The longevity society

Link:https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhl/article/PIIS2666-7568(21)00247-6/fulltext

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As the demographic transition enters a new stage of a longevity transition, focus needs to extend beyond an ageing society towards a longevity society. An ageing society focuses on changes in the age structure of the population, whereas a longevity society seeks to exploit the advantages of longer lives through changes in how we age. Achieving a longevity society requires substantial changes in the life course and social norms, and involves an epidemiological transition towards a focus on delaying the negative effects of ageing. The broad changes required to achieve healthy longevity include an increased focus on healthy life expectancy, a shift from intervention towards preventive health, a major public health agenda to avoid increases in health inequality, the establishment of longevity councils to ensure coordinated policy across government departments, and intergenerational assessment of policies, to ensure that in adapting to longer lives, policies are not skewed towards older people. A longevity society represents a new stage for humanity and requires deep-seated notions about age and ageing to be challenged if society is to make the best use of the additional time that longevity brings.

Author(s): Prof. Andrew J. Scott

Publication Date: December 2021

Publication Site: The Lancet, Healthy Longevity

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-7568(21)00247-6

Severity of Disease Among Adults Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Before and During the Period of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) Predominance — COVID-NET, 14 States, January–August 2021

Link:https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7043e1.htm?s_cid=mm7043e1_w

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What is already known about this topic?

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant is highly transmissible; however, whether it causes more severe disease in adults has been uncertain.

What is added by this report?

Analysis of COVID-NET data from 14 states found no significant increases in the proportion of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with severe outcomes during the Delta period. The proportion of hospitalized unvaccinated COVID-19 patients aged 18–49 years significantly increased during the Delta period.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Lower vaccination coverage in adults aged 18–49 years likely contributed to the increase in hospitalized patients during the Delta period. COVID-19 vaccination is critical for all eligible adults, including adults aged <50 years who have relatively low vaccination rates compared with older adults.

Author(s): Christopher A. Taylor, PhD1; Kadam Patel, MPH1,2; Huong Pham, MPH1; Michael Whitaker, MPH1; Onika Anglin, MPH1,2; Anita K. Kambhampati, MPH1; Jennifer Milucky, MSPH1; Shua J. Chai, MD3,4; Pam Daily Kirley, MPH4; Nisha B. Alden, MPH5; Isaac Armistead, MD5; James Meek, MPH6; Kimberly Yousey-Hindes, MPH6; Evan J. Anderson, MD7,8,9; Kyle P. Openo, DrPH7,8; Kenzie Teno, MPH10; Andy Weigel10; Maya L. Monroe, MPH11; Patricia A. Ryan, MS11; Justin Henderson, MPH12; Val Tellez Nunez, MPH12; Erica Bye, MPH13; Ruth Lynfield, MD13; Mayvilynne Poblete, MA, MPH14; Chad Smelser, MD15; Grant R. Barney, MPH16; Nancy L. Spina, MPH16; Nancy M. Bennett, MD17; Kevin Popham, MPH18; Laurie M. Billing, MPH19; Eli Shiltz, MPH19; Nasreen Abdullah, MD20; Melissa Sutton, MD20; William Schaffner, MD21; H. Keipp Talbot, MD21; Jake Ortega, MPH22; Andrea Price22; Shikha Garg, MD1; Fiona P. Havers, MD1; COVID-NET Surveillance Team

Publication Date: 29 October 2021

Publication Site: MMWR at CDC

Drug overdose deaths top 100,000 annually for the first time, driven by fentanyl, CDC data show

Link:https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/17/health/drug-overdose-deaths-record-high/index.html

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More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States during the 12-month period ending April 2021, according to provisional data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a new record high, with overdose deaths jumping 28.5% from the same period a year earlier and nearly doubling over the past five years.

Opioids continue to be the driving cause of drug overdose deaths. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, caused nearly two-thirds (64%) of all drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending April 2021, up 49% from the year before, the CDC’s ‘s National Center for Health Statistics found.

Author(s): Deidre McPhillips

Publication Date: 17 Nov 2021

Publication Site: CNN

COVID-19 Vaccination and Non–COVID-19 Mortality Risk — Seven Integrated Health Care Organizations, United States, December 14, 2020–July 31, 2021

Link:https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7043e2.htm?s_cid=mm7043e2_w

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What is already known about this topic?

Although deaths after COVID-19 vaccination have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, few studies have been conducted to evaluate mortality not associated with COVID-19 among vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.

What is added by this report?

During December 2020–July 2021, COVID-19 vaccine recipients had lower rates of non–COVID-19 mortality than did unvaccinated persons after adjusting for age, sex, race and ethnicity, and study site.

What are the implications for public health practice?

There is no increased risk for mortality among COVID-19 vaccine recipients. This finding reinforces the safety profile of currently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. All persons aged ≥12 years should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Author(s): Stanley Xu, PhD1; Runxin Huang, MS1; Lina S. Sy, MPH1; Sungching C. Glenn, MS1; Denison S. Ryan, MPH1; Kerresa Morrissette, MPH1; David K. Shay, MD2; Gabriela Vazquez-Benitez, PhD3; Jason M. Glanz, PhD4; Nicola P. Klein, MD, PhD5; David McClure, PhD6; Elizabeth G. Liles, MD7; Eric S. Weintraub, MPH8; Hung-Fu Tseng, MPH, PhD1; Lei Qian, PhD1

Publication Date: 29 October 2021

Publication Site: MMWR at CDC

Movember Fundraising: Men and Suicide

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/movember-fundraising-men-and-suicide

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Let’s look at the rate trend for those over age 55 — the suicide death rates in 2019 are lower than they were in 1968. There has been an improvement.

