Cholesterol-lowering drugs may protect women’s hearts from damage caused during chemotherapy – News-Medical.Net

Statins, common cholesterol-lowering medications, may protect women’s hearts from damage caused during chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

“Two types of cancer medications, anthracyclines and trastuzumab, are effective treatments for many women with breast cancer, however, the risk of heart muscle damage has limited their use, particularly in women who are at higher risk for heart problems because of their age or other medical issues,” said Husam Abdel-Qadir, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, part of the University Health Network in Toronto.

“The mechanisms for these medications are essential to kill breast cancer cells, however, these processes can also damage the cells of the heart muscle, leading to weakening of the heart,” he said.

Previous small studies have suggested that women taking statins may have less heart muscle damage from these types of chemotherapy. The exact mechanisms of how statins protect against the cardiac cell damage remains unknown. It is believed that statins have antioxidative and anti-inflammatory actions.

For the current study, researchers used several administrative health databases in Ontario, Canada, to review the occurrence of heart failure in women ages 66 and older who received anthracyclines or trastuzumab for newly diagnosed early-stage breast cancer between 2007 and 2017. Each woman already taking statins was matched with a peer who was not taking statins as well as a variety of medical and social background factors. The two groups were compared to understand how many required hospitalizations or an emergency room visit for heart failure within the five years after chemotherapy. None had previously been diagnosed with heart failure.

Researchers found:

  • In the 666 pairs of women (median age 69) treated with anthracyclines, those taking statins were 55% less likely to be treated at the hospital for heart failure (1.2% vs. 2.9%).
  • In the 390 pairs of women (median age 71) treated with trastuzumab, those taking statins were 54% less likely to be treated at the hospital for heart failure (2.7% vs. 3.7%), a trend that did not reach statistical significance.

“Our findings support the idea that statins may be a potential intervention for preventing heart failure in patients receiving chemotherapy with anthracyclines and potentially trastuzumab,” Abdel-Qadir said.

This observational study found an association but cannot conclude that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between taking statins and a lower risk of heart failure.

This study does not conclusively prove statins are protective. However, this study builds on the body of evidence suggesting that they may have benefits. For women with breast cancer who meet established indications for taking a statin, they should ideally continue taking it throughout their chemotherapy treatment. Women who do not have an indication for a statin should ask their health care team if they can join a clinical trial studying the benefits of statins in protecting against heart muscle damage during chemotherapy. Otherwise, they should focus on measures to optimize their cardiovascular health before, during and after chemotherapy.”

Abdel-Qadir, M.D., Ph.D., Lead Author, Assistant Professor, Medicine, University of Toronto, Cardiologist, Women’s College Hospital, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

Findings from this study in older women may not be generalizable to younger women or to those at low cardiovascular risk who do not meet current indications for a statin. Because the populations are similar in terms of demographics, these results from Canada are likely generalizable to women in the United States. Other limitations include that the study is a retrospective analysis that relied on administrative data, and the researchers could not account for potentially important factors that were not available, including the heart’s pumping ability and heart biomarkers.

Journal reference:

Abdel‐Qadir, H., et al. (2021) Statin Exposure and Risk of Heart Failure After Anthracycline‐ or Trastuzumab‐Based Chemotherapy for Early Breast Cancer: A Propensity Score‒Matched Cohort Study. Journal of the American Heart Association.

Opinion: How to help pets manage anxiety when their humans return to work – Houston Chronicle

When one of my co-workers found out about a tiny, orphaned kitten that needed a home a few months ago, he didn’t hesitate to adopt it. He says his new companion helped make the months of COVID-19 isolation at home much less stressful.

He is not alone. Animal shelters and breeders across the country have reported record numbers of dog and cat adoptions in recent months.

But after my co-worker returned to work, he says his adorable kitten started urinating on the kitchen counter while he was away.

Another friend is worried about how her dog will react when she returns to the office. Her big, goofy Labrador retriever follows her everywhere, even to the bathroom. When she leaves to run a quick errand, the dog sits by the back door and whines, awaiting her return.

