Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

Pfizer Covid vaccine is less effective in kids 5 to 11, study finds

STAT - March 1, 2022

Newly emerging data suggest the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine works substantially less well at preventing infection and hospitalizations in children aged 5 to 11 than it does in those aged 12 to 17 — a finding that is raising questions about whether the companies chose the wrong dose for the younger children.

Pandemic fears are fading along with omicron: AP-NORC poll

AP - March 1, 2022

[Fewer] people now than in January say they are concerned that they will be infected after the rise and fall of the wildly contagious virus variant … Just 24% say they are “extremely” or “very” worried about themselves or a family member contracting COVID-19, down from 36% in both December and January, when omicron caused a massive spike in infections and taxed public health systems. Another 34% say they are somewhat worried.

California, Oregon, Washington to drop school mask mandates

AP - March 1, 2022

Schoolchildren in California, Oregon and Washington will no longer be required to wear masks as part of new indoor mask policies the Democratic governors of all three states announced jointly on Monday.

Newly Diagnosed Diabetes in COVID Patients Often Temporary: Study

HealthDay - March 1, 2022

Newly diagnosed diabetes in many COVID-19 patients may be a temporary type triggered by COVID, according to a new study. Blood sugar levels returned to normal in about half of the newly diagnosed diabetes patients after they left the hospital, and only 8% required insulin after one year, according to the report published online recently in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.

Deaths among Alzheimer’s patients surged 26% during first year of pandemic, study says

USA Today - March 1, 2022

Deaths among older adults with Alzheimer’s disease accelerated at a faster pace during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic as routine care was disrupted for many with memory and cognitive problems … In a study of nearly 27 million adults enrolled in Medicare from March through December 2020, deaths among patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia surged 26% compared with the same period in 2019.

CDC to significantly ease pandemic mask guidelines Friday

AP - February 25, 2022

The Biden administration will significantly loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against COVID-19 transmission on Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter, meaning most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings. The CDC on Friday will announce a change to the metrics it uses to determine whether to recommend face coverings, shifting from looking at COVID-19 case counts to a more holistic view of risk from the coronavirus to a community.

Canada authorizes first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine

AP - February 25, 2022

Canadian regulators said Thursday Medicago’s two-dose vaccine can be given to adults ages 18 to 64, but said there’s too little data on the shots in people 65 and older. The decision was based on a study of 24,000 adults that found the vaccine was 71% effective at preventing COVID-19 — although that was before the omicron variant emerged. Side effects were mild…

We Might Not Need Annual COVID Shots

The Atlantic - February 25, 2022

Vaccine updates might not be that necessary that often, and when they are, we can poise ourselves to rapidly react. Rather than scrambling to sprint after SARS-CoV-2 every time it surprises us, we could watch the virus more closely, and use the intel we gather to act more deliberately.

Millions of children worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19: “The hidden pandemic”

CBS News - February 25, 2022

Two years into the pandemic, an estimated 6.7 million children have lost at least one of their parents or caregivers because of COVID-19, according to updated research … That toll includes more than 180,000 children in the United States.

US virus cