Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination

"When Should My Child Get the HPV Vaccine?

Dose #1

11–12 years

Dose #2

6–12 months after the first dose

Two doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended for all boys and girls at ages 11–12; the vaccine can be given as early as age 9. If you wait until they’re older, they may need three doses instead of two.

Children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three shots given over 6 months. If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to his/her doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

medical icon

Vaccines protect your child before they are exposed to a disease. That’s why the HPV vaccine is recommended earlier rather than later, to protect your child long before they are ever exposed to the virus.

Teens and young adults should be vaccinated too.

HPV vaccination is also recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if not vaccinated already.

Vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. However, some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated may decide to get HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination. HPV vaccination in this age range provides less benefit, as more people have already been exposed to HPV.

HPV vaccination is preventing cancer-causing infections and precancers.

HPV infections and cervical precancers (abnormal cells on the cervix that can lead to cancer) have dropped significantly since the vaccine has been in use.

  • Among teen girls, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 86 percent.
  • Among young adult women, infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 71 percent.
  • Among vaccinated women, the percentage of cervical precancers caused by the HPV types most often linked to cervical cancer has dropped by 40 percent..."

Protect against RSV(Respiratory syncytial virus)

"Symptoms and Care

RSV Symptoms

Symptoms of RSV infection usually include

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.

RSV can also cause more severe infections such as bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age.

Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting infected.

RSV Care

Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. You can manage fever and pain with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Talk to your healthcare provider before giving your child nonprescription cold medicines, since some medicines contain ingredients that are not recommended for children. It is important for people with RSV infection to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids).

Healthy infants and adults infected with RSV do not usually need to be hospitalized. But some people with RSV infection, especially infants younger than 6 months of age and older adults, may need to be hospitalized if they are having trouble breathing or are dehydrated. In most of these cases, hospitalization only lasts a few days.

Visits to a healthcare provider for an RSV infection are very common. During such visits, the healthcare provider will evaluate how severe the person’s RSV infection is to determine if the patient should be hospitalized. In the most severe cases, a person may require additional oxygen or intubation (have a breathing tube inserted through the mouth and down to the airway) with mechanical ventilation (a machine to help a person breathe).

There is no specific treatment for RSV infection, though researchers are working to develop vaccines and antivirals (medicines that fight viruses)..."

How to prevent flu

"Take time to get a flu vaccine.

  • CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 will be more important than ever.
  • Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19. (Read more about flu vaccine benefits.)
  • CDC estimates that last season, fewer than half of Americans got a flu vaccine and at least 410,000 people were hospitalized from flu. Increased vaccination coverage would reduce that burden.
  • Most flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common. (See Vaccine Virus Selection for this season’s vaccine composition.)
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get annual flu vaccine by the end of October. Learn more about vaccine timing.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for people at higher risk to keep from spreading flu to them. This is especially true for people who work in long-term care facilities, which are home to many of the people most vulnerable to flu and COVID-19.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

    Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to reduce the spread of flu.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.
  • See Everyday Preventative Actionspdf icon and recommended precautions to take during daily life and when going out for more information about actions – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu).
  • For flu, CDC recommends that people stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Fever should be gone without the need to use a fever-reducing medicine. The stay-at-home guidance for COVID-19 may be different.
  • In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments or public health departments may recommend additional precautions be taken in your community. Follow those instructions..."
    Flu prevention

Adolescent mental health

"Connection is Key to Good Adolescent Mental Health

Connectedness Can Protect Students From Poor Mental Health Outcomes

Adolescence is a time for young people to have a healthy start in life. The number of adolescents reporting poor mental health is increasing. Building strong bonds and connecting to youth can protect their mental health. Schools and parents can create these protective relationships with students and help them grow into a healthy adulthood.


Mental Health Can Affect Many Areas of a Student’s Life

Youth with poor mental health may struggle with school and grades, decision making, and their health. Mental health problems in youth often go hand-in-hand with other health and behavioral risks like increased risk of drug use, experiencing violence, and higher risk sexual behaviors than can lead to HIV, STDs, and unintended pregnancy. Because many health behaviors and habits are established in adolescence that will carry over into adult years, it is very important to help youth develop good mental health.

Mental Health Is a Growing Problem

CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Data Summary & Trends Report: 2009-2019pdf icon highlights concerning trends about the mental health of U.S. high school students.

More than 1 in 3 high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 percent increase since 2009. Nearly 37% of surveyed high school students reported these feelings. Some groups are more affected than others. These feelings were especially common among sexual minority youth and female students.