What should these pet owners do?

As a clinical veterinarian and professor, I am often asked to help people find ways to ease their pets’ anxiety.

A change in routine, such as suddenly being alone for many hours every day, is a major cause of separation anxiety for both dogs and cats.

Separation anxiety is more than a little whimpering when you head out the door. It’s major, unwanted behavior that happens every time you leave or are away.

For dogs and cats, this can mean excessive pacing, barking or howling, whimpering or self-grooming as you get ready to leave. In some cases it can mean urinating or defecating around the house, often in places where scents linger, such as on bedding or rugs, or destroying household items in your absence.

Separation anxiety won’t go away on its own, and it can be difficult to get rid of entirely. But there are ways to manage it.

What not to do

First, it’s important to understand that it’s not about you — it’s about your pet.

Your pet doesn’t want to experience separation anxiety any more than you want to experience its consequences.

For this reason, punishment is never the answer. For one thing, your pet won’t connect the punishment with something that happened hours — or even a few minutes — earlier. And punishment may only exacerbate your pet’s anxiety and stress.

Similarly, going to the opposite extreme by praising or giving affection when your pet is suffering anxiety also will make the problem worse.

The goal is to create a balanced relationship so your pet tolerates being alone. First, get your pet checked out by a veterinarian to rule out physical conditions, such as a urinary tract infection if your pet urinates in inappropriate places.

Next, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Getting exercise shortly before you leave the house may put your dog in a more relaxed state while you’re gone. For cats, this could mean a change of environment by being outdoors in a safe, enclosed area such as a “catio.”

Treating separation anxiety with behavior change

Here, we’re talking about your behavior. The goal is to make your absence seem like no big deal. Making a fuss over your pet when you leave or arrive home only makes matters worse. If you treat it like it’s routine, your pet will learn to do the same.

Try to figure out when your pet starts to show signs of anxiety and turn that into a low-key activity. If it’s when you pick up your handbag, for example, practice picking it up and putting it back down several times over a few hours.

Next, practice short absences. When you’re at home, make it a point to spend some time in another room. In addition, leave the house long enough to run an errand or two, then gradually increase the time that you’re away so that being gone for a full day becomes part of the family routine.

Boredom makes separation anxiety worse. Providing an activity for your pet while you’re gone, such as a puzzle toy stuffed with treats, or simply hiding treats around the house will make your absence less stressful.

To maintain your bond while you’re gone, place a piece of clothing that you have worn recently in a prominent place, such as on your bed or couch, to comfort your pet. Similarly, you can leave the TV or radio on — there are even special programs just for pets — or set up a camera so you can observe and interact with your pet remotely.

Using supplements or medication

In some severe cases, when the animal harms itself or causes property damage, medication or supplements might be necessary. A behavior modification plan accompanying the use of medication can help manage this problem.

While some medications are readily available without a prescription, it’s a good idea to get advice from your veterinarian to determine which are safest and most effective for your pet’s situation. Medication can help reduce the anxiety, making it easier for the pet to learn new coping skills.

Separation anxiety is difficult for both you and your pet. But a few simple changes can make a huge difference as life returns to some semblance of normal.

Teller is a clinical associate professor at Texas A&M University. This piece was first published by The Conversation.

Children with congenital heart disease likelier to have anxiety, depression, ADHD – Healio

January 05, 2021

2 min read

Children with congenital heart disease are significantly more likely to have anxiety, depression or ADHD, according to data from a Texas hospital.

Vincent J. Gonzalez, MD, MS, a pediatric cardiology fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed the medical records of patients aged 4 to 17 years with at least one hospitalization or ED visit from 2011 to 2016 at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Children diagnosed with anxiety, depression and/or ADHD

Among 118,785 patients, 1,164 (approximately 1%) had congenital heart disease (CHD). Most patients with CHD had simple (47.7%) or complex nonsingle ventricle (46.9%) lesions, Gonzalez and colleagues reported.

