Health Highlights: July 21, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Trump to Resume Daily Pandemic Briefings

Starting Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump will hold daily coronavirus task force briefings again.

His daily appearances at the briefings ended in late April after he suggested that injecting toxic disinfectant could help combat the coronavirus, The New York Times reported.

The structure and frequency of Trump’s appearances at briefings haven’t been finalized, White House aides said, and it wasn’t clear whether he would take questions or share the stage with others.

In another shift, Trump tweeted a photo of himself in a face mask Monday, after months of resistance to wearing a face covering in public, the Times reported.


Medical Screening a Must for Passengers to Fly Without Mask: Delta

Delta airline passengers who say they can’t wear a mask due to health conditions will have to undergo a medical screening before being allowed on a flight, the airline announced Monday.

The examinations will be conducted over the phone and could take an hour or longer, CBS News reported.

People who are caught making “false claims of a disability” to avoid wearing a mask will be barred from flying on Delta for as long as masks are required, the airline warned.

Passengers on most major U.S. airlines are now required to wear masks, but enforcement has been uneven, CBS News reported.


FDA Sends Warning Letters to 10 Companies for Illegal Sales of Vape Products

Ten companies have been ordered to remove their flavored disposable e-cigarettes and e-liquid products from the market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday.

The products, which appeal to youth, don’t have required premarket authorization. Warning letters were sent to the companies after ongoing internet monitoring for violations of tobacco laws and regulations, according to the FDA.

“We are concerned about the popularity of these products among youth and want to make clear to all tobacco product manufacturers and retailers that, even during the ongoing pandemic, the FDA is keeping a close watch on the marketplace and will hold companies accountable,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in an agency news release.

Three firms — Puff Bar, HQD Tech USA LLC and Myle Vape Inc. — received warning letters for illegally marketing disposable e-cigarettes.

Seven other companies — Eleaf USA, Vape Deal LLC, Majestic Vapor LLC, E Cigarette Empire LLC, Ohm City Vapes Inc., Breazy Inc. and Hina Singh Enterprises (doing business as Just Eliquids Distro Inc.) — were sent warning letters about selling unauthorized e-liquids that imitate packaging for food products that often are marketed and appeal to youth, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Twinkies, Cherry Coke and popcorn, or feature cartoon characters, the FDA said.

The 10 companies have 15 working days to respond to the FDA about correcting the violations, and face a variety of penalties if they don’t take action.


Older Children Spread New Coronavirus as Easily as Adults: Study

Children older than 10 can spread the new coronavirus as readily as adults do, according to a South Korean study that included nearly 65,000 people.

It also found that children younger than 10 are about half as likely as adults to spread the virus, The New York Times reported.

The findings, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, come as debate about reopening schools in the fall rages across the United States

“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, told The Times.

“There will be transmission,” Osterholm said. “What we have to do is accept that now and include that in our plans.”

Along with physical distancing, hand hygiene and masks, Osterholm and other experts say schools have to decide when and how to test students and staff, when and how long people need to quarantine, and when schools should be closed and reopened, the Times reported.


Pooled Sampling Approved for COVID-19 Test

An emergency use authorization has been issued for the Quest Diagnostics’ Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The test is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test to be authorized for use with pooled samples.

Sample pooling is an important public health tool because it allows for more people to be tested quickly using fewer testing resources, according to the FDA.

“This EUA for sample pooling is an important step forward in getting more COVID-19 tests to more Americans more quickly while preserving testing supplies,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in an agency news release. “Sample pooling becomes especially important as infection rates decline and we begin testing larger portions of the population.”