A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health finds that people with substance abuse problems may be more susceptible to contracting and dying from coronavirus. Those with opioid use problems and tobacco addiction are more likely to die from Covid-19.

“Drugs inhibit the ability to fight viral and bacterial infections, disrupting immune function,” Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and co-author of the study, told ABC News.

Drugs like opioids – heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl – in particular, inhibit the respiratory centers in the brain and slow the breathing rate, making a Covid-19 infection especially deadly.

In addition, the use of drugs such as tobacco, cocaine and opioids is associated with heart problems, including risk for heart attacks and heart failure. Use of these substances can lead to high blood pressure, which is a common risk factor for coronavirus complications.

To find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health, call SAMHSA’s National Help line at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

Gospel artist CeCe Winans is receiving backlash after the announcement of her role in a Covid-19 ad campaign by the Trump administration. The Department of Health and Human Services’ $250 million ad campaign enlisted several celebrities, including CeCe Winans and Dennis Quaid, to address the government’s handling of the pandemic, how to fight the virus and how to stay positive.

In a social media post, the Grammy Award-winning singer explained that she recently discussed the pandemic with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. She told fans that she acted with good intentions.

“We have lost so many lives because of COVID-19. Let’s all do everything we can so we won’t lose any more,” she said in a 40-second clip.

After learning of the ad blitz, Democrats announced they would investigate the taxpayer-funded campaign, seeing it as a political tool to boost Trump’s reelection odds.

Shirley Bannister, the 57-year-old mother of a South Carolina teacher who died from Covid-19 earlier this month has died from complications from the virus, according to a relative.

Demetria Bannister, a 28-year-old elementary school teacher and music mentor, died earlier this month, just a few days after testing positive for Covid-19.

Demetria’s uncle, Dennis Bell, said her mother fell severely ill “two, three days after her daughter died.”

Shirley Bannister had a history of asthma and diabetes, pre-existing conditions that make a Covid-19 infection more severe.

As fall has begun, almost half the U.S. is reporting increased numbers of new Covid-19 cases.

States with an uptick in cases includes Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Eleven states – Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire – saw decreases of new cases of more than 10% compared to the week prior.

As fires rage on the west coast, health officials in Oregon say a spike in coronavirus cases is due in part to the wildfires.

When people fled the wildfires, their social distancing efforts could have been compromised if they went to stay with families, friends or at a shelter, officials said. In addition, testing has been halted in areas affected by the fires and poor air quality can make Covid-19 illness worse in susceptible individuals.

According to the National Poll on Children’s Health, one in three parents say they won’t get a flu vaccine for their child during the pandemic.

In addition, two-thirds of parents disagree that getting a flu shot for their child is more important this year, despite advice from government health organizations and pediatricians.

Guidance from the CDC says that children younger than 5 years old, especially those younger than two, are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications.

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