Of the 1,164 patients with CHD, 18.2% (n = 212) had a diagnosis or medication for anxiety or depression compared with 5.2% (n = 6,088) of the remaining patients, data showed. Children with CHD also had a higher prevalence of ADHD (5.1%) compared with their peers (2.1%).

According to the study, children in all age groups with CHD had significantly higher odds of anxiety and/or depression or ADHD. Children aged 4 to 9 years with simple CHD were roughly five times more likely (OR = 5.23; 95% CI, 3.87-7.07) and those with complex CHD were roughly 7 times more likely (OR = 7.46; 95% CI, 3.7-15.07) to receive a diagnosis or treatment for anxiety and/or depression, the researchers reported.

Vincent J. Gonzalez

“We feel that our research produces novel findings in that preadolescent children with any type of congenital heart disease appear to have anxiety and/or depression and ADHD at significantly higher rates than those without CHD,” Gonzalez told Healio. “It was previously suspected that adolescents and adults with CHD had higher rates of these disorders; however, this is the first study to suggest that younger patients with CHD may as well.”

The authors noted that minority and/or uninsured youth were significantly less likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety, depression and/or ADHD.

Non-Hispanic Black individuals were 47% less likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and/or depression, whereas Hispanic youth were 52% less likely and Asian youth were 33% less likely, they reported. Non-Hispanic Black youth were 45% less likely to be diagnosed or treated for ADHD, whereas Black individuals were 78% less likely, and Asian youth were 86% less likely. The authors noted that these odds held, even after controlling for insurance type.

“Our findings indicate that providers caring for all patients with any type of CHD should consider screening for symptoms of anxiety, depression or ADHD earlier in childhood,” Gonzalez said. “Further, parents of those with CHD may consider having discussions with their children and pediatricians earlier in childhood to screen for such conditions.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: January 5, 2021 –

For Immediate Release:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the following actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Today, the FDA posted a new webpage on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) highlighting authorities that are intended to enhance the FDA’s ability to identify, prevent, and mitigate possible drug shortages by, among other things, enhancing the FDA’s visibility into drug supply chains.

    The CARES Act amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act to:

    • Expand the requirement for manufacturers of certain drugs to provide information on permanent discontinuances and interruptions in manufacturing that may lead to a meaningful disruption in supply to the FDA. 
    • Include a provision requiring manufacturers of drugs described in section 506C(a) of the FD&C Act or of any active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) or any associated medical device used for preparation or administration included in the drug to develop, maintain, and implement, as appropriate, a redundancy risk management plan that identifies and evaluates risks to the supply of the drug, as applicable, for each establishment in which the drug or API of the drug is manufactured.
    • Require drug manufacturers registered under section 510 of the FD&C Act to annually report on the amount of each drug that they “manufactured, prepared, propagated, compounded, or processed” for commercial distribution. The FDA is still determining the best way to receive these data and will notify drug manufacturers when an electronic data submission system is in place. 
  • The FDA released a new episode of its podcast, FDA Insight. In this episode, Gail Bormel from the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research joins Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs Anand Shah, M.D. for a discussion on drug compounding and its contribution to fighting COVID-19.
  • As part of the FDA’s effort to protect consumers, the agency issued a warning letter jointly with the Federal Trade Commission to Coco’s Holistic Specialties & Apothecary for selling unapproved drug products with fraudulent COVID-19 claims. The company sells tea products, including “4-Thieves Florida Tea Concentrate” and “4-Thieves Florida Tea Powder”,  and misleadingly represents that the products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19 in people. The FDA requested that Coco’s Holistic Specialties & Apothecary immediately address its violations from selling these unapproved products for treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Consumers concerned about COVID-19 should consult with their health care provider.
  • Testing updates:
    • As of today, 310 tests and sample collection devices are authorized by the FDA under emergency use authorizations (EUAs). These include 235 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 64 antibody tests, and 11 antigen tests. There are 32 molecular authorizations that can be used with home-collected samples. There is one molecular prescription at-home test, one antigen prescription at-home test, and one over-the-counter (OTC) at-home antigen test.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.




Related Information

COVID-19 Vaccine – SCDHEC

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Chart of covid-19 vaccine flow in south carolina

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FAQsVaccination PlanPhase 1a GuidanceVaccine Allocations

What Phase am I in?

Our top priority is to save lives. Everyone will have a chance to get the vaccine. However, the number of doses is currently limited in South Carolina like in all states. We ask everyone to please be patient, learn what phase you’re in and follow the guidance of our public health officials. This will allow public health officials to ensure those at highest risk and those who keep us alive are vaccinated first.

To support this effort, vaccine distribution is occurring in a phased approach. The following outline provides an overview of the anticipated categories and time for each phase. This is subject to change at any time for many reasons, such as a change in federal guidance or in the VAC’s recommendations for South Carolina.

Phase 1a (Currently Ongoing)

Scheduling an appointment

Employers are encouraged to reach out to their local hospitals as soon as possible and no later than Jan. 15, 2021, with a list of names and contact information of employees who want to be vaccinated. In addition, individuals in Phase 1a who want to be vaccinated should contact their local hospitals to request and schedule an appointment no later than Jan. 15, 2021. If there is not a hospital in your county, you should contact the nearest hospital to you.

Phase 1a includes:

  • Healthcare workers
    • Initial focus on frontline healthcare workers at high risk of exposure and mission-critical to the overarching goal of preventing death
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities

Healthcare workers include:

  • Anesthesiology assistants, registered cardiovascular invasive specialists, and operating room staff
  • Athletic Trainers
  • American Sign Language (ASL) and other interpreters in healthcare facilities
  • Autopsy room staff, coroners, embalmers, and funeral home staff at risk of exposure to bodily fluids
  • Dentists and dental hygienists and technicians
  • Dietary and food services staff in healthcare facilities
  • Environmental services staff in healthcare facilities
  • Home health and hospice workers
  • Hospital transport personnel
  • Laboratory personnel and phlebotomists
  • Licensed dietitians
  • Medical assistants
  • Medical first responders (paid and volunteer): EMS; fire department and law enforcement personnel who provide emergency medical care
  • Nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse’s aides/ assistants
  • Opticians and optometrists and assistants/ technicians
  • Persons providing medical care in correctional facilities and correctional officers
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
  • Physical and occupational therapists and assistants
  • Physicians, including medical house staff (i.e., interns, residents, fellows), and physician assistants
  • Podiatrists
  • Public health healthcare workers who are frequently interacting with persons with potential COVID-19 infection
  • Radiology technicians
  • Respiratory care practitioners, such as respiratory therapists
  • Speech language pathologists and assistants and audiologists
  • Students and interns of the above categories

Phase 1b (Late Winter 2021)

*All time estimates are subject to change due to vaccine availability, demand, and provider participation.

Phase 1b includes:

  • All people aged 75 years and older
  • Frontline essential workers
    • Sectors included by ACIP: firefighters, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, USPS workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector—teachers, support staff, and daycare workers

Phase 1c (Early Spring 2021)

*All time estimates are subject to change due to vaccine availability, demand, and provider participation.

Phase 1c includes:

  • All people aged 65 – 74 years and older
  • People aged 16 – 64 years with certain underlying health conditions that puts them at high risk for severe disease (list by CDC)
  • Other essential workers 
    • Examples included by ACIP: people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health staff who are non-frontline healthcare workers

Phase 2 (Late Spring-Fall 2021)

*All time estimates are subject to change due to vaccine availability, demand, and provider participation.

Phase 2 includes:

  • ALL people who wish to be vaccinated 
    • Ages per recommendations by ACIP

Phase 2 vaccinations are anticipated to begin in late Spring 2021, with the vaccines expected to become available for the general public during the summer and fall of 2021.

What Should I Do Now?

