A recent report shows that more than a dozen refineries around the US are emitting benzene pollution into the air at higher levels than allowed by the EPA. An activist discusses this newly labeled problem and what the agency can do to curb it.
Hundreds of patients nationally have diseases that have confounded doctors and yielded no diagnosis and no reliable treatment. Today the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, founded and funded by the NIH, helps these patients, but its funding is uncertain beyond 2022. Patients and a physician leader of the UDN discuss the lonely plight of these patients and the hope UDN provides.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, public health experts have looked to vaccines with the goal of creating “herd immunity,” where so many people are vaccinated that the virus stalls out. Now it is clear we will not reach that goal, meaning the threat of the pandemic may drag on for years. One of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts discusses how we are missing the target and what it means.
The US birth rate has been declining since the Crash of 2008, but it took an even larger decline during the pandemic to levels unseen since the Great Depression. Today fertility rates are below replacement levels, which could have big impacts on education, employment, and the tax base years down the road. Experts discuss how people make fertility decisions and the impacts they can have on the nation.
Bottled water sales have skyrocketed, in part because many people believe it is safer than tap water. Actually, bottled water faces few of the safety regulations that tap water does. The disconnect, according to a new study, comes from society’s pervasive distrust in all governmental institutions. The lead researcher discusses how restoring faith in water could begin to restore faith in all American institutions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that a new, more contagious version of COVID-19 will become the predominant strain by March, testing the new vaccine’s effectiveness. At the same time, researchers are trying to find ways to get the vaccine to more people more quickly by lengthening time between doses, with unknown results. Infectious disease experts discuss where we are in the fight.
Success of COVID-19 vaccines depends on about 75 percent of people getting them, but distrust of medicine and of vaccines among African-Americans means they may not come close to that milepost. Two experts discuss historical reasons for distrust, how the system will have to come through in ways it has not in the past, and how community leaders will make a huge difference in how the new vaccines are accepted.
A COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, but while billions have been spent on its development, little has been spent on distribution and there are still many unanswered questions. Experts discuss how vaccine distribution might be carried out, how long it’s likely to take, and the steps needed to make it work.
An estimated 35 million people were food insecure last year, and the dislocations due to COVID-19 have made it much worse now. Experts discuss the health consequences of hunger, the strategies families are using to cope with economic dislocation, and one local effort typical of new volunteer programs to feed hungry children in need.
Rising global temperatures have produced extreme weather and a rising sea level. Climate scientists fear we may soon reach the point of no return, resulting in a hothouse with large portions of the planet uninhabitable. Authors of a major report on this phenomenon explain.
The next pandemic is only a matter of “When and what,” according to health security experts, who here discuss what’s needed to be ready for a variety of possible pandemics and infectious threats, both natural and terror.
Development of a Coronavirus vaccine is proceeding at a breakneck pace. What needs to happen to make sure it’s safe and effective? And if a vaccine is successfully made, who should get it first? Will enough people opt in to get back to normal life, or will COVID-19 be with us for years? Experts discuss.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a quicker economic crash than we’ve ever seen. Opening the nation too fast will likely trigger a “W” shaped recovery with wide swings of growth then decline. Either way, the effects will last for years. Experts discuss likely scenarios.
Hospitals are scrambling to get extra equipment and outfit more beds and ICU units for COVID-19 patients. Their treatment is time-consuming and expensive. At the same time, hospitals’ lucrative elective procedure business has largely been eliminated. Will the combination bankrupt hospitals? Two experts who have studied the crisis discuss.
The effectiveness of efforts to contain coronavirus often depend on governmental policies determined years or even decades ago that, at the time, had nothing to do with public health. A health policy expert discusses some of these policies and what they mean for coronavirus testing and treatment.