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Has Italy Been Vaccinating the Wrong People? Its Daily Coronavirus Death Tolls Suggest So.

4 days 14 hours

(Washington Post) – Looking at the day-by-day chart tracking Italy’s relentless coronavirus death toll, it would be impossible to tell that the country has been armed since late December with vaccines. At a point when the pandemic has become a race between those vaccines and a more lethal variant, most Western European nations have managed to push down their death rate through a combination of lockdowns and vaccinations. Italy’s death rate, though, is much the same as it was 3 1/2 months ago, despite receiving the same proportion of doses as other European Union members. On Wednesday, the country reported another 627 victims of the virus, the highest daily figure since early January.

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Japanese Doctors Perform World’s First Living Donor Lung Transplant to a Covid-19 Patient

4 days 14 hours

(CNN) – A Japanese woman whose lungs were severely damaged by Covid-19 has received what doctors say is the world’s first lung transplant from living donors to a recovered coronavirus patient. Kyoto University Hospital said the woman underwent an 11-hour operation by a 30-strong medical team on Wednesday to transplant lung tissue from her husband and son.Covid-19 is known to cause severe lung damage in some patients, and people around the world — including the United States — have received lung transplants as part of their recovery from the disease.

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They Tested Negative for Covid. Still, They Have Long Covid Symptoms.

4 days 14 hours

(Kaiser Health News) – Experts don’t yet know what causes long covid or why some people have persistent symptoms while others recover in weeks or even days. They also don’t know just how long the condition — referred to formally by scientists as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, or PASC — lasts. But the people who didn’t test positive for covid — due either to a lack of access to testing or a false-negative result — face difficulty getting treatment and disability benefits. Their cases are not always included in studies of long covid despite their lingering symptoms. And, sometimes as aggravating, many find that family, friends or even doctors have doubts they contracted covid at all.

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Got Your Covid Shots? You Might Have to Prove It.

4 days 14 hours

(MIT Technology Review) – As covid vaccines roll out in a handful of countries, the next question has become: How do people prove they’ve been inoculated? For months, this conversation—and the ethical questions any “vaccine passport” system would raise—has been theoretical, but over the last few weeks, efforts have become more concrete. Australian airline Qantas started running a trial in March, while New York launched the first state-level system in the US last week. And on April 5, the UK said it would conduct a pilot as part of its gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. The moves have prompted various reactions: some states in the US have endorsed the concept; others have banned it. 

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As the U.S. Vaccinates Millions for Covid-19, Most Canadians Are Still Waiting

4 days 14 hours

(Wall Street Journal) – The U.S. economy is opening up and Covid-19 vaccines are increasingly available. But its neighbor to the north has had one of the slowest vaccine rollouts among developed economies, and is now imposing new lockdowns to stem a surge in infections. Canada’s lockdowns come as new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus have taken hold in the country. The rapid spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., and P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil, has forced authorities in Canada’s biggest provinces to impose new stay-at-home orders and in some cases, shut down schools.

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UK Regulators to Offer Under-30s Alternative to AZ COVID Vaccine

4 days 14 hours

(Medscape) – Adults under 30 years of age will be offered an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine as a preference and where this is available, according to Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, speaking at today’s update by the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The agency notes that the balance of benefits over risk favored use of the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine overall, but concludes a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and extremely rare, unlikely-to-occur blood clots.

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Study: Around 40,000 US Children Lost a Parent to COVID-19

5 days 9 hours

(The Hill) – According to a study published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics journal on Monday, an estimated 37,300 to 43,000 U.S. children experienced the loss of at least one parent due to COVID-19 in the past year. A closer look at the data found that the burden, which authors of the study acknowledge will likely “grow heavier” amid the ongoing pandemic, has landed disproportionately on Black children.

