known symptoms” in her nails and hair. Now, she’s urging everyone to pay attention to any unusual changes and to see a doctor promptly.

    From dry skin to brittle hair, cancer can sometimes trigger subtle signs that aren’t exactly easy to spot.

    Christina McKnight, now 35, was sadly a victim of these vague symptoms when she battled thyroid cancer back when she was 27.

    The mum didn’t think much of these symptoms and only went to see her doctor once her husband, Matthew Mcknight, “forced” her.

    In fact, she thought her symptoms were caused by stress after she landed a promotion at her job at a commercial bank.

    Unfortunately, her fatigue, brain fog, dry skin and brittle hair turned out to be thyroid cancer despite Christina having no family history of cancer and being “young, fit and healthy”.

    Christina, from Oklahoma City, US, said: “It was one of those things that I never thought would happen to me.

    “I was young, fit and healthy. I’d just run a half marathon, did CrossFit for three years and had no known hereditary thyroid disease in the family at all.

    “I just started to feel very tired and had loads of brain fog, but I thought it was just because of my promotion.

    “Then my husband noticed how tired I was and my lack of interest in things like the gym, which I usually love.

    “I couldn’t get stuff done like I used to. I would have to go to work on a Sunday to catch up because my brain was so foggy.”

    Christina’s hair also started to get “weirdly brittle” and her skin kept growing drier.

    She continued: “I kept brushing it all off.

    “My husband knew something wasn’t right and made me book a doctor appointment – which I cancelled twice because I had too much going on. I finally went to the doctor to appease him mostly.

    “I said my symptoms were because I wasn’t looking after myself – I was eating fast food and stressed at work.

    “Thankfully, my doctor recognised my symptoms as he had recently diagnosed others with thyroid cancer.

    “He felt my neck and found a lump which I wasn’t even aware of and got the ball rolling with diagnosis.”

    Christina then had to undergo an ultrasound and a biopsy which confirmed she had thyroid cancer.

    While Christina didn’t notice the lump in her neck, the NHS states that a painless lump or swelling in this area is one of the main symptoms of thyroid cancer.

    Other key signs of this cancer include:

    At first, Christina was hesitant to accept the diagnosis as her thyroid would have to be removed but she ended up having a thyroidectomy in November 2014, followed by radioactive iodine ablation treatment in January to remove any remains of her thyroid glands.

    A year later she fortunately got the all-clear but she has to have thyroid replacement injections to replace her lost hormones.

    Christina, who shared her experience on TikTok, said: “I share my story, not to scare people, but to remind them to pay attention if you’re experiencing changes and to go to the doctor.

    “It’s so important to be aware of these lesser-known symptoms and to not assume it wouldn’t happen to you, listen to the people around you and listen to changes in your body – it could save your life.”

  • 20 минут назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    Cephalgia can appear ‘up to a week’ before you have a stroke – early signs to spot

    Although strokes have an unpredictable nature, there are some early signs that could crop up a week before the medical emergency. The popular depiction usually includes face drooping on one side or the person being unable to speak, but the first red flags might be less obvious. In fact, one warning sign, known as cephalgia, strikes in a different area.

    While strokes are often portrayed as medical emergencies that strike out of nowhere, the first signs could appear days or even a week before the event.

    According to Cardiac Screen, some people can experience red flag symptoms alerting of a future stroke “several days before they have a serious stroke”.

    Furthermore, research suggests that 43 percent of stroke patients experienced mini-stroke symptoms “up to a week before” they had a major stroke.

    One of the most common signs that belongs to this early category is known as cephalgia, according to the health portal.

    Cephalgia, better known as headache, describes pain in your head or face that’s often described as throbbing, constant, sharp or dull pressure, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

    The Premier Neurology and Wellness Center reports that around seven to 65 percent of people experiencing a stroke will experience some form of a headache.

    Patients often describe stroke-related cephalgia as a “very severe headache that comes on within seconds or minutes”.

    What’s more, the location where you feel this pain could be directly linked to where the stroke occurs.

    The Premier Neurology and Wellness Center states: “For example, a blocked carotid artery can cause a headache on the forehead, while a blockage towards the back of the brain can cause a headache towards the back of the head.

    “This ultimately means that there is not one headache location that signals a stroke, since they can occur anywhere on the head.”

    Cephalgia was also one of the first symptoms stroke survivor Marissa Fattore had experienced before the medical emergency happened.

    The 21-year-old at the time suffered from a stroke at her graduation ceremony from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in the US.

    The big day started with a headache and a “fuzzy brain”, which Marissa blamed on her nerves.

    However, these signs turned out to be the red flags signalling that she was about to have a stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

    Apart from a headache, there are some other early signs that are worth knowing, including:

    Cardiac Screen adds: “If you take note of these symptoms and seek help even if they go away, then your chances of a good recovery are much better.

    “Don’t ignore the early warning signs. You aren’t overreacting. Get help right away as a more serious stroke could be hours or days away.”

    The NHS also stresses that “urgent” medical treatment is a must because the sooner a person gets help, the less damage is likely to happen.

    “If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance,” the health service states.

  • 21 минута назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    Two smells emitted by ‘breath’ or ‘urine’ could be hinting at fatty liver – ‘not pleasant’

    Most people have some fat in their liver, but if concentrations exceed five percent this means they have fatty liver disease. At this volume, the liver will suffer disruptions to its normal functioning due to circulation dying off. Signs that the liver is under threat may emerge in the smell of breath and urine.

    Fatty liver disease is among the infamous “silent” medical conditions that are void of symptoms in the initial stages.

    The progression of liver disease is harder to ignore, however, as serious liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver failure produce unpleasant symptoms.

    Foetor hepatica is a well-established feature of severe liver disease that causes a sweet and musty smell both on the breath and in urine.

    WebMD explains: “Foetor hepatica is a distinctive breath odour that people with liver disease can have.

    “It is not pleasant. People describe it as smelling like a mixture of rotten eggs and garlic. But it is not related to hygiene or dental health.”

    In other words, brushing teeth can not help resolve the issue, so further medical intervention will be warranted to treat the underlying cause.

    The smell is caused by the excretion of dimethyl disulfide and methyl mercaptan, arising from an excess of methionine.

    This leads sulphur substances to build up in the bloodstream and make their way to the lungs, before being exhaled.

    Researchers believe that these chemicals are the primary odour-producing component of foetor hepaticas.

    Getting these unusual body smells probed by a doctor is important so the liver is treated appropriately before scarring becomes irreversible.

    Though there is no cure for cirrhosis, there are ways to manage symptoms and slow its progression.

    In severe liver disease, the organ struggles to carry out any of its normal functions because of scarring.

    This means it will have trouble filtering out toxic substances, which may cause significant collateral damage to other organs.

    Medline Plus points out: “Most changes in urine odour are not a sign of disease and go away in time.

    “Some foods and medicines, including vitamins, may affect your urines’ odour. For example, eating asparagus causes a distinct urine odour.”

    The health body continues: “Foul-smelling urine may be due to bacteria. Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes or a rare disease of metabolism.”

    The Liver Medic lists the following symptoms of advanced liver disease:

    It should be noted, however, that a great number of people who have fatty liver do not experience sickness.

    The most natural cause for a fatty build-up in the liver is an excess intake of calories, which can easily be avoided. Drinking coffee, and getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, can also help abate complications in the liver.

  • 2 часа, 20 минут назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    Two toilet symptoms that may signal a deadly blood clot has formed in a ‘major vein’

    The most common place for blood clots to form is in the lower leg due to decelerating blood flow to the lower limbs. Sometimes, however, a blood clot may form in the veins leading to the stomach. This potentially life-threatening complication could produce specific signs when going to the toilet.

    The splenic, superior or inferior mesenteric veins all deliver nutrient-rich blood to the liver through the hepatic portal vein.

    When a blood clot forms in these veins it prevents blood flow to the intestines, which can lead to the damage or death of tissue in this organ.

    Blood clots that form in the stomach or abdominal area are medically recognised as a type of deep vein thrombosis called mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT).

    MedlinePlus defines MVT as a “blood clot in one or more of the major veins that drain blood from the intestine”.

    Ignoring these symptoms could be dangerous, as delayed treatment of the condition can result in life-threatening intestinal infarction.

    Unfortunately, however, the condition is not easy to diagnose.

    The most common symptom to arouse concern in patients is acute abdominal pain, but many cases develop asymptomatically.

    This discomfort, often described as dull pain around the navel area, is a sign that blood flow in the intestine is starting to falter.

    The pain caused by blood clots in the bowel comes on quickly but sometimes develops slowly over the course of weeks or months.

    Another important characteristic of this pain is that it won’t intensify when a doctor pushes on the abdominal area, as pain from appendicitis or diverticulitis would.

    Moreover, it tends to be more pronounced after eating a meal, according to Medline Plus.

    While the exact causes for these thrombotic events are unknown, many potential triggers have been identified.

    The risk factors for MVT are generally the same as those for deep vein thromboses, such as surgery and sedentary behaviour.

    Additional risk factors, however, may include digestive ailments that trigger swelling of the tissues surrounding the intestines.

    For example, injury to the abdominal area, inflammatory bowel disease or cancers of the digestive system, could all lead to clotting events.

    People who use hormone therapies or use contraceptive medication like birth control pills could also be at a heightened risk for such complications.

  • 2 часа, 20 минут назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    Do you feel groggy? Research shares 3 simple tips that are key to waking up refreshed

    From a midday slump to tough mornings, sometimes there’s not enough coffee in the house to keep you going. However, if you struggle to wake up refreshed regularly, you might want to switch things up. New research suggests that the secret to waking up alert could be as simple as three lifestyle tweaks.

