Health News

Billie Eilish opens up about having Tourette's syndrome: 'I have made friends with it'

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(NEW YORK) -- Billie Eilish is opening up about living with Tourette's syndrome.

In a new episode of David Letterman's series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the singer, who was diagnosed at the age of 11, spoke about her tics and living with the disorder.

During the interview, Eilish appeared to start "ticcing." When Letterman asked about it, she said, "It's really weird; I haven't talked about it at all."

She added, "I'm very happy to talk about it. I actually really like answering questions about it because it's really interesting, and I am incredibly confused by it. I don't get it."

The "Happier Than Ever" singer then detailed her various tics, including wiggling her ear, raising her eyebrow, clicking her jaw, moving her head, opening her mouth and flexing various muscles in her arms.

"These are things you would never notice if you're having a conversation with me, but for me, they're very exhausting," she said.

Eilish said she had been unhappy with her tics, but now, she told Letterman, they're a "part" of her. "I have made friends with it, so now I'm pretty confident in it," she said.

"So many people have it and you'd never know. A couple [other] artists have come forward and said, 'I've always had Tourette's,'" Eilish revealed. "And I'm not going to out them because they don't want to talk about it. But that was really interesting to me because I was like, 'You do? What?'"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Pediatrician answers parents' questions about COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5

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(NEW YORK) -- Pfizer's release of data showing its three-shot COVID-19 vaccine is 80% effective among children under the age of 5 is welcome news for parents anxious to get their young children vaccinated more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set to meet in June to review data from both Pfizer and Moderna, a COVID-19 vaccine could be widely available to everyone in the United States ages 6 months and older by July.

The news comes as the U.S. is experiencing another COVID-19 wave, with cases rising in nearly every state and official infection numbers up to more than 100,000 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the U.S., 28% of 5- to 11-year-olds and 58% of 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' analysis of CDC data.

"I think we all want to be done with this pandemic but unfortunately, it's not quite done with us," said Dr. Sean O'Leary, vice-chair of the AAP's committee on infectious diseases. "We are in a much different place than we were two years ago in terms of both the therapeutics that are available to treat the disease and the vaccines, showing a decreased spread of the disease and a decrease in hospitalizations."

O'Leary, also a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado and Children's Hospital Colorado, spoke to ABC News' Good Morning America to answer parents' top trending questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and kids.

1. What does the Pfizer vaccine efficacy news mean?

Earlier this year, Pfizer moved forward with studying three doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for kids 6 months to under 5 years old after disappointing data on a two-dose vaccine.

The new data released by the company Monday shows the three-dose vaccine is effective in kids, which means the vaccine is one step closer to being authorized by the FDA, according to O'Leary.

"This was really the news we've been waiting for from Pfizer on whether or not this third dose was going to meet the requirements required from the FDA," he said. "The immune response that the vaccine provided for the children in the trial was similar to the immune response that we saw in older adolescents and adults in who we know the vaccine is effective in preventing infection, hospitalization and death."

In addition to being effective, the new data also shows the three-dose vaccine "appears to be safe," O'Leary said.

2. What happens next for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for young kids?

Next month, FDA advisers will meet to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine applications for kids from both Pfizer and Moderna, which submitted its request to the FDA in April.

The FDA has tentatively scheduled the meetings for June 14 and 15, during which advisers will review applications for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 17 and ages 6 months to under 6 years, as well as Pfizer's vaccine for kids ages 6 months to under 5 years.

Within one or two days of the FDA meetings, the applications go to a CDC advisory committee. From there, the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, decides on whether or not to grant emergency use authorization for the vaccines.

With that timing, we could see a vaccine for kids under age 5 approved by the beginning of July, according to O'Leary.

Pfizer's vaccine is currently available for people ages 5 and older, while Moderna's vaccine is authorized for people ages 18 and older.

3. Do kids under 5 get the same vaccine as adults?

The dosage of the vaccine is different for children than it is for adults, but the vaccine itself is the same for everyone, according to O'Leary.

If authorized, Pfizer's vaccine dosage for kids ages 6 months to under 5 years would be three shots of 3 micrograms each. Each dose is one-tenth the adult dose.

Moderna's vaccine for kids under age 6, if authorized, would be a two-dose, 25-microgram shot, about one-quarter of the dose used for adults, given 28 days apart.

4. How do I know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for my child?

Pfizer's newly-released data on its three-dose vaccine for kids under age 5 showed "no significant safety" concerns, according to O'Leary.

The fact that a vaccine for the youngest children is coming after the vaccine has already been delivered to hundreds of millions of people around the world should bring comfort to parents, O'Leary said.

"There is no reason to expect in this age group that we're going to have some kind of different safety profile than what we saw in children, for example, 5 and older, in whom millions and millions of doses have been given," he said. "So we have a pretty good understanding of the safety profile."

The CDC has also released multiple studies over the past year showing COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for older children.

Overall, O'Leary said parents should remember that, based on data, the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine in protecting kids outweigh any potential risks.

"I think we all know that the disease is most severe in the elderly and people who have problems with their immune system, but that's not to say that COVID-19 is a benign illness in children," he said. "We've seen tens of thousands of hospitalizations in children, and the risk to children under 5, actually, for hospitalization is higher than it is for older children, so absolutely there is a need to protect those children with the vaccine."

For parents of children of all ages who may be on the fence about getting their child vaccinated, O'Leary said to speak with your child's pediatrician.

"The best thing you could do is make an appointment with your pediatrician and talk with them about about the vaccine," he said. "I think it is important to get those kids vaccinated but, on the other hand, I do understand why parents have some questions, and your best source of information is going to be your child's pediatrician."

5. How long after having COVID-19 can my child get a vaccine?

If a child has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and contracts the virus, they can get vaccinated "as soon as they're out of their isolation period, based on when they were infected and had symptoms," according to O'Leary.

"It doesn't need to necessarily be the next day but, in general, as soon as as they can to provide that protection," he said.

For people who are not vaccinated, CDC guidelines are to quarantine at home for five full days.

6. How do I know if my child needs a booster vaccine?

A booster dose of Pfizer's vaccine was authorized earlier this month for children ages 5 to 11 years old.

A child in that age range must wait at least five months after completion of a primary series to receive the booster, according to the FDA.

"I do think it's important," O'Leary said of fully vaccinated people ages 5 and older receiving a booster dose. "The data have been fairly clear over the last several months, and particularly during this omicron wave, that this booster really matters in terms of prevention of the severe outcomes."

7. What precautions should my family take until a vaccine for young kids is authorized?

O'Leary said families should continue to practice safety protocols including mask wearing for children ages 2 and older, hand-washing and social distancing.

"We know that crowded, indoor settings where people are not masked is one of the higher-risk places, so try to avoid those types of environments," he said.

O'Leary also said parents should make sure their kids of all ages are up to date on all their vaccinations.