Suicide-related behaviors are also a growing problem for adolescents. In 2019, approximately 1 in 6 youth reported making a suicide plan in the past year, a 44% increase since 2009. Again, the increases were different for each group surveyed.

Almost half of lesbian, gay, or bisexual students and nearly one-third of students not sure of their sexual identity reported they had seriously considered suicide—far more than heterosexual students. The number of black students who reported attempting suicide in 2019 rose by almost 50%..."
Adolescent mental health

Prevent Children’s Exposure to Lead

"Childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable. The key is to keep children from coming into contact with lead. Learn how to prevent children’s exposure to lead.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. There are many ways parents can reduce children’s exposure to lead before they are harmed. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely. Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell.

Common Ways Children Can Come in Contact with Lead

Young children often put toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouth as part of their normal development. This may put them in contact with lead paint or dust.

One common way children can be exposed to lead is through contact with chips and dust in buildings and homes from old lead paint. Children can be directly exposed to lead if they swallow chipped pieces of leaded paint. But their exposure is more common from swallowing house dust or soil contaminated by leaded paint. This happens when lead paint peels and cracks, resulting in tiny bits of lead dust that embed in the dust and soil in and around homes; for example, when leaded paint is old or worn, or is subject to constant rubbing (as on doors and windowsills and wells). In addition, lead can be scattered when paint is disturbed during building destruction or remodeling, paint removal, or preparation of painted surfaces for repainting.

Infographic: Prevent Childhood Lead Poisoning

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.

Lead paint or dust are not the only ways children can come into contact with lead. Other sources include:

  • traditional home health remedies such as azarcon and greta, which are used for upset stomach or indigestion in the Hispanic community
  • imported candy and candy wrappers
  • imported toys and toy jewelry
  • imported cosmetics
  • pottery and ceramics
  • drinking water contaminated by lead leaching from lead pipes, solder, brass fixtures, or valves
  • consumer products, including tea kettles and vinyl miniblinds,,"
    Lead poisoning

Friday, October 23, 2020

CDC rewrites definition for coronavirus 'close contact'

[The Guardian]
"The leading US federal public health agency has rewritten its definition of who is at risk of contracting coronavirus to include people who come into close contact with infected individuals in multiple short bursts over a 24-hour period.

The new definition of “close contact” issued on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will sharply expand the pool of those deemed in danger of being infected by the virus.

It will have implications for authorities carrying out contact tracing of those potentially infected by contagious individuals, and could lead to many more people being required to go into quarantine.

Under the old definition, “close contact” was defined as being within 6ft of an infected person over a solid block of 15 minutes or more. That has now been amended to cover a cumulative 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

The change was made on the back of a study also released by the CDC on Wednesday that showed how the virus could be passed between individuals who were only in contact with each very briefly but on multiple occasions. The study was based on an incident at a prison in Vermont in August.

A male correctional officer came into contact with six detained individuals who were put into the quarantine unit at the facility. At that point the inmates were showing no symptoms and were awaiting test results for coronavirus.

Footage captured by prison surveillance cameras showed that the correctional officer only came within 6ft of the inmates for short periods of about a minute at a time. But when the exposure was counted up it exceeded a total of 15 cumulative minutes.

The six inmates all went on to test positive for the virus, and the officer later received a positive result as well even though he had come into contact with no other possible source of infection.

Announcing the new directive, the CDC said the findings underlined yet again the importance of wearing masks. The advice was all the more important, the agency said, at a time when the virus was on the ascendant across three-quarters of the country..."
Coronavirus and "close contact" 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Copyright in Code: Supreme Court Hears Landmark Software Case in Google v. Oracle

"In what observers have hailed as the “copyright case of the century,” an eight-member Supreme Court heard arguments on October 7, 2020, in Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., a long-running intellectualproperty dispute between the two tech giants. Along with the billions of dollars at stake between the parties, the Court’s decision in Google v. Oracle could have far-reaching implications for software companies, the broader technology industry, and other copyright-intensive industries. Reflecting these stakes, the Supreme Court received over 70 amicus briefs from industry, advocacy groups, academics, and other stakeholders, ranging from computer scientists and small software startup firms to IBM, Microsoft, and the Motion Picture Association. This Sidebar reviews the legal doctrines at issue in Google, the facts of the dispute, the parties’ arguments, and the potential implications of the Court’s decision for Congress.

