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Health Highlights, Dec. 11, 2020

By HealthDay Reporter

Below are newsworthy items compiled by the Healthday staff:

U.S. Marshals to Protect COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines will be protected by U.S. Marshals deputies as they're distributed throughout the United States.

"Deputy Marshals are working hand-in-hand with Operation Warp Speed personnel to provide security for COVID-19 vaccines from the facilities where they are manufactured to distribution sites," the agency said in a statement, CBS News reported.

It said deputies will be posted at stockpiles, manufacturers, transport areas and receiving facilities.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to quickly give emergency authorization to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, which would be followed by an undertaking to distribute 3 million doses of the vaccine nationwide, CBS News reported.

Fewer Child Abuse Cases Seen in U.S. ERs During Lockdown

Child abuse/neglect-related visits to U.S. emergency departments fell by 53% in mid-March of this year compared to the same time period in 2019, a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says.

The steep drop began just days after a national emergency was declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many communities locked down, CNN reported.

There was also a similar decrease in calls to child abuse and neglect hotlines, according to the report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Even though child abuse/neglect-related ER visits declined, the CDC researchers noted that the number of abused children who required hospitalization remained the same as last year.

The finding suggests that families weren't bringing in children with less serious injuries, child abuse pediatrician Dr. Robert Sege, who directs the Center for Community-Engaged Medicine at Tufts Children's Hospital in Boston, told CNN.

CDC Manager Says She was Ordered to Delete Email on Trump Administration Interference

Testimony from a senior manager with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raises "serious concern" about Trump administration attempts to interfere with coronavirus reports to Americans, the chair of a House committee said Thursday.

In a partial transcript released Thursday, Dr. Charlotte Kent told congressional investigators that she was ordered to delete an email suggesting such interference, and she believed that CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield issued the order, the Associated Press reported.

That raises "serious concern about what may be deliberate efforts by the Trump administration to conceal and destroy evidence that senior political appointees interfered with career officials' response to the coronavirus crisis," said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., who released the partial transcript.

He chairs a special House panel examining the coronavirus crisis and the government's response, the AP reported.

Clyburn sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar accusing the Trump administration of attempting to obstruct his investigation and threatened to issue subpoenas to obtain documents.

Clyburn's committee is "not operating in good faith" and its portrayal of the CDC official's testimony is "irresponsible," HHS said in a statement, the AP reported.

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