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A summary of important health news from the past week.

The Shadow Orphan Crisis of COVID-19

An article recently published in JAMA Pediatrics estimates that more than 40,000 children in the United States have lost a parent to Covid-19. That means for every 13 Covid-19 death in the US, one person under the age of 18 loses a parent. Losing a loved one can be especially hard for those under 18, destabilizing and altering their lives forever. Losing a parent cuts off financial support, putting these young people at greater risk for alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, and dropping out of school. With over 3 million deaths worldwide, the number of children under 18 orphaned by COVID-19 is only growing.

Handwashing falls to pre-Covid levels despite pandemic, study finds

By: Sandee LaMotte

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified public health messages urging others to wash their hands as often as possible. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June 2020 found that people were washing their hands twice as often as they did in 2019. Unfortunately, people have gone back to their old hygiene habits. In fact, a study discovered hospital workers hand washing compliance rate dropped from 100 percent to 51.5 percent. With or without a pandemic, proper hygiene is important. Experts recommend establishing rules for one’s household, like removing shoes and washing hands before getting comfortable.

COVID-19 Vaccines Using mRNA Appear Safe and Effective in Pregnant People

By: Heather Grey

Preliminary data finds there appears to be no increased risk of major pregnancy complications in people who’ve received the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Researchers said there was no increased risk of preterm birth, low-birth weight, miscarriage, or neonatal death in infants born to people who had mRNA vaccines. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that pregnant women are more likely than non-pregnant women to be admitted to an intensive care unit for COVID-19. They are also more likely to be ventilated for the disease and more likely to die from it. Experts say that pregnant people should be vaccinated due to the high risk of complications from COVID-19.

The Gender Vaccine Gap: More Women Than Men Are Getting Covid Shots

By: Laura Ungar

As more men are dying of COVID-19, more women than men are acquiring the vaccine. Out of 38 states that revealed gender breakdowns, Kaiser Health News observed that all of them revealed that women received more shots than men. While the reasoning for such data is unclear, public health experts accredit the fact that women have a history of longer life spans, and also make up 3/4 of the healthcare and education workforce. The statistical data reported by each state may be unclear, however, as some states report the amount of individuals who have received both vaccine doses while others report the number of individuals who have received at least one dose.