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California schools now allow kids to attend with cough and cold symptoms, health department says

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California schools now allow kids to attend with cough and cold symptoms, health department says

A growing number of schools are relaxing their restrictions and opening their doors to kids with coughs, sore throats and other symptoms.

This is a marked difference from the strict guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic — when parents were advised to keep students home at any sign of illness.

California is one of the states that has relaxed its restrictions, as outlined on the state health department’s website.

KIDS’ STOMACH PAIN IS COMMON COMPLAINT, YET MANY PARENTS DON’T SEEK MEDICAL CARE, POLL FINDS

Students may attend school or child care even if they have cough and cold symptoms, including a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, congestion or body aches — with the exception of those who also have a fever, uncontrolled coughing fits or difficulty breathing.

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Kids who have a headache or a stiff, painful neck may also come to school in the absence of a concussion or infection, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

A growing number of schools are relaxing restrictions and opening their doors to kids with coughs, sore throats and other symptoms. (iStock)

The Golden State also allows kids to go to school with pink eye, as long as they don’t have vision problems, pain or injury.

Stomach pain is also OK, unless it involves an injury, vomiting, diarrhea or fever.

AS CHILDHOOD PNEUMONIA SPREADS, HERE’S WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO KEEP THEIR KIDS HEALTHY

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In some cases, students may even attend with an earache, diarrhea or wheezing, according to the health department’s guidelines.

California has also updated recommendations for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, the CDPH said in an email to Fox News Digital.

Although those who test positive are still advised to monitor symptoms and stay home if they have a fever and feel ill, the days of mandated quarantines appear to be over.

Girl at nurses office

The state of California has relaxed its restrictions, as outlined on the state health department’s website, and has opened its schools’ doors to kids with coughs, sore throats and other symptoms. (iStock)

“Instead of staying home for a minimum of five days, individuals may return to work or school when they start to feel better, meaning that their symptoms are mild and improving, and they have not had a fever for a full day (24 hours) without the use of fever-reducing medication,” the CDPH told Fox News Digital. 

The department does still recommend 10 days of masking for students who have tested positive for COVID or have respiratory symptoms.

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“Instead of staying home for a minimum of five days, individuals may return to work or school when they start to feel better.”

The state has also relaxed its COVID testing guidance.

“People who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 and do not have COVID-19 symptoms are only recommended to test if they are at higher risk of severe disease and would benefit from treatment OR if they have contact with people who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection,” the agency said.

“The reason for these changes is that we are now at a different point in time with reduced impacts from COVID-19 compared to prior years due to broad immunity from vaccination and/or natural infection, and readily available treatments for infected people,” the CDPH added.

Boy sick at home

A child who has a fever along with another symptom or sign of illness should not attend school or child care, according to the CDPH. (iStock)

The city of Boston, Massachusetts, also has relaxed its stay-at-home restrictions for sick kids.

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On the Boston Public Schools website, the district states that students can attend with “common” respiratory infections.

COVID LOCKDOWNS INCREASED ADHD RISK AMONG 10-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN, NEW STUDY FINDS

“If the child does not have fever, does not appear to have decreased activity or other symptoms, it is not necessary for the child to stay home,” the guidance says.

Students may also attend if they have vomited once in the past 24 hours — but vomiting two or more times is grounds for staying home, the district stated.

Public health agencies’ recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still adheres to stricter guidelines, stating that people with symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, including cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, should stay home.

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The CDC also recommends that anyone who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested for the virus right away.

Mom child flu

The AAP states that children should be kept home from school if they’ve had a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit within the past 24 hours, if they’ve had episodes of vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours, or if they are not well enough to participate in class. (iStock)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states on its website that children should be kept home from school if they’ve had a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit within the past 24 hours, if they’ve had episodes of vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours, or if they are not well enough to participate in class.

COLD, FLU, COVID-19 AND RSV: HOW TO IDENTIFY THE DIFFERING SYMPTOMS AND STAY SAFE

“If your child has been ill and is feeling better, but still wakes up with minor problems such like a runny nose or slight head­ache … you can send them to school if none of the three circumstances listed above is present,” the AAP stated. 

Empty school chair

The AAP warned of the dangers of “chronic absenteeism,” including lower literacy levels in young children and a higher risk of failing, getting suspended or dropping out among older students. (iStock)

The AAP also warned of the dangers of “chronic absenteeism” — including lower literacy levels in young children and a higher risk of failing, getting suspended or dropping out among older students.

