A summary of important health news from the past week

Why Misinformation And Distrust Are Making COVID-19 More Dangerous For Black America

By: Jason Breslow

Across the United States – Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, New York, etc. – Black people are dying at disproportionately higher rates from COVID-19. Some factors that contribute to this include underlying health conditions, lack of insurance, and substandard housing, all of which are exacerbated by racism. However, misinformation and distrust are also playing a role. In some places, people believe that Black people are immune to the coronavirus. In addition, there is a long history of distrust of the medical system and the government in the United States due to Tuskegee and other similar cases.

Coronavirus Was Slow to Spread to Rural America. Not Anymore.

By: Jack Healy, Sabrina Tavernise, Robert Gebeloff and Weiyi Cai

An interactive timeline of the COVID 19 pandemic spreading to rural America. Though there are less people traveling in and out of rural areas compared to metropolitan cities such as NYC, rural Americans often face a lack of healthcare resources and infrastructure to contain the spread.

“We’re behind the curve in rural America,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, who said his state needs hundreds of thousands of masks, visors and gowns. “If they don’t have the protective equipment and somebody goes down and gets sick, that could close the hospital.”

A crisis mental-health hotline has seen an 891% spike in calls

By: Amanda Jackson

People all over the world are trying to cope with living through a pandemic. The Disaster Distress Helpline is a federal crisis hotline that provides counseling for people in “emotional distress during natural and human-caused disasters”. The pandemic has disrupted the routines of many people and has caused job losses and deaths of loved ones. Over 16,000 Americans have died because of the virus. Stress and anxiety are common reactions to these occurrences and the Disaster Distress Helpline aims to connect individuals to trained counselors offering support to those in emotional distress. The staff is available 24-hours-a-day throughout the week.

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to be connected to a counselor.

Brain Plaques Signal Alzheimer’s Even Before Other Symptoms Emerge: Study

By: Robert Preidt

A student recently published in JAMA Neurology found that brain plaques may be present in the brains of people who will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, but are currently not showing symptoms. The research is part of a multi-year project that begin in 2014 aimed at testing the effectiveness of a drug at slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s in people with amyloid protein plaques. The researchers scanned the brains of some 4,500 older adults and enrolled more than 1,300 with high levels of the plaques, but not symptoms. The full study is scheduled to be complete in 2022.

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