"Honestly, for children, a lot of the diseases, although we don't see them anymore, are actually more severe in kids than COVID-19, things like measles," he said. "Going into the summer is a perfect time to make an appointment with your pediatrician for a checkup and make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

First increase in births reported in seven years, CDC finds

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(NEW YORK) -- The number of births increased in the United States for the first time in seven years, according to a new federal report.

Provisional data published Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found there were 3,659,289 babies born in 2021, a 1% increase from 2020.

It also marks the first rise in births since 2014. Prior to this report, the number of births had been decreasing by an average of 2% per year.

The report did not explain why the number of births increased, but Pew Research Center polls have suggested Americans delayed having babies during the first year of the pandemic due to public health and economic uncertainty, so the rising number could be the result of a rebound.

"​​When it comes to changes in fertility behavior, we're limited," Dr. Brady Hamilton, from the NCHS Division of Vital Statistics and lead author of the report, told ABC News. "That's where you need a survey about what's behind the decision-making process."

The report also showed the fertility rate -- the number of live births per 1,000 women between the ages 15 and 44 -- was 56.6. This is up from 56 in 2020 and the first increase since 2014, according to the CDC.

However, the total fertility rate -- the number of births a hypothetical group of 1,000 people would have over their lifetimes -- was 1,663.5 births per 1,000 women.

This is still below what experts refer to as replacement level, the level a population needs to replace itself, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

The team found birth rates among women aged 25 and older increased while decreasing for those aged 24 and younger.

"That sort of suggests [that] when we saw the decline in births from 2019 to 2020, probably a lot of births were postponed," Hamilton said. "People were waiting to see what happened [with the pandemic] and rates rose in older women as they may have proceeded to have that child."

Among teenagers aged 15 to 19, the rate of birth declined 6% from 15.4 per 1,000 to 14.4 per 1,000 -- a record low for this age group.

Teenage births have been continuously falling since 2007 by an average of about 7% through last year.

"When you look at it across time, that's a 77% decline since 1991 and 65% decline since 2017. That's astonishing," Hamilton said. "That's certainly good news. And it will be interesting to see when we go into next year if it continues on."

Meanwhile, for tweens and teens aged 10 to 14, the rate of birth was 0.2 per 1,000, which is unchanged since 2015, the report found.

Additionally, researchers also looked at births by race and found that white and Hispanic women each saw the number of births increase by about 2% from 2020 to 2021.

Meanwhile, Black and Asian women saw the number of births decline by 2.4% and 2.5%, respectively, over the same period, while American Indian/Alaskan Native women saw their numbers fall by 3.2%.

The report also examined the type of delivery and how early the babies were born.

Data showed that 32.1% of babies were born via cesarean delivery in 2021, up from 31.8% in 2020 and the second increase in a row after the rates had declined from 2009 to 2019.

The percentage of C-sections increased among all racial and ethnic groups, with the highest seen among Black women, from 36.3% to 36.8%.

While C-sections can lower the risk of death in women with high-risk pregnancies, they are associated with complications such as infection or blood clots, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The preterm birth rate also rose by 4% in 2021 from 10.09% to 10.48%, which is the highest reported rate since 2007. Increases were seen in babies born early preterm, which is before 34 weeks gestation, and later preterm, which is 34 to 37 weeks gestation.

Premature babies are at a greater risk for problems with feeding, breathing, vision and hearing, as well as behavioral issues.

"Whenever you see an increase in preterm births, that's concerning," Joyce Martin, from the Division of Vital Statistics and co-author of the report, told ABC News. "And we saw an increase in early-term babies, and they're at greater risk than later-term babies of not surviving the first year of life."

Martin said it's not clear what's behind the rise in preterm birth rates but said mothers younger than 18 and older than 35 are more likely to have premature babies.

"And we did see an increase in older moms' birth rates. It's not clear if it influences this change yet," she said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Moms search for solutions after daughters die by suicide

Caroline Long

(NEW YORK) -- Eva Long was a funny, bright and goofy child who became a talented singer, piano player and songwriter in her teen years, according to her mom, Caroline Long.

She was also someone who battled depression, an increasingly common mental health struggle among teenagers, but one that Long said Eva worked hard to keep a secret.

"She was so worried about people finding out," said Long, adding that the shame kept Eva from wanting to see a therapist. "She didn’t want anyone to know. She wanted to keep it so secretive."

The changes in Eva's mental health started in eighth grade, according to Long, who said she thought at the time that Eva was experiencing typical teenage angst.

"In eighth grade she had a phone and the social media thing was starting ... all the posing that the girls do, and the pictures. All that stuff, that was the beginning of it," said Long, who lives in Colorado. "Going into her freshman and sophomore years, she was just kind of struggling to figure out who her friends were."

"She would come home, exhausted, and she would say, 'You know, it's so hard for me, because I feel like I have to pretend,'" Long said.

For years, the rates of mental health struggles among teens have been on the rise in the United States. By 2019, the number of children between the ages of 3 to 17 with a diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition rose to over eight million, according to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) data.

Long said she took advice from other mothers whose daughters were also struggling with mental health and sought professional help for Eva, who refused.

Then, in the spring of 2020, at the end of Eva's senior year of high school, the coronavirus pandemic struck, and Long said she watched her daughter revert even further.

"They stopped having school in person, so they all had to do online classes," said. "It was very isolating for all the kids, and for Eva, it was really, really devastating because she scrolled through social media that much more. There was just a huge disconnect from actually engaging with people."

Eva did not have a senior prom or a high school graduation, but earned her high school diploma and went on to study at a state university in Southern California, according to Long.

Though she faced difficulties -- including what Long says Eva described to her as two instances of sexually violent behavior from male peers -- by the end of last summer and the start of her sophomore year of college, Long said she saw Eva in a good place mentally and physically.

It made it all the more devastating to Long when, on Sept. 17, 2021, she received a phone call that Eva had died by suicide while away at college.

"I was just in shock. I said, ‘This can’t be real. This can’t be true," said Long, who was traveling overseas at the time. "That cry of a mother when they’ve lost their child is a pretty wicked one, and I couldn’t stop it."

It was the same grief-stricken cry Honey Beuf said she experienced two years earlier when she received a phone call on Jan. 8, 2019, that her then-19-year-old daughter, Liv, had been taken to the hospital while away at college in Colorado.

Liv later died, a death that was caused by suicide, according to Beuf.

"What you go through as a parent is you feel everything so viscerally and on a cellular level, it’s so incredibly awful. I sometimes have such a hard time putting it into words," said Beuf. "You can’t even process it, let alone the fact that she’s gone because she ended her own life."

Liv was diagnosed as a child with a nonverbal learning disorder that doctors said made her prone to depression and anxiety. Beuf said Liv started seeing a therapist early on.

In middle school, after episodes of bullying that Beuf said worsened her mental health, Liv went on medication, according to her mom.

Though her mental health was always at the forefront, Liv did well in high school, becoming a cheerleader and vocalist, and the "funniest person you've ever met," according to Beuf. She went on to college and told her family the day before she died that she wanted to become a mental health therapist.

