Political leanings appear to be associated with mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic; the Biden administration takes steps to ensure parity between mental and physical health benefits; extreme heat and air pollution amplify heart attack risk.
A recent study analyzing mortality data during the COVID-19 pandemic from Florida and Ohio revealed a concerning correlation between political affiliation and excess deaths, according to CIDRAP. Republican voters experienced a 15% higher death rate compared with Democrats during the first 22 months of the pandemic, with the gap widening further after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. The study suggests that vaccination attitudes and uptake among different political groups may have influenced the severity and trajectory of the pandemic, raising concerns about potential implications for future stages of the public health crisis.
The Biden administration has announced a set of new regulations aimed at encouraging insurance companies to expand their coverage of mental health treatments, according to The Associated Press. The proposed rules would require insurers to assess whether their customers have equitable access to medical and mental health benefits and take corrective measures if disparities exist. By evaluating patient outcomes and compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the administration aims to address issues of unequal access and push insurers to provide better mental health support to their policyholders.
A recent study reveals that enduring extreme heat and poor air quality simultaneously can be particularly deadly for the heart, according to The Wall Street Journal. Researchers found that during heat waves that coincide with periods of high air pollution, the risk of fatal heart attacks doubles. The study underscores the importance of reducing exposure to both extreme temperatures and fine particulate pollution to prevent premature deaths from heart attacks, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with preexisting heart conditions.