Today’s Headlines: US Life Expectancy Upset, Influenza Surging, and Hurricane Sandy Hospital Damage

Americans Less Healthy, Die Earlier Than Those in Peer Nations: The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council report that higher rates of death in those under 50 hold back our overall life expectancy compared to that of 16 other developed countries, like Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Germany and Spain. American men, especially, ranked last in life expectancy. Younger Americans tend to have higher rates of death from guns, car accidents and drug addiction. Americans also have the second highest rates of lung disease, heart disease, and the highest diabetes rates compared to those countries. (New York Times)

Influenza Outbreak in Full Swing, Causing Public Health Emergency: The season’s quick and strong outbreak of influenza in the US has been all over the news this week. Hospitals are overwhelmed with flu patients and are looking for new ways to handle the surge of flu complications. The Boston Public Health Commission declared a public health emergency yesterday after four flu-related deaths were reported in that area, along with at least 700 confirmed cases — the most since 2009. Massachusetts is only one of 29 states that have reported high levels of “influenza-like illness” to the CDC so far. The CDC estimates that 24,000 Americans die from the flu every year. The city of Boston is working to provide free flu vaccines. (Washington Times)

Hurricane Sandy Caused Over $800 Million in Damage to NYC Hospitals: After the worst storm in decades, the numbers are in. Hurricane Sandy has caused $810 million in damage to New York City hospitals alone. The numbers don’t include hospitals affected in nearby New Jersey or Connecticut. Reconstruction and projects to make hospitals more hurricane-proof in the future will take priority. These projects include relocating mechanical gas systems out of hospital basements and moving the emergency rooms of some hospitals to the first floor, where it is less susceptible to flooding. President Obama signed a bill that provides $9.7 billion in Hurricane Sandy relief. (The Hill)