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“Chronic absenteeism is also linked with teen substance use, as well as poor health as adults,” the organization added.

Doctors’ input on school policies

Dr. Shana Johnson, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician in Scottsdale, Arizona, said that more relaxed school policies reflect “a better balance” between illness prevention and the impact of absences.

“Sick policies in schools have evolved to reflect the transition from a COVID public health emergency to COVID being endemic, or ever-present, in our communities,” she told Fox News Digital.

“Current policies better balance limiting the spread of disease with the harms of excessive absences.”

“Current policies better balance limiting the spread of disease with the harms of excessive absences, which include detriments to children’s education, social development and mental health,” she added.

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The “hard-lined” COVID policies that were enacted in many states resulted in “tremendous harm” to children, Johnson said — including substantial learning loss, arrested social development and a spike in mental health crises.

“Now, four years following the emergence of COVID, we understand the virus better and have vaccines and treatments that reduce the severity of illness it causes,” she said. 

kids at school

The state of California still recommends 10 days of masking for students who have tested positive for COVID or have respiratory symptoms. (iStock)

“Also, a large portion of the population has been exposed to COVID and has a level of protective immunity,” the doctor added. “All of the above lowers the risk of harm from the virus.”

Sick policies in schools are now more reflective of those in place before the pandemic, according to Johnson. 

“Before the pandemic, children attended school with a mild cold; they stayed home with moderate or severe symptoms such as fever and excessive cough,” she said.

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“Some children have back-to-back colds for six months out of the year, especially younger children,” the doctor went on. “The hard-line policies would have these kids out of school for half the year.”

She added, “For a virus that causes mild symptoms in kids, missing half the year is not reasonable.”

dr marc siegel

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said that kids with infectious-type symptoms, especially frequent upper respiratory symptoms, should not attend school. (Fox News)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said that kids with infectious-type symptoms, especially frequent upper respiratory symptoms, should not attend school at all.

“An occasional cough or sneeze or a confirmed allergy is one thing, but sore throat, cough, body aches or congestion are consistent with an ongoing contagion that is easily spread at school,” he warned. 

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“Not only that, but there is the issue of the child recuperating and being at full strength.”

During what Siegel described as a particularly bad flu, RSV and COVID season, he stressed the importance of “doing our best to not spread these bugs at school.”

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews/health.

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Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

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Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

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Could adopting a fasting-like diet help slow down aging?

That’s the claim of researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in Los Angeles, who led a study on the benefits of a “fasting-mimicking diet” (FMD).

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In addition to reducing biological age and immune system aging, the diet was linked to reductions in insulin resistance and liver fat, according to a press release from the university.

TIME-RESTRICTED EATING NO MORE BENEFICIAL THAN CALORIC RESTRICTION IN OBESE PATIENTS, STUDY SAYS

The findings, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 20, were based on clinical trials that included 100 men and women between 18 and 70 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles.

A fasting-mimicking diet was found to reduce biological age and immune system aging, as well as insulin resistance and liver fat, in a new study. (iStock)

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The control group ate either a normal diet or a Mediterranean-style diet.

The people in the FMD group showed decreased abdominal and liver fat, as well as reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

HIDDEN BELLY FAT COULD SIGNAL ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RISK 15 YEARS BEFORE SYMPTOMS SHOW UP, STUDY FINDS

Those on the experimental diet also showed signs of a more youthful immune system.

Overall, the FMD adopters’ biological age was reduced by an average of 2.5 years based on the functioning of their cells and tissues, the researchers found.

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Drinking tea

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea. (iStock)

“I think it is surprising that three cycles of the FMD done for only five days a month (15 days total) — which allow people to have modified/low calorie but regular meals and without changing the normal diet of the participants for the rest of the month — can have such an effect on biological age, body fat and a range of disease risk factors,” senior author Valter Longo, USC Leonard Davis School Professor, told Fox News Digital.

FASTING COULD REDUCE SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, STUDIES SUGGEST: ‘PROFOUND EFFECTS’

If the cycles were continued for three cycles a year for 20 years, Longo projected that the FMD could reduce biological age by 11 years and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 10% to 30%. 

“However, these are only simulations — and additional studies are necessary to confirm this potential of the FMD cycles,” he added.

