Army Public Health Weekly Update, 09 September 2022

Date Published: 9/9/2022
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​​​​​​​​​​​The Army Public Health Update is a collection of articles taken from public sources to offer awareness of current health issues and the media coverage given to them. The articles do not necessarily represent U.S. Army Medical Command opinions, views, policy, or guidance, and should not be construed or interpreted as being endorsed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.

The Army Public Health Weekly Update does not analyze the information as to its strategic or tactical impact on the U.S. Army and is not a medical intelligence product. Medical intelligence is available from the National Center for Medical Intelligence External Link .​
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Table of Contents

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Health of the Army Family​​

    Army Family Members play a key role in the readiness and retention of our fighting force. The Health of the Army Family initiative aims to better understand the health needs and concerns of Army Families and take action to keep the Army strong.

    - Characterizes the health and well-being of Soldiers and their Family Members in the context of the unique military events that affect, and are affected by, the Family’s health status.

    - Communicates the importance of understanding, monitoring, and optimizing the health of the Army Family as a key building block of Soldier readiness and retention.

    - Specifies what is known and unknown about the health of the Army Family.​Serves as a call to action for diverse audiences, such as Soldiers and their Families, Army Leaders, Research and Evaluators, and Policy Makers and Program Proponents. APHC ​​

    U.S. MILITARY

    H2F making a difference, tackling the whole approach to care​

    6 September- Suicide Prevention Month officially kicked off with a suicide survivor panel at the Fort Bragg Soldier and Family Readiness Group Center, Sep. 1. Throughout the month of September, the Directorate of Human Resources Suicide Prevention Office is partnering with organizations across the installation to bring awareness, provide resources and connect with the community. “Suicide prevention and awareness isn’t something that just happens in September,” said Ed Chavis, Fort Bragg DHR suicide prevention program manager. “For us it is year-round, but we use this month to bring special awareness to our mission and the resources available to our service members and Families.” This year’s official theme is “Connect to Protect – Support is Within Reach. We’re in this Together.” It’s a reminder that not every fight is on the battlefield, and the importance of the roles that the team, Family and individuals play in suicide prevention. “The community really plays such an important role in suicide prevention,” explained Chavis. “And I’m not just talking about individuals, but also the programs and activities that are here to help our service members and Families get through difficult times.” One such program, while not directly aimed at combating suicide, is the Army’s new Holistic Health and Fitness Program which launched in fiscal year 2021. H2F is part of the Army’s People First Strategy and is aimed at improving Soldier readiness through a whole health for life model. “H2F is an approach to leader and Soldier education that attempts to bring a holistic perspective,” said Joshua Allen, 16th Military Police Brigade H2F program director. “It focuses on not just physical training but also sleep, nutrition, mental and spiritual readiness in order to fully address the needs of the Soldier.” DVIDS External Link

    VA expands airborne hazards and open burn pit registry eligibility​​

    31 August- More than 325,000 service members and veterans have joined the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to date, and recent updates expand eligibility and make it easier for service members and veterans to participate. “These updates are important in that they demonstrate the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs collective resolve to keep our service members and veterans informed about the registry, support requirements in National Defense Authorization Acts, and support the recently signed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” according to Steve Jones, Force Readiness and Health Assurance Policy director. “The DOD and the VA remain committed to better understanding and mitigating the health effects of deployment-related exposures such as airborne hazards and open burn pits.” In 2014, the VA developed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to help service members and veterans document potential exposure to airborne hazards while deployed overseas. The registry is a secure database of health information provided by service members and veterans that helps the VA collect, analyze, and publish data on health conditions that may be related to environmental exposures experienced during deployment. After completing the online questionnaire, participants have the option to discuss their health care with a provider in an optional medical evaluation. This summer, the VA added Egypt, Syria, and Uzbekistan to the list of eligible deployment locations. If you are a service member or veteran who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations or Egypt beginning August 2, 1990, or in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, or Uzbekistan beginning Sept. 11, 2001, you are eligible to sign up for the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry—regardless of whether you recall being exposed to airborne hazards. Health.mil External Link​​

    GLOBAL

    Alzheimer's disease therapeutic vaccine candidate study continues in Finland​​

    7 September- Gothenburg-based Alzinova AB announced today that a second external safety review had been completed with a positive assessment to continue the phase 1b clinical study with ALZ-101 in patients with early Alzheimer's disease (AD). The study investigates two different dose strengths of ALZ-101 during a treatment period of 20 weeks. In total, 26 study participants based in Finland will receive four doses of either ALZ-101 or a placebo. Alzinova's approach is to develop a therapeutic vaccine that specifically targets the toxic accumulations of amyloid-beta in the form of oligomers in the brain, which has several advantages compared to other methods. This AD vaccine candidate is designed to provoke an immune response specific to soluble oligomeric Aβ assemblies but not monomeric or fibrillar Aβ. A proprietary protein-engineering technology uses disulfide bonds to cross-link Aβ peptides into a conformation that assembles into stable, soluble oligomers or protofibrils. These assemblies are formulated into the ALZ-101 vaccine. This means people vaccinated with ALZ-101 generate their antibodies, specifically against toxic accumulations of amyloid-beta oligomers in the brain. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Cancers in adults under 50 are on the rise globally​

    ​​6 September- Over recent decades, more and more adults under the age of 50 are developing cancer. A study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital reveals that the incidence of early onset cancers (those diagnosed before age 50), including cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, and pancreas among others, has dramatically increased around the world, with this drastic rise beginning around 1990. In an effort to understand why many more younger individuals are being diagnosed with cancer, scientists conducted extensive analyses of available data in the literature and online, including information on early life exposures that might have contributed to this trend. Results are published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. "From our data, we observed something called the birth cohort effect. This effect shows that each successive group of people born at a later time (e.g., decade-later) have a higher risk of developing cancer later in life, likely due to risk factors they were exposed to at a young age," explained Shuji Ogino, MD, Ph.D., a professor and physician-scientist in the Department of Pathology at the Brigham. "We found that this risk is increasing with each generation. For instance, people born in 1960 experienced higher cancer risk before they turn 50 than people born in 1950 and we predict that this risk level will continue to climb in successive generations." Medical Express External Link​​​​

    Malaria vaccine awarded WHO prequalification status​​​

    6 September- England-based GSK plc announced today that the World Health Organization (WHO) had awarded prequalification to the malaria vaccine Mosquirix (RTS,S/AS01). This is the first WHO prequalification for a malaria vaccine and is an essential step in rolling out the vaccine in countries with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission. Pre-qualification for Mosquirix results from a rigorous regulatory process with the assessment of clinical, safety, and technical data, ensuring that the vaccine meets standards of quality, safety, and efficacy and is suitable for the target population. The WHO prequalification decision is a mandatory prerequisite for United Nations agencies to procure Mosquirix in partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and eligible countries. Thomas Breuer, Chief Global Health Officer, GSK, commented in a press release on September 6, 2022, "WHO prequalification of Mosquirix is a key step in reaching children with the first and only approved malaria vaccine."​ "Malaria remains a significant cause of illness and death for children in many parts of the world, and it is a significant driver of inequality." "So far, over one million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have had at least one dose of Mosquirix, donated by GSK, through the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme." "The WHO's prequalification paves the way for more children to benefit from the vaccine." In 2021, the WHO recommended broader use of GSK's Mosquirix to reduce childhood illness and deaths from malaria in children living in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high transmission. GSK secured its first commercial supply contract for its malaria vaccine, courtesy of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in August 2022. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    More than 75 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough exercise, according to CDC standards​

    ​​1 September- Guidelines from the CDC suggest more Americans should be hitting the gym. New statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that less than one-quarter of Americans are meeting the minimum amount of exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Data collected in 2020 by the National Center for Health Statistics was published in an August 2022 data brief.​​ It showed that only 24.2% of adults over age 18 have met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. The 2018 standards encourage at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Those who do that are most likely to experience health benefits. Fox News External Link​​​​

    New COVID-19 boosters against subvariants coming soon​​

    29 August- Public health experts say COVID-19 cases are anticipated to spike again this fall, but new vaccine versions expected to be released soon will target subvariants that dominate cases in the United States. These updated vaccines to be available as a single-dose booster sometime after Labor Day are termed “bivalent” vaccines, meaning they work by stimulating an immune response against two different antigens. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are anticipated to authorize and recommend the Pfizer bivalent vaccine as a booster for those age 12 and older and the Moderna version for those 18 years and older. However, per the FDA, the bivalent vaccines will not be able to be administered as a primary series. The new COVID-19 bivalent booster combines the original strain with the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 and will be distributed under FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pfizer and Moderna applied for EUAs for their bivalent products on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, respectively. The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants account for more than three-quarters of COVID-19 infections in the country. The subvariants also account for the majority of cases worldwide, according to the CDC. The FDA and CDC decisions are expected to occur prior to or just after the Labor Day holiday, said Air Force Col. Tonya Rans, chief of the Defense Health Agency Immunization Health Division. Pfizer and Moderna anticipate quickly shipping their messenger RNA (mRNA) bivalent vaccines in September pending authorization. Since the bivalent vaccines will be issued under emergency use authorization, getting this booster shot is not required, but highly recommended. For Military Health System beneficiaries, the Department of Defense does not currently mandate booster shots, but does require that service members and other beneficiaries must have first received a primary series from one of the available vaccines before getting the bivalent booster. Health.mil External Link

    Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for 12 to 17 Year-Olds​​

    30 August- Adolescents ages 12 to 17 can now receive the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, the fourth vaccine to be authorized for the prevention of coronavirus. Similar to other vaccines on the market, the vaccination regimen for Novavax calls for two doses three weeks apart. Military Health System parents who are interested in the Novavax option for their children should contact their provider to discuss this vaccination option and for availability of the vaccine. The vaccine may also be available through TRICARE in-network pharmacies TRICARE in-network pharmacies or other participating pharmacies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended DC Novavax recommendation the vaccine on Aug. 22 for use in adolescents ages 12 to 17 after the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization EUA (EUA) for its use in that same age group on Aug. 19. An EUA means the product has not been fully approved by FDA but is available during public health emergencies because clinical data have shown it to be safe and effective. The FDA previously authorized Novavax on July 13FDA Novavax for 18 and older for use against COVID-19 in those 18 years and older. The CDC recommended DC recommends Novavax for 18 and older the vaccine on July 19 for that same age group. The Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services secured 3.2 million doses Novavax vaccine doses of Novavax in June in advance of the decisions by the FDA and CDC. Health.mil​External Link

    Pfizer donates Paxlovid to group targeting COVID in poorer countries​​

    7 September- Pfizer (PFE.N) has donated 100,000 courses of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid to a new group aiming to improve access to the drug in low and middle-income countries. The Covid Treatment Quick Start Consortium, set up by organizations including Duke University and the Clinton Health Access Initiative with support from the pharmaceutical company, said it is working with ministries of health in 10 countries to set up national test-and-treat programmed. It aims for high-risk patients in some of the countries to start treatment by the end of this month, the group said in a statement on Wednesday. While Paxlovid is widely available in many rich countries, availability has been severely restricted in poorer ones, echoing the disparities in the global COVID-19 response. Pfizer has already agreed a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce its treatment at a lower price for low and middle-income countries. They are expected to sell their versions of the drug to the consortium when their products are approved, which is likely in the next few months.​ Reuters External Link