Liv was also member of the LGBTQ+ community, according to Beuf, one of the populations of young people identified as most at-risk for suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Though Liv was open with her parents and siblings about her mental health struggles, she hid it from her peers at college, which Beuf said she believes was a "huge contributing factor" to her death.

And it was only after Liv died that Beuf said she and other family members learned the extent of her struggles, which she said also included binge drinking.

"After she passed away we found all her journals and we saw the journaling of like eating, weight loss logs, different groups on Facebook for people to get information on how to continue their eating disorders," said Beuf, who said she knew Liv has struggled with an eating disorder but thought she was in recovery. "When we got hold of her phone, looking at her social media posts, the number of photographs she would put up and then take down."

"For one post, there would be like 50 photographs in her camera roll," continued Beuf. "I had no idea that she was that intensely into trying to perfect the image that she was putting out there."

A growing mental health crisis

In the years since their daughters' deaths, both Beuf and Long said they have watched as the mental health crisis among teens, particularly teen girls, has only grown.

"You think they’re doing fine because they’re very quiet about it and they don’t share," Long said.

"I think maybe they don’t even know what they’re going through," she said of teens who struggle. "And parents have so much shame. What I hear is, ‘I knew my son or daughter so well, how could I have not seen this?’ It's the worst grief."

Beuf described herself as "stunned on a daily basis" by the growing mental health crisis she sees across the country and through families that reach out to her after the loss of a child to suicide.

"One mom just reached out to me who lost her 11-year-old," she said. "The statistics are horrifying."

Among girls ages 12 to 17, there was a 51% rise in suspected suicide attempts from Feb. 21 to March 20, 2021, compared to the same time period in 2019, according to data released last year by the CDC.

Last year, amid the pandemic, youth mental health was declared a "national emergency" by a coalition representing over 77,000 physicians and over 200 children's hospitals.

U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek H. Murthy issued a 53-page advisory warning of a growing mental health crisis among young people, writing, "The challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate."

While the pandemic put a spotlight on kids' mental health, experts say, it has been a long-boiling crisis. Between 2009 and 2019, for example, the number of high school students in the U.S. who reported feeling sad or hopeless increased by 10 percentage points, to nearly 37%. The number of students having seriously considered attempting suicide increased in that same time period from nearly 14% to 19%, according to CDC data.

"We were already kind of in a place of a very serious and significant mental health and suicide crisis, even before the pandemic began," said Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). "And during the pandemic, there have been some further data points that relate to girls in particular."

According to Moutier, suicide rates for youth have been on the rise in the U.S. for the past 15 years. As of today, suicide is the third leading cause of death for kids ages 10 to 19, and the second for young adults ages 20 to 34, the AFSP said, noting that suicide disproportionately impacts Black children and kids who identify as LGBTQ+.

Suicide deaths are much more prevalent among men, while suicide attempts are much higher among women.

Long said she believes her daughter Eva's death was done on impulse, saying, "I think she didn’t want to die but she just wanted the pain to end."

Moutier said that while girls still remain less at risk for death by suicide, the past two years of the pandemic have seemed to impact girls in different, worrisome ways when it comes to their mental health.

In April, a CDC survey found that nearly half of high school girls in the U.S. said their mental health was not good most of the time or always during the pandemic, almost double the percentage of boys who reported the same.

"The pandemic meant less in-person time with their peer group and in healthy activities with their peers, such as academics, athletics, other kinds of positive social engagement, and more might have shifted towards screen time and social media time," said Moutier. "We wonder if that's one of the reasons that girls' distress level was kind of pressed upon, perhaps even more so than boys as a group."

Dr. Nicole Cammack, a licensed clinical psychologist and president of Black Mental Wellness, a Washington, D.C.-based practice, said she believes girls suffered more of a loss of coping tools during the pandemic. She said girls, particularly Black girls who face greater mental health stigmas, often have a harder time asking for help.

"I have a lot of young girls who come to therapy, and it's a struggle to even get to the place of feeling empowered to say, 'These are the emotions or the feelings or the struggles or challenges that I'm having,'" she said. "Even being able to put that into words could feel very different."

A difficult search to find help

Hannah, a 14-year-old from San Diego, California, was finishing sixth grade in 2020 when the pandemic began and her classes shifted online.

Hannah, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, said she became a "hermit" in her room, turning to her phone as a social outlet.

"I think that definitely was negative," she said. "I had my phone and we did a lot of FaceTiming and texts, so I wasn’t completely cut off from my friends, but it was definitely different from face-to-face contact and seeing each other and socializing every day."

Hannah's mom, Brooke, who also asked that her last name not be used, described her daughter's phone habits during the pandemic as "endless scrolling" on social media. In time, she said she noticed personality changes in her daughter, including after Hannah returned to school in-person.

"Any social interactions seemed to be really taxing, and I was watching her not just get shy and show signs of anxiety or stress, but extreme fatigue, especially when she went back to school," said Brooke. "She would just come home from school and hit the bed and fall asleep for hours and hours and hours."

Fatigue is an early sign of depression and anxiety, along with other changes in behavior like withdrawing from activities and friends, eating more or less, sadness or irritability, avoidance and performing worse in school, according to the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on kids' mental health.

Brooke said she decided to have a direct conversation with Hannah about her mental health after she said three friends who are moms had teenage daughters who attempted suicide within the span of a few months.

At the advice of those friends, Brooke asked Hannah directly if she had thought about killing herself, to which Hannah replied she had multiple times.

Long said it is a question she wishes she had asked Eva.

"If I could go back, that's what I would do over," said Long. "I think all parents should ask their children, 'Have you ever contemplated suicide? Have you ever attempted suicide?' You have to keep at it with your children, keep asking those questions, keep that conversation open."

For Brooke, while she said the conversation with Hannah was difficult, what surprised her more was how difficult it became trying to find help for Hannah. After taking her to a behavioral health urgent care center in San Diego, Brooke said she spent three weeks and countless hours on the phone trying to get Hannah in to see a mental health expert.

"I started calling and emailing dozens of different clinics and providers and didn’t get any responses or got responses saying they were completely full or had a seven month wait-list," she recalled. "Nothing was improving and I felt extremely frustrated and helpless and then you start to worry if I really can’t find help, how do I make sure things aren’t getting to an acute state?"

The lack of mental health providers to treat young people is a nationwide issue due to the unfortunately high demand, according to Dr. Hina Taib, a pediatrician and adolescent specialist at the Atria Institute in New York City.

"There truly is a bottleneck with not enough services to meet the demand," she said. "Some of the most common questions I get are how do I find a therapist, or I can’t find a therapist and how do I convince my teen to see a therapist."

Long said she experienced the shortage firsthand when her daughter Eva came to her the summer before her death, asking to see a therapist.

