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Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of Sept. 19, 2022


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Sept. 19, 2022–Sept. 23, 2022.

Healio (9/22, Feller) reports CDC data issued Thursday show “norovirus outbreaks have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels as COVID-19 mitigation measures have eased around the country.” The data show “there were nearly triple the outbreaks from August 2021 through July 2022 compared with the same time period in 2020-2021. The participating states reported 992 norovirus outbreaks in 2021-2022—close to the 1,056 reported in 2019-2020—after reporting just 343 during the 2020-2021 surveillance year.”

ABC News (9/21, Benadjaoud) reports with physician’s “offices and pharmacies now offering seasonal flu shots and updated COVID-19 boosters, experts are urging Americans to get both, with many saying October is the best time.” And although “experts say October may be an ideal window to boost immunity, they are also emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated, period,” as it is “safe for people to get both shots during the same visit for added convenience, experts say.”

The New York Times (9/20, Baumgaertner) reports, “A panel of medical experts on Tuesday recommended for the first time that doctors screen all adult patients under 65 for anxiety, guidance that highlights the extraordinary stress levels that have plagued the United States since the start of the” COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Washington Post (9/20, Zimmerman), the purpose of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) draft recommendation statement is to help “primary care clinicians identify early signs of anxiety during routine care, using questionnaires and other screening tools.”

The AP (9/20, Tanner) reports, “The proposal is open for public comment until Oct. 17, but the group usually affirms its draft guidance.” The task force’s “recommendations are based on a review that began before the COVID-19 pandemic, evaluating studies showing potential benefits and risks from screening.”

CNN (9/20, Thomas) reports, “The task force defines anxiety disorders as ‘characterized by greater duration or intensity of a stress response over everyday events.’” Types of anxiety recognized “include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia.” Additionally, the draft “recommend[s] screening for major depressive disorder in adults, consistent with recommendations for depression screening published in 2016.”

USA Today (9/19, Hassanein) reports “a staggering number of maternal deaths in the United States were found to be preventable, according to” a CDC report that found “more than 80%, or roughly 4 in 5 maternal deaths” from 2017 to 2019, “were due to preventable causes.” The analysis also “included a section on maternal deaths for American Indian and Alaska Native people,” which found “more than 90% of Indigenous mothers’ deaths were preventable.” The report is “based on figures from Maternal Mortality Review Committees” that are “based in 36 states.”

ABC News (9/19, Kekatos) says, “Mental health conditions...made up the plurality of deaths at 23%, the report found.” Additional “underlying causes of pregnancy-related death included hemorrhaging; heart conditions; infections; thrombotic embolism... cardiomyopathy...and high blood pressure.”

The Hill (9/19, Folmar) reports, “The leading causes of pregnancy-related death differed between ethnicities,” but “Black Americans were disproportionately affected.”

The New York Times (9/18, Healy, Otterman, Qin) reports, “With a jumble of confusion, eagerness and vaccine fatigue, America embarked in earnest last week on a sprawling new campaign to get Omicron-specific boosters into the arms of a pandemic-weary country.” Millions of doses of bivalent boosters “arrived with little ceremony at pharmacies, nursing homes and clinics across the country, ready to be administered in what health officials now expect to become a yearly inoculation ritual akin to a flu shot.” Early data “from states and several cities showed what health officials described as a robust early response in a moment when vaccine rates have stagnated.”

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