What We're Reading: 3 US Airports to Screen for New Coronavirus; All-Time Low US Birth Rate; Tech Giants Granted Access to EHRs

January 20, 2020
AJMC Staff

The CDC announced it will screen for the emerging coronavirus from China in 3 US airports; the US birth rate is at an all-time low; tech giants strike deals with hospitals to access millions of medical records.

CDC to Screen 3 Airports for Signs of New Virus From China

The CDC announced last Friday that it is deploying more than 100 staffers to 3 US airports to check passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, for fever and other symptoms of the new virus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus, according to CNN. The most recent previous routine passenger health screening was during the Ebola crisis in 2014. John F. Kennedy International, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International airports are the 3 sites where the screenings will take place. They were chosen because most passengers who flew from Wuhan to the United States entered through these airports. The symptons being screened for include coughing, difficulty breathing, and temperature. Three cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus have been reported in Thailand and Japan.

US Birth Rate Drops to All-Time Low

According to data from the National Vital Statistics System, the US fertility rate is at an all-time low of 1.73 births per mother. The Washington Post reports that the current fertility rate is below what is considered the replacement rate, which is producing as many births each year as deaths. While the report did not cite causes of the birth rate reduction, other data showed that women are having children later in life, with fewer births occurring between the teen years to early 30s and more births from ages 35 to 44.

Hospitals Grant Tech Giants Access to Medical Records

Hospitals have granted tech giants such as Microsoft, International Business Machines, and Amazon, access to identifiable patient information through deals amounting to millions of health records, according to The Wall Street Journal. The deals serve as the latest example of hospitals’ emerging influence in the data economy, with fellow tech giant Google similarly seeking access to patient data. One prominent example is health-data company Cerner Corp being offered close to $250 million in incentives from Google.