What We're Reading: Prevalence of Underlying Conditions; Opioid Label Change; ICE Detainees Held

July 24, 2020

New CDC data outline the prevalence of 5 common underlying health conditions that exacerbate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms; the FDA announced information regarding naloxone must be included on labels for opioids and opioid use disorder medications; despite a district judge's ruling nearly a month ago, hundreds of migrant detainees are being held in detention centers in states where COVID-19 cases are surging.

Data Highlight Prevalence of Underlying Health Conditions

Nearly 50% of American adults live with an underlying medical condition, strongly tied to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, CIDRAP reports. Specifically, new CDC data found the prevalence of any chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity, was 47.2% among 3142 counties across all 50 states and Washington, DC. Information was gathered via the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the US Census. Although there were higher numbers of these diseases reported in cities, the conditions were more prevalent in rural areas, while counties in the Southeast United States and Appalachia reported the highest prevalence of underlying conditions.

Naloxone Information Required on Opioid Medication Labels

The FDA announced it will require labeling for opioid pain medication and medicine to treat opioid use disorder to include recommendations prompting health care professionals to discuss the availability of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, with patients and caregivers as a routine part of prescribing these medicines. The announcement comes as data show opioid deaths increased in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, following a slight decline in 2018. The opioid crisis is expected to be exacerbated by the pandemic, as early data show that between January and April 2020, there was a roughly 11.4% year-over-year increase in overdose deaths in the United States.

Migrant Detainees Held in Facilities During COVID-19 Surge

Despite a judge’s order mandating their release, nearly 350 migrant parents and children remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities with coronavirus outbreaks, The Hill reports. Roughly a month ago District Judge Dolly Gee ordered the release of all children from detention facilities due to the COIVD-19 pandemic. Although ICE has released some parents with their children, detention facilities have refused to do so by the mandated July 27 deadline. California, Texas, and Arizona have all reported surging COVID-19 cases, and all house ICE detention facilities.