Everyone in our state who wants to be vaccinated will get their turn. We call on all South Carolinians to step up by stepping back until it is their turn in the plan and to continue to stand together to fight this disease by taking small steps that make a big difference:

  • Wearing your mask
  • Getting tested and staying home when you’re sick
  • Avoiding large gatherings
  • Practicing physical distancing

For individuals in Phase 1a who have not been contacted regarding an opportunity for vaccination yet, DHEC is working with our partners at South Carolina Hospital Association and South Carolina Medical Association as well as numerous independent providers and vaccination locations to onboard them and allocate and distribute vaccines in the coming weeks. As more locations for vaccination become available, we will be contacting healthcare workers via their employers, associations, or licensing entities to provide a way for them to sign up if they wish to be contacted when it is their turn to make an appointment for vaccination. It is going to take several weeks to a couple of months to vaccinate all members of Phase 1a, so please be patient as we go through this process.

Vaccine Updates

January 6, 2021 – South Carolina Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting

Previous Vaccine Updates

Contact Us

FDA Statement on Following the Authorized Dosing Schedules for COVID-19 Vaccines –

For Immediate Release:
Statement From:

Statement Author

Leadership Role

Commissioner of Food and Drugs – Food and Drug Administration

Stephen M. Hahn M.D.

Leadership Role

Director – Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)

Peter Marks M.D., PhD.

Two different mRNA vaccines have now shown remarkable effectiveness of about 95% in preventing COVID-19 infection in adults. As the first round of vaccine recipients become eligible to receive their second dose, we want to remind the public about the importance of receiving COVID-19 vaccines according to how they’ve been authorized by the FDA in order to safely receive the level of protection observed in the large randomized trials supporting their effectiveness.

We have been following the discussions and news reports about reducing the number of doses, extending the length of time between doses, changing the dose (half-dose), or mixing and matching vaccines in order to immunize more people against COVID-19. These are all reasonable questions to consider and evaluate in clinical trials. However, at this time, suggesting changes to the FDA-authorized dosing or schedules of these vaccines is premature and not rooted solidly in the available evidence. Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19.

The available data continue to support the use of two specified doses of each authorized vaccine at specified intervals. For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose. 

What we have seen is that the data in the firms’ submissions regarding the first dose is commonly being misinterpreted. In the phase 3 trials, 98% of participants in the Pfizer-BioNTech trial and 92% of participants in the Moderna trial received two doses of the vaccine at either a three- or four-week interval, respectively. Those participants who did not receive two vaccine doses at either a three-or four-week interval were generally only followed for a short period of time, such that we cannot conclude anything definitive about the depth or duration of protection after a single dose of vaccine from the single dose percentages reported by the companies.  

Using a single dose regimen and/or administering less than the dose studied in the clinical trials without understanding the nature of the depth and duration of protection that it provides is concerning, as there is some indication that the depth of the immune response is associated with the duration of protection provided. If people do not truly know how protective a vaccine is, there is the potential for harm because they may assume that they are fully protected when they are not, and accordingly, alter their behavior to take unnecessary risks.

We know that some of these discussions about changing the dosing schedule or dose are based on a belief that changing the dose or dosing schedule can help get more vaccine to the public faster. However, making such changes that are not supported by adequate scientific evidence may ultimately be counterproductive to public health.

We have committed time and time again to make decisions based on data and science. Until vaccine manufacturers have data and science supporting a change, we continue to strongly recommend that health care providers follow the FDA-authorized dosing schedule for each COVID-19 vaccine. 

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.




