What We're Reading: Probing Age Bias in Heart Care; Coronavirus Ship Deaths; Housing and Health

February 20, 2020

A study found potential age bias in heart care for patients on different sides of their 80th birthday; 2 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship die of coronavirus; California Governor Gavin Newsom outlined several mental health proposals to address homelessness in the state.

Study Finds Age Bias May Affect Heart Care

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that heart attacks among patients who turned 80 within the previous 2 weeks were less likely to get bypass surgery than those who were 2 weeks shy of their 80th birthday, even though the age difference is less than a month. The Associated Press reports that while guidelines do not limit the operation after a certain age, lead study author Anupam Jena, MD, of Harvard Medical School, suggested that doctors may mentally classify patients who are in their early 80s as a suddenly higher risk than patients in their late 70s.

2 Passengers Aboard Coronavirus-Stricken Cruise Die

Among the 621 coronavirus cases linked with the Diamond Princess, 2 elderly patients became the first people aboard the ship to die of the virus, according to Reuters. The 2 patients, an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman, had both tested positive for the virus but the woman’s cause of death was attributed to pneumonia. Additionally, 2 government officials who had worked on the ship were infected, bringing the overall number of infected officials to 5.

California Governor to Tackle Homelessness With Mental Health Proposals

In his second State of the State address, California Governor Gavin Newsom focused on the issue of homelessness in the state, outlining several mental health proposals he plans to push this year to initiate change, according to California Healthline. Newsom discussed his intention to invest $695 million to help the state’s most vulnerable residents, including homeless people and those with mental health problems through reforming Medi-Cal, California’s public insurance program for low-income people. “Health care and housing can no longer be divorced,” said Newsom.