What We're Reading: COVID-19 Rates in Children Increase; AbbVie Settles Lawsuit; Flying Regulations Updated

August 10, 2020

At least 97,000 US children tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the last 2 weeks of July; AbbVie will pay $24 million for illegally tempting doctors and nurses to prescribe Humira; airlines are considering banning those who refuse to wear masks.

COVID-19 Rates in Children on the Rise

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows that at least 97,000 US children tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the last 2 weeks of July alone, bringing to 338,000 the total reported cases among children since the pandemic began. As detailed by The New York Times, the findings come as schools nationwide are considering whether to return to the classroom, go fully virtual, or implement a mix of the 2 options. Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana are among the states with the highest percent increase, while New York City, New Jersey, and other locations in the Northeast had the lowest percent increase of child infections.

AbbVie Settles Lawsuit on Kickbacks

After 2 years of disputes highlighted by a lawsuit filed by the California insurance commissioner, drugmaker AbbVie agreed to pay $24 million for its role in illegally tempting doctors and nurses to prescribe its best-selling Humira treatment. Reported by STAT, the drugmaker had been accused of paying kickbacks to doctors over a 5 year period, including incentives ranging from cash and meals to trips and patient referrals, as well as using a stealthy network of nurses to illegally boost prescriptions. Last year, Humira generated $14.8 billion in sales solely in the United States.

What Are the COVID-19 Policies for Major Airlines?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some US airlines have sought to ensure the safety of passengers through tougher rules and regulations for mask wearing, with those who refuse to adhere to the policy being told they will not be allowed to fly, according to the Los Angeles Times. Although airlines cannot fine passengers for refusing to wear a mask, as the federal government does not require it, some airlines have instead threatened to ban those who refuse to comply, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines. These strict regulations come as US airlines continue to struggle with passenger demand that has recently dropped to less than 30% compared with demand before the pandemic.