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Health Highlights: June 29, 2020

Last Updated: June 29, 2020.

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Breast Cancer Treatment Can be Given at Home: FDA

A breast cancer treatment that can be administered at home has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Phesgo, from Genentech Inc., is a combination of pertuzumab, trastuzumab and hyaluronidase that's approved for injection under the skin to treat adults with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, and for treatment of adults with early HER2-positive breast cancer.

Phesgo is initially used in combination with chemotherapy and could continue to be given to a patient at home by a qualified health care professional after the patient completes chemotherapy.

"Currently, most patients with HER2-positive breast cancer receive trastuzumab and pertuzumab at infusion centers. With a new administration route, Phesgo offers an out-patient option for patients to receive trastuzumab and pertuzumab," Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.

Phesgo carries a boxed warning about the risk of heart failure, fetal harm and lung toxicity.

A study found that the most common side effects among patients taking Phesgo were hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, anemia (reduced number of red blood cells) and lack of energy. Phesgo can cause worsening of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (low level of white blood cells), according to the FDA.

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U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law

A Louisiana abortion law that could have left the state without an abortion clinic was struck down Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The law was enacted in 2014 and required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, The New York Times reported.

The Supreme Court vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voting with the court's four-member liberal wing. Roberts said respect for precedent compelled him to vote with the majority.

This was the first abortion case to be heard by the court since it shifted to the right with two of President Trump's appointments, The Times reported.

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U.S. Coronavirus Rates Much Higher Than Reported: CDC

Actual coronavirus infection rates in many areas of the United States are more than 10 times higher than reported rates, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggests.

That difference was highest in Missouri. As of April 26, about 2.6% of people (6,800) in the state were reported to have been infected, but CDC data show the actual number was about 24 times higher, at 162,000, according to The New York Times.

As of April 1, New York City had reported 53,803 cases, but the actual number of infections was 12 times higher, at nearly 642,000, the CDC study found.

"This study underscores that there are probably a lot of people infected without knowing it, likely because they have mild or asymptomatic infection," study leader Dr. Fiona Havers told the Times. "But those people could still spread it to others."

Even in areas hard hit by the new coronavirus, most people have not been infected, noted Scott Hensley, a viral immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the study.

"Many of us are sitting ducks who are still susceptible to second waves," he told the Times.

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Bars in Seven California Counties Ordered to Close

Bars in seven California counties have been ordered to close due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The mandated closures affect Los Angeles, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin and Tulare counties, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

He also recommended the closure of bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus and Ventura, CBS News reported.

"Californians must remain vigilant against this virus," Newsom said in a statement. "COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger. That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases."

The state reported an increase of nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

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Miami-Dade County Closes Beaches Over July 4th Weekend

Beaches in Miami-Dade County will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida.

On Saturday, the state reported a record high of more than 9,000 new COVID-19 cases. The previous record was 5,500 cases, CBS News reported.

"After consulting with our county's public health experts, I will be signing an emergency order on Saturday to close all beaches in Miami-Dade County starting Friday, July 3, and ending Tuesday, July 7," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement.

He warned that the closure of beaches may be extended if the situation doesn't improve, or if people don't wear masks or social distance, CBS News reported.


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