Healthcare – Masks come off in Head Start classrooms

🎭 Another COVID victim on Broadway: The longest-running show in Broadway history is closing This winter. The Phantom of the Opera opened in January 1988 and will close in February.

In health news, Head Start, the federal education program for preschools and daycares, will soon end its mandatory masking policy.

Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

HHS removes masking requirements for Head Start

The Office of Head Start (OHS), the federal program of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides preschool and child care services to low-income families, announced Friday that it will soon be dropping its universal masking rule for its grant recipients.

  • In a statement provided to The Hill, an HHS spokesperson said, “Today OHS advised programs that in the near future it intends to issue a final rule that will formally remove the universal masking requirement in Head Start programs for all individual ages. 2 and above, which will more closely align Head Start program masking requirements with updated CDC guidelines.
  • The move comes about a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued more lenient COVID-19 guidelines regarding several mitigation methods such as masking and quarantining.

“Overall, we’re excited to see this. We’ve been really pushing and advocating for some clarity on the masking and vaccine interim final rule for several months now. And so we’re very happy that it’s being updated,” said Tommy Sheridan, deputy director of the National Head Start Association (NHSA).

However, children and teachers in Head Start programs have always been required to adhere to mandatory mask-wearing. This despite updated CDC guidelines that masks should primarily be considered in high-risk areas or for immunocompromised students.

In their communication to Head Start recipients, OHS and ACF encouraged centers to “continue to use a combination of tools to reduce the risk of COVID-19,” highlighting the most recent guidance from the CDC.

Learn more here.

West Virginia Governor Signs Bill Severely Restricting Abortion

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed an abortion ban on Friday that will only allow the procedure in cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies.

  • Justice said in a tweet announcing his signature that the legislation is a “bill that protects lives.”
  • “I said from the start that if WV lawmakers brought me a bill that protected life and included reasonable and logical exceptions, I would sign it, and that’s what I did today. “, did he declare.

Both houses of the state legislature approved the ban on Tuesday, with the state Senate passing it 22-7 and the State House passing it 77-17. With Justice’s signature, the law takes effect immediately while its criminal penalties will take effect in 90 days.

Provisions: The law completely prohibits abortion unless the patient is a victim of rape or incest, has notified a law enforcement agency, and receives the procedure by the eighth week of pregnancy. . Minors in either of these circumstances may be eligible for an abortion up to 14 weeks gestation if they report it to law enforcement and receive treatment from a licensed professional or hospital .

Abortions are also permitted for “medical emergencies” and if the fetus is not medically viable.

Penalties: Licensed providers who are found to have performed an abortion illegally are not subject to imprisonment but may lose their medical license. If someone not licensed to perform an abortion, such as nurses, is found to have done so, they could face felony charges and a sentence of three to 10 years in prison, starting at 90 days.

Learn more here.


A new autoimmune therapy harnesses a person’s own cells to find and correct other faulty cells – an answer for patients who haven’t responded to other treatments and a possible cure for diseases like lupus.

In a study published in Thursday Nature, researchers genetically modified and re-injected immune cells from patients, meaning each person gets their own cells as a treatment. In this type of therapy, called CAR T cell therapy, T cells are modified to recognize a specific protein on the surface of B cells, those that produce antibodies that mistakenly attack healthy cells.

Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks other cells in the body and causes symptoms like inflammation. This happens through autoantibodies, or antibodies that attack the self, produced by a type of white blood called B cells.

The researchers were able to perform CAR T cell therapy with five lupus patients with a median age of 22 years.

After about 100 days, patients were able to produce new B cells that did not produce autoantibodies. Patients had drug-free remission for a median of eight months after treatment, up to 12 months.

Learn more here.


Air pollution is detrimental to lung health, especially if it’s indoors and constant. For example, exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke can trigger asthma attacks in children. New research suggests the effects may even be felt a generation later.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal examines data from 1,689 children who grew up in Tasmania from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study, which dates back to 1968.

They also had information on whether the children’s fathers had been exposed to second-hand smoke from their parents when they were under 15.

The researchers found that the risk of non-allergic asthma in children increased by
59% if their fathers were exposed to second-hand smoke as children, compared to children whose fathers were not exposed.

If fathers were exposed to second-hand smoke and continued to smoke themselves, their children’s risk of developing asthma was even higher at 72%.

Learn more here.

Poster campaign promoting access to abortion in California

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) launched a poster campaign in several red states on Thursday, touting access to abortion in the Golden State.

“Just launched billboards in 7 of the most restrictive anti-abortion states that explain how women can access care no matter where they live,” Newsom said in a tweet. “To any woman seeking an abortion in these anti-freedom states: CA will defend your right to make decisions about your own health.”

Through the status lines: Billboards — going up in Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Oklahoma — advertise the state’s new reproductive health website.

  • The website,, provides information on abortion access in California, including travel to obtain an abortion. Newsom announced the launch of the website on Tuesday, just hours after Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) unveiled new legislation for a 15-week nationwide abortion ban.
  • Newsom’s new poster campaign features slogans such as “Texas don’t own your body. You do.” and “Need an abortion?” California is ready to help. A billboard quotes the Bible – usually quoted by anti-abortion activists – as saying “Love your neighbor as yourself. There are no greater commandments than these.

Learn more here.


  • Better get another booster before Halloween, says White House COVID coordinator Dr. Jha (ABC News)
  • EU regulator supports wider use of AstraZeneca COVID therapy (Reuters)
  • Covid-19 in older people linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s, study finds (The Washington Post)


  • A disability program promised to lift people out of poverty. Instead, it left many homeless (Kaiser Health News)
  • “A Central Virginia Problem” – State Investigating Mental Health Emergency Service Overuse (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
  • Missouri hospitals are in “crisis” due to understaffing in mental health facilities (KCUR)


The health reforms both sides should approve

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.


About Antoine L. Cassell

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