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What We’re Reading: Medicare, Social Security Funds Depletion Date Postponed; Monkeypox Diagnostics; Grim Firearm Youth Suicide Report


The year that full benefits will stop for Medicare and Social Security is now a year later than previously estimated; diagnostic companies are racing to develop tests for monkeypox as cases surge; the rate of firearm suicides increased by 15% in youth aged between ages 10 and 24.

Social Security, Medicare Trustees Report Postpones Fund Depeletion Date

A stronger economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic than previously expected has helped the finances of the Social Security and Medicare programs, delaying the financial exhaustion date to 2035 rather than 2034, according to the 2022 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports. The funds after 2035 will only allow for 80% of benefits to be paid thereafter, according to the report. The estimated depletion date of Medicare’s trust fund for inpatient hospital care also moved back 2 years to 2028. These projections were made in February before the rise of COVID-19 cases and inflation, which may have affected the accuracy of these forecasts.

Diagnostic Companies Race to Create Monkeypox Tests

Companies are ramping up efforts to trace the world’s first major outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa, including making new diagnostic tests. The COVID-19 pandemic created a boon for test makers but demand for monkeypox tests is far lower, as monkeypox is less transmissible, less dangerous, and has more vaccines and treatments, according to Reuters. The creation of new monkeypox tests could soften the anticipated slowing of COVID diagnostic sales, though there is little chance that monkeypox will require the amount of tests created during the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO has warned that infections could rise in the summer as people gather for parties and festivals.

Firearm Suicides Rise to 20-Year High in US Youth

The rate that children, teens, and young adults are dying by firearm suicide has increased by 15%, which is the highest rate in more than 20 years. The firearm suicide rate for children aged 10 to 14 has increased by 31% from 2019 to 2020, which is the highest reported rate for the age group since 1968. Boys and young men accounted for 9 out of 10 firearm suicide victims, according to the Everytown study. Researchers said that these suicides can be prevented by limiting access to firearms; 90% of suicide attempts with a gun are successful, whereas only 4% of suicide attempts without a gun result in death.

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