CDC is investigating 109 hepatitis cases in children across 25 states and territories dating back to October 2021, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Maryland, and New York.
- Georgia: CDC on Friday announced that it is investigating 109 hepatitis cases in children, with 5 reported deaths across 25 states and territories. Over the past seven months, the agency has received reports of hepatitis of unknown cause in previously healthy young children. Among the infected children, 14% have needed liver transplants, and five have died. While CDC noted that the investigations are still at an early stage, the agency said it detected adenovirus infections in "more than half" of the cases. "Adenovirus was detected in some children, but we don't know if it was the actual cause of this illness," said Jay Butler, CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases. "We really are casting a broad net and keeping an open mind in terms of whether the adenovirus data may reflect an innocent bystander or whether there may be co-factors that are making the adenovirus infections manifest in a way that's not been commonly seen before," he added. (Kolata, New York Times, 5/6; Mahr, Politico, 5/6; Branswell, STAT News, 5/6; Walker, MedPage Today, 5/6)
- Maryland: FDA Commissioner Robert Califf on Saturday said that misinformation has had a heavy impact on the Covid-19 death toll. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been almost 998,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic. While Califf noted that there is "no way to quantify" his belief that misinformation is the leading cause of death in the United States, he pointed to "an erosion of life expectancy" that is currently five years shorter than other high-income countries, on average. "These are all based on estimates but this is quite disturbing," Califf noted. "With COVID, the situation is we know that if you're vaccinated and up to date with your vaccinations, you have a 90% reduction in the risk of death," he said. "If you are unlucky enough to get infected … another 90% reduction would be anti-virals, which are now available," he added. Ultimately, Califf argued that "[a]lmost no one in this country should be dying from COVID, if we were up to date on our vaccinations and got appropriate anti-viral treatment." (Falconer, Axios, 5/7)
- New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) on Sunday announced that she tested positive for the coronavirus. "Thankfully, I'm vaccinated and boosted, and I'm asymptomatic," she said. "I'll be isolating and working remotely this week. A reminder to all New Yorkers: get vaccinated and boosted, get tested, and stay home if you don't feel well." Hochul, who received a Johnson & Johnson shot last March and Moderna booster shots in October and April, last appeared publicly on Friday. Recently, several top New York officials, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have tested positive for the virus as statewide caseloads have increased. (Mahoney, Politico, 5/8)