Software Copyright Basics

Copyright law grants certain exclusive legal rights to authors of original creative works, such as books, music, fine art, and architecture. At least since 1980, U.S. copyright law has protected computer programs as a type of literary work. Applying legal principles originally crafted for books to computer code has not always been a straightforward task, in part because computer programs are more functional than other copyrightable subject matter. Courts have long wrestled with the appropriate scope of copyright protection in computer code. When the Supreme Court last tried to weigh in on software copyright in the 1990s, it divided 4-4 and therefore issued no precedential decision. Given that the Court heard arguments in Google with eight Justices presiding, there is at least a possibility of a 4-4 split in this case as well, although the probability of such an outcome remains unclear..
Google v. Oracle 

COVID-19: Government Resources for RealTime Economic Indicators

"This CRS Insight presents select real-time economic indicators that attempt to measure the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the U.S. economy. Created by select federal government agencies, these new or unique indicators attempt to measure the demographic, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 in real-time, or on a weekly or monthly basis, rather than quarterly or annually.

For more on traditional economic indicators, please see CRS Report R43295, Resources for Key Economic Indicators.

United States Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau developed multiple experimental data products that attempt to measure the impact of COVID-19 on households and businesses in the United States. Two of those products are described below.

Household Pulse Survey

The Census Bureau was authorized to collect data on a variety of social and economic factors affecting households during the pandemic. Data were collected in two phases, each lasting three months, from April to July and then from August to October 2020. The first phase measured education, employment, food availability, health, housing payments, and stimulus payment use. The second phase was expanded to include questions about spending patterns and transportation use.

Data are available at the national and state levels, as well as for the largest metro areas in the country. Interactive data are also available (best viewed with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome)..."
COVID-19 and economic indicators

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets

"On June 3, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee announced a bipartisan investigation into competition in digital markets,2 led by the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law.3 The purpose of the investigation was to: (1) document competition problems in digital markets; (2) examine whether dominant firms are engaging in anti competitive conduct; and (3) assess whether existing antitrust laws, competition policies, and current enforcement levels are adequate to address these issues.4 The Committee initiated the investigation in response to broad-ranging investigative reporting, and activity by policymakers and enforcers, that raised serious concerns about the platforms’ incentives and ability to harm the competitive process.

As part of the investigation, the Subcommittee held seven oversight hearings that provided Members of the Subcommittee with an opportunity to examine the state of competition in digital markets and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws. A diverse group of witnesses offered testimony on topics related to the effects of market power on the free and diverse press, on innovation, and on privacy. Other witnesses who testified included executives from businesses with concerns about the dominance of the investigated firms. The hearings also provided an opportunity for key executives from Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple—including the Chief Executive Officers of these firms— to address evidence that was uncovered during the investigation in a public-facing venue. After each of the hearings, Members of the Subcommittee submitted questions for the record (QFRs) to the witnesses.

The Committee requested information from the dominant platforms, from market participants, from the Federal antitrust agencies, and from other relevant parties, for the purpose of obtaining information that was not otherwise publicly available but was important to assembling a comprehensive record. The Committee also sent requests for submissions to various experts in the field, including academics, representatives of public interest groups, and practicing antitrust lawyers. The responses to these requests were indispensable to staff’s ability to complete this Report and its recommendations for congressional oversight of the antitrust agencies and legislative action.

This Report is intended to provide policymakers, antitrust enforcers, market participants, and the public with a comprehensive understanding of the state of competition in the online marketplace. The Report also provides recommendations for areas of legislative activity to address the rise and abuse of market power in the digital economy, as well as areas that warrant additional congressional attention..."
Digital Markets 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Fast Facts You Need to Know about Pneumococcal Disease

"1. Pneumococcal disease can be very serious.

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia causes an estimated 150,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States.
  • Pneumococcal meningitis and bacteremia killed approximately 3,600 people in the United States in 2017.

alert icon Learn about pneumococcal disease symptoms and complications.

Illustration of lungs, heart, and brain

2. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease.

Baby grasps an adult's index finger
  • Children and older adults are at increased risk compared to other age groups.
  • Certain medical conditions put people at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

3. CDC recommends two safe and effective pneumococcal vaccines.

  • All children younger than 2 years old
  • People 2 years or older with certain medical conditions

In addition, adults 65 years or older can discuss and decide, with their clinician, to receive PCV13.

  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions
  • Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes..."
    Pneumoccal disease

Living with Spina Bifida

",,,What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida occurs when a portion of the backbone, as well as the spinal cord beneath, do not form correctly during pregnancy. This typically results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Healthcare professionals usually are able to identify spina bifida before a mother gives birth. Each year about 1,427 babies are born with spina bifida in the United States.1

What CDC Is Doing

Bladder and kidney health are important for everyone, but especially for people with spina bifida. They are at risk for developing kidney failure at a younger age than people without spina bifida. Regular monitoring and testing can identify kidney disease early, which may keep it from getting worse.