But under age 55, we have a different story.

Indeed, from age 25 to 64, we see a flattening of the suicide death rate, as we have a rate in 1968 which was fairly low rising up to a level similar to that of much older men.

As I’ve said about other mortality trends — in many cases, I can’t tell you why this is happening. I don’t know. I can just see that it is happening. And I would like to do something about it.

Author(s):Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 30 Nov 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Covid Mortality Update for November 2021: Before the Omicron Variant

Link:https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/covid-mortality-update-for-november

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As noted earlier, the Hispanic excess mortality was about a level as the other non-White groups, but then spiked with Wave 2 and stayed very high.

The Asian group saw its excess mortality peak with Wave 3 — remember, that’s the large wave with the most COVID deaths. But they have been at about 30 – 35% excess mortality for the other waves.

The Black group looks like it’s slightly rising in excess mortality, but staying within a fairly narrow range of about 33% to 37% excess mortality.

The White group is definitely showing an increasing trend of excess mortality. Interesting.

Due to the White group’s increasing excess mortality, the overall population is showing an increasing trend — look, Whites have been the majority of deaths for a long time, as they’re the majority of old folks. That’s how that works.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 28 Nov 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

COVID-19 Omicron Variant Hits Life Insurers’ Stock Prices

Link:https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2021/11/26/covid-19-omicron-variant-hits-life-insurers-stock-prices/

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Stock traders today appeared to assume that the omicron variant will hit life insurers harder than health insurers.

The stock prices of Anthem, Centene, Humana and UnitedHealth all dropped from 1.7% to 2.28% — less than the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The stock prices of Ameriprise, Brighthouse Financial, CNO Financial, Equitable, Globe Life, Lincoln Financial, MetLife, Primerica Principal Financial Group, Prudential Financial and Unum Group all fell 3.5% to 5%.

The stock price of Reinsurance Group of America — a company that insures life insurers against spikes in mortality and longevity risk — fell 9.58%.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 26 Nov 2021

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Simpson’s Paradox and Vaccines

Link:https://covidactuaries.org/2021/11/22/simpsons-paradox-and-vaccines/

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So what the chart in the tweet linked above is really showing is that, within the 10-59 age band, the average unvaccinated person is much younger than the average vaccinated person, and therefore has a lower death rate. Any benefit from the vaccines is swamped by the increase in all-cause mortality rates with age.

I have mocked up some illustrative numbers in the table below to hopefully show Simpson’s Paradox in action here. I’ve split the 10-59 age band into 10-29 and 30-59. Within each group the death rate for unvaccinated people is twice as high as for vaccinated people. However, within the combined group this reverses – the vaccinated group have higher death rates on average!

I and others have written to ONS, altering them to the concerns that this data is causing. It appears from a new blog they have released that they are aware of the issue and will use narrower age bands in the next release.

Author(s): Stuart Macdonald

Publication Date: 22 Nov 2021

Publication Site: COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group

When Will The FDA Approve Paxlovid?

Link: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/when-will-the-fda-approve-paxlovid

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For context: a recent study by Pfizer, the pharma company backing the drug, found Paxlovid decreased hospitalizations and deaths from COVID by a factor of ten, with no detectable side effects. It was so good that Pfizer, “in consultation with” the FDA, stopped the trial early because it would be unethical to continue denying Paxlovid to the control group. And on November 16, Pfizer officially submitted an approval request to the FDA, which the FDA is still considering.

As many people including ZviAlex, and Kelsey have noted, it’s pretty weird that the FDA agrees Paxlovid is so great that it’s unethical to study it further because it would be unconscionable to design a study with a no-Paxlovid control group – but also, the FDA has not approved Paxlovid, it remains illegal, and nobody is allowed to use it.

One would hope this is because the FDA plans to approve Paxlovid immediately. But the prediction market expects it to take six weeks – during which time we expect about 50,000 more Americans to die of COVID.

Perhaps there’s not enough evidence for the FDA to be sure Paxlovid works yet? But then why did they agree to stop the trial that was gathering the evidence? Or perhaps there’s enough evidence, but it takes a long time to process it? But then how come the prediction markets are already 90% sure what decision they’ll make?

Author(s): Scott Alexander

Publication Date: 22 Nov 2021

Publication Site: Astral Codex Ten

Americans are overdosing on a drug they don’t know they’re taking

Link:https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/17/politics/fentanyl-overdose-deaths-what-matters/index.html

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From May 2020 through April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US, according to provisional data released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That’s a horrible new record for drug overdose deaths — a near-30% rise from the same period a year earlier and a near-doubling over the past five years.

The drug epidemic grew in tandem with the Covid-19 pandemic, which claimed about 509,000 deaths in the same period.

Author(s): Zachary B. Wolf

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2021

Publication Site: CNN

US overdose deaths topped 100,000 in one year, officials say

Link:https://apnews.com/article/overdodse-deaths-fentanayl-health-f34b022d75a1eb9776e27903ab40670f

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An estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year, a never-before-seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.

Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year.

President Joe Biden called it “a tragic milestone” in a statement, as administration officials pressed Congress to devote billions of dollars more to address the problem.

“This is unacceptable and it requires an unprecedented response,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of National Drug Control Policy.

Experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2021

Publication Site: Associated Press