    Technology and medicine: The digital age of health care​​

    ​26 August- The Defense Health Agency continues to integrate systems across the Military Health System, including the new electronic health record and other IT resources. This month, technology experts, providers, stakeholders, and other specialists met at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium to discuss the variety of IT resources available to providers.  Supporting more than 400 military hospitals and clinics around the world, the DHA is focused on developing modernized tools to enhance care across the MHS. DHA has a variety of resources for providers to monitor patient records, see patients virtually, and improve their connection to care—as well as training programs for continuing education. Patient Records: Having secure access to a patient’s entire medical history is crucial to providing optimal care. MHS GENESIS, the Department of Defense’s new federal electronic health record, follows service members, retirees, and their families as they transition across the MHS. Additionally, a beneficiary’s records will eventually transfer to the Department of Veterans Affairs when they enter veteran status. No matter where patients might end up during their career, the records entered into their electronic health record will follow them throughout. To see the evolution of the program, view the MHS GENESIS timeline. “Being able to track the warfighter's care in a single record—not only across the battlefield, but across their career at different bases and into their post-military care at the VA—means expedited, efficient, and seamless care,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Cornfeld, chief health information officer at Madigan Army Medical CenterMadigan TRICARE webpage at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Health.mil External Link

    Wastewater surveillance becomes more targeted in search for poliovirus, monkeypox and coronavirus​​

    ​​5 September- Early in the coronavirus pandemic, health officials closely monitored sewage samples for signs of the virus to track where it could be circulating. Now, that technique is being used to detect other infectious diseases: polio and monkeypox. Some disease detectives in the United States are narrowing their wastewater surveillance efforts to zero in on specific buildings and to identify hot spots for a growing list of diseases. "Some wastewater surveillance is done at the community level, and some is done at the building level, which is a little bit better nuanced in terms of trying to target messaging," said Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. "For example, in some of our jurisdictions, they'll monitor a large hotel or a prison setting," she said. "If it pops up there, you can target messaging directly to that building."​ A building-level approach to wastewater surveillance is underway at all 11 hospitals within the NYC Health + Hospitals integrated health care system in New York City. The system launched a surveillance program in February to test sewage for coronavirus and flu viruses in wastewater from its hospitals, and the program expanded in August to include testing for polio and monkeypox, according to a company announcement. CNN External Link​​

    INFLUENZA

    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2021-2022 Influenza Season for Week 34, ending August 27, 2022​​​:

    Outpatient Respiratory Illness Surveillance- The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness [ILI (fever plus cough or sore throat)], not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and will therefore capture respiratory illness visits due to infection with any pathogen that can present with similar symptoms, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care-seeking behaviors have changed, and people may be accessing the health care system in alternative settings not captured as a part of ILINet or at a different point in their illness than they might have before the pandemic. Therefore, it is important to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory virus activity.

    Outpatient Respiratory Illness Visits​- Nationwide during week 34, 1.8% of patient visits reported through ILINet were due to respiratory illness that included fever plus a cough or sore throat, also referred to as ILI. Multiple respiratory viruses are co-circulating, and the relative contribution of influenza virus infection to ILI varies by location. CDC External Link​​

    VETERINARY/FOOD SAFETY

    FDA warns parents not to give infants Mother’s Touch formula because it does not meet nutrient requirements​​​

    6 September- The FDA advises parents and caregivers not to buy or give Mother’s Touch Formula to infants under their care. The product is being marketed as an infant formula without the required pre-market notification to the FDA, and it does not meet infant formula nutrient requirements for seven nutrients. In addition, the product was not fully tested for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as Cronobacter. The product is sold in Pennsylvania at local markets in Kinzers, Loganton and Gap and was available for purchase directly from the Mother’s Touch website. The FDA has determined that Mother’s Touch Formula is not manufactured in compliance with the FDA’s infant formula regulations. Mother’s Touch Formula is not tested to determine if it meets the nutrient requirements for infant formula. Also, it does not meet the nutrient requirements for infant formula such that consumption of this formula has the potential to cause nutrient deficiencies or toxicity in infants. Parents and caregivers of infants who have purchased this product should discontinue use and throw it away. Parents and caregivers of infants who have used this product and are concerned about the health of their child should contact their health care provider.​ ​​​Food Safety News External Link

    Salmon recalled in 11 states after testing finds Listeria​

    ​​5 September- St. James Smokehouse of Miami, FL, is recalling 93 cases of St. James Smokehouse brand, Scotch Reserve Scottish Smoked Salmon, 4-ounce packages (Product of Scotland) because of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall was the result of a routine sampling by the Washington State Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished product contained the bacteria. The recalled product was sold and distributed by St. James via distributors between February and June 2022. The recalled product was distributed to stores located in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Washington State, Virginia and Wisconsin as well as Safeway Washington State stores.

    Recalled product:

    -St. James Scotch Reserve Scottish Smoked Salmon (Product of Scotland), 4oz packages, bearing lot# 123172 and UPC code 060022710356.​

    ​As of Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 no illnesses have been reported. If consumers have products matching the above description and lot# in their possession, they should dispose of it immediately or return it to the store for a full refund. Food Safety News External Link​​

    WELLNESS

    What effects does alcohol have on my body?

    6 September- ​​Hey Doc: A friend of mine recently got pulled over for a DUI. He weighs a good 210 pounds and only had four beers at our company picnic, but he still got pulled over and arrested. Now his license is suspended for six months, he’s paying a stiff fine, and it impacted his annual review. I want to make sure that never happens to me! What’s your advice? -- Senior Airman Brandy Dear Senior Airman Brandy: I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Sounds like you're looking for information about alcohol's effects on your body over time, the factors behind the impact of alcohol, and the how it affects your ability to operate a vehicle. I've reached out to an expert to answer your questions: Dr. John Shehan, a psychiatrist and head of the Addiction Medicine Intensive Outpatient Program at the Carl R. Army Medical Center at Fort Hood in Texas. Here's what Dr. Shehan had to say. How alcohol impacts your body is first and foremost a function of time. On average, you metabolize about a drink an hour. So, if you drink four drinks in under an hour, it's probably going to take a good four hours for you to process that alcohol out of your system. There is little difference in the rate of alcohol absorption between different types of alcoholic beverages. Different types of alcohol have what is called “alcohol by volume,” or ABV, and this means the amount of pure ethanol (alcohol) in a given volume of beverage. The higher the ABV, the lower the number of ounces you can drink that qualify as one standard drink. For instance, a 12-ounce beer is equivalent to one standard drink. Beer typically has 5% ABV. A standard drink of malt liquor is about 7% ABV, but that's only 8 ounces. A standard drink of wine is 12% ABV and is only 5 ounces, while a 1.5-ounce whiskey is 40% ABV. All those are equivalent to one drink. Health.mil External Link

    USAFRICOM

    698 Measles-Related Children Fatalities Reported in Africa​​

    6 September- The fatalities from a measles outbreak in unvaccinated children living in Zimbabwe have risen to 698, reported VOA. The South African nation has confirmed 6,291 measles cases since the episode began in the Manicaland province in April 2022. VOA reported on September 4, 2022, that there is a call for the enactment of legislation to make measles vaccination for the population of 15 million people. The Zimbabwe government has embarked on a vaccination campaign targeting children and adolescents and is engaging various leaders to support the life-saving initiative. The World Health Organization had warned of an increase in measles in vulnerable countries due to a disruption of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 41 countries have already put off, or may put off, their measles campaigns for 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In July 2022, UNICEF stated about 25 million children had missed out on routine immunizations against common childhood diseases, calling it a "red alert" for child health. And the U.S. CDC lists the Top Ten Countries (Nigeria, India, Pakistan) confirming measles cases as of August 12, 2022. As of August 2022, the CDC had confirmed (6) measles cases this year; however, almost 1,300 measles cases were reported in 2019.  Measles is among the most infectious diseases worldwide and primarily spreads in the air by coughing, sneezing, or close contact. Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, with several U.S. FDA approves vaccines easily accessible in most countries. Precision Vaccinations External Link​​

    USCENTCOM

    Pakistan reports two more children with polio, total cases now 17​​

    7 September- Two more children have been paralyzed by the wild poliovirus in southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The affected children include a 16-year-old boy from Lakki Marwat and a two-year-old boy from North Waziristan, making it the 2nd case from Lakki Marwat, the 15th case from North Waziristan, and the 16th and 17th case respectively from Pakistan at large this year. Both children had onset of paralysis on 9 August, the Pakistan’s National Polio Laboratory at the National Institute of Health Islamabad confirmed on Wednesday, 31st August. The teenage boy is suffering from weakness in his left leg, while the affected child in North Waziristan had generalized body weakness and passed away later on. “These two more cases are both concerning and saddening. As we saw recently with the polio case in the US, that while children under five are most at risk of this virus, people of any age can contract polio,” said Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. “It is crucial to understand that the only protection from polio is vaccination, and this reinforces the importance of routine immunization during childhood.” “Polio will keep haunting us until we interrupt transmission,” said Federal Health Secretary Dr. Muhammad Fakhre Alam. “The case of the 16-year-old boy shows how robust Pakistan’s virus detection network is, because it highlights that we can identify polio cases in children outside the usually expected age,” he said. Outbreak News Today External Link​​

    USEUCOM

    EU wants screenings for more types of cancer as pandemic slashed check-ups​​

    7 September- The European Commission is set to propose boosting regular screenings for cancer and expanding them to additional types of tumors, after check-ups fell dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, EU officials said on Wednesday. Up to 1 million cancer patients in Europe are estimated to have gone undiagnosed as about 100 million screening tests were not performed in the first phase of the pandemic, EU data show. With fewer screenings and many diagnosed patients delaying their surgical or chemotherapy treatment in hospital due to the pandemic, risks were growing that cancer would become the first cause of death in Europe in the next decade, EU officials said, ahead of circulatory and respiratory diseases. To address this risk, the EU executive commission would issue new guidance on cancer screening on Sept. 21, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides told reporters at a meeting of EU health ministers in Prague. Reuters External Link​​

    USINDOPACOM

    China approves inhaled Covid vaccine​

    5 September- China has become the first country to approve an inhaled Covid vaccine. Made by CanSino, it has similar ingredients to its injected vaccine, using a harmless adenovirus as a carrier for the genetic code that teaches the body how to fight Covid. Inhaled as a fine mist, Convidecia Air can provide good protection after just one breath, the company says. Other researchers, including teams in the UK and the US, have been investigating nasal spray vaccines. Scientists say these may give added immunity in the lining of the nose and upper airways, where Covid typically enters the body. The National Medical Products Administration of China granted CanSino approval for its inhaled vaccine to be used as a booster dose. BBC News External Link​​

    USNORTHCOM

    New York State ending mask mandates on trains, transit​

    7 September- New York state is ending a 28-month-old COVID-19 mandate requiring masks on trains, buses and other modes of public transit, Governor Kathy Hochul said at a news conference on Wednesday. "Starting today masks will be optional," Hochul said at a news conference, citing recent revised guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We have to restore some normalcy to our lives.... Masks are encouraged but optional." New York first adopted the mandate in April 2020 as COVID-19 was rampaging in the New York City area. "It's always been a visible reminder that something is not normal here, and it was there for the right reason. It protected health and now we're in a far different place," Hochul said. In April, the Biden administration decided to no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation after a federal judge in Florida ruled the directive was unlawful. New York declined to adopt the Biden policy in April. Reuters External Link​​

    USSOUTHCOM​

    Legionnaire's suspected cause of Argentina pneumonia deaths​​​

    4 September- Health officials in Argentina have said that an infectious pneumonia outbreak which killed four people may have been caused by Legionnaire's disease. Seven other cases have been found, most at a clinic in the northern province of Tucuman where the deaths occurred. The relatively rare lung disease is commonly linked to contaminated water or unclean air-conditioning systems. The World Health Organization was alerted earlier this week to the cluster of infections. Doctors trying to determine the cause of the flu-like symptoms ruled out Covid-19, flu and the hantavirus - a severe respiratory disease carried by rodents - after testing the patients in the city of San Miguel de Tucuman. The symptoms included high fevers, body aches and breathing difficulties. Officials said the symptoms first appeared in six cases related to the facility which developed between 18 and 23 August. Legionella bacteria - which causes the illness - is commonly found in water sources such as rivers and lakes which sometimes find their way into artificial water systems. An estimated 10% of people who contract the disease die from complications arising from the infection. Argentinian Health Minister Carla Vizzotti​ said on Saturday that the authorities were working to ensure the clinic was safe for all.​ BBC News External Link​​