Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
Aaron Rodgers is apologizing for the “shrapnel” that his remarks on COVID-19 vaccination caused, saying “I never wanted to be divisive.”
A Canada-style trucker protest could be coming to Washington, D.C., and authorities are preparing.
For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan ([email protected]), Nathaniel Weixel ([email protected]), and Joseph Choi ([email protected]). Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4 @NateWeixel and @JosefChoi.
Let’s get started.
Capitol Police ask DC Guard assistance
It could be D.C.’s turn to deal with trucker protests against COVID-19 measures soon.
Washington, D.C., law enforcement agencies have asked the Pentagon for assistance ahead of President BidenJoe BidenUS ambassador to UN calls Putin’s peacekeeping forces ‘nonsense’ US relocates Ukraine embassy staff to Poland UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting at request of Ukraine MORE’s first State of the Union address next week, an event expected to coincide with truck convoy protests.
The U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency asked for D.C. National Guard personnel “to provide support at traffic control points in and around the District to help … address potential challenges stemming from possible disruptions at key traffic arteries,” Pentagon press secretary John KirbyJohn KirbyWATCH: Weekend stories you might have missed Sunday shows – Ukraine crisis dominates Russia has ‘diplomatic options left on the table,’ Kirby says MORE said in a statement Tuesday.
Kirby said the Defense Department is “analyzing” the requests but “no decisions have been made yet” on whether to approve them.
Military Times was the first to report on the requests, with National Guard troops notified of a potential activation between Feb. 22 and March 7 or later, according to internal directives obtained by the outlet.
The guardsmen, if activated, would provide vehicles and personnel at “43 critical blocking positions 24/7,” Military Times reported.
D.C. law enforcement agencies have said since last week that they have received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates. These plans follow similar protests and blockades formed by Canadian truck drivers in the past month.
Read more here.
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COVID-19 & Rare Disease Patients — Thursday, Feb. 24 at 1:00 PM ET
Nearly 1 in 10 Americans is living with a rare disease and 95 percent of these diseases currently lack an FDA-approved treatment. How has the pandemic impacted these Americans, particularly as clinical trials have been delayed? On Thursday, Feb. 24, join The Hill to explore what’s at stake for the nearly 30 million Americans with rare diseases and the critical scientific research landscape they rely on. Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerOvernight Health Care — Request for COVID-19 funds faces resistance The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – War worries, funding follies, bomb scare House passes stopgap bill to prevent shutdown MORE (D-N.J.), Rep. Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupOvernight Health Care — Request for COVID-19 funds faces resistance When it comes to the Olympics, don’t buy what China is selling The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – New vaccine mandate in NYC; Biden-Putin showdown MORE (R-Ohio) and more join The Hill’s Steve Clemons. RSVP here.
CDC: More teen girls in ER for mental health
The roughly two years since the beginning of the pandemic have seen a significant increase in teenage girls visiting emergency rooms due to mental health conditions, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week.
The study found that the proportion of emergency room visits made by girls aged 12 to 17 doubled for eating disorders and approximately tripled for tic disorders during the pandemic when compared with 2019.
It also reported that adolescent girls’ emergency room visits rose for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder in 2021 and for anxiety, trauma and stressor-related disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder in January 2022 in comparison with 2019.
The study claimed that risk factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as “lack of structure in daily routine, emotional distress and changes in food availability,” could have been a trigger for eating disorders in particular.
The increase in visits for tic disorders was “atypical,” according to the study, as such disorders usually have an onset at a younger age and are more commonly present in boys than in girls.
Read more here.
IRAN RETURNS DONATED COVID-19 VACCINES MANUFACTURED IN US
Iran has returned 820,000 donated COVID-19 doses because they were manufactured in the United States.
The doses were among roughly a million of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine donated to the country by Poland, according to The Associated Press, which cited state media.
“But when the vaccines arrived in Iran, we found out that 820,000 doses of them which were imported from Poland were from the United States,” Mohammad Hashemi, an official in Iran’s Health Ministry, said, the AP reported.
Hashemi added that “after coordination with the Polish ambassador to Iran, it was decided that the vaccines would be returned.”
Iran has relied on Sinopharm, China’s state-supported vaccine, to vaccinate its population, according to the AP, but it also offers citizens vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Russia’s Sputnik V and Indian company Bharat’s Covaxin, as well as the COVIran Barekat shot developed in the country.
In 2020, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that American and British vaccines were “forbidden” in the country, the AP noted. The country now exclusively imports Western vaccines that were not manufactured in either the U.S. or the United Kingdom.
Read more here.
COLOMBIA’S HIGHEST COURT DECRIMINALIZES ABORTION
Colombia’s highest court on Monday issued an order decriminalizing abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The Constitutional Court’s ruling makes Colombia the fourth Latin American country to decriminalize abortion, according to The Associated Press, following Cuba, Uruguay and Argentina.
Judge Alberto Rojas Ríos, co-writer of the 5-4 ruling in favor of decriminalization, said the decision was “a symbol of the eternal fight for women’s freedom” and a step toward “self-determination” for Colombian women, according to The New York Times.
No other legal bodies can alter the decision, which fell short of the full decriminalization pro-abortion rights advocates had been hoping for.
The order followed years of political organizing by women across the country.
Prior to the ruling, Colombia, a widely Roman Catholic country, allowed abortion only when the pregnancy resulted from rape, the woman’s life was at risk or the fetus had malformations.
Read more here.
Maryland to let schools make mask decisions
The Maryland state Board of Education voted Tuesday in favor of allowing local school districts to decide on their own mask policies, with the decision now needing to be approved by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review.
As WBAL reported, Maryland schools Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury recommended that school mask policies be left to local school boards.
“Where we are it is the right time to bring it back to local control,” Choudhury said.
This decision by the board comes about a week after outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry HoganLarry HoganGOP critics of Trump to gather in DC to offer CPAC ‘counterprogramming’ Trump says he could have ousted ‘atrocious’ Susan Collins in 2020 Hogan ‘certainly going to take a look’ at 2024 presidential bid MORE (R) called on the panel to lift its statewide mask policy, WBAL noted.
“We are making recommendations to the state Board of Education, which is also independent, you know, folks that represent the entire state, to say we think it’s time to take a look,” Hogan said.
In a letter to the board, he wrote, “In light of dramatic improvements to our health metrics and the widespread availability of vaccines, I am calling on you to take action to rescind this policy.”
Earlier this month, Hogan formally ended the requirement of face masks in state buildings, citing “health metrics continuing to substantially decline.”
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Doctors find limited use for less effective COVID pill (NPR)
- WHO: New COVID cases fall for the 3rd week, deaths also drop (AP)
- Children’s mental health takes toll on parents’ work performance, new survey shows (CBS)
STATE BY STATE
- As US cases drop, Hawaii is lone remaining state sticking with indoor mask mandate (USA Today)
- CareCube COVID Test Centers Hit With $10m Class-Action Suit (THE CITY)
- Senators give preliminary approval to funnel $500k into Kansas stem cell therapy COVID-19 trial (Kansas Reflector)
OPEDS IN THE HILL
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s health care page for the latest news and coverage. See you Wednesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism