NPR’s Michel Martin speaks to Dr. David Michaels, former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about the president’s move to strengthen workplace safety rules during the pandemic.

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At the last minute, President Donald Trump granted pardons to several individuals convicted in huge Medicare swindles that prosecutors alleged often harmed or endangered elderly and infirm patients while fleecing taxpayers.

“These aren’t just technical financial crimes. These were major, major crimes,” said Louis Saccoccio, chief executive officer of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, an advocacy group.

The list of some 200 Trump pardons or commutations, most issued as he vacated the White House this week, included at least seven doctors or health care entrepreneurs who ran discredited health care enterprises, from nursing homes to pain clinics. One is a former doctor and California hospital owner embroiled in a massive workers’ compensation kickback scheme that prosecutors alleged prompted more than 14,000 dubious spinal surgeries. Another was in prison after prosecutors accused him of ripping off more than $1 billion from … Read the rest

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Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the United States is ‘real close’ to approving a third COVID-19 vaccine – and the first single-dose jab – as the latest coronavirus data shows declining rates of hospitalizations as well as lower rates of infection in 44 states.

According to the most recent figures released on Friday evening by The COVID Tracking Project, there were nearly 189,000 new cases of COVID-19 nationwide on Friday.

Encouragingly, Friday saw 3,685 fewer hospitalizations compared to the day before.

Latest data from The COVID Tracking Project on Friday shows a decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalizations in the United States, though the daily fatality count remains high

Latest data from The COVID Tracking Project on Friday shows a decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalizations in the United States, though the daily fatality count remains high

Encouragingly, Friday saw 3,685 fewer hospitalizations compared to the day before. As of Friday evening, there were 116,264 Americans hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19. According to The COVID Tracking Project, hospitalizations are falling in about half of the country - 24 states

Encouragingly, Friday saw 3,685 fewer hospitalizations compared to the day before. As of Friday evening, there were 116,264 Americans hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19. According to The COVID Tracking Project, hospitalizations are falling in about half of the country - 24 states

Encouragingly, Friday saw 3,685 fewer hospitalizations compared to the day before. As of Friday evening, there were 116,264 Americans hospitalized nationwide with COVID-19. According to The COVID Tracking Project, hospitalizations are falling in about half of the

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In the last days of 2020, Oculus quietly rolled out a fitness tracker, called Oculus Move, that lives inside its Quest headsets. Users who download the software can watch the calories they burn in virtual reality, along with their physically active minutes, climb on a ticker floating above or below their field of view. With a deeper dive into the tracker’s dashboard, they can also set goals and track their progress over time.

Move appears to be an acknowledgment from Oculus that fitness is a primary reason for many people to use VR. That’s certainly the case for me. I’m not much of a gamer in general, but for the past couple months, I’ve exercised nearly every day in virtual reality. And despite what you might think about the incompatibility of video games and exercise, these are serious workouts. Some end with me gasping for breath and wringing sweat from … Read the rest

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Patients of Asian and black backgrounds suffered disproportionate rates of premature death from COVID-19, according to a study of 1,737 patients by Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust.

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If you need surgery, it should reassure you to know that researchers have been studying factors that predict surgical success or failure for years. Some of the most important findings have been ones you might expect.

For example, studies have found that hospitals and medical centers that perform a lot of hip and knee replacements tend to have lower complication rates than those performing fewer operations. As a result, there is a trend for people needing these surgeries to have them performed at high-volume centers. Similarly, surgeons who frequently perform hip or knee replacement surgery tend to have better results than those who perform them rarely. Studies like these have been published for a number of other operations and conditions.

Less obvious factors to consider in scheduling surgeries

It might surprise you to learn that less obvious factors have also been studied. For example, researchers have examined whether

  • surgical outcomes
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There are N95s, reserved for health workers. There are KN95s, which you can buy easily … except that quality may vary. And now South Korea’s KF94’s are getting a lot of buzz.

(Image credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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President Joe Biden wasted no time getting down to work. Among the raft of executive orders he signed on Inauguration Day were several aimed at curtailing the covid crisis, including one requiring mask-wearing by federal employees and anyone on federal property for the next 100 days.

Meanwhile, with the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of two new Democratic senators from Georgia, Democrats took over the majority in the Senate, albeit with a 50-50 tie. That leaves Democrats in charge of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 2010, but with such narrow majorities it could be difficult to advance many of Biden’s top health agenda items, starting with an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby … Read the rest

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If you believe you are capable of becoming the healthy, engaged person you want to be in old age, you are much more likely to experience that outcome, a recent Oregon State University study shows.

How we think about who we’re going to be in old age is very predictive of exactly how we will be.”

Shelbie Turner, Study Co-Author, Doctoral Student, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University

Previous studies on aging have found that how people thought about themselves at age 50 predicted a wide range of future health outcomes up to 40 years later — cardiovascular events, memory, balance, will to live, hospitalizations; even mortality.

“Previous research has shown that people who have positive views of aging at 50 live 7.5 years longer, on average, than people who don’t,” said Karen Hooker, co-author of the study and the Jo Anne Leonard Petersen Endowed Chair … Read the rest

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Hidden in the depths of the Kaimanawa Forest Park in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island is the 80-foot Tauranga-Taupo waterfall. First discovered and descended some 10 years ago by Kiwi legend Brendon Bayley, it’s had a mixed history for kayakers that’s included clean lines, broken backs and near drownings. This December, rains primed the flow-dependent drop to the perfect level of 600 cubic feet per second, and two of New Zealand’s most-promising young chargers returned after a scouting mission with one plan: to run the drop. The 16-year-old George Snook and Zack Mutton made the brutal two-hour hike with kayaks and checked the flow one last time before dropping inThe falls are known for their tricky entrance and tough lip, however, with the sun out on a glorious summer’s day in the Southern Hemisphere, the timing worked perfectly. Everything aligned for the lads to Read the rest

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