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What We’re Reading: Drugs Touted to Fight Childhood Obesity; NYC Nurses Strike; XBB.1.15 Variant Deemed “Most Transmissible”


Pediatricians push for early action against childhood obesity, including prescription weight-loss medications and bariatric surgery; 7000 nurses go on strike in New York City; a new SARS-CoV-2 variant is more contagious but not necessarily more dangerous.

Weight-Loss Drugs for Children Prescribed As Initial Treatment

Pediatric health experts are pushing for the use of weight-loss drugs in children as part of an early, aggressive attempt to treat childhood obesity, reported The Wall Street Journal. New guidelines specify that children aged 12 years or older receive treatment options including medication and lifestyle and behavioral counseling, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children who are 13 years or older with extreme obesity should be referred to a surgeon to determine eligibility for bariatric surgery. Childhood obesity has increased in the United States to affect a fifth of the child population.

Nurses Strike at 2 New York City Hospitals

Over 7000 nurses from Mount Sinai Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City have gone on strike, reported The New York Times, protesting working conditions, pay raises, and staffing policies. The strike caused hospitals to quickly implement temporary staff and even went so far as to ask doctors to fill in for nurses. The strike follows a Sunday night attempted negotiation that ended early Monday morning. Mount Sinai transported delicate patients, such as infants in neonatal intensive care units, to other hospitals and assisted patients fighting cancer in finding other health care locations. Montefiore required nurses planning to strike to complete shifts and “not abandon patients.”

Latest COVID-19 Variant, XBB.1.5, Reportedly Most Transmissible Yet

The Washington Post reported that a combination of mutations present in the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, XBB.1.5, allows it to reach a wider range of people, including people who have already been infected or vaccinated. The World Health Organization calls it “the most transmissible” thus far of the omicron variant. Out of all COVID-19 cases in the Northeast, over 70% are thought to be attributed to XBB1.5. The daily number of hospitalized patients has increased by about 20,000 since Thanksgiving. Experts report that that while it is dominating infection rates currently, COVID-19 symptoms may not necessarily be worse, but booster vaccination is still strongly encouraged.

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