What We're Reading: Trump Frustrated With HHS Secretary; Humans Can Transmit Coronavirus; Premature Death Linked to Coal Plants

January 21, 2020

President Trump grew frustrated with HHS Secretary Alex Azar over healthcare polling and vaping involvement; a top Chinese scientist confirms that humans can transmit new coronavirus; coal plant closures were shown to save over 26,000 lives from 2005 to 2016.

Trump Directs Frustration at HHS Secretary

China Confirms New Coronavirus Transmittable Between Humans

Closure of Coal Power Plants Linked to Decreased Mortality

Last Thursday, President Trump lashed out at HHS Secretary Alex Azar after senior aides revealed that voters prefer Democrats on healthcare, as reported by Politico. The president expressed frustration that voters have not rewarded his actions in lowering drug prices, while also reportedly expressing regret over his involvement in vaping policy. Axios reports that trying to find a compromise between public health groups and the pro-vaping community has caused political unrest, and although President Trump did not regret the specific vaping policy outcome, he regretted his involvement in an issue that could have been dealt with by the FDA.Zhong Nanshan, MD, a prominent Chinese scientist, confirmed that the mysterious coronavirus that has killed at least 4 people and infected more than 200 in China is capable of being transmitted from person to person, according to The New York Times. The World Health Organization announced yesterday that it was convening an emergency meeting this Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak warrants a public health emergency of international concern and what steps can be employed to manage the virus.In a study published this month in the journal Nature Sustainability, researchers estimate that the shutdown of coal-fired units between 2005 and 2016 has saved 26,610 lives and 570 million bushels of corn, soybeans, and wheat across the areas where the plants closed, according to the Los Angeles Times. Additionally, plants that have remained open were reported to contribute to more than 329,000 premature deaths and the loss of 10.2 billion bushels of crops, nearly half the production in a typical year for US agriculture.