If more women were hired for trucking jobs, the roads would be a lot safer, British researchers suggest. That’s because men, who hold most driving jobs, are more likely to drive dangerously. This puts other road users at risk, said lead researcher Rachel Aldred. She’s a reader in transport at the University of Westminster in London. “Greater gender equity would have a positive impact on [vehicle-related] injuries,” Aldred said. “Policymakers should be looking to measure the risk posed to others, and how to reduce it.” For the study, Aldred’s team drew on four sets of British data. They included injury and traffic statistics, travel survey data, as well as population and gender figures for 2005 to 2015. Men posed a significantly higher risk to others for five of the six types of vehicles studied, the researchers found. For cars and vans, the risk male drivers posed was double that of women per kilometer driven. The risk was four times higher for male truck drivers, and more than 10 times higher for those on motorcycles, the findings showed. Overall, two-thirds of traffic deaths were tied to cars and taxis, but the research suggested other vehicles might be even more dangerous. Trucks and buses were associated with one in six deaths to other road users, according to the report. The number of deaths for each kilometer driven…  read on >

The coronavirus crisis has millions of Americans questioning whether it’s wise, or even safe, to travel this spring. Now, an infectious disease expert has created a checklist to help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip or cancel it. COVID-19 is an illness caused by a new coronavirus. For most people with healthy immune systems, infection appears to result in mild symptoms — similar to a cold or flu. However, infection appears to be most severe, and occasionally fatal, for the frail elderly or those with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems. Dr. Susan Wootton, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, has developed this nine-point checklist to help you decide whether your trip is a go or a no. If your answer matches the response in parentheses to each question, move on to the next question. If not, you may need to rethink your travel plans. Are the travelers healthy? (Yes.) Have the travelers received flu shots? (Yes.) Do any of the travelers or anyone the travelers have had contact with have any underlying high-risk conditions for the virus, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? (No.) Are any travel restrictions for your destination listed on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or U.S. Department of State websites? (No.) Is the trip a…  read on >

As the new coronarvirus extends its reach, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family, experts say. “As with any respiratory virus, the main recommendations hold true with the novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Rachael Lee, a health care epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). “Wash your hands, cover your cough with your arm, and stay home if you feel sick.” Also, know when it is and isn’t safe to travel. So far the virus, known as COVID-19, has sickened more than 90,000 people and killed more than 3,000, mostly in China. Check guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health care authorities regarding travel to areas with the coronavirus, said Lee, who is also an assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases. “This has become dangerous because this is a first-of-its-kind type of coronavirus, and all humans do not have immunity built up to fight it,” Lee said in a university news release. Wearing surgical masks out in public is not recommended, she said, as brief exposure to the virus in public is unlikely to make a person sick. “Most cases have occurred when there has been prolonged contact, such as with health care professionals or family members serving as a caregiver. Use of masks is recommended for health care professionals, caregivers…  read on >

If losing an hour of sleep with the switch to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday leaves you feeling tired, you’re not alone. Fifty-five percent of Americans feel the same way, according to an American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) survey. For most Americans, the clock will “spring forward” at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8. Besides disrupting sleep habits for up to a week, the transition also poses health and safety risks, two new studies report. One report, published in Current Biology earlier this year, reported that the risk of fatal traffic accidents in the United States rises 6% after the spring switch to Daylight Saving Time. A second study, scheduled for publication in the May issue of the journal Sleep Medicine, found an increase in hospital admissions due to atrial fibrillation for women after the transition. “Studies consistently show that the spring transition to Daylight Saving Time is associated with negative consequences for health, safety and productivity, all of which may be related to sleep disruption caused by the time change,” said AASM resident Dr. Kelly Carden. According to the AASM Daylight Saving Time Health Advisory, the spring and fall clock changes can negatively affect sleep and wake patterns for five to seven days. To minimize the adverse impacts, AASM offers this advice: Sleep for at least seven hours in the nights before and…  read on >

Eleven Americans who were evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested definitively for coronavirus, bringing the case count in this country to 26, U.S. health officials reported late Thursday. In China, the number of new cases of COVID-19 continued to decline on Friday, but South Korean officials battled to contain the rapidly spreading virus in its country. The first case was reported on Tuesday in that country; by Friday, that number had climbed to 204, the AP reported. The decline in Chinese cases has been due in part to Chinese health officials changing how they tally infections. Under the new system, there have now been a total of 75,465 cases and 2,236 deaths in mainland China. Among the 400 Americans who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, roughly 300 Americans were evacuated over the weekend and are under quarantine in the United States. The 11 passengers whose tests came back positive for coronavirus were part of a group of 13 high-risk passengers who had been at Travis Air Force base in northern California since the cruise ship evacuation, the AP reported. They have since been transported to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which has a biocontainment unit and is specially designated to treat highly infectious diseases, CNN reported. The unit successfully treated three patients for Ebola in 2004. “The…  read on >