15 Home Workout Apps That Actually Work, from Bodybuilding to HIIT and Yoga to Running – Yahoo Lifestyle UK

The Telegraph

Travels down memory lane, when health and safety was of little concern

With so many holidays postponed or cancelled, there’s one travel corridor that is guaranteed to remain open: a trip down memory lane. Perhaps now is the time to sort through all those slides and prints from decades of family holidays and remind yourself what travel was like aeons ago, not just pre-Covid but before mobile phones and the internet? After all, who needs faraway lands when, as L.P Hartley wrote, ‘the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’? If the author of ‘The Go-between’ is right, then we all have a foreign country – or several – ripe for a visit, lurking in cobwebby corners. I’ve been helping my father clear out over 50 years’ of clutter from his loft, much of it boxes and boxes of slides (mounted 35mm transparencies). There were even boxes of his father’s slides, dating back to the 1950s and silvery-shadowed glass plates from previous generations. Thankfully, my father – a former professional photographer – has a portable light box and a rather ancient viewing loupe meaning that I haven’t had to project the slides onto a wall to examine them. For days on end, I’ve hunched over a glowing briefcase with a brass magnifier pressed to my eye, peering at little plastic rectangles of colour, trying to work out if any of the people in the shots are significant. I’ve rescued dozens of family photos that I’d never come across before, pictures of my mother and father in their beautiful youth, my sister and I in natty little dogtooth duffle coats, of laughing and gurning cousins, aunts and uncles. Occasionally I’ve saved a picture from the bin purely for its vintage beauty such as a shot of holidaymakers boarding a ship in the Highlands, dated 1959. The most noticeable difference between now and then is the literal fabric of society. Everyone seems to wear wool of some kind: knitted jerseys, worsted dresses, flannel trousers, tweed jackets, felt hats, gaberdine overcoats. Even that lexicon of yesteryear fashion’s warp and weft sounds archaic now. Although by the 1950s, man-made fabrics such as nylon had been around for decades, it seems their impact on our sartorial style was limited to the barely visible; to stockings and undergarments and the occasional see-through plastic rain scarf. The days of prosaic fleeces and Gore-tex jackets are yet to come. The crowd queuing to embark and those already seated on the wooden seats on deck look, by today’s standards, as if they’re dressed for a wedding. Few people are burdened with belongings, perhaps a pair of binoculars on a leather strap or a camera in a brown leather box. Meanwhile, the cargo freight being loaded into the hold is in wooden and wicker containers, delivered on wooden barrows. Today such cargo would be in polystyrene and plastic crates delivered by fork-lift truck; and not all done within a few feet of queuing foot passengers.

Larry King hospitalized with Covid-19 – NBC News

Broadcast journalist Larry King was moved Sunday from the ICU at a Los Angeles hospital, where he continues to be treated for Covid-19, a source close to the family said.

The source said King, 87, has been in the hospital for about 10 days, and that King believes he contracted the virus from a health care worker who went to his home.

One of his sons also contracted Covid-19, the source said.

King, known for his tireless work ethic, retired from CNN in 2010 after 25 years of hosting the interview show “Larry King Live,” only to return to broadcasting in 2012 with “Larry King Now” on the free streaming service Ora TV.

In 2019, he told television’s “Extra” that he had suffered a stroke that put him in a coma for “a couple weeks.” Ora TV also reported that King had suffered a heart attack. He told “Extra,” “It’s been a rough year.”

“I don’t remember anything since March,” he said. “I had the stroke in March.”

The next year, his son Andy King, 65, died of a heart attack, and his daughter Chaia King, 51, died after battle with lung cancer. Married eight times, King has three other children.

King is perhaps America’s interviewer laureate, having faced world leaders, Hollywood royalty and sports stars in his Q&A career. The Brooklyn-born journalist got his start as a radio DJ in the 1950s before moving on to syndicated talk radio in the 1970s.

King has become such a television icon that he’s been impersonated on “Saturday Night Live” several times, including by Kevin Nealon in the 1990s and Fred Armisen in the 2010s.

In August, King helped launch an online education platform, Royal Age, aimed at American seniors. It was unveiled ahead of schedule to provide people 60 and older with information on the pandemic, according to a statement.

“From my own personal quarantine, I understand how big the need of senior citizens in America is to have their own reliable and safe online platform,” King said in the statement.

In the 2019 “Extra” interview. King said he is a survivor: “My head doctor said I have an incomparable spirit.”

New York becomes fourth state to record 1 million Covid-19 cases – NBC News

New York has become the fourth state to record more than 1 million Covid-19 cases since the coronavirus pandemic started.

As of Saturday, New York had 1,014,044 confirmed cases, according to NBC News counts. California remains at the top of the list with 2.3 million confirmed cases, the most of any state in the country. Los Angeles County alone has reported about 806,210 cases as of Saturday, according to public health officials.

Florida and Texas have 1.3 million cases and 1.7 million cases, respectively.

Also on Saturday, the U.S. reported more than 350,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

Public health officials in New York say the official number of cases represents a significant undercount, since many people in the New York City area were infected with the coronavirus last spring when testing was largely unavailable, NBC New York reported.

Jan. 2, 202102:37

“As we start 2021, I encourage all New Yorkers to look to their better angels and continue the practices we know stop the spread of this virus — wash your hands, socially distance and wear a mask,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the city plans to to vaccinate 1 million residents in January alone.

The United States ended 2020 with the deadliest and most infectious month since the start of the pandemic.

More than 77,000 people died in December, while 6.4 million people contracted the virus amid the emergence of a new variant and delayed efforts to vaccinate people. The second-deadliest month was April 2020, with more than 58,000 deaths.

At least four cases of the Covid-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom have recently been reported in Colorado, California and Florida, but public health experts believe it is likely circulating elsewhere in the country.

In other developments Saturday, hospitals officials said 43 staff members at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Emergency Department in California tested positive for Covid-19 between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1.

The hospital said all areas in the emergency department were undergoing deep cleaning and that employees who tested positive for Covid-19 or are suspected of having the coronavirus due to symptoms will follow isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The hospital is investigating whether a staff member who briefly visited the emergency department on Christmas Day wearing an air-powered costume with a fan may have unintentionally caused air droplets to spread.

Officials said such costumes will no longer be allowed inside the buildings.

“Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time,” the hospital said in a statement.

DHEC Continues to Provide COVID-19 Vaccine Updates, Latest Information – SCDHEC

January 1, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In addition to COVID-19 vaccine updates provided earlier this week, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced additional information.

Sixteen health care facilities, as outlined in this new spreadsheet, have received 97,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine directly from the federal government since Dec. 14. The DHEC Distribution Center has received 14,625 doses and distributed 5,555 to health care facilities without the ultra-cold storage required for storing Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

As Phase 1a vaccination progresses, hospitals and other COVID-19 vaccination providers may administer doses to non-affiliated Phase 1a healthcare workers, if they have the ability to do so based on clarified guidance, available vaccine and appropriate staffing. It is the discretion of each hospital and vaccination provider as to which non-affiliated Phase 1a individuals they offer to vaccinate, and in what order.

Additionally, DHEC is working with partners to establish vaccination clinics for Phase 1a individuals at independent medical practices, pharmacies, DHEC locations and other sites to ensure vaccine is accessible to all Phase 1a individuals who wish to receive their shot. Phase 1a individuals who will be notified and encouraged to schedule an appointment at one of these sites if they have not been vaccinated by a hospital.

COVID-19 vaccine providers are required to successfully enroll in a federal vaccine distribution program that instructs the proper handling and administration of vaccine. They also are required by federal law to report specific information for every dose they administer into the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), a secure national database accessed by states to monitor vaccine administration. It’s important to note that the numbers in VAMS, the way they are recorded, and the timing of when they can be/are recorded, are impacting the amount of vaccines VAMS says hospitals have on hand. Also, many of the available doses are earmarked for Phase 1a individuals with appointments scheduled in the near future.

Residents and staff of long-term care facilities and nursing homes who are currently being vaccinated through the Long-Term Care Program managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recorded separately in a national database called Tiberius. Vaccine information isn’t expected to available through Tiberius until early next week.

As states await long-term care facility data, DHEC is developing an online vaccine overview dashboard expected to launch Jan. 6, 2021. In the interim, DHEC will provide daily updates to the spreadsheet of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine allocations. For the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, visit