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When ICUs Near Capacity, COVID Patients' Risk for Death Nearly Doubles


When intensive care units are swamped with COVID-19 patients, death rates may climb, a new study finds.

Looking at data from 88 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, researchers found a pattern: COVID-19 patients were nearly twice as likely to die during periods when ICUs were dealing with a surge of patients with the illness.

The results...

COVID-19 Ups Complication Risks During Childbirth


Women who have COVID-19 during childbirth are more likely to face complications than moms-to-be without the coronavirus, researchers say.

Fortunately, the absolute risk for complications for any one woman is very low (less than 1%). But the relative risks for problems -- such as clotting and early labor -- are significant, the new study found.

Still, "...

Getting the COVID Vaccine? A Good Night's Sleep Will Help

Want to get the most out of your COVID-19 vaccine? Make sure you get some good rest before you get your shot, sleep experts say.

That's because adequate sleep is an important factor in a strong immune system.

"As COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, it is of utmost importance that patients continue to prioritize their sleep to maintain optimal health," American Academy of Slee...

Should Your Child Get a COVID Test?

If you're trying to decide whether to have your child tested for COVID-19, talk with your pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests.

Children and teens with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately. This is especially important if they're going to school, playing sports or have in-person jobs, according to the academy.

Testing is also recommended before m...

3 Steps Could Nearly Eliminate COVID Infections on College Campuses: Study

A combination of mask use, social distancing and routine testing would eliminate nearly all COVID-19 infections on U.S. college campuses, a new study claims.

Using a computer model that simulated a semester of a mid-sized college (5,000 students and 1,000 faculty), researchers assessed the effectiveness and cost of 24 combinations of four common preventive strategies: social distancing; m...

What Will COVID-19 Look Like Years From Now?

The bad news? COVID-19 may be around for a long, long time. The good news? Even if it does, new research suggests it could very well end up being just another mild illness, bringing with it inconvenience and discomfort, but rarely hospitalization or death.

Why? The theory is rooted in the epidemiology patterns previously followed by four other coronaviruses. All have been in circulation f...

I've Already Had COVID-19, Do I Need the Vaccine?

Folks who've gotten through a COVID-19 infection might naturally question whether they need to get a coronavirus vaccination when their turn comes.

Experts say they really need the shot anyway, because even after having COVID they might be vulnerable to reinfection.

"We're encouraging people if they meet the other criteria to get immunized because we don't know how long either natur...

Research Reveals Why COVID Pneumonia Is More Deadly

Unlike regular pneumonia, COVID-19 pneumonia spreads like many "wildfires" throughout the lungs, researchers say.

This may explain why COVID-19 pneumonia lasts longer and causes more harm than typical pneumonia, according to the researchers at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

The research team said that their aim is to make COVID-19 more like a bad cold.

For the study, the t...

Even Mild Cases of COVID Can Leave 'Long-Haul' Illness, Study Shows

Even people with mild cases of COVID-19 may commonly feel run down and unwell months later, a new study suggests.

The study, of patients at one Irish medical center, found that 62% said they had not returned to "full health" when they had a follow-up appointment a few months after their COVID-19 diagnosis. Nearly half complained of ongoing fatigue.

Surprisingly, the severity of pati...

'Pandemic Fatigue' Setting in? Here's How to Stay Safe and Strong

The COVID-19 pandemic may feel like it's been going on forever, but it's important to keep up safety measures, a mental health expert says.

Dr. Olusinmi Bamgbose, a psychiatrist at Cedars-Sinai in Southern California -- an area that's facing an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases -- offered some tips for keeping up with pandemic safeguards and some theories about why people may be ba...

COVID Survivors' Plasma Might Prevent Worsening Illness in Older Patients: Study

Blood plasma from people recovering from COVID-19 could help prevent severe illness in older patients newly infected with the virus, a small new Argentinian study finds.

The findings give new hope to the notion that so-called "convalescent plasma" might have a role to play in treating COVID-19. Earlier studies had been disappointing, showing the treatment had little effect on people with...

Red Cross Issues Call for More Blood Plasma to Treat COVID Patients

The American Red Cross is urging COVID-19 survivors to donate blood plasma for hospital patients who need it to recover.

As an incentive to help boost the national convalescent plasma shortage, the Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League and is offering donors a chance to win two tickets to next year's Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

The Red Cross is especially aski...

Vaccine Rollout Could Have Americans Back to Normalcy by Summer, Expert Says

A return to normal life in America might happen sooner than many expect, one of the nation's leading vaccine experts told HD Live! this week.

As the new coronavirus rages across the country, President-elect Joe Biden has set a goal of one million doses of vaccine delivered every day once he takes office. If that ambitious target is realized, everyday conditions in the United States might ...

Almost 47 Million Americans Already Infected With Coronavirus by Nov. 15: Study

By Nov. 15 of last year, roughly 47 million Americans -- about 14.5% of the U.S. population -- had already been infected with the new coronavirus, a new study finds.

That's much higher than the close to 11 million known U.S. cases of infection that were recorded by that date, the researchers said, because reported cases "do not represent the full SARS-CoV-2 disease burd...

COVID-19 Immunity Might Last at Least 8 Months: Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- Folks who contract COVID-19 can expect to gain some durable immunity against future infection, according to a new study of memory cells within the immune systems of coronavirus patients.

Previous studies have raised concern that COVID-19 patients might lose their immunity quickly once they recover, because the first wave of coronavirus antibodies tends to wane a...

Precautions Even More Important With New Coronavirus Variant: Experts

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2020 -- A new and more infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus has shown up in separate cases in Colorado and California, weeks after it first emerged in the United Kingdom.

Doctors on the pandemic's front line say people shouldn't panic, but should definitely adhere even more closely to proven infection control measures, like mask wearing and social distancing.

...

Scans Reveal How COVID-19 Can Harm the Brain

Blood vessel damage and inflammation in the brains of deceased COVID-19 patients suggest the damage is not caused by the virus, but the body's immune response to it.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) consistently found signs of damage caused by thinning and leaky brain blood vessels in tissue samples from patients who died shortly after getting COVID-19.

...

Despite Setbacks, Reason for Hope Against COVID as 2020 Ends

As 2020 careens to a close, one thing is clear: With infections topping 19 million and a death toll over 333,000, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of American life.

As a new year nears, two leaders in the response to the pandemic talked over mistakes made, hard lessons learned and new reasons for hope.

No one can say the United States has performed well against C...

Preventing COVID Means Wearing Masks While Social Distancing: Study


Keep your distance. Although wearing a mask can limit transmission of droplets that spread COVID-19, it may not be enough unless people also stay at least six feet apart, new research shows.

Researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces found that at distances of less than six feet, enough droplets to potentially cause illness still made it through several masks made of co...

What You Need to Know About the New Variant of COVID-19

For Americans who are worried about the new coronavirus variant that is circulating in Britain, experts in the United States urge everyone to stay calm.

So far, the new variant only seems to spread more easily, with no evidence of higher virulence (ability to cause harm), researchers at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago explained.

"There's no reason to get scared or panic, we j...

Allergists' Group Updates Guidelines on COVID-19 Vaccines

In very rare cases, some people have had severe allergic reactions after receiving the new COVID-19 vaccines, leading the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) to issue updated guidance for Americans with allergies.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The ACAAI's COVI...

Mask Wearing Declines, Even as COVID-19 Touches More U.S. Lives: Poll

Despite more Americans saying they know someone who's been sickened or even died from COVID-19, there's been a decline in the percentage who say they always wear a mask when they leave their home.

Two-thirds (66%) of U.S. adults surveyed in a new HealthDay/Harris Poll said they "always" donned a mask when leaving their home and weren't able to socially distance, compared with 72%...

Pandemic Fuels Interest in Careers in Infectious Disease

As scientists have labored to understand COVID-19 and develop a vaccine to combat it, interest in infectious disease careers seems to be growing.

Academic leaders from the United States and Israel have noted the increased interest among medical students.

"We just went through an applications season for fellows, and we had more applicants than in recent years," said Richard D'Aquila,...

Don't Believe Vaccine Myths

There's a lot of misinformation about vaccines as the United States begins its massive COVID-19 vaccination program, so an expert wants to dispel the many myths about vaccines in general.

Vaccines are among the most heavily studied of all drugs, and the evidence shows they are safe and extremely effective, according to Dr. Patrick Gavigan, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Penn ...

Most Americans Oppose COVID Vaccine Mandates: Survey

Though many Americans would support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a Gallup survey finds there is no clear majority in favor of it.

The Gallup Panel conducted the online survey of 2,730 U.S. adults between Sept. 14 and 27.

Nearly 49% of respondents said they would "accept" a state mandate requiring children to be vaccinated in order to attend school. But support fell to 41% when respo...

