Health Highlights: July 9, 2020

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

CDC to Change School Reopening Guidelines After Trump’s Criticism

An announcement that new guidelines for reopening U.S. schools was made Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just hours after the agency’s current guidelines were criticized by President Donald Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new recommendations next week, The New York Times reported.

“Well the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence said during a coronavirus task force briefing. “That’s the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

On Twitter Wednesday morning, Trump attacked current CDC guidelines that outline preventive measures needed to reopen schools, and threatened to withhold funding from schools that don’t fully reopen in the fall, the Times reported.

On Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the agency’s guidelines shouldn’t be used to justify keeping schools closed.

“I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC’s guidelines is to be used it as a rationale to keep schools closed,” Redfield said. “We are prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction, to help them use the different strategies that we proposed that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools.”

Recommendations include keeping classroom windows open, spacing desks at least 6 feet apart “when feasible” and not using cafeterias or playground equipment, the Times reported.


Higher Rates of Pain and Bleeding With Essure Birth Control Device: Study

The permanent birth control device Essure is associated with higher rates of chronic lower abdominal or pelvic pain and abnormal uterine bleeding compared to tubal ligation, according to interim results of a post-market study ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It compared Essure and tibal ligation among more than 1,100 women across the United States and found that rates of chronic lower abdominal or pelvic pain were just over 9% in the Essure group and 4.5% in the tubal ligation group, and rates of abnormal uterine bleeding were 16.3% in the Essure group and 10.2% in the tubal ligation group, CNN reported.

The Essure group had higher rates of gynecologic operations — including surgery to remove the device — than the tubal ligation group, while pregnancy rates were similar in the two groups, according to a statement from Dr. Terri Cornelison, director of the FDA’s Health of Women Program.

In 2018, Essure maker Bayer pulled the device from the U.S. market due to concerns about side effects. The FDA told Bayer to extend a post-market surveillance study on Essure from three to five years, CNN reported.

The study is ongoing, and patients are still completing one-year follow-up visits, the FDA said.

“Final analyses of endpoints will not be completed until the study concludes’ in 2025. It is therefore too early to draw any conclusions,” Bayer said in a statement, CNN reported.

“The results of several large, real-world observational studies comparing patients with Essure to patients who have had tubal ligations consistently show that Essure’s safety profile is similar to that of tubal ligation,” Bayer said.


11 Dengue Fever Cases Confirmed in Florida Keys

Confirmation of an 11th case of dengue fever in the Florida Keys was announced Tuesday by state health officials.

They said all 11 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been in Key Largo, including eight cases in the last week of June, CBS News reported.

The latest patient has received treatment and is expected to fully recover, according to Florida Keys spokeswoman Alison Kerr.

The Miami Herald said that health officials believe all 11 cases were locally acquired, CBS News reported.


Employers Can Refuse to Provide Birth Control Coverage: U.S Supreme Court

More than 70,000 U.S. women could be left without cost-free birth control after the Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration policy change that permits some employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage on religious or moral grounds.

Lower courts had previously blocked the administration’s changes to a requirement in the Affordable Care Act, but the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled 7-2 in favor of the administration, the Associated Press reported.

“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.