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New conservative target: Race as factor in COVID treatment

Some conservatives are taking aim at policies that allow doctors to consider race as a risk factor when allocating scarce COVID-19 treatments, saying the protocols discriminate against white people.

The wave of infections brought on by the omicron variant and a shortage of treatments have focused attention on the policies.

Medical experts say the opposition is misleading. Health officials have long said there is a strong case for considering race as one of many risk factors in treatment decisions. And there is no evidence that race alone is being used to decide who gets medicine.

The issue came to the forefront last week after Fox News host Tucker Carlson, former President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio jumped on the policies. In recent days, conservative law firms have pressured a Missouri-based health care system, Minnesota and Utah to drop their protocols and sued New York state over allocation guidelines

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Health News

Early treatment could tame peanut allergies in small kids

This Feb. 20, 2015 file photo shows an arrangement of peanuts in New York. According to a study published in the journal Lancet on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, young children might be able to overcome their peanut allergies if treated at an early enough age. Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File

Young children might be able to overcome their peanut allergies if treated at an early enough age, according to a study published Thursday.

The researchers gave increasing amounts of protein powder to a group of toddlers to build up their tolerance for peanuts. After 2 1/2 years, close to three-quarters could tolerate the equivalent of 16 peanuts without an allergic reaction. Six months after stopped, one-fifth still had the same tolerance.

The approach seemed to work best in the and those with milder allergies, the researchers reported Thursday in the journal Lancet.

The findings suggest there’s

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CVS Caremark agrees to settlement over transaction fees

The Oklahoma Insurance Department has entered into a settlement agreement with CVS Caremark over transaction fees the pharmacy benefit manager charges pharmacists to process Medicare Part D and group health plan claims, the agency announced Thursday.

The CVS Health subsidiary will pay $4.8 million to settle the alleged violations of the state’s Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act. CVS Caremark will pay $2.3 million in restitution to drugstores and $2.5 million in penalties to the state.

“CVS Caremark was cooperative during our investigation, we were able to work together through negotiations to ensure there is a level playing field that is abiding by the rules of [Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act] and other PBM statutes,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready (R) said in a news release. “With the rising cost of healthcare throughout the pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure companies fully comply with our laws

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Health News

How toddlers spot close social ties

An 11-month-old baby plays with a teething toy on January 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.

The thought of sharing an ice cream cone with a stranger can trigger feelings of disgust—however that’s often not the case with someone close to us, such as a romantic partner or child.

A new study in the journal Science on Thursday shows that children are aware of this dynamic from a very young age, and see saliva exchange—through activities like kissing, sharing food, or wiping away dribble— as a cue to tell whether two people have a special bond.

“We know from a lot of research that infants are super attuned to that social aspect of their world,” Ashley Thomas, a researcher at Harvard and MIT, told AFP.

“But one thing that we didn’t know before this study is whether they really pay attention to different types of relationships.”

In particular, Thomas and colleagues

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How to choose a quality bong?

There are bongs around with just about any shape, size or color you can imagine. Unfortunately, most bongs on the market today do not live up to their expectations of smoothness and potency. The bong industry is flooded with bongs made of cheap glass with wild claims of functionality attached to them. Many users avoid bongs simply because they have had bad experiences, however most bongs on the market today underperform due to lack of knowledge in bong designs or production methods.

How does one go about buying a quality bong that will serve its purpose without failing? Bong designers constantly strive to improve bong performance while maintaining durability and ease of use. Here are some common sense guidelines to follow when choosing your next cheap bongs.

Form follows bong function

If you are looking for bongs that provide smoothness, bongs with lots of percolators or bongs made out …

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Booster shots needed against omicron, CDC studies show

Three studies released Friday offered more evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to the omicron variant, at least among people who received booster shots.

They are the first large U.S. studies to look at vaccine protection against omicron, health officials said.

The papers echo previous research — including studies in Germany, South Africa and the U.K. — indicating available vaccines are less effective against omicron than earlier versions of the coronavirus, but also that boosters significantly improve protection.

The first study looked at hospitalizations and emergency room and urgent care center visits in 10 states, from August to this month.

It found vaccine effectiveness was best after three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in preventing COVID-19-associated emergency department and urgent care visits. Protection dropped from 94% during the delta wave to 82% during the omicron wave. Protection from just two doses was lower, especially if six months

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