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Scott Hensley

The race to find vaccines to protect people from COVID-19 is beginning to pay off.

Clinical trials of vaccines from Moderna and a partnership of Pfizer and BioNTech have now found their experimental vaccines to be highly effective.

The companies are expected to seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to allow their use during the pandemic.

If the agency gives the vaccines the OK, as seems likely, the next steps would include figuring out how to distribute the limited supply of the vaccines quickly and fairly.

Facebook and Twitter took measures to screen against misinformation after President Trump put posts on both sites that falsely claimed COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu in "most populations."

Facebook took down Trump's post, saying that users are not allowed to make false claims about the severity of the pandemic. The social network says the post broke its rules against harmful misinformation.

Updated at 11:57 p.m. ET

President Trump's physician said late Friday evening he is "doing very well" at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and has started Remdesivir therapy, an intravenous anti-viral drug. "He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably," Sean Conley said in a statement.

Trump was taken to Walter Reed in Bethesda, Md., on Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus.

President Trump has drawn repeated comparisons between the novel coronavirus outbreak and the flu season.

"We have a lot of people dying from the flu on top of everything else," he said Monday. "It's very bad. It looks like it could be over 50,000."

The reality so far for the current flu season is still emerging. There have been at least 23,000 deaths from flu during the 2019-2020 season, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The upper range of the estimate for deaths is 59,000.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

At some point nearly everyone has to deal with pain.

How do Americans experience and cope with pain that makes everyday life harder? We asked in the latest NPR-IBM Watson Health Poll.

First, we wanted to know how often pain interferes with people's ability to work, go to school or engage in other activities. Overall, 18% of Americans say that's often a problem for them. Almost a quarter – 24% — say it's sometimes the case.

Do you find yourself getting ticked off more often than you used to?

If the answer is yes, you're not alone.

Some 84% of people surveyed said Americans are angrier today compared with a generation ago, according to the latest NPR-IBM Watson Health poll.

When asked about their own feelings, 42% of those polled said they were angrier in the past year than they had been further back in time.

Anger can have an effect on health.

Sniffles, sore throats and fevers seem to be all around lately.

If things get bad enough for you or a loved one to seek care, what are your expectations about treatment? Do you want a prescription for an antibiotic if symptoms suggest an infection?

If you're not feeling well or have a routine health issue, do you go ahead and get it checked out or put if off because of the cost?

And, let's say you do make an appointment and go. Afterward, do you fill the prescription you received or do financial concerns stop you?

We wondered how often people deferred or skipped care because of cost, so we asked in the latest NPR-IBM Watson Health Health Poll. The survey queried more than 3,000 households nationwide in July.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a plea in April for more Americans to be prepared to administer naloxone, an opioid antidote, in case they or people close to them suffer an overdose.

"The call to action is to recognize if you're at risk," Adams told NPR's Rachel Martin. "And if you or a loved one are at risk, keep within reach, know how to use naloxone."

Surgeon, author and checklist-evangelist Atul Gawande has been picked to lead the health care venture formed by online giant Amazon, conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway and banking juggernaut JPMorgan.

It's an interesting choice.

Gawande, a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is probably best known for his work writing about health care for The New Yorker and in books that include the influential Checklist Manifesto.

My mom is old-fashioned, so I got her flowers for Mother's Day. But there was no shortage of promotion for an alternative gift — a genetic test.

23andMe ran TV ads that urged people to "Celebrate Your Mom" by giving her a genetic test for Mother's Day. Better yet, take a test together, an ad suggested. Twenty percent off just for the occasion.

NPR and Kaiser Health News are undertaking a project to investigate and dissect real-life medical bills.

We expect that examining the bills will shed light on the often surprising prices for health care in the U.S.

Along the way, we're hoping to help people learn how to be more active and successful in managing the costs of their care.

When Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon get together to make an announcement (any kind of announcement), it's sure to grab attention.

It's not often in the midst of an antitrust fight that the public gets a look at the gamesmanship that's happening behind the scenes.

But thanks to the Huffington Post's Jonathan Cohn and Jeff Young, we got a glimpse at how health insurer Aetna is making its case to acquire rival Humana — and new insight into Aetna's decision announced Tuesday to pull out of Obamcare exchanges in 11 states.