New research from the National Spina Bifida Patient Registry suggests that children with spina bifida may not be receiving the tests they need to monitor the health of their kidneys. The study found differences in how often patients at spina bifida clinics received tests to monitor their kidney health, and which tests were performed. Read a summary of this scientific article on kidney function surveillance [link to PubMed abstract].

CDC works to protect the kidneys of babies born with spina bifida, and reduces the need for surgery through the Urologic Management to Preserve Initial Renal Function (UMPIRE) Protocol for Young Children with Spina Bifida..."
Spina Bifida 

Protecting Older Consumers, 2019-2020 Annual Report

"As the nation’s primary consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has a broad mandate to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the marketplace.1 It does this by, among other things, filing law enforcement actions to stop unlawful practices and, when possible, returning money to consumers. The FTC also protects the public through education and outreach on consumer protection issues. Through research and collaboration with federal, state, international, and private sector partners, the FTC strategically targets its efforts to achieve the maximum benefits for consumers, including older adults.

Protecting older consumers in the marketplace is one of the FTC’s top priorities. 3 Unfortunately, in numerous FTC cases, older adults have been targeted or disproportionately affected. For example, as discussed below, the FTC has brought ten new enforcement actions this year to stop unsubstantiated claims for products that purport to treat various illnesses and conditions affecting older consumers. As the population of older adults grows, the FTC’s aggressive efforts to bring law enforcement actions against scams that affect them, as well as provide useful consumer advice, become increasingly important. 4 The 

FTC submits this third annual report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives to fulfill the reporting requirements of Section 101(c)(2) of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017.5 The law requires the FTC Chairman to file a report listing the FTC’s enforcement actions “over the preceding fiscal year in each case in which not less than one victim was an elder or that involved a financial scheme or scam that was either targeted directly toward or largely affected elders.”,,"
Older Consumers 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Robert E. Lee�s demand for the surrender of John Brown and his party, October 18, 1859

"On October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown and his "army" of some 20 men seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) in preparation for his war for slave liberation. By the morning of October 18, when Brown refused to accept the terms of this note, marines under the command of Bvt. Col. Robert E. Lee, stormed the building and captured Brown and the survivors of his party. The operation that Brown envisioned as the first blow in a war against slavery was over in 36 hours.."
John Brown surrender 

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Debt Collection Market and Selected Policy Issues

"When a consumer defaults on a debt, a third-party debt collector often collects the debt obligation rather than the lender to whom the debt is originally owed. The debt collection market helps lenders recoup their losses when a consumer defaults, generally making consumer credit and other related markets more efficient. When lenders can effectively recoup their losses, they may be more willing to lend to consumers at lower initial loan costs, leading to more access to credit for consumers.

 The U.S. debt collection market is large, and the debt collection process impacts many American consumers. As of 2019, there are over 7,000 collection agencies in the United States, and the industry’s annual revenue is about $12.7 billion. According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) survey, approximately one-third of consumers with a credit bureau file reported being contacted by at least one creditor or debt collector trying to collect on one or more debts in the previous year.

 Lenders make contracts with debt collectors to collect their debts, and consumers may not choose the debt collector with whom they engage. Therefore, consumers cannot take their business elsewhere if abuses occur. For this reason, consumer protection laws and regulations may be particularly consequential. According to the CFPB, debt collection is the consumer finance market with the second most complaints, accounting for 21% of the total complaints the agency received in 2019. Consumers’ most common debt collector complaints assert that a debt collector attempted to collect a debt the consumer did not believe was owed (45%), or a consumer received insufficient written notification about a debt (18%)..."
Debt collection 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Criminal Victimization, 2019

"This report is the 47th in a series that began in 1973. It provides official estimates of criminal victimizations reported and not reported to police from BJS's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). It describes the characteristics of crimes, victims, and offenders. In addition, this year, BJS provides new classifications of urban, suburban, and rural areas, with the goal of presenting a more accurate picture of where criminal victimizations occur.


  • The rate of violent crime excluding simple assault declined 15% from 2018 to 2019, from 8.6 to 7.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older.
  • Among females, the rate of violent victimization excluding simple assault fell 27% from 2018 to 2019.
  • There were 880,000 fewer victims of serious crimes (generally felonies) in 2019 than in 2018, a 19% drop.
  • From 2018 to 2019, 29% fewer black persons and 22% fewer white persons were victims of serious crimes.
  • The rate of violent victimization in urban areas—based on the NCVS's new classifications of urban, suburban, and rural areas—declined 20% from 2018 to 2019.

Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

Press Release (30K)
Summary (PDF 197K)
Full report (PDF 1.4K)
Data tables (Zip format 78K).."
Criminal victimization