Health Highlights: July 21, 2021

Here’s some of HealthDay’s top stories for Wednesday, July 21:

J&J COVID vaccine weak against Delta variant. Troubling new lab research suggests the Johnson & Johnson vaccine given to more than 13 million Americans may be much less effective against the COVID Delta variant, which now causes 83% of new U.S. cases. A second dose of vaccine should protect, however. Read more

PrEP HIV prevention meds now covered by insurance. Federal law now mandates that most insured Americans gain free access to pills such as Truvada and Descovy that can shield at-risk individuals from acquiring the virus that causes AIDS. Read more

Pandemic tied to biggest drop in U.S. life expectancy since WW II. The CDC issued a final tally of vital statistics for America in 2020, and they show that overall life expectancy fell by 1.5 years, largely due to deaths from COVID-19. Some groups were hit harder than others. Read more

Breastfed babies make for healthy children. New research shows that infants fed breast milk have healthier blood pressure levels as young children. The key could be colostrum, a nutrient only found in breast milk, researchers said. Read more

COVID has killed a key caregiver for 1.5 million kids worldwide. A new report finds that children around the world lost mothers, fathers, grandparents and other caregivers in big numbers during the pandemic. Read more