Concussions have become part of the daily news. But how much have these brain injuries become part of daily life?

To find out, we asked people across the country about concussions in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

The poll, conducted during the first half of March, found that nearly a quarter of people — 23 percent of those surveyed — said they had suffered a concussion at some point in their lives. Among those who said they'd had a concussion, more than three-quarters had sought medical treatment.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump released a seven-point plan to change the country's health care system that includes several familiar GOP proposals and one that puts him in agreement with, believe it or not, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders.

In early September, the National Institutes of Health halted a study that aimed to figure out the right blood pressure goal for people with hypertension and other risks for heart disease and stroke.

The accepted target has been to get patients' systolic pressure (the first number in the pair used to gauge blood pressure) below 140. This study tested whether lowering systolic pressure below 120 would be a better idea.

A majority of Americans say electronic cigarettes should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the same way the agency handles cigarettes containing tobacco, according to results from the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

Overall, 57 percent of people said the FDA should regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products. The proportion of people in favor of regulation rose with age and education. Nearly, two-thirds of people with college degrees or graduate degrees supported regulation compared with 48 percent with high school diplomas or less.

Most women 40 and older believe they should have mammograms every year to screen for breast cancer, the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics health poll finds.

A deal struck between drugmakers AbbVie and United Therapeutics Wednesday set a record price for a voucher that can be redeemed for a fast-track review of a new medicine by the Food and Drug Administration.

AbbVie, marketer of Humira and AndroGel, has agreed to pay $350 million to United Therapeutics, a company specializing in treatments for rare diseases, for a ticket to the regulatory fast lane.

Anthem finally bagged its prey.

The Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem reached an agreement Thursday to pay $54 billion for rival Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Conn. Cigna rejected a lower Anthem bid in June, calling it inadequate.

Medical residents are the tweeners of health care.

They've got their medical degrees but still haven't finished the training they need to go forth and practice their chosen specialties.

Talking to residents is one way to get a bead on where medicine may be headed. Medscape, an online news source for health professionals, just released a survey of more than 1,700 medical residents that asked a slew of questions about their hopes, everyday experience on the job and finances.

Consumer Reports, the granddaddy of advice-givers on what to buy, won't recommend laundry pods containing liquid detergent anymore. The risks to small kids are just too high, the magazine says.

In its latest tests, eight different single-use packets were rated very good at cleaning. That wasn't a strong enough showing to put any of them among the top three laundry detergents, which got the magazine's recommended check mark.

One of the great successes in the war on cancer has been the steep decline in the death rate from colorectal cancer.

Since 1970, the colorectal cancer death rate per 100,000 Americans has been cut in half, falling to 15.1 in 2011 from 29.2 in 1970.

Increased screening, improvements in treatment and changes in risk factors (such as a drop in smoking) have contributed to the dramatic reduction.

Play ball! Fore! Swish!

Americans love sports — watching them and playing them.

But as participants, Americans' relationship with sports changes as we grow older. About three-quarters of adults say they played sports when they were younger. By the time people are in their late 20s, however, only 26 percent say they've played sports in the past year.

Those are just two of the findings from the latest poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that takes a look at sports and health in America.

For about as long as there have been humans, it seems there have been tattoos.

Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,000-year-old mummy discovered in the Alps in 1991, had 61 tattoos covering his body. And a quick look around the local coffee shop reveals they're just about as popular today. By one estimate, about a quarter of U.S. adults have at least one tattoo.

Creatures that venture out into the daylight can be damaged by the sun's ultraviolet rays. Humans produce melanin, a dark pigment, to help protect our skin. And now many of us slather on sunscreen, too.

Bacteria, algae and fungi make their own chemicals that sop up UV rays. And there's one called gadusol that's been found in fish and their eggs.

A measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has exposed gaps in immunization against the highly infectious disease.

All told this year, 169 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia were reported sick with measles through May 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Childhood vaccination remains a potent public health weapon against the spread of many illnesses, including measles. But objections and worries about vaccination remain, too.

When it comes to cancer, the right screening test at the right time can go a long way toward catching the disease while it can be stopped.

But many Americans aren't getting recommended screening tests for colorectal, breast and cervical cancer. In fact, there's been a notable lack of progress in reaching national screening goals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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