What We’re Reading: Origins of Virus Variants; Vaccine Uptake Among Republican Men; Bankruptcy Plan for Purdue Pharma

Evidence points to the origins of COVID-19 variants; officials urge former President Trump to encourage supporters to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; Purdue Pharma releases a bankruptcy plan.

Tracing COVID-19 Variant Origins

Evidence suggests variants of COVID-19 likely evolved inside individuals with weak immune systems, such as those with cancer or other conditions, The New York Times reports. Scientists believe that as the virus infects someone with a weak immune system, the host allows it to adapt and evolve for months before being transmitted to others. In most people, an infection only lasts about a week, which is not long enough for the virus to acquire more than 1 mutation, if any. The evidence underscores the need to vaccinate those with compromised immune systems as soon as possible to lower the risk their bodies turn into incubators for the next mutant virus, experts said.

Encouraging Vaccine Uptake Among Republican Men

Former coronavirus testing czar, Adm. Brett Giroir, urged former President Donald Trump to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated against COVID-19, The Hill reports. Giroir also noted former Vice President Mike Pence ought to do the same. Currently, Republican men remain one of the key groups refusing to get vaccinated, as a recent poll found 49% said they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine. Among those who supported President Trump in the 2020 election, 47% said they would not be vaccinated if they had the opportunity. In comparison, 6% of democratic men and 10% of those who supported President Biden reported the same.

Purdue Pharma's Bankruptcy Plan Rejected by Attorneys General

Monday night, Purdue Pharma reported a bankruptcy plan under which it would pay approximately $500 million in cash up front to settle the hundreds of thousands of injury claims linked to its role in the opioid epidemic, according to NPR. Over the next decade, additional payments would be made, including installments of close to $4.2 billion promised by members of the Sackler family, and the company predicts as much as $1 billion in additional payments would occur by 2024. However, the plan was immediately rejected by 24 state attorneys general who demanded more money should be paid up front to help communities provide treatment and public health services.