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Pregnant women at higher risk for COVID-19 infection: study

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Pregnant women at higher risk for COVID-19 infection: study

Pregnant women appear to be at higher risk of infection by COVID-19, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study shows that the infection rate among expectant women in Washington state was 70 percent higher than in similarly aged adults in the state, EurekAlert reported.

It also found that infection rates among pregnant women of color were two to four times higher than expected. 

“Pregnant women were not protected from COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic, with the greatest burden of infections occurring in nearly all racial/ethnic minority groups,” the researchers wrote.

The study followed 240 pregnant women with COVID-19 in 35 hospitals and clinics from March through June 2020. 

Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an OB-GYN at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said the study provides more evidence that pregnancy should be considered a high-risk health condition for vaccine priority.

“Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would, and communities of color bore the greatest burden,” Waldorf said.

The study found that pregnant women who were infected had 3.5 times higher COVID-associated hospitalization rate than the similarly aged general population in Washington state.

Also, the COVID mortality rates were 13 times higher in pregnant mothers than in similarly aged individuals.

“The mortality rate was shockingly high. We were very surprised by this,” Waldorf said.

“We are gravely concerned that COVID-19-associated maternal deaths have been massively undercounted nationally and that the impact on pregnant patients, particularly with underlying conditions is greater than currently underappreciated,” she added. 

The research also found that most of the pregnant women with COVID-19 had asymptomatic or mild cases and healthy pregnancies.  

Of the 240 pregnant women with infections detected through June, three died from COVID-19, while 24 others were hospitalized.

The three who died were from minority ethnic groups and most of them had other conditions such as obesity and hypertension, according to the study.

“Higher infection rates in pregnant patients may be due to the overrepresentation of women in many professions and industries considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic – including healthcare, education, service sectors,” Dr. Erica Lokken, the lead author, said in a statement.

On Thursday, Pfizer/BioNTech announced the start of its clinical trial to evaluate the vaccine in pregnant women, according to USA Today.

The trial will enroll about 4,000 healthy pregnant women over 18 years old in North America, South America, Europe and Africa.

“It is time to take the next step and extend our clinical program to other vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, to potentially protect both them and future generations,” said Dr. Özlem Türeci, chief medical officer of BioNTech, according to the outlet.

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Peter Gotti, former Gambino crime boss, dead at 81

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Peter Gotti, former Gambino crime boss, dead at 81

Mobster Peter Gotti, the one-time Gambino crime boss and successor to brother John “Dapper Don” Gotti, died in North Carolina where he was serving time in federal prison. He was 81.

Gotti, who had been sentenced to 25 years in jail after being convicted in 2003 on racketeering and other charges, died of natural causes at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, the Associated Press reported.

The Bronx native served more than 17 years behind bars and had been recently seeking an early release because of his poor health.

Gotti had been suffering from thyroid problems, and was blind in one eye, Lewis Kasman, a former mobster and John Gotti confidant, told the AP.

Peter Gotti, a former sanitation worker turned mobster, took over the Gambino crime family after his younger brother John was sent to prison for murder and racketeering.

John Gotti died of cancer in 2002.

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Minimum wage hike can’t be in COVID relief bill: Senate official

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Minimum wage hike can't be in COVID relief bill: Senate official

Democrats can’t include a $15 minimum wage hike as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, a key Senate official ruled on Thursday.

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s decision dealt a blow to progressives, who had been pushing to include such a provision in the bill.

MacDonough, the nonpartisan arbiter of Senate rules, issued a guidance saying she didn’t believe the change complied with guidelines of reconciliation, the fast-track process that Dems are using to pass the bill.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, who previously said he was optimistic that MacDonough would back the provision, slammed the finding on Thursday night.

“I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian,” the Vermont lawmaker said in a statement.

“The fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour continues,” he added.

Republicans, meanwhile, hailed the decision.

“Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. 

“This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate.”

Some moderate Democrats, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have voiced opposition to including the minimum wage boost in the relief bill.

That suggests Dems would lack the votes to push through the provision, should they opt to break decades of Senate precedent, ignore the parliamentarian’s view, and keep it in the bill.

With Post wires

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Hasbro reassures fans that Mr. Potato Head isn’t going anywhere

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Hasbro reassures fans that Mr. Potato Head isn't going anywhere

So mash for that.

Hasbro is scrambling to reassure fans that Mr. Potato Head still exists — amid uproar over its gender-neutral rebranding announcement.

“Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere!,” the company tweeted on Thursday evening.

The classic toy firm sparked a social media frenzy on Thursday morning when it announced that it would be dropping “Mr.” and “Mrs.” from the brand as part of a gender-inclusive push.

“Culture has evolved. Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences,” Kimberly Boyd, Hasbro’s senior vice president of global brands, told Fast Company.

“The way the brand currently exists — with the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ — is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

Many on social media dismissed the move as half-baked, while others just rolled their eyes at the hubbub.

Several hours later, Hasbro clarified that it was the toy brand that was being changed to “Potato Head” — and that the beloved Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters would still exist, names and all.

The company will also be releasing a Potato Head “family kit” that will let kids “create all types of families,” it said in a statement.

“While we’re renaming the Mr. Potato Head brand to Potato Head to better reflect the full line, the iconic Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters aren’t going anywhere,” a spokeswoman for the firm, Catalina Ramirez, told The Post.

“The new product we announced today Create Your Potato Head Family is a kit that includes enough potatoes and accessories for kids to create all types of families,” she added.

Several toymakers have recently updated their brands to appeal to kids today — including Barbie, who shed her blonde image and got a makeover to include more skin tones and body shapes.

Thomas the Tank Engine also added more female characters and American Girl is now selling a boy doll.

With Post Wires

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