"It was the first time she said she wanted to see a therapist but I called probably 60 therapists and all of them were full," Long recalled. "There are not enough therapists out there to deal with the amount of depression going on today."

Moiya Toliver, now 20, said she had no mental health resources available to her when she began to withdraw from life as the pandemic hit in her senior year of high school.

Switching to online school, she said, left her with no way to socialize with her peers, and without the ability to go to school ever day, she was stuck in what she called a "toxic" situation at home with her family.

"I sunk into a more depressive state," she said. "And I really didn’t have time to ground myself and try to figure out how to regain myself mentally. I just had to basically push through."

Toliver said no one she knew in her small hometown in Texas, including at her school, talked about mental health.

It was only when she began attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., that Toliver said she heard people openly discussing mental health, which allowed her to take steps to heal, including seeing a therapist.

Experts say that due to the high demand for mental health services among teens, there have been new efforts to respond.

"Pediatricians like myself and adolescent medicine specialists have been up-training themselves in therapeutic skills to be able to provide families with first steps into getting better mental health spaces," said Taib, adding for parents, "Mental health is health and your pediatrician is an appropriate point of contact, even a first point of contact, for a concern that you may have with your child."

The pandemic also spurred the use of telehealth, which has made it easier to access mental health help, especially for young people, both Taib and Moutier said.

Brooke said she was finally able to find a therapist for her daughter through Brightline, a virtual behavioral health company that, among other things, offers interactive mental health content and care tools for teenagers.

Hannah is now preparing to enter high school in the fall, she says feeling much stronger mentally thanks to the coping skills she learned and the freedom she feels to share her mental health struggles.

"I think that because the pandemic brought a mental health crisis, schools and the world began to recognize it more," she said. " That is when we began to talk about it more and more at school, and that’s when my friends, we started to talk about it more."

Mom and daughter work to end a mental health crisis

For Honey Beuf and her daughter Tess Kunik, one of her two surviving children, their grief over the loss of Liv was compounded by the growing mental health crisis among teens they saw playing out across the country.

"It makes me angry that we are not doing enough to support young people," said Tess, who was eight years older than Liv and considered her sister her best friend. "It makes me angry and then I kind of float in and out of re-traumatization and in my own grief."

After Liv's death, Beuf moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to Kunik. Together, the mother and daughter started a nonprofit organization, The Liv Project, which is focused on creating tools and resources to help kids and families talk about mental health and end the stigma.

In addition to presenting workshops on mental health in schools across the country, Kunik and Beuf worked with mental health professionals to develop a game, called The Game That Goes There, which provides prompts for people to have what Kunik describes as "fearless conversations about mental health."

"One of the responses that always stands out is one of the kids said, 'I like this game because it gives kids a chance to talk without adults thinking they have to fix this,'" said Kunik. "A lot of the people I talk with say, 'Adults want to jump in and fix us. We just want them to listen to us.'"

Added Beuf, "We've heard over and over again, 'The grownups come into school and they put up this big PowerPoint presentation and then they're done.' We need to be having these open dialogues [on mental health] all the time, every day."

Beuf said she believes it will take everyone -- parents, teens, schools, government, medical professionals, nonprofits and more -- fully listening to kids to turn the tide of the youth mental health crisis.

She said she wants to encourage parents especially to have "difficult" but open conversations with their teenage kids about their mental health.

"One of the biggest lessons that I've learned through this whole process that I wish I had known is that when your child is struggling, it's really important to just sit down with them, and say, 'I am here for you. I love you, and no matter what you say, nothing can scare me,'" said Beuf. "Just sit with your child and let them talk. They just want to be heard."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

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One confirmed, six presumptive monkeypox cases in US; government releasing vaccines for exposed

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(NEW YORK) -- With seven people in the U.S. now confirmed or presumed to have monkeypox, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the risk remains low and there's no evidence the virus has evolved to be more transmissible.

"This is not COVID," Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the CDC, said during a media briefing Monday.

There is one confirmed positive case in Massachusetts. There is one presumptive positive case in New York, one in Washington state, two in Utah and two in Florida.

The CDC said Monday that the government is in the process of releasing some vaccines from its national stockpile. There is no need to vaccinate the general public against monkeypox, officials said. Rather, those vaccines will be used among a small number people who have been exposed.

Still, CDC officials cautioned that more cases are likely, and the agency is now raising awareness among men who identify as gay or bisexual.

"I think that we need to pay close attention to the communities in which this might be circulating, so that we can communicate effectively with them and help bring this outbreak under control," McQuiston said.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, and anyone can become infected regardless of sexual orientation.

The virus, a less-transmissible cousin of smallpox, is passed through close contact with another person, including hugging, touching or prolonged face-to-face contact.

An early cluster of monkeypox cases in London was among a nuclear family who lived in the same household.

But health officials say many early clusters in Europe and Canada happened among groups of men who have sex with men, with some ongoing transmission reported in this community.

"Anyone -- anyone can develop and spread monkeypox infection," Dr. John Brooks, medical epidemiologist, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC, said. "But, many of those affected in the current global outbreak identify as gay and bisexual men. We want to help people make the best-informed decisions to protect their health."

Specifically, the CDC is now warning people to watch out for a distinctive rash in the genital region, which could be confused with an STI.

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FDA advisers to meet to discuss COVID-19 shots for kids, vaccines for fall

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(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of Pfizer's new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine data for children under the age of 5, which was released on Monday, the Food and Drug Administration has set new, tentative dates for when its advisers will meet to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine applications for children.

The FDA said it expects its independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to convene in mid-June to discuss both Pfizer and Moderna's pediatric COVID-19 vaccines.

"As we continue to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are a number of anticipated submissions and scientific questions that will benefit from discussion with our advisory committee members," Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement on Monday.

Although children 5 years and older already have access to a COVID-19 vaccine -- and now a booster shot -- through Pfizer's two-dose vaccine, on June 14, the committee will meet to discuss Moderna's emergency use authorization request for children ages 6 to 17 years of age.

The next day, on June 15, the committee will meet to discuss both Moderna's emergency authorization request for children ages 6 months to under 6 years of age and Pfizer and BioNTech's authorization request for children ages 6 months to under 5 years of age.

The new dates confirm the FDA anticipates that its advisers will review both Moderna and Pfizer's applications for young children at the same time, which would indicate that both vaccines could be authorized by the end of June.

The FDA emphasized the dates are tentative, but officials noted that should any of the submissions be completed in a "timely manner and the data support a clear path forward following our evaluation," the agency will move forward and convene the committee at an earlier or later date.

On June 8, 21 and 22, the FDA has held dates for its advisers to meet to discuss updates to the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech emergency use authorization requests. As more data and information is submitted by the companies, additional scheduling details will be released, officials wrote.

"The agency is committed to a thorough and transparent process that considers the input of our independent advisers and provides insight into our review of the COVID-19 vaccines. We intend to move quickly with any authorizations that are appropriate once our work is completed," Marks said.

Ahead of an anticipated fall and winter surge, the FDA also announced new dates for the committee to discuss a possible new generation of COVID-19 vaccines, which could address already circulating variants.

The FDA also plans to convene its advisers on June 28 to discuss whether the COVID-19 strain composition of the vaccines should be modified for the fall.

Federal regulators are expected to decide on a new COVID-19 vaccine design in early July, which would allow vaccine companies to begin production for rollout this fall and winter.

"We'll have to make some decision by early July to make sure that the manufacturers know what we're looking to do, so that they know what they have to start producing in large quantities," Marks told ABC News in an interview, last week.

Additionally, the FDA's advisers are expected to meet on June 7 to discuss an EUA request for a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Novavax to protect against COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Novavax asked for emergency authorization of its protein-based vaccine earlier this year in January.

Novavax was part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed -- the multibillion-dollar program that was created at the onset of the pandemic to quickly bring safe and effective vaccines to market.

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Pfizer three-dose COVID vaccine 80% effective against symptomatic omicron infection for youngest children

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(NEW YORK) -- In long-awaited data, Pfizer said its three-dose vaccine was 80% effective against symptomatic omicron COVID-19 infection among children 6 months to under 5 years old.

The company cautioned that estimate was preliminary and could be adjusted as more data is collected. The trial wasn't big enough to estimate protection against severe disease, which experts expect to be higher.

For all age groups, vaccine efficacy against more mild breakthrough infections waned in the face of the highly transmissible omicron variant, but efficacy against severe disease and death remained high for most age groups.

Pfizer announced in December that it would not move forward with a two-dose vaccine after disappointing data, instead opting to study three doses for this age group. The company will submit the new data as part of its ongoing “rolling” submission to the FDA.

For anxious parents, the Pfizer news offers reassurance that the vaccine help protect young children currently not eligible for vaccination.

In the wake of Pfizer's new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine data, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a new, tentative date of June 15 for its advisers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine applications for young children, meaning both vaccines could potentially be authorized by the end of June.

Pfizer also said its vaccine was safe, with a similar safely profile as placebo shots. If authorized, this vaccine would be three shots of 3 micrograms each. Each dose is one-tenth the adult dose.

Moderna's shot, if authorized, would be two doses, with each dose a quarter of the adult dose. Moderna is also studying a third shot for young children.

“We are pleased that our formulation for the youngest children, which we carefully selected to be one-tenth of the dose strength for adults, was well tolerated and produced a strong immune response,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer, in prepared remarks.

Moderna, meanwhile, asked the FDA for authorization on April 28 for a two-dose vaccine for this age range. Moderna’s preliminary analysis found its two-dose pediatric vaccine was 51% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 among children 6 months to under 2 years old, and 27% among children 2 to 5 years old -- roughly the same efficacy seen in adults during the omicron surge. Protection against serious disease and death was higher.

"I anticipate a lot of parents will be asking whether they should choose a two-dose Moderna vaccine or the three-dose Pfizer vaccine," said Dr. Alok Patel, pediatric hospitalist at Stanford Children's health and an ABC News contributor. "I would recommend that parents pay attention to the FDA and CDC’s guidance and what final analysis reveals for both vaccines."

Experts caution that vaccine efficacy against symptomatic infection is a high bar, and experts expect these vaccines will offer excellent protection against severe illness, just as they do for adults.

Though children under five is the last remaining age group that’s yet to be vaccinated, polls indicate there could be sluggish uptake.

A recent survey from KFF found that just under 1 in 5 parents are eager to get their children under five vaccinated right away.

However, the KFF poll more than half of parents said that they feel they do not have enough information about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy for children under age 5 — which could change after the public FDA advisory meetings to discuss the pediatric data.

"Parents should also be aware that this preliminary data will be supplemented by additional data in June, which will then be thoroughly reviewed by both the FDA and the CDC," Patel said.

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Florida health officials investigating third possible monkeypox case in US

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(NEW YORK) -- Florida health officials are investigating what they describe as a "presumptive" monkeypox case, making it the third possible case of the virus in the U.S. as global infections continue to rise.

The case is being investigated in Broward County and appears to be related to international travel, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County said in a press release Sunday.

A Massachusetts man who had recently traveled to Canada became the first case of the rare virus detected in the United States this year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed his positive test on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the New York City Department of Health announced that it was investigating a possible case of monkeypox after a patient tested positive for orthopoxvirus -- the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs. The patient's tests were sent to the CDC for confirmatory testing.

Globally, there are more than 190 confirmed or suspected cases in 16 countries where the disease is not normally found, according to an analysis from, a data science initiative from Boston Children's Hospital and Oxford University. The rare disease typically circulates in Western and Central Africa, but several cases have been detected around the world since a patient in the United Kingdom tested positive on May 7 following travel to Nigeria.

While the CDC sent out a health alert Friday warning doctors and local health departments to be on the lookout for patients who may have symptoms of monkeypox and report those cases to the CDC, public health officials and infectious disease experts emphasize that the risk to the general public remains low.

The disease can also spread from person to person via large respiratory droplets in the air, through skin lesions, bodily fluids or contact with contaminated material.

The World Health Organization advises the public to prevent spreading the infection by isolating if you have symptoms, avoiding contact with anyone who may have symptoms, wearing a mask if you come into contact with an infected individual, and thoroughly cleaning hands and surfaces.

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Jennifer Lopez says sleep is her biggest beauty secret

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(NEW YORK) -- Jennifer Lopez is dishing about all her beauty secrets.

In her latest On the JLo newsletter, the superstar, who announced that she would be sharing all her beauty tips with her followers, said that getting enough shut-eye is her most important beauty secret of all.

"We don't value sleep," Lopez wrote. "We value grinding and working hard -- and admittedly, nobody gets caught up in that rat race more than me. I've found, however, that sleep to me is the most underrated beauty secret out there."

The "Jenny from the Block" singer said she gets at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and it's part of her tenets of JLo Beauty and what she calls her five S's: sunscreen, serum, supplements, sano (what she calls "vivir," which translates from Spanish as "to live") and sleep.

Lopez said she became more cognizant of her sleep schedule after experiencing a panic attack "brought on by exhaustion."

"One day, I was sitting in a trailer, and all the work and the stress it brought with it, coupled with not enough sleep to recuperate mentally, caught up with me," she wrote. "I went from feeling totally normal, to thinking about what I needed to do that day and all of a sudden I felt as if I couldn't move... I was completely frozen."

She continued: "I had made my work such an all-consuming priority and let my own self-care needs go completely (even as simple as sleeping or taking 10 minutes to just relax). I found myself feeling physically paralyzed, I couldn't see clearly, and then the physical symptoms I was having started to scare me and the fear compounded itself."

Lopez said she was taken to the doctor who told her that she needed to sleep more. Since then, she's tried to catch as many hours of sleep as she can, and she also embarked on a wellness journey.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. Teens should get between 8 and 10 hours, and children from ages 6 to 13 should get between 9 and 11 hours.

