England’s under-fire public health agency plays key role, PM’s spokesman says

Judith J. Mercado

LONDON (Reuters) – Public Health England is playing a key role in Britain’s response to the coronavirus crisis, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, responding to criticism of the body for slowness in tackling the pandemic.

But he also pointed to new structures formed since the crisis began, such as a test and trace system and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which brings together data analysis and epidemiological expertise to try to combat outbreaks.

In a Reuters special report, several scientists criticised Public Health England (PHE) for not helping Britain move quickly enough to implement a widespread testing regime by deciding, among other things, a narrower definition of COVID-19 than the World Health Organization and other countries.

In turn, public health officials told Reuters that the government initially ordered the agency not to share with local councils its surveillance reports.

Asked whether PHE was under threat, the

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Washington Reports 611 Coronavirus Cases, Highest Daily Total Yet

Judith J. Mercado

SEATTLE, WA — Wednesday, state health officials confirmed seven new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 611 new confirmed cases of the disease.

Though that is not the highest daily death toll Washington has seen, it is the highest number of new coronavirus cases the state has reported in a single day. On one hand, officials say it’s good that many of the new cases are not ending in deaths, but on the other, extra cases means extra opportunities for the virus to be transmitted to an elderly or high risk patient.

Health officials in both Pierce and King counties have recently gone on record to confirm that many of their new coronavirus cases have been in younger adults aged 20-39, and that they’re worried those young, more mobile adults may go on to spread the disease to vulnerable populations.

To prevent a surge in new deaths, health officials

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Three Things To Know for BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

Judith J. Mercado

BIPOC populations can face significant differences in the accessibility of quality mental health care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are more likely to be uninsured, more likely to use emergency departments, less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, and more likely to receive lower quality care.

July marks BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month to shine a light on the distinct struggles that underrepresented groups face with mental illness in the United States. BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month is a chance to destigmatize talking about mental health and substance use disorders. Some feel embarrassed to seek treatment or fear being shamed by their community. By focusing on these issues in July and all year round, we can help change the inequality and stereotypes stopping marginalized communities from

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Facing shortages of beds and remdesivir, South Florida hospitals halt elective surgeries

Judith J. Mercado

As South Florida hospitals canceled non-emergency surgeries on Wednesday to make room for a growing wave of patients with COVID-19, the health department told hospital pharmacies that the state has temporarily exhausted all supplies of remdesivir, one of the few drugs shown to be effective at treating the disease.

Florida’s case count began to rise two weeks after Memorial Day and has not declined since, with an additional 6,563 COVID-19 infections confirmed on Wednesday — raising the statewide total to 158,997 people since the pandemic began, with more than 30% or nearly 50,000 new cases reported in the past seven days.

The surge threatens once again to overwhelm hospitals in the regions where the virus has struck hardest, including Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

In Miami-Dade, which has had a total of 37,961 confirmed cases so far, more than any county in the state, Jackson Health System said it would

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