Washington Post – Dr. Wen
Booster Vaccine Questions (June 29, 2023)
CDC simplified COVID-19 recommendations allow older adults and immunocompromised adults to get second dose of the updated vaccine (CDC, April 19, 2023)
A personal essay from Washington Post’s Lena Sun. about grief and finding joy again, having lost her mother during the pandemic’s early months and recently losing her sister to cancer. (Washington Post Coronavirus Updates, March 13, 2023)
Catching COVID may increase chances of developing an autoimmune disease. A large study, published as a preprint on the server medRxiv in late January, specifically pinpoints the likelihood of autoimmune disease risks linked to COVID-19. (February 24, 2023)
Long COVID is still a mystery. What to know and where to get treatment in Charlotte Research into the condition continues to find more, but some questions still remain. (Charlotte Observer, January 23, 2023)
There are 4 ‘major’ types of long COVID symptoms, study finds. How likely is each? (Charlotte Observer, January 11, 2023).
Study Identifies Four Major Subtypes of Long COVID (Weill Cornell Medicine, December 21, 2022). From the article:
About RECOVER – The National Institutes of Health Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (NIH RECOVER) Initiative is a $1.15 billion effort, including support through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, that seeks to identify how people recuperate from a COVID-19 infection, and who is at risk for developing post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC). Researchers are also working with patients, clinicians, and communities across the United States to identify strategies to prevent and treat the long-term effects of COVID – including Long COVID. For more information, please visit recovercovid.org.
Free telehealth appointments now available through NC program for those with COVID-19 (The News&Observer, December 15, 2022)
A new set of Omicron subvariants, BQ.1 and BQ 1.1, are poised to become the dominant strains in North Carolina in the next few weeks. The BQ subvariants are better at evading natural immunity from prior COVID infections and vaccine-generated immunity than were previous variants. That means those who have had COVID-19 before — even recently— could be vulnerable to reinfections. (Charlotte Observer, November 15, 2022)
Public schools that continued to require students to wear masks reported fewer coronavirus infections. The study was based on schools in the Boston area and found ending mask requirements was associated with an additional 45 coronavirus cases per 1,000 students and staff members. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, adds to well-documented evidence supporting mask-wearing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (Washington Post, November 10, 2022)
Reinfections with the coronavirus can still prove dangerous in unvaccinated, vaccinated and boosted people. A growing body of research shows an increased risk of covid-related complications with every reinfection. Health experts worry that repeat infections can worsen long covid symptoms. (Washington Post, November 10, 2022)
Scientists are researching ways to stop the evolution of the coronavirus in its tracks by blocking the human proteins it hijacks and uses against us. If the strategy works, it has the potential to address several shortcomings of current treatments and vaccines, including their inability to prevent infections and maintain effectiveness in the face of a changing virus. Shutting off its access to a crucial protein would be like depriving a predator of food or oxygen. Some scientists are apprehensive about the protein-blocking treatment options, citing potential risks. (Washington Post, October 31, 2022)
Monitoring Variants. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and sometimes these mutations result in new variants of the virus. CDC is closely tracking a wide range of Omicron sublineages drawing recent attention. BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are offshoots—grandchildren, if you will—of the BA.5 that’s been dominant for months. CDC data show that they seem to be spreading relatively quickly so far, but they’re still a small proportion of overall variants. As the virus spreads, it has new opportunities to change in ways that can make emerging variants more difficult to stop because the effectiveness of vaccinations or treatments may be reduced. (CDC Data Tracker Weekly Review, October 21, 2022)
This fall and winter could bring a multitude of new immune-evading subvariants. Instead of a single ominous variant lurking on the horizon, experts are nervously eyeing a swarm of viruses — and a new evolutionary phase in the pandemic. We have some level of immunity provided by previous infections and coronavirus vaccinations, but that protection is imperfect because of waning immunity and the evolution of the virus. While scientists demur when asked about which subvariant might dominate in coming months, one thing is clear: The potential new variants threaten to wipe out monoclonal antibody treatments, which are especially vital for people whose immune systems are compromised. (Washington Post, October 18, 2022)
This coming winter might spark an onslaught of unnecessary coronavirus-related deaths. My colleagues Dan Diamond, Mary Beth Gahan and Mark Johnson report that only 4 percent of eligible people have received the new coronavirus booster shot, leaving many susceptible to a virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans. (Washington Post, October 7, 2022)
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the National Center for Health Statistics, released data on long covid. The Household Pulse Survey data finds that more than 80 percent of people with long covid experience limitations in day-to-day activities. (Washington Post / CDC, October 7, 2022)
Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters. Includes a tool to find out when to get a booster (CDC, Updated September 8, 2022)
Coronavirus Updates. Boosters reformulated to target the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants have been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and signed off on by the CDC. The vaccines have been criticized by some experts because of the lack of human data.
Wall Street firms will lift all covid-19 protocols for their employees starting next week.
Question answered: How should new parents handle friends and family visiting a baby? Should they continue to ask them to mask and require vaccines? (Washington Post, September 2, 2022)
Who benefits from taking COVID antivirals? What a study on Paxlovid found. In a new study, Paxlovid showed no benefit for adults below 65 years of age, when it came to preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization in death, according to the findings published Aug. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Charlotte Observer, August 26, 2022)
While much of the world seems to have put the pandemic in the past, covid long-haulers still suffer from the coronavirus’s mental, physical and emotional toll. Three years in, there is still no standard test or treatment for post-covid conditions. Millions suffer from unexplained symptoms that many fear will far outlast the pandemic (Washington Post, August 26, 2022)
How long covid reshapes the brain — and how we might treat it (Washington Post, August 25, 2022)
The version of the coronavirus you first encountered may affect how you respond to later variants of the virus — and maybe how well future vaccines work. My colleague Carolyn Y. Johnson explains why,when it comes to viral infections, past is prologue. (Washington Post, August 23, 2022)
Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, said people who are not up-to-date on their vaccines and boosters are “going to get into trouble” as the latest omicron subvariant sweeps across the United States. (Washington Post, August 5, 2022)
Coronavirus: New Variants. Transcript of interview with Rochelle Walensky, head of CDC (Washington Post, July 22, 2022)
Improving Ventilation in your Home. Ventilate your home by getting fresh air into your home, filtering the air that is there, and improving air flow. Improving ventilation can help you reduce virus particles in your home and keep COVID-19 from spreading. You may or may not know if someone in your home or if a visitor to your home has COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses. Good ventilation, along with other preventive actions, can help prevent you and others from getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. (CDC, Updated June 29, 2022)
The BA.5 story. The Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen. It takes immune escape, already extensive, to the next level, and, as a function of that, enhanced transmissibility, well beyond Omicron (BA.1) and other Omicron family variants that we’ve seen. You could say it’s not so bad because there hasn’t been a marked rise in hospitalizations and deaths as we saw with Omicron, but that’s only because we had such a striking adverse impact from Omicron, for which there is at least some cross-immunity. The article reviews: (1) what we know about its biology; (2) its current status around the world; and (3) the ways we can defend against it. (Eric Topol, June 27, 2022)
Covid deaths no longer overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated as toll on elderly grows. Experts say numbers show importance of boosters — and the risks the most vulnerable still face. (Washington Post, April 29, 2022)