Week in Review: March 4

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Biden wants to move U.S. past Covid. Here’s his plan to do it

The White House released a 96-page strategy document entitled the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan outlining a vision for the next phase of the pandemic response. The central goals of the plan are protecting against and treating COVID-19, preparing for new variants, guarding against economic and educational shutdowns and leading the global vaccination effort. Via Politico

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Saudi Arabia opens world’s largest virtual hospital

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has launched the region’s first virtual hospital, the largest in the world and the first of its kind in the Middle East, as well as the latest in virtual healthcare, under the name of Seha Virtual Hospital. The hospital was inaugurated by Minister of Health Fahd Al Jalajel with Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al Sawaha in attendance. The virtual hospital will harness the latest innovative technologies to provide specialised services to support health facilities in the Kingdom. It will support 130 hospitals around Saudi Arabia with a number of rare specialties, in addition to providing more than 30 specialised services in different medical specialties and subspecialties. Via Gulf News

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43% of Americans have had COVID-19, CDC Estimates

The CDC estimates that more than 140 million Americans, or about 43% of the population, have now had COVID-19. However, the CDC estimates were lacking data from some states. Nevada wasn’t included at all, and insufficient data was received from Arizona, North Dakota and Utah. Via Becker's Hospital Review

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Mayo Clinic News

Face masks expired? How to tell, plus why you should hold onto them despite easing restrictions

 Regardless of your area's status, some people may still want to wear face coverings, said Dr. John O'Horo, infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Some immunocompromised individuals and unvaccinated people may feel more comfortable wearing a mask, he said. "There are those who have unvaccinated at home. I myself have two children under the age of 5," O'Horo said. Via CNN

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Hospitals plan to continue mask wearing, regardless of updated CDC guidance

While it is reasonable to reassess public masking guidance due to the recent downtrend in COVID-19 cases, face coverings keep staff and immunocompromised, vulnerable patients safe and should still be used, said Avinash Virk, an infectious disease consultant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "We will still be requiring our patients and visitors to be masked so we can keep everybody within our institution safe and keep functioning to provide the healthcare that people need," Virk said. Via Modern Healthcare

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New data shows COVID-19 vaccinations during pregnancy benefits newborns

The data shows that being vaccinated, even before pregnancy, can prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations among infants 6 months and younger. “When the mom is vaccinated, ” explains Mayo Clinic OB-GYN Dr. Myra Wick. “She produces antibodies, and these antibodies can be transferred through the cord blood to the baby and provide what we call ‘passive immunization.’ The antibodies transferred from the mom protect the infant against COVID infection.” Via WKBT La Crosse

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Chantell Canfield

Chantell Canfield is a web content coordinator for Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She began working for Mayo Clinic in 2021.