Health News Roundup

States have yet to spend hundreds of millions of federal dollars to tackle COVID health disparities, and more in this week’s roundup

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States have yet to spend hundreds of millions of federal dollars to tackle COVID health disparities
Phil Galewitz, Lauren Weber, and Sam Whitehead, Kaiser Health News, May 16
In March 2021, the Biden administration announced it was investing $2.25 billion to address COVID health disparities. Two months later, the CDC awarded grants to every state health department and 58 large city and county health agencies. A year later, little of the money has been used, according to a Kaiser Health News review of about a dozen state and county agencies’ grants.

The Buffalo shooting is a reminder that millions don’t live near a grocery store
Laurel Wamsley, NPR, May 25
The racist massacre in Buffalo this month has refocused attention on an issue that affects millions of Americans: lack of access to healthy, affordable food. With the Tops grocery store closed for the foreseeable future, the community around it has been left with a grocery gap in the surrounding area.

Clinical trials with immunotherapy drugs are source of hope and challenges in treating aggressive breast cancer
Peggy McCarthy, Connecticut Health I-Team, May 16
Although there are dramatic successes with immunotherapy drugs to treat breast cancer, there are also many failures. Researchers are trying to find out why in hopes of expanding the drugs’ effectiveness. Dr. Andrea Silber, an oncologist at Yale, prioritizes diversifying breast cancer trials so that everyone who’s diagnosed with cancer has the same chance to get better.

Targeting the uneven burden of kidney disease on Black Americans
Gina Kolata, The New York Times, May 17
Kidney specialists have long known that Black Americans are disproportionately affected by kidney disease. New treatments aim to target a gene variant that causes kidney disease in people of sub-Saharan African descent. Some experts worry that the genetic focus will neglect social and economic disparities underlying the disease.

‘That’s just a part of aging’: Long COVID symptoms are overlooked in seniors
Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News, May 18
Long COVID refers to ongoing or new health problems that occur at least four weeks after a COVID infection. A recent study estimates that 32% of older adults in the U.S. had symptoms of long COVID. But due to the nonspecific symptoms of long COVID, such as fatigue and muscle and joint pain, it can be challenging to recognize it in older adults.