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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.


The White House said it is offering a second round of free coronavirus tests to all Americans.


07 Mar 2022

The White House on Monday said that it would begin offering a second round of four free at-home coronavirus tests to all American households, delivering on a pledge President Biden made last week in his State of the Union address, when he framed the offer as part of a broader effort to stay ahead of possible outbreaks and new variants.


Covid May Cause Changes in the Brain, New Study Finds


07 Mar 2022

Brain scans before and after infection showed more loss of gray matter and tissue damage, mostly in areas related to smell, in people who had Covid than in those who did not.




Articles


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.




Surveillance for Adverse Events After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination


03 Sep 2021

Question Are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines associated with increased risk for serious health outcomes during days 1 to 21 after vaccination? Findings In this interim analysis of surveillance data from 6.2 million persons who received 11.8 million doses of an mRNA vaccine, event rates for 23 serious health outcomes were not significantly higher for individuals 1 to 21 days after vaccination compared with similar individuals at 22 to 42 days after vaccination.




Variants of SARS-CoV-2


13 Aug 2021

When a virus develops a new mutation, it is called a variant of the original virus. As viruses spread, they constantly change through mutations to their genetic code. Most mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome do not affect the functioning of the virus. However, mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which binds to receptors on cells lining the inside of the human nose, may make the virus easier to spread or affect how well vaccines protect people. Other mutations may lead to SARS-CoV-2 being less responsive to treatments for COVID-19.




Randomized Trial of a Third Dose of mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Transplant Recipients


11 Aug 2021

In organ-transplant recipients, the standard two-dose vaccination strategy for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has suboptimal immunogenicity.1 Both patients and health care providers have questioned whether a third-dose booster in transplant recipients would be safe and enhance immune response.2 We performed a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of a third dose of mRNA-1273 vaccine (Moderna) as compared with placebo (the protocol is available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04885907. opens in new tab).




Long-term Symptoms After SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children and Adolescents


15 Jul 2021

Children can experience SARS-CoV-2 postviral syndromes, but it is unclear to what extent these individuals are affected by long COVID. Evidence is predominantly limited to select populations without control groups,1-4 which does not allow estimating the overall prevalence and burden in a general pediatric population. We compared symptoms compatible with long COVID in children and adolescents (hereafter “children”) reported within 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 serologic testing.




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