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The E.U. will no longer recommend that masks be required for air travel.


11 May 2022

The European Union will no longer recommend that member states require face masks on planes and in airports, two E.U. agencies announced on Wednesday, ending a guideline that had been in place for nearly two years as countries across the bloc lift Covid restrictions.


Intranasal proteins could protect against COVID-19 variants


10 May 2022

New SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to evolve and prolong the COVID-19 pandemic. The surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is covered with spike proteins. These latch onto ACE2 receptors on human cells, allowing the virus to enter and infect the cells. Mutations in spike allow the virus to evade the immune system as well as therapies designed to target it.


Death Toll During Pandemic Far Exceeds Totals Reported by Countries, W.H.O. Says


06 May 2022

Nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the pandemic than would have been expected during normal times, the organization found. The previous count of virus deaths, from countries’ reporting, was six million.


A New Covid Mystery Why haven’t cases started rising again in the U.S.?


06 Apr 2022

To many people’s surprise — including mine — new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have not begun to rise. Over the past two weeks, they have held roughly steady, falling about 1 percent, even as the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant of Omicron has become the dominant form of Covid in the U.S. Across much of Europe, by contrast, cases surged last month after BA.2 began spreading there, and many experts expected a similar pattern here. That hasn’t happened. “It has not taken off,” Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist, told me.


COVID-19 takes serious toll on heart health—a full year after recovery


25 Mar 2022

From very early in the pandemic, it was clear that SARS-CoV-2 can damage the heart and blood vessels while people are acutely ill. Patients developed clots, heart inflammation, arrhythmias, and heart failure. Now, the first large study to assess cardiovascular outcomes 1 year after SARS-CoV-2 infection has demonstrated that the virus’ impact is often lasting. In an analysis of more than 11 million U.S. veterans’ health records, researchers found the risk of 20 different heart and vessel maladies was substantially increased in veterans who had COVID-19 1 year earlier, compared with those who didn’t. The risk rose with severity of initial disease and extended to every outcome the team examined, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, cardiac arrest, and more. Even people who never went to the hospital had more cardiovascular disease than those who were never infected.




Articles


Characteristics and Outcomes of Hospitalized Patients in South Africa During the COVID-19 Omicron Wave Compared With Previous Waves


30 Dec 2021

On November 24, 2021, a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529), was identified in South Africa as responsible for a fourth wave of COVID-19.1,2 The high number of spike mutations has raised concerns about its ability to evade vaccine and spread.3,4 We assessed hospitalized patients with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result during the fourth wave compared with previous waves.




Why Parents Still Hesitate to Vaccinate Their Children Against COVID-19


15 Dec 2021

As of early December, more than 2.3 million children aged 5 to 11 years had developed COVID-19 and 209 had died. Although a vaccine that’s 90.7% effective in preventing the illness was authorized for younger kids in late October, these figures apparently aren’t convincing enough to persuade many parents to vaccinate their children.




Understanding Breakthrough Infections Following mRNA SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination


04 Nov 2021

The current surge in infections with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has made it clear to health care workers and the public alike that fully vaccinated people remain at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infections. It is also apparent that breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people can sometimes be serious. As of October 21, 2021, for example, 35% of the 519 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Massachusetts had been fully vaccinated.1 Furthermore, multiple reports have documented that if fully vaccinated individuals do become infected, their viral loads may be as high as the levels seen in unvaccinated individuals.




Coverage and Estimated Effectiveness of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Among US Veterans


06 Oct 2021

Question What was the COVID-19 vaccination coverage and estimated mRNA COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) among US veterans in the first 3 months following vaccine rollout? Findings In this case-control study including 6 647 733 veterans, 23% of veterans received at least 1 COVID-19 vaccination during the first 3 months of vaccine rollout. VE against infection was estimated to be 95% for full vaccination; estimated VE against COVID-19-related hospitalization was 91%, and there were no COVID-19–related deaths among fully vaccinated veterans. Meaning These findings suggest that early vaccination rollout for veterans was efficient, and estimated VE was high for this diverse US population.




Protection of BNT162b2 Vaccine Booster against Covid-19 in Israel


15 Sep 2021

Background: On July 30, 2021, the administration of a third (booster) dose of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) was approved in Israel for persons who were 60 years of age or older and who had received a second dose of vaccine at least 5 months earlier. Data are needed regarding the effect of the booster dose on the rate of confirmed coronavirus 2019 disease (Covid-19) and the rate of severe illness. Conclusions: In this study involving participants who were 60 years of age or older and had received two doses of the BNT162b2 vaccine at least 5 months earlier, we found that the rates of confirmed Covid-19 and severe illness were substantially lower among those who received a booster (third) dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine.




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