    If you don’t want to see or speak to anyone before you’ve had your first cup of coffee, you’re not alone.

    Many people are foreign to the concept of morning alertness but a new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that waking up refreshed each day is not just something a lucky few are born with.

    Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that morning grogginess could be easily tackled by three key factors: sleep, exercise and breakfast.

    These findings come from a detailed analysis of the behaviour of 833 people who had to eat a variety of breakfasts, wear wristwatches to record their sleep quantity and physical activity, as well as keep a food diary.

    The research team found that morning alertness can be achieved by a three-part prescription.

    All you need to do is exercise the previous day, sleep longer and later into the morning, and eat a special breakfast.

    Your first meal should be high in complex carbohydrates and limit sugar because a healthy controlled blood glucose response after breakfast is key to waking up more effectively.

    Raphael Vallat, the first author of the study, said: “All of these have a unique and independent effect.

    “If you sleep longer or later, you’re going to see an increase in your alertness.

    “If you do more physical activity on the day before, you’re going to see an increase. You can see improvements with each and every one of these factors.”

    The study subjects were given pre-prepared meals that consisted of muffins packed with different amounts of nutrients.

    A standardised breakfast of moderate amounts of fat and carbohydrates was compared to high-protein option (muffins plus a milkshake), and a high-carbohydrate or high-sugar breakfast (glucose drink).

    The worst type of breakfast turned out to be the meal that contained high amounts of simple sugar, which resulted in an inability to wake up effectively and maintain alertness.

    In contrast, the high-carbohydrate breakfast, and only a modest amount of protein, were linked to individuals revving up their alertness quickly in the morning.

    “A breakfast rich in carbohydrates can increase alertness, so long as your body is healthy and capable of efficiently disposing of the glucose from that meal, preventing a sustained spike in blood sugar that otherwise blunts your brain’s alertness,” Vallat said.

    However, it’s not all about food as sleep also matters significantly for your morning alertness.

    According to senior author Matthew Walker, between seven and nine hours of sleep is ideal for ridding the body of “sleep inertia”, which details the inability to transition effectively to a state of functional cognitive alertness upon awakening.

    Most people need this amount of sleep to remove a chemical called adenosine that accumulates in the body throughout the day and brings on sleepiness in the evening.

    “Considering that the majority of individuals in society are not getting enough sleep during the week, sleeping longer on a given day can help clear some of the adenosine sleepiness debt they are carrying,” Walker said.

    While it’s unclear how physical activity improves alertness the next day, exercise was proven to improve grogginess and mood levels in their research.

    This makes these three interventions a “relatively simple prescription for how best to wake up each day”.

  • 2 часа, 20 минут назад 01.12.2022Health Care
    ‘A child died last week’: Deadly and contagious virus is circulating – symptoms

    The Year One pupil from Ashford Church of England School, Kent, died last week after battling a Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infection. One local parent said: “Parents are of course getting very concerned about this outbreak, especially as a child died last week. “It is every parent’s worst nightmare. We are being told to keep sending our kids into school…

    “But it feels incredibly risky given there are now at least four cases in the local area at two different schools.”

    Group A streptococcal infections are caused by bacteria that “colonise the throat, skin and anogenital tract”, the NHS says.

    “It causes a diverse range of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections,” the health body adds.

    The Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria can lead to:

    Post-streptococcal complications can include: rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis.

    The bacteria “can occasionally cause infections that are extremely severe”.

    Invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS) “is an infection where the bacteria are isolated from a normally sterile body site, such as the blood”.

    The bacteria can spread by close contact between individuals, through respiratory droplets and direct skin contact.

    “It can also be transmitted environmentally, through contact with contaminated objects, such as towels or bedding or ingestion of food inoculated by a carrier,” the NHS notes.

    Dr Claire Winslade, health protection consultant at UKHSA South East, commented on the outbreak.

    “We are extremely saddened to hear about the death of a pupil at Ashford Church of England School,” said Dr Winslade.

    “And our thoughts are with their family, friends and the school community.

    “As a precautionary measure, we have recommended antibiotics to pupils and staff in the same year groups as the individuals affected.

    “We have provided advice to the school to help prevent further cases and will continue to monitor the situation.”

    The symptoms of iGAS, said Dr Winslade, include:

    “Anyone with these symptoms should call NHS111 immediately,” Dr Winslade advised.

    Dr Winslade continued: “Infection with Group A Streptococcus bacterium usually causes a sore throat or skin rash.

    “In very rare cases, the infection can become invasive and enter parts of the body where bacteria aren’t normally found, which can be serious.”

    Common signs and symptoms of Scarlett fever, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), include:

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Health Care Fauci bids farewell with a final plea: Get vaccinated