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What We’re Reading: Curbing Medical Debt Reports; Omicron Antibody Treatment; Middle, High School Tobacco Use


Starting July 1, credit-reporting giants will remove certain medical debts; AstraZeneca’s Evusheld was shown to reduce the viral load of subvariants BA.1, BA1.1, and BA.2; about 4% of middle school students and 13% of high school students use some type of tobacco product, according to a report.

Equifax, Experian, TransUnion to Remove Certain Medical Debts From Credit Reports

Credit-reporting giants Equifax, Experian and TransUnion announced Friday they will remove credit stains created by certain medical debts starting July 1, 2022. As reported by The New York Times, these changes include removing black marks for people who paid their medical debt after it went to collections and having new unpaid medical debts appear a full year after being sent to collections rather than 6 months after. Starting in 2023, the companies will also exclude unpaid medical debts less than $500. According to the credit-reporting companies, these changes will remove up to 70% of medical debts currently affecting consumers’ credit reports and scores.

AstraZeneca’s Evusheld Reduces Viral Load of Omicron Subvariants, Study Finds

AstraZeneca said Monday its COVID-19 antibody treatment, Evusheld, neutralized Omicron variants in an independent study, Reuters reported. The study—which has yet to be peer reviewed—showed that Evusheld reduced the viral load of subvariants BA.1, BA1.1, and BA.2, and limited lung inflammation. Evusheld is a combination monoclonal antibody treatment of tixagevimab and cilgavimab and has received FDA emergency use authorization but is not yet approved.

Study Shows Millions of Middle, High School Students Use Tobacco Products

According to findings from the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2.55 million middle school and high school students in the United States use some type of tobacco product, equating to about 4% of middle school students and 13% of high school students. As reported by The Washington Post, these data include the use of electronic, smokeless, and combustible products, and were collected from a nationally representative sample of more than 20,000 students from 279 public and private schools. E-cigarettes were the most commonly used product, with students citing curiosity and peer pressure for the reasons they began using them, and crediting them for helping to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. However, smoking tobacco in general has been shown to lead to a wide range of negative health effects and is described as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

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