Medical Watch for September 4, 2023

New research offers reassuring results on the latest Covid-19 variant.

The new Covid variant nicknamed “Pirola” has more than 30 changes to its spike protein.

It’s been compared to the changes seen with the original omicron variant, which resulted in some of the highest infections and hospitalizations during the pandemic.

Results from separate studies in China and Sweden are easing fears that Pirola could have similar outcomes. Their findings show that Pirola may be less contagious and less immune evasive than feared. That could change as the variant circulates more.

Former White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci says he hopes people mask up as covid cases surge again.

Fauci said in an interview with CNN, that he’s worried Americans won’t listen to masking recommendations even if it becomes necessary.

Hospitalizations for Covid cases increased 19 percent across the country last week.

Counterfeit pills & overdose deaths

Overdose deaths reached record levels in the U.S over recent years and now, counterfeit pills are reportedly responsible for a growing number of those cases.

A new report from the CDC shows illegally manufactured fentanyl was involved in nearly all overdose deaths with evidence of counterfeit pill use including more than two out of five deaths exclusively caused by the drug.

According to the report, the pills are made to look like prescription opioid drugs.

The DEA says the vast majority of counterfeit pills in the U.S. are produced in Mexico.

Fruit and vegetable prescription

A prescription of fruits and vegetables is making people healthier.

A New American Heart Association Study of people with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease shows they are benefiting from “produce prescription programs.”

Researchers found patients improved their body mass index, blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Participants also reported a decrease in food security.

The study involved about 4,000 who struggle to afford healthy food.

They were given vouchers which could be redeemed for discounted produce at grocery stores or farmers markets.

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