Energy drinks

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles. (iStock)

Prior studies in mice have identified additional benefits of the FMD, including reduced risk of age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, Vongo pointed out.

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The diet has been previously to reduced chemo side effects, greater stem cell regeneration and reduced signs of dementia, the release stated.

What is the fasting-mimicking diet?

Originally developed by Longo, the FMD is a five-day diet that is low in overall calories, protein and carbohydrates and high in unsaturated fat.

The eating plan is designed to mimic a pure fast while still allowing consumption of essential nutrients.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET COULD HELP REDUCE BELLY FAT AND MUSCLE LOSS CAUSED BY AGING, STUDY FINDS

“The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), also known as the ProLon Diet, has been around for approximately seven years and has been studied in multiple clinical trials,” Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian, told Fox News Digital.

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“By following a structured, very low-calorie nutrition plan for five days, the goal is to provide the benefits of a prolonged fast while still allowing individuals to eat,” said Palinski-Wade, who was not involved in the USC study.

“The diet is designed to transition the body into a fasting state while nourishing it with specific nutrients to avoid activating food-sensing pathways.”

Woman reaches for water glass near bed

“[The diet] allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” an expert said.  (iStock)

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea, according to the release. 

The FMD group also received a supplement with “high levels of minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.”

The specific diet that was tested in the two trials is commercially available, but Longo said that university rules prevent him from sharing the name of the product.

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“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health.”

“I think it is important to begin to consider the plant-based FMD intervention described here for two to three times a year as a way to prevent and treat some diseases, together with the right type of drugs,” Longo said. 

This could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” he added.

For people aiming to prevent or treat diseases through the use of an FMD, Longo said people should first talk to a doctor.

Other experts weigh in on the diet

Melanie Avalon, an Atlanta-based health influencer who hosts “The Intermittent Fasting Podcast,” was not involved in the study, but noted that the research provides “solid data” on how dietary and lifestyle changes affect the aging process.

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“Our society’s fascination with youth and longevity is well-known; however, measuring progress and biological improvements is often subjective,” she told Fox News Digital. 

Woman meal plan

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, an expert noted that this study highlights its extended benefits for metabolic health. (iStock)

“The concept of ‘chronological age’ can mislead when assessing the body’s aging rate and predicting lifespan,” Avalon went on. 

“For the first time, this study reveals that a fasting-mimicking diet can reduce one’s biological age.”

While traditional fasting can be daunting for some, FMD can be a more feasible alternative.

“It allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” she said. 

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AVOID THESE FAD DIETS IN 2024; TRY THESE HEALTHY METHODS OF EATING INSTEAD

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, Avalon noted that this study highlights FMD’s extended benefits for metabolic health.

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health,” she said.

“Unlike the costly and extreme measures of ‘biohacking,’ the FMD provides an accessible and practical solution to reduce biological age.”

Potential risks and limitations

Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, who practices as The Lupus Dietitian, cautioned that she would not recommend the fasting-mimicking diet to any person who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past or who has trouble controlling their blood sugar.

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“Restricting and changing eating patterns may have negative effects,” she said. 

Woman eating healthy

The fasting-mimicking diet could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” the study author said. (iStock)

Palinski-Wade agreed that those with underlying health conditions should speak to their physician before considering a restrictive diet plan. 

“A very low-calorie diet may not be appropriate for those with uncontrolled diabetes, a history of hypoglycemia, a history of disordered eating, or those who are pregnant or nursing,” she said.

Before making any dietary changes, Freirich stressed the need for “extensive education” to be provided.

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“While changing the timing and amount of our food intake is an approach worth examining, it is also important to remember to choose health-promoting foods daily,” the dietitian continued. 

“The food choices we make daily have a large impact on our weight, blood sugars, heart health, immune system and more. If fasting doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, speaking with a registered dietitian about the dietary changes for your health is always recommended.”

Nutritionist

Before making any dietary changes, a nutritionist (not pictured) told Fox News Digital that people need “extensive education” to be provided. (iStock)

The study had some limitations, both dietitians noted.

“It was a small sample size of healthy young-ish individuals,” Freirich said. “The results may be helpful and useful for other people after more research is completed in a larger age range and including people with other medical concerns.”  

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Palinski-Wade reiterated that the studies on FMD have included smaller sample sizes of generally healthy adults, which means the results cannot be generalized to all populations.

“FMD may offer promising benefits and may be an excellent tool to consider for those looking to improve long-term health and reduce future disease risk, but more research is needed on larger and more diverse populations to fully understand the benefits it may offer,” she added.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

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Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

‘SUPERBLY TIMED’ – Four Texas residents are forever connected by two kidney donations in different cities. The recipients, donors and doctors share their story. Continue reading…

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Senior women should aim for a mixture of aerobic and weight-lifting exercises on a regular basis, a doctor said. (iStock)

PARENTAL CHOICE – After the Florida surgeon general sent guidance to parents about school attendance amid measles outbreaks, doctors share their reactions. Continue reading…

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Gerald Branim - half-marathon

Gerald Branim, 55, was a marathon runner when he got COVID, which led to a paralyzed diaphragm that stopped him in his tracks.  (Institute for Advanced Reconstruction)

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Newborn baby

A decision from the Alabama Supreme Court has led to a halt in IVF services at some locations and a flurry of protests from providers in the fertility space. (iStock)

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Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

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Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health released an updated statement on Wednesday, which was provided to Fox News Digital.

There have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases as of Tuesday in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports.

Last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued a letter to parents urging them to make their own decisions about whether to send their children to school.

AMID FLORIDA MEASLES OUTBREAK, SURGEON GENERAL LETS PARENTS DECIDE WHETHER TO SEND UNVACCINATED KIDS TO SCHOOL

Typical guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is for unvaccinated children who have not had the measles to stay home for up to 21 days in the event of a potential exposure at school.

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Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health has released an updated statement.  (iStock)

“However, due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and the educational cost of healthy children missing school, DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance,” Ladapo’s letter stated. 

MEASLES PROTECTION IS PARAMOUNT BEFORE TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE US, SAYS CDC

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) noted that details of the agency’s investigations into the outbreak are “confidential,” and claimed that “many media outlets are reporting false information and politicizing this outbreak.”

FDOH released a statement to ensure that Floridians are “correctly informed.”

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Boy vaccination

Doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak. (iStock)

At Manatee Bay Elementary, where the bulk of the cases have been reported, 97% of students have received at least one dose of the MMR immunization, according to the agency.

On Tuesday, the local news outlet WSVN reported that about 30% of students at Manatee Bay Elementary were unvaccinated, according to the school board.

“Outbreaks are occurring in multiple states, and the national immunization rate for measles is less than 92%,” the statement said.

MEASLES OUTBREAKS IN US, UK HAVE HEALTH AGENCIES ON HIGH ALERT: ‘BE VIGILANT’

When a case of measles is confirmed in a school, FDOH recommends that students who have not had a prior infection or vaccination remain at home for up to 21 days.

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“This is the period of time that the virus can be transmitted. This recommendation has been made at Manatee Bay Elementary,” the agency said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo

Amid measles outbreaks in various parts of the U.S., Florida surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo has issued guidance to parents regarding kids’ school attendance. He also said, “This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue.” (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

The last confirmed case of measles was on Feb. 15, 2024, which means the end of the 21-day infectious period is March 7, 2024.

“This may change as epidemiological investigations continue,” the statement noted.

FDOH said it has been working with Manatee Bay Elementary to educate parents on measles.

“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home.”

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“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home and utilize continuous learning during this time,” the agency said.  

“Due to the high immunity rate, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, the surgeon general’s current guidance ensures that parents or guardians are able to make the best decisions for their families regarding school attendance,” the statement continued.

measles on a male torso

As of Tuesday, there have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports. (iStock )

Other doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak.

“At a time when there’s a resurgence of measles in the world and travel is not restricted, and people are coming into this country with measles, it’s extremely important that our children be vaccinated against it,” Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, told Fox News Digital last week.

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Amid the current measles outbreak, he said, “individual choice has to give way to public health and community preservation or safety,” Siegel said.

“The problem here is that if kids start going to school unvaccinated against measles, given how contagious it is and how effective the vaccine is, they are putting other children at risk,” the doctor added.

In a statement sent to Fox News Digital, a member of the District 2 School Board in Broward County stated that the board is working with the state and local health departments. 

“I appreciate the leadership and support by the surgeon general and welcome all resources to help our parents and children,” says Torey Alston, who was formerly a county commissioner. 

“The safety and academic success of our children remains the No. 1 priority.”

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As of Feb. 22, 2024, a total of 35 measles cases had been reported by 15 jurisdictions across the U.S., in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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