A coronavirus pandemic looked ever more likely on Monday as multiple countries around the world raced to stem outbreaks of “untraceable” cases of the virus. Clusters of cases arising in South Korea, Italy and Iran with no clear ties to outbreak’s epicenter in China have heightened concerns about local, self-sustaining epidemics and a global pandemic. In a pandemic, outbreaks occur on more than one continent. As of Monday, there were more than 79,000 cases of COVID-19 and 2,600 deaths globally. “We are worried about the situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Italy,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization, said Monday. “It is an incredible time. Less than two months ago, the coronavirus was completely unknown to us,” Ghebreyesus said. “The past few weeks have demonstrated just how quickly a new virus can spread around the world and cause widespread fear and disruption.” As reported Monday by Associated Press, the list of countries with burgeoning case counts includes: South Korea. Total cases of COVID-19 have risen from just 28 last week to 833 by Monday. Seven people have died. South Korea now has the most cases behind China and Japan. Most of the South Korean cases are centered in the southern city of Daegu, and more than half are concentrated among members of the Shingeongji religious group. The president of…  read on >

A $2.5 billion plan to fight the coronavirus outbreak was sent by the White House to Congress on Monday evening, as countries around the world raced to stem outbreaks of “untraceable” cases of the virus. The money would be used for vaccines, treatment and protective equipment, the Associated Press reported. While $1.25 billion would be new funding, the request also asks that $535 million be shifted over from an Ebola preparedness account. The package was announced as financial markets plunged on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial average dropping 1,000 points as fears of a COVID-19 pandemic began to intensify. As of Monday, the U.S. Centers for DIsease Control and Prevention website was reporting that 53 Americans have now tested positive for coronavirus, a jump up from the 35 reported last week. The new cases were detected in Americans who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan early last week. All of those evacuees are under quarantine in the United States. Clusters of cases arising in South Korea, Italy and Iran with no clear ties to outbreak’s epicenter in China have heightened concerns about local, self-sustaining epidemics and a global pandemic. In a pandemic, outbreaks occur on more than one continent. As of Tuesday, there were more than 80,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 2,700 deaths globally. “We are worried about the…  read on >

Walking on America’s streets is getting ever more dangerous, a new report shows. Based on data from the first six months of 2019, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) predicts there were 6,590 pedestrian deaths that year, which would be a 5% increase over the 6,227 pedestrian deaths in 2018. The 2019 figure is the highest number of such deaths in more than 30 years, according to the association. “In the past 10 years, the number of pedestrian fatalities on our nation’s roadways has increased by more than 50%,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “This alarming trend signifies that we need to consider all the factors involved in this rise, identify the high-risk areas, allocate resources where they’re needed most, and continue to work with local law enforcement partners to address the chronic driver violations that contribute to pedestrian crashes,” Adkins said in an association news release. Pedestrians are projected to account for 17% of all traffic deaths in 2019, compared to 12% in 2009, according to the GHSA’s annual Spotlight on Highway Safety report, released Thursday. While there’s been a significant increase in pedestrian deaths over the past decade, the number of all other traffic deaths increased by only 2%. Overall, traffic deaths in the first half of 2019 are projected to be 3.4% lower than in the first half of 2018, according…  read on >

Fourteen of the more than 300 U.S. passengers evacuated from a cruise ship hit by the coronavirus outbreak have tested positive for infection during their flights home, U.S. health officials said Monday. The news comes from a joint statement from the Departments of State and Health and Human Services, CNN reported. The 14 passengers aboard the Diamond Princess, docked in Yokohama, Japan, tested positive for the new COVID-19 virus during the disembarkation process, officials said. They were part of an evacuation process involving two flights back to military bases in the United States. “After consultation with HHS officials, including experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the State Department made the decision to allow the 14 individuals, who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process,” the agencies said in the news release. One of the flights landed at Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, California, around 11:28 p.m. local time Sunday, while the other arrived at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas at 3:56 a.m. local time Monday, CNN reported. All of the passengers aboard the two flights are being closely monitored, the government statement said, and “any who become symptomatic will be moved to the specialized containment area, where they will…  read on >

New details on nearly 45,000 cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in China show that 80% of cases are mild and the number of new cases has been declining for most of February. The report, released Monday by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, offer some hope that the outbreak might be abating, the Associated Press reported. Still, “it’s too early to tell if this reported decline will continue. Every scenario is still on the table,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization, said during a media briefing Monday. Among the cases studied in the Chinese report, 14% developed pneumonia and 5% developed critical illness. The fatality rate has been 2.3% — 2.8% for males and 1.7% for females. Health care workers have high exposures to COVID-19, and the AP reported that another Chinese doctor on the front lines of fighting the virus has died Tuesday from complications tied to the illness. Liu Zhiming directed the Wuchang hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The 51-year-old is the eighth health care worker to die of the disease, the Washington Post noted. On Tuesday, the case count in mainland China reached 72,436, while the number of deaths hit 1,868, the AP reported. Outside China, 14 of the more than 300 U.S. passengers evacuated from a cruise ship hit by the coronavirus outbreak tested…  read on >