What We’re Reading: Top Health Issues in Battleground States; COVID-19 Vaccines Not Tested on Children; More Contagious COVID-19 Strain

September 24, 2020

A poll lists top health issues in battleground states; no COVID-19 vaccine has been tested on children; researchers find a more contagious COVID-19 strain.

Top Health Issues for Voters in Battleground States

As the 2020 election season heats up, voters in battleground states listed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and protecting insurance for individuals with preexisting conditions as the top health issues influencing their vote. The poll, conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, surveyed nearly 7500 individuals in 10 battleground states between mid-August and mid-September. Forty percent of respondents said addressing the public health needs and economic costs of COVID-19 was a priority, whereas 39% listed ensuring coverage for those with preexisting conditions as a top concern. Another 20% of voters said lowering the cost of health care was the most important health issue affecting their vote.

COVID-19 Vaccines Are Not Being Tested in Children

Despite numerous trials being carried out to test a COVID-19 vaccine, none of the trial populations include children, prompting concern in some experts who worry about the timeline for making the vaccine available to kids, Business Insider reports. Leading experimental vaccines are now in the final stages of clinical trials and some results are expected as early as next month. Although Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson all plan to test their vaccines on children, none have provided a timeline on when such a shot would be available. Leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the US government’s vaccine initiative, have not laid out or mentioned a plan for vaccinating children over the past few months.

New, More Contagious Strain of COVID-19 Found

A study conducted by researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital found that a more contagious strain of COVID-19 dominates recent coronavirus samples, Reuters reports. The study, which analyses the structure of the novel coronavirus from 2 waves of infection in Houston, included examination of more than 5000 genomes from viruses recovered in the earliest phase of the pandemic. It also includes samples from an ongoing more recent wave of infections. The study has yet to be reviewed by outside experts. According to research, nearly all strains in the second wave had a mutation, D614G, which is known to increase the number of “spikes” on the crown-shaped virus, allowing the virus to bind to and infect more cells.