Health Highlights, Nov. 17, 2020

Below are newsworthy items compiled by the HealthDay staff:

Major U.S. Medical Groups Urge Trump to Work With Biden on Fighting Coronavirus

U.S. President Donald Trump needs to work with President-Elect Joe Biden to fight the coronavirus pandemic as the country grapples with record-breaking numbers of new cases, the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Hospital Association say in a letter to Trump.

"Our nation is experiencing a new surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths as we enter into a holiday season that will undoubtedly lead to greater exposure to this deadly virus. Confronting the challenges of the pandemic is imperative to saving American lives," according to the letter dated Nov. 17.

"Real-time data and information on the supply of therapeutics, testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital bed capacity and workforce availability to plan for further deployment of the nation's assets needs to be shared to save countless lives. All information about the capacity of the Strategic National Stockpile, the assets from Operation Warp Speed, and plans for dissemination of therapeutics and vaccines needs to be shared as quickly as possible to ensure that there is continuity in strategic planning so that there is no lapse in our ability to care for patients," the medical groups said.

"As providers of care for all Americans, we see the suffering that is occurring in our communities due to COVID-19. We see families who have lost both parents from COVID-19; we see children suffering from long-term effects due to a COVID-19 infection; and we see minority populations disproportionately suffering from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is from this front line human perspective that we urge you to share critical data and information as soon as possible," the letter urged.

New Pandemic Restrictions in California

The fastest rise in coronavirus cases in California since the start of the pandemic has prompted California Gov. Gavin Newsom to pull the "emergency brake" on reopening the state's economy.

"We are sounding the alarm," Newsom said Monday, the Associated Press reported. "California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet -- faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

Reopening plans will be halted and most of the state will be placed under strict measures, including the closure of most schools, no indoor worship, and requiring most indoor businesses to close or operate at significantly reduced capacity, the AP reported.

Newsom also said he was considering a curfew on business hours and strengthening a mask requirement outside homes with limited exceptions.

School Messages About Children's Weight Ineffective

School messages sent home to parents about their children's weight are ineffective, researchers say.

About 40% of American children live in states where schools regularly send parents messages about student weight measurements taken at school, CNN reported.

But those messages aren't well received by parents or children and do not help control children's weight, according to the three-year study of nearly 29,000 grade 3-7 students in California.

It was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"This was a pretty convincing study," Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of pediatrics, University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, told CNN. She was not involved in the research.

"Based on these results, schools and state departments of education should seriously consider whether BMI measurement in schools should stop altogether," Radesky suggested.

"Parents who feel their child has responded negatively to a report card BMI should advocate directly with their schools," she advised.

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