Cancer diagnoses continue to lag after decreased screening during the pandemic; the Biden administration is avoiding declaring a public health emergency after increases in pediatric respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); US agriculture officials are set to change the federal program that assists low-income pregnant women, infants, and children (WIC) with grocery bills.
A study found that later diagnoses of cancer are more probable after cancer screenings have fallen due to the pandemic, according to Reuters. The later diagnoses would make cancer more difficult to treat successfully, which makes the decrease in cancer screenings concerning. Average rates of screening have fallen by 40% in breast cancer screening, 36% for cervical cancer, and 45% for colorectal cancer compared with the previous 3 years. Diagnoses of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers also dropped by 6% to 7% from 2019 to 2020, and by another 5% to 6% from 2020 to 2021. Although screening rates have rebounded from pandemic levels, they are still below the rates found before the pandemic.
The Biden administration is resisting calls to declare a public health emergency due to the increased rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children across the country, according to NBC News. Organizations such as the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have tried to pressure the Biden administration to declare such an emergency, to which an administration official said that “public health emergencies are determined based on nationwide data, science trends, and the insight of public health experts.” Some hospitals are running out of beds for children as respiratory illnesses surge in children nationwide.
A federal program known as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that helps low-income pregnant women pay their grocery bills may see some changes, according to AP News. The most notable of these changes is extending a bump in payments for fresh fruits and vegetables that was initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new allotment would total $25 per month for fruits and vegetables for children aged 1 to 5 years and $49 per month for breastfeeding women. The proposed changes to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) WIC program would also add more whole grains, canned fish, and nondairy options to the foods covered.