Doctors say poor sleep can affect your health.

"Sleep is when our body recharges, restores, resets, repairs," ABC News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Ashton said. "It is a necessity."

For Lopez, sleep has helped her tremendously. She's also seen the positive effects of longer sleep on her skin.

"As I slept more and took care of myself, I realized it was about pro-living versus anti-aging," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and say, 'Wow! I just lost 10 years off my face!' That's what a good night's sleep can do for you, and it accumulates over time. ... So go get your sleep!"

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CDC urges second booster for older, high-risk Americans amid nation's latest COVID-19 surge

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(NEW YORK) -- Following the nation's latest COVID-19 resurgence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday that it is "strengthening" its recommendation for Americans over the age of 12 who are immunocompromised, and those over the age of 50, to receive their second booster shot.

"Over the past month we have seen steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans. While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death," the CDC wrote.

"Whether it is your first booster, or your second, if you haven't had a vaccine dose since the beginning of December 2021 and you are eligible, now is the time to get one," officials said.

During the meeting of the CDC's independent advisory committee for immunization recommendations on Thursday, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also re-emphasized the importance of older Americans getting boosted, given concerns over waning immunity amid the nation's latest COVID-19 surge.

"Only 38% of those 50 to 64 and 43% of those 65 and older have received a vaccine dose in the past six months. This leaves about 60% of older Americans without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death," Walensky said. "We know immunity wanes over time, and we need to do all we can now to protect those most vulnerable."

According to CDC data, since second booster doses were authorized in mid-March, a total of 12.4 million Americans have received their second booster. Nearly 12 million -- 11.8 million -- of those who have received second boosters are people over the age of 50, and 8.4 million of them are over the age of 65.

Although more than 90% of seniors have been fully vaccinated, a third of them have yet to receive their first COVID booster, the CDC found.

A recent ABC News analysis of federal data found that a growing proportion of COVID-19 deaths are occurring among the vaccinated.

The increase in breakthrough deaths comes as a growing proportion of older Americans enter the hospital for COVID-19-related care.

Following the vaccination of high-risk, older populations, in the winter and spring of 2021, the share of Americans ages 65 years and older in the hospital had dipped to a pandemic low -- with younger populations representing the largest shares of people requiring care.

However, in recent months, as the omicron surge became dominant, the average age of those in the hospital with COVID-19 has steadily become older, once again.

More than 55% of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are over the age of 65, CDC data shows, representing the highest percentage of seniors receiving care since the onset of the pandemic.

In addition, despite overall high initial vaccination rates reported among older populations, during the omicron surge, nearly three-quarters of confirmed COVID-19 deaths have been among those 65 and older.

During an interview with CBS News, earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged that there has been an increase in the number of vaccinated people who are dying of COVID-19, many of whom are elderly, immunocompromised, or have underlying conditions.

"There are vaccinated people who get infected, some of whom go on to severe disease and death. Those are very heavily weighted towards the elderly and those with underlying conditions, those whose immune system is compromised for one reason or another, either through underlying disease or medications that they're on," Fauci said.

"As long as you have vulnerable people in the population, even though the unvaccinated are going to be much more at risk, even vaccinated with underlying conditions and a high degree of susceptibility to severe disease will account for those deaths," Fauci added.

The push to get older Americans boosted comes despite a previously posted recommendation, published by the CDC last week, which states that people could consider waiting to get their second booster, if they have had COVID-19 in the last three months, or if getting the shot now would dissuade them from getting a shot in the fall or in the future.

"A second booster may be more important in fall of 2022, or if a new vaccine for a future COVID-19 variant becomes available," the CDC says on its website.

In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for the agency said the CDC is currently working on "updating our consumer guidance."

"The language about prior infection remains in our guidance. Someone who recently had COVID-19 will have a better response if they wait, however, if they are high risk or concerned (and eligible), they can get a vaccine dose as soon as they are cleared from isolation after their current COVID-19 diagnosis," the spokesperson said.**

During an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America" on Friday, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told George Stephanopoulos that older Americans should not wait to get the second booster or feel deterred about the possibility of having to get another shot in the fall.

"We have a lot of infection out there right now, and what I am recommending to basically everybody over 50 is given how much infection there is given that extra layer of protection that the second booster offers, that there's no reason to wait," Jha said. "People should go out and get that second shot and we'll see where things are in the fall, and if people need additional, we'll manage it at that point."

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NYC investigating possible case of monkeypox as global infections rise

Courtesy WHO twitter account

(NEW YORK) -- New York City health officials are investigating a possible case of monkeypox as they reported more infections across the globe.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a press release Thursday that the patient is being cared for at NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue in midtown Manhattan.

"The patient is isolating, and -- treating this case as a presumptive positive until confirmed -- the Health Department is carrying out contact tracing," the department said in a release.

It's unclear what the patient's age, sex and ethnicity are. The state health department said the patient's illness is "consistent with monkeypox," though didn't provide further details.

The other case under investigation has been "ruled out" for monkeypox based on testing, the NYC health department said.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said that while suspected cases of monkeypox "are concerning," the current risk to the general public is low.

"While a possible case in New York State awaits confirmatory testing by our local and federal partners, the Department has alerted health care providers in New York State so that they can consider this unusual diagnosis if their patients present with symptoms," Bassett said in a statement.

The news comes as the CDC sent out a health alert Friday warning doctors and local health departments to be on the lookout for patients who may have symptoms of monkeypox and report those cases to the CDC.

The CDC reiterated that the "risk to the public appears low."

Monkeypox is a very rare disease typically not found outside of countries in central and western Africa.

However, several cases have been detected around the world since a patient in the United Kingdom tested positive on May 7 following travel to Nigeria.

The World Health Organization confirmed Friday there are approximately 130 confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases in nations where the disease is not endemic.

Of those cases, about 80 were confirmed -- including one case in an adult male in Massachusetts -- and 50 suspected.

The agency said it is working with those countries to provide guidance, and more cases are likely to be reported.

Humans can contract monkeypox from infected animals, such as through a bite or scratch, but it can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal's skin, blood or feces, or indirect contact through contaminated surfaces. Humans can also be infected when hunting wild animals or preparing bush meat for consumption.

The disease can also spread from person-to-person via large respiratory droplets in the air, through skin lesions, bodily fluids, or contact with contaminated material.

The WHO said tips for preventing infection include isolating if you have symptoms, avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms, wearing a mask if you come into contact with an infected individual, and thoroughly cleaning hands and surfaces.

Monkeypox is not commonly reported among Americans and detected cases have been among people who traveled to countries where the virus is endemic.

In 2003, 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported among six U.S. states, the first human cases reported outside of Africa

All the infections occurred after coming into contact with pet prairie dogs, which became infected "after being housed near imported small mammals from Ghana," the CDC stated.