Schools, Day Care Not a Big Factor in Kids Getting COVID: Study

As a rule, COVID-19 spreads rapidly in most groups, but new research suggests that schools and day care centers appear to be the exception.

Among those under 18, the virus is easily spread by close contact with family members who have COVID-19 and at gatherings where people don't wear masks, but going to school wasn't linked to positive COVID-19 tests, according to the researchers.

...

I've Lost My Sense of Smell: Is It COVID?

While loss of smell is a symptom of COVID-19, don't panic -- there are a variety of other possible causes, one expert says.

"It can be due to nasal or sinus inflammation, or other viral infections distinct from COVID-19," explained Dr. Bobby Tajudeen, director of rhinology, sinus surgery and skull base surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"And it can even occur as ...

High Blood Levels of Cadmium May Be Tied to Worse COVID-19

Old age and chronic health conditions aren't the only risk factors for serious COVID-19 infection. Researchers say people with high levels of the heavy metal cadmium may also have higher odds of severe disease during the pandemic.

Cadmium is found in cigarettes and in contaminated vegetables. Previous research has shown that long-term exposure to cadmium, even at low levels, may weak...

What You Need to Know About the COVID Vaccine

As America rolls out a nationwide coronavirus vaccination campaign this week, experts help answer your questions about the new COVID-19 vaccines.

Both the Pfizer vaccine (already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and the Moderna vaccine (up for approval) were developed using a technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, explained Dr. Thomas Ma. He's chair of the department ...

FDA OKs First Over-the-Counter Home Test for COVID-19

The first non-prescription COVID-19 test that enables people to collect samples and get results at home has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"This is a great step forward," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore. "If people could know their status on any given day, they could chang...

Which Animals Are Also Vulnerable to COVID Infection?

Humans, ferrets, cats, civets and dogs are the animals most susceptible to infection with the new coronavirus, researchers say.

The analysis of 10 species also found that ducks, rats, mice, pigs and chickens were less or not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

"Knowing which animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 helps us prevent building up animal reservoirs from which the coronavi...

Scientists Report First Case of Recurring Guillain-Barre Tied to COVID

The first known case of COVID-19 triggering a recurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome has been reported by researchers.

Guillain-Barré syndrome -- which can be sparked by viral and bacterial infections -- is a rare disorder where the body's immune system attacks nerves. It can result in respiratory failure and death.

There have been several reports of COVID-19 patients developing ...

High-Dose Flu Shot No Better for Heart Patients

Getting a high-dose flu shot instead of a regular dose doesn't further reduce the risk of serious flu-complications, hospitalization or death in people with heart disease, new research shows.

The findings don't change established guidelines. Heart disease patients and other people with chronic illnesses do benefit from flu shots and should get one every year, according to the authors...

COVID-19 Vaccines: Experts Answer Your Questions

Two new COVID-19 vaccines, developed at record-setting speed, are soon to be assessed by U.S. agencies for emergency use in combating the ongoing pandemic.

Advisory panels of infectious disease experts this week will assess a vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech -- a vaccine that Britain began administering to its most vulnerable citizens on ...

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Good Results in Late Trials

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, new data from late-stage trials shows.

Overall, the vaccine protected against symptomatic disease in 70% of cases, according to a team led by researchers from Oxford University in England. Among study volunteers who got a half dose and then a full dose, the rate was 90%, while the rate was 62% in those given two full doses.

More Clues to Why Kids Have Much Milder COVID-19

A stronger immune system and healthier blood vessels are among reasons kids are less likely than adults to have severe COVID-19, according to experts who reviewed research from around the world.

"Most children with COVID-19 have no or only mild symptoms, most commonly fever, cough, sore throat and changes in sense of smell or taste. Even children with the usual risk factors for severe inf...

Are Scientists Close to a 'Universal' Flu Vaccine?

Scientists say they may be getting closer to creating a universal flu vaccine.

In an early-stage clinical trial with 65 volunteers in the United States, an experimental vaccine triggered strong immune responses to a wide range of flu virus strains and subtypes. The immune responses lasted at least 18 months, according to the researchers at Mount Sinai Health System, in New York City.

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COVID in Kids: The Most Telling Symptoms

Among thousands of kids tested for COVID-19, an upset stomach, loss of taste/smell, fever and headache were symptoms most predictive of positive test results, a Canadian study found.

But one-third of children and teens with the coronavirus showed no symptoms, the researchers noted.

"Because more than one-third of pediatric patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection exhibit...

COVID Vaccine Rollout Could Begin Mid-December, Fauci Says

Approved vaccines against the new coronavirus could begin to be distributed to the most at-risk Americans as early as mid-December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Thursday.

"And as we get into the first quarter of 2021 — January, February, March — more and more people will get vaccinated," he added in an

  • Ernie Mundell
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  • November 25, 2020
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  • Full Page
  • Another Study Casts Doubt on 'Convalescent Plasma' as COVID-19 Treatment

    Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal reports suggested that infusing very sick patients with the blood plasma of people who'd survived the disease might help boost outcomes.

    But study findings released Nov. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine, along with disappointing results from prior trials, suggest that those initial hopes may have been unfounded.

    The new stu...

    WHO Says No to Remdesivir as COVID-19 Treatment

    The antiviral drug remdesivir is not recommended for hospitalized COVID-19 patients because there's no evidence that it reduces their need for ventilation or improves their chances of survival, a World Health Organization panel said Thursday.

    Remdesivir is regarded as a potential treatment for severe COVID-19 and is used to treat hospitalized patients, but there is uncertainty about its e...

    Deadly New Ebola-Like Disease Emerges in Bolivia

    A deadly South American virus that causes Ebola-like bleeding can spread human-to-human, public health officials have learned from its second-ever outbreak.

    Public health investigators have reconstructed the path by which the Chapare virus spread from person to person during a 2019 outbreak in Bolivia, leaping from the initial patient to several health care workers.

    But while the ro...

    Ebola's Hidden Spread May Be More Greater Than Thought

    When Ebola virus outbreaks occur, people's exposure may be more widespread than realized, according to new research. It found antibodies for the virus in people up to a year before the 2018 outbreak in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    That suggests either that early cases were missed or that exposure was more common than previously known, according to researchers at the Universit...

    COVID Antibodies May Last Up to 5 Months

    How long does a person who has had mild-to-moderate COVID-19 retain the antibodies that can help them fight future infections? A new study suggests that resistance lasts at least five months.

    In search of potential donors for convalescent plasma therapy, researchers from Mount Sinai Health System in New York City screened more than 72,000 recovered patients between March and October.

    <...

    Asymptomatic Kids With COVID-19 May Also Carry Less Virus

    Most kids infected with COVID-19 who don't have symptoms have low levels of the virus, compared with symptomatic children, a new study finds.

    Researchers said it's not clear why.

    "While these findings provide some reassurance about the safety of asymptomatically infected children attending school, these unanswered questions suggest that risk mitigation measures in day cares, schools...

    Vampire Bats Have Social Distancing Nailed Down

    People have to be told to keep their distance when they're sick, but vampire bats do it naturally, a new study finds.

    As a disease spreads through a population, changes in social behavior can change how the germ spreads. In some social insects, sick ones might voluntarily isolate or be excluded by their colony.

    Also, some sick animals exhibit increased lethargy and sleep and reduce ...

    NYC Transit Workers Hit Hard by COVID-19: Survey

    The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a significant toll on New York City transit workers, who are grappling with illness, anxiety and the loss of colleagues.

    About 24% of transit workers who participated in a pilot study led by New York University researchers reported having had COVID-19. About 76% said they knew a colleague who had died of the disease and 90% feared they also would get sick.<...

    Will Expelled Droplets Spread COVID? Ventilation May Be Key

    The tiny droplets that linger in the air after people talk, cough or sneeze aren't very efficient at spreading the new coronavirus, new research suggests.

    Using laser technology, researchers measured the path of droplets released when people spoke or coughed.

    If someone enters a room a few minutes after a person with mild COVID-19 symptoms has coughed in that area, the odds...

    People With Down Syndrome Face Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19

    When adults with Down syndrome contract COVID-19, their risk of dying is much higher than the norm, a large, new study finds.

    The researchers found that of over 8 million British adults, those with Down syndrome were four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and 10 times more likely to die due to the infection.

    Right now, people with Down syndrome are not incl...

    Patients With Worst COVID-19 May Be Best Plasma Donors: Study

    Factors such as sex, age and severity of the disease may help identify COVID-19 survivors who have high levels of antibodies that can protect against the disease, a new study suggests.

    "These were significant patient characteristics that not only predicted the amount of antibody but the quality of that antibody," said lead author Sabra Klein, a professor in the Department of Molecula...

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