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12 Months of Trauma: More Than 3,600 US Health Workers Died in Covid’s First Year

5 days 9 hours

(Kaiser Health News) – More than 3,600 U.S. health care workers perished in the first year of the pandemic, according to “Lost on the Frontline,” a 12-month investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track such deaths. Lost on the Frontline is the most complete accounting of U.S. health care worker deaths. The federal government has not comprehensively tracked this data. But calls are mounting for the Biden administration to undertake a count as the KHN/Guardian project comes to a close today.

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Countries Worldwide Hit New Records for Virus Cases, Deaths

5 days 10 hours

(Associated Press) – Nations around the world set new records Thursday for COVID-19 deaths and new coronavirus infections, and the disease surged even in some countries that have kept the virus in check. In the United States, Michigan has averaged more than 7,000 new cases a day. Brazil this week became just the third country, after the U.S. and Peru, to report a 24-hour tally of COVID-19 deaths that exceeded 4,000. India hit a peak of almost 127,000 new cases in 24 hours, and Iran set a new coronavirus infection record for the third straight day, reporting nearly 22,600 new cases.

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Russia Wants Slovakia to Return Its Sputnik V Vaccines

5 days 10 hours

(ABC News) – Russia asked Slovakia on Thursday to return its Sputnik V vaccines it has received “due to multiple contract violations.” The official Twitter account of the Sputnik V vaccine said Slovakia’s drug regulator “in violation of existing contract and in an act of sabotage” tested Sputnik V “in a laboratory which is not part of the EU’s Official Medicines Control Laboratory network.” It tweeted Slovakia’s State Institute for Drug Control “has launched a disinformation campaign against Sputnik V and plans additional provocations.”

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U.K. Limits AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine to Over-30s Amid Blood-Clot Concerns

5 days 10 hours

(Wall Street Journal) – The U.K.’s vaccines advisory body said the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca PLC should preferably not be given to people under 30 following concerns that it causes potentially deadly blood clots in very rare instances. The decision Wednesday to restrict the vaccine for younger people is a setback for the U.K.’s flagship inoculation drive and leaves the country increasingly dependent on Covid-19 shots developed and produced in other countries.

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‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’: COVID-19 Brain Health Fallout Is Real, Severe

5 days 10 hours

(Medscape) – COVID-19 survivors face a sharply elevated risk of developing psychiatric or neurologic disorders in the six months after they contract the virus — a danger that mounts with symptom severity, new research shows. In what is purported to be the largest study of its kind to-date, results showed that among 236,379 COVID-19 patients, one third were diagnosed with at least one of 14 psychiatric or neurologic disorders within a 6-month span. The rate of illnesses, which ranged from depression to stroke, rose sharply among those with COVID-19 symptoms acute enough to require hospitalization.

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EU Drug Regulator: Unusual Blood Clot Is ‘Very Rare AstraZeneca Side Effect’

6 days 7 hours

(BBC) – The EU’s medicines regulator says unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19. After a study looking at 86 European cases, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risk. The report reflected data on 25 million Europeans administered with the jab. The EMA could not list specific risk factors such as age or gender, but most blood clot cases were women under 60.

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UK Variant of COVID-19 Is Now Most Common Strain in United States: CDC

6 days 7 hours

(Reuters) – The highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom has become the most common strain of the virus in the United States as cases continue to climb, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday. The strain, known as B.1.1.7, was identified in Britain last fall and has since been detected in 52 jurisdictions in the United States, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a White House briefing.

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Masks Off, Mahi Mahi On. Restaurant Workers Are in a Race for Vaccines

6 days 7 hours

(New York Times) – The return to economic vitality in the United States is led by places to eat and drink, which also suffered among the highest losses in the last year. Balancing the financial benefits of a return to regular hours with worker safety, particularly in states where theoretical vaccine access outstrips actual supply, is the industry’s latest hurdle.

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1 in 3 Covid-19 Patients Are Diagnosed with a Neuropsychiatric Condition in the Next Six Months, Large Study Finds

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(STAT News) – Six months after being diagnosed with Covid-19, 1 in 3 patients also had experienced a psychiatric or neurological illness, mostly mood disorders but also strokes or dementia, a large new study shows. About 1 in 8 of the patients (12.8%) were diagnosed for the first time with such an illness, most commonly anxiety or depression. Compared to control groups of people who had the flu or other non-Covid respiratory infections, first-ever neuropsychiatric diagnoses were almost twice as high.

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Post-COVID Wave Ahead of Death, Disability from Chronic Disease

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(Medscape) – As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States will likely face a tsunami of death and disability from common chronic diseases that will affect society for decades, Robert Califf, MD, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), writes in an article published today in Circulation. Califf says the impending tsunami of chronic health conditions — with cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes at the crest — demands swift and comprehensive action.

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Vaccinating Adults Appears to Protect Children as Well

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(Medscape) – New data from Israel, where health officials moved quickly to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE, suggests that the vaccination of adults also protects unvaccinated people living around them.

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Russia’s COVID-19 Defense May Depend on Mystery Vaccine from Former Bioweapons Lab–But Does It Work?

1 week 7 hours

(Science) – But only in late March did VECTOR publish any clinical data on EpiVacCorona, which consists mainly of multiple protein bits, or peptides, from the pandemic coronavirus. The paper, in an obscure Russian journal, described safety tests in 14 people, and a phase 2, placebo-controlled trial in 86 people. The authors reported no safety issues and said volunteers who received vaccine produced antibodies that block SARS-CoV-2’s infectivity. But VECTOR has not reported evidence that the vaccine actually protects people from COVID-19.

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One-Third of Kids with Severe COVID-19 Complication Develop Heart Issues

1 week 7 hours

(UPI) – Nearly one in three children and teens who develop a severe COVID-19 complication called MIS-C suffer heart dysfunction or symptoms similar to heart failure, a study published Monday by JAMA Pediatrics found. MIS-C, or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare complication of coronavirus infection, causes symptoms similar to those of heart failure in 31% of patients, while 51% see dangerous drops in blood pressure levels, the data showed.

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Covid: US Rules Out Vaccine Passports

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(BBC) – The White House has flatly ruled out national Covid-19 vaccination passports for Americans, saying citizens’ privacy and rights should be protected. Schemes to introduce such passports have been touted around the world as a way to enable safe circulation of people while fighting the pandemic.  The US said it did not and would not support a “system that requires Americans to carry a credential”.America has lost more than half a million lives to the virus.

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AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine: Weighing Up the Risks and Rewards

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(The Guardian) – Vaccines have side-effects, as do all medicines. Most often, jabs cause sore arms, a headache or a bit of nausea – none of which would be very significant when weighed against the toll of a serious virus such as Covid-19. But sometimes the risk-benefit calculation may look less simple, as in the case of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covid jab and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), the blood clots in the brain that have led to fatalities in the UK and Europe.

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Covid-19’s Ground Zero Shifts to India

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(Wall Street Journal) – Ground zero of the world’s Covid-19 outbreak shifted to India Monday as it recorded more than 100,000 fresh cases for the first time, topping the daily totals everywhere else in the world. The South Asian nation is locking down neighborhoods and restricting travel again even as it tries to ratchet up its vaccination drive to save lives and salvage its nascent economic recovery.

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UN Warns Over 27 Million Congolese Suffer from Acute Hunger

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(Associated Press) – Two U.N. agencies warned Tuesday that over 27 million people in Congo are suffering from acute hunger, a record high representing almost one-third of the conflict-wracked African nation’s estimated population of 87 million. The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said those facing acute hunger include nearly 7 million people at the emergency level on the standardized IPC scale which analyzes the nature of a food security crisis.

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Official: EU Agency to Confirm AstraZeneca Blood Clot Link

1 week 7 hours

(Associated Press) – A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based agency, told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday that the European Union’s medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement on the topic this week. 

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