In July 2021, a case was confirmed in a Texas resident who had recently returned from Nigeria and in November 2021, another case was found in a Maryland resident who had also traveled to Nigeria.

ABC News' Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

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Sixth child dies in connection to mysterious hepatitis cases with unknown cause

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(NEW YORK) -- Another child in the U.S. has died in connection with the mysterious cases of severe hepatitis that have been occurring among children around the country and the globe, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Friday.

Investigators learned of the additional death on Thursday, Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases for the CDC, told reporters during a phone briefing.

Officials had previously reported that the deaths of five other children were under investigation in connection to the disease.

"Unfortunately, the illness in many of these patients is severe ... and the extent of the injury to the liver can be quite extensive. And so, this is clearly a severe disease that we're taking very carefully for that reason, and the proportion of these, despite treatment, do unfortunately die," said Dr. Umesh Parashar, chief of the viral gastroenteritis branch at the CDC's Division of Viral Diseases.

As reported earlier this week, the CDC is now investigating at least 180 cases of severe hepatitis with unknown cause among children across 36 states and territories -- an increase from the 109 cases that were reported earlier this month. Fifteen of the 180 children who are connected to the investigation in the U.S. have required a transplant, officials said Friday. At this time, there is no epidemiological link between the cases.

The "vast majority" of these cases are retrospective, as far back as October 2021, officials said, while only 7% of cases have been over the past two weeks.

"I know we're all eager for information, especially regarding what's causing these illnesses in young children. We continue to work with clinicians and our state and local public health partners to gather more detailed data, but I want to caution that it does take time to assess the evidence," Butler explained.

"This is an evolving situation and an ongoing investigation, but it's important to note that severe hepatitis and children remain rare," Butler said.

Investigators continue to work to identify whether the outbreak represents a true increase in the number of severe hepatitis cases in children, or whether an existing pattern has now been uncovered, thanks to improvement in detection of these cases.

"While rare, children do sometimes get serious hepatitis, and it's not uncommon ... for the cause to be unknown," Butler added.

There is no evidence to suggest, so far, he said, that the word "spike" is appropriate to describe the current emergence of cases.

"The question of whether or not this is something that has been ongoing for even longer, and we're just recognizing that now I think is a very reasonable one. So, I think ultimately, really all we can say for sure at this point in time is we're not seeing a dramatic increase in the number of cases," Butler said

The "leading hypothesis" remains adenovirus, with evidence "accumulating" that it may have a role, though that exact role continues to be investigated. Also, under consideration is whether a prior infection of COVID-19 is playing a role, as well as the impact of mitigation measures, as many children have not been exposed to viruses in recent years due to quarantines, and thus, there may be a "catch-up" factor, Butler added.

There are numerous other lines of investigation into whether there could be a further connection with COVID-19, or other co-factors, officials reported.

Butler reiterated that any connection to COVID-19 vaccines seems "really unlikely to be playing a direct role," particularly given that most of these children are too young to receive the vaccine.

The CDC continues to encourage parents to be on the lookout for the symptoms of hepatitis, such as vomiting, dark urine, light colored stool and yellowing of the skin, and to contact their child's pediatrician if they are at all concerned.

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Officials expected to decide on new COVID-19 vaccine design in early July

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(NEW YORK) -- Federal regulators are expected to decide on a new COVID-19 vaccine design in early July, which would allow vaccine companies to begin production for rollout this fall and winter, a top official told ABC News.

Food and Drug Administration vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said the decision would likely come from the FDA shortly after its advisory committee meets on June 28 to review data from the vaccine companies about the versions of next-generation vaccines they're testing.

The FDA will then make a decision on which type of vaccine the companies should go ahead with, an estimation they'll base on what could offer the best protection even in the face of new variants this fall and winter, similar to how the flu vaccine is concocted ahead of flu season.

"We'll have to make some decision by early July to make sure that the manufacturers know what we're looking to do, so that they know what they have to start producing in large quantities," Marks, who serves as director of the department that oversees vaccines within the FDA, told ABC News in an interview.

Under consideration is how to give people "the longest duration of a high level of protection" with their vaccines, not just because it's unrealistic to keep boosting every few months, but also because experts predict another surge in the colder months.

Second boosters for wider age-range?

Already at play, however, is the current surge. Cases are rising and nearly a third of the country is currently at medium- or high-risk community COVID levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's why, in the meantime, the FDA is also internally discussing whether to open up second boosters to a wider age-range to mitigate rising cases, Marks said. They're currently only available for people over 50, or people over 12 who are immunocompromised.

The FDA would have to come to a decision in the next few weeks to intervene effectively, as cases are already on the rise, Marks said.

"I can tell you that that discussion is already happening internally -- it's just that I can't tell you what the outcome will be at this point," he said.

"We would not be doing our job as public health professionals if we weren't thinking about it, and thinking about the benefits and risks," he added.

For example, hospitalization rates for people under 50 who have received their first booster are still relatively low, Marks said, indicating boosters might not be necessary for younger people. But the FDA is also looking into the risks from even mild infections, like long COVID, and whether booster shots would mitigate that.

Opening up second boosters to more people would just be a stop gap measure, though. The vaccines for the fall are intended to offer a more lengthy, durable protection.

"We'd be looking at things like at least 10% higher in terms of immune response, if not more, against the currently circulating virus," Marks said, laying out the criteria the FDA is looking for in the future vaccines.

The vaccines would have to be superior, at least against the current variants like omicron and its subvariants, to make it worthwhile to switch over from the vaccines in use now.

Who would get a new vaccine?

Though it could change when the advisory committees meet, Marks said he expects the next-generation boosters to be available for all age groups.

As far as timing, all ages should become eligible around the same time, Marks said, unlike the lengthy waiting periods of months between older and younger age groups with the current vaccines.

And the FDA also hopes to get both vaccine companies, Pfizer and Moderna, to produce vaccines that target the same strains.

"People are very confused about everything, to have different compositions for different vaccines will get things even more confusing," Marks said.

Booster fatigue a factor

Just 43% of those 65 and older have gotten a vaccine dose in the last six months, be it a first or second booster, according to the CDC, even though nearly 90% of people in that age group got their initial vaccination series.

"From a public health standpoint, what we've seen is if it only lasts three or four months, it may be that there's a recommendation that you get another one, but the vast majority of people are not going to keep coming in and getting more boosters," said Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

"With each one, we lose some more people," Wachter said.

Come fall, that fatigue could be exacerbated by calls for yet another booster.

If the vaccine is more effective, though, that could help to convince people it's worth another round.

Experts are wary that the vaccine this fall will last a full year, but expect it will at least be more effective in its protection because it will be updated with more of the recent variants, whereas the current vaccine is based on the first strain of COVID from 2019.

Dr. Paul Goepfert, director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, is overseeing research on the new vaccines as part of the National Institute of Health study. They're looking into vaccines that target just one new variant, like omicron, and vaccines that target a handful of the variants from the past two years, like omicron and delta, both in one shot.

"By the end of all that, for the fall, we're going to know which of these vaccine combinations gives us the highest antibody response towards the most new and improved variants," Goepfert said.

He expects the new vaccine will better protect against severe disease, but cautions that stopping all infections is a lofty goal.

"I am hopeful that maybe we could have a yearly vaccine rather than this every few months go back to get the vaccine boost," Goepfert said, but that's probably "one or two more tries" away.

Resources in question

Of course, the overarching issue of resources still remains. Who will pay for these new vaccines, or the ones after them?

Congress has yet to strike a deal with the White House for more COVID funding, even as other countries move ahead with negotiations with the vaccine companies.

White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha warned on Wednesday that if Congress doesn't agree to billions in new COVID funding, not every American who wants a vaccine this fall will be able to get one.

Should the FDA decide that not everyone needs a vaccine -- that only people over 50, or over 65, need another booster shot -- that wouldn't be an issue. But Marks said he's hopeful that if "the right thing to do medically" is to recommend them to everyone, of all ages, the country will be able to purchase those doses.

"I'm not worried about who's paying for what. I'm worried about making sure that our recommendations that come out of FDA are the right thing by the people of this country in terms of their health," Marks said.

"So we will make a recommendation that, based on all of the available evidence, comports with what we see would do the best by public health in the coming year," he added.

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First monkeypox case in US this year reported in Massachusetts

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(NEW YORK) -- A Massachusetts resident has tested positive for monkeypox, health officials confirmed Wednesday, making it the first case of the rare virus detected in the United States this year.

According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient is an adult male who recently traveled to Canada. The department completed initial testing Tuesday and was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition," MDPH stated in a press release. "DPH is working closely with the CDC, relevant local boards of health, and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while he was infectious."

The New York City Department of Health announced Thursday that it was investigating a possible case of monkeypox. The patient is being cared for at Bellevue Hospital and all appropriate isolation measures are being followed, according to the department. The patient's tests will be sent to the CDC for confirmatory testing, the department said.

It comes after four more cases of monkeypox were identified in the U.K recently, bringing its nationwide total to nine since the beginning of May.

The resident was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on May 12 and "during the course of their admission they were identified as a possible monkeypox suspect," Dr. Erica Shenoy, associate chief of the hospital's infection control unit, told reporters during a briefing Wednesday.

Hearing about cases of monkeypox in the U.K. encouraged doctors to "think more broadly about the patient's diagnosis," Shenoy said.

Hospital officials said they are unaware of any cases in Canada at this time and do not know where the resident may have contracted the disease.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The first case among humans was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, and the illness has since spread to several other nations, mostly in central and western Africa.

It can transmit from animals to humans when an infected animal -- such as a rodent or a primate -- bites or scratches a person. The CDC said humans can also be infected when hunting wild animals or preparing bush meat for consumption.

The disease can also spread from person to person via large respiratory droplets in the air, but they cannot travel more than a few feet, so two people would need to have prolonged close contact.

The most common symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

Very few cases of monkeypox have been identified among Americans.

According to the CDC, the disease does not naturally occur in the U.S. Infections are usually identified among people who recently traveled to countries where monkeypox is more commonly found.

In 2003, 47 confirmed and probable cases were reported in six U.S. states, the first human cases reported outside of Africa.

All the infections occurred after coming into contact with pet prairie dogs, which in turn became infected "after being housed near imported small mammals from Ghana," the CDC stated.

Since then, just two other cases have been detected in the U.S., both associated with travel.

In July 2021, a case was confirmed in a Texas resident who had recently returned from Nigeria and in November 2021, another case was found in a Maryland resident who had also traveled to Nigeria.

ABC News' William Gretsky contributed to this report.

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Monkeypox cases detected in US, Europe, but experts caution against comparing it to COVID-19

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(NEW YORK) -- Countries in Europe and North America are continuing to report more cases of monkeypox, but experts say the disease so far does not pose a serious risk to the public.

At least 17 infections of the rare disease have been confirmed in non-endemic areas such as the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden and Italy, and dozens of possible cases are under investigation in those nations as well as in Canada and Spain.

Most cases occur when people encounter infected animals in countries where the virus is endemic -- typically central and western Africa as occurred with the outbreak's first case, reported in England on May 7 among a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria.

However, none of the remaining eight cases in the U.K had travel history and did not have contact with the patient who had visited Nigeria, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency, suggesting there is some level of community transmission.

Similarly, the first infection recorded in the U.S. was in an adult male from Massachusetts who had recently traveled to Canada, and now at least 17 cases are being investigated by Canadian authorities.

Health experts stress the risk to the public remains low and most people don't need to be immediately fearful of contracting the illness.

"​​It is a virus in a very different class from COVID-19," Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, told ABC News. "It predominantly lives in animal reservoirs so it sort of by accident gets to humans and it may cause sporadic illness or relatively small outbreaks."

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which was first identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1958 in monkeys being kept for research.

The first human case was detected in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"It's important to note this is not a new virus," said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital and an ABC News contributor. "This has been around for a long while. It's mostly endemic in parts of western Africa but you will occasionally see it in other parts of the world."

People are typically infected by animals through a bite or a scratch or through preparation and consumption of contaminated bush meat.

The disease can also spread from person-to-person via large respiratory droplets in the air, but they cannot travel more than a few feet so two people would need to have prolonged close contact.

"It transmits through large droplets, which don't travel very far, or through contact with lesions themselves or touching someone with bed linens or clothes or recent contact with lesions," Doron said. "It's not something you get without very close intimate contact, which is why it doesn't tend to cause outbreaks."

She added this transmission route is different from that of COVID-19, which is spread through small aerosols that can hang in the air for several minutes.

"Aerosols are not subject to gravity but large droplets, they get pulled to the ground," Doron said. "Also, monkeypox isn't an illness that is transmitted during the asymptomatic phase, which is what made COVID such a formidable foe."

Monkeypox generally is a mild illness with the most common symptoms being fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

Patients can develop a rash and lesions that often begin on the face before spreading to the rest of the body.

"It starts out as spots, then small blisters like you'll see with chickenpox, then pus-filled blisters and then they scab over," Doron explained. "It's a long illness. It lasts a few weeks, but you can be contagious for several weeks and contagious until the blisters scab over."

ABC News confirmed Thursday the CDC is monitoring six Americans who were on the same flight as the British patient who tested positive after traveling to Nigeria.

"They will be followed by health officials for 21 days following their last possible contact with the ill traveler," the CDC said in a statement. "None of the six have any symptoms of monkeypox and the risk for them is very low."

Health officials said it is likely that more cases will emerge either in the U.S. or in other countries, but that Americans should not be concerned.

"We will find more cases," Brownstein said. "There is now heightened public awareness and clearly there will be more clinicians that will be able to recognize the symptoms."

He continued, "But for now, there's nothing to suggest this will have anywhere near the same global impact as COVID-19. The risk to the general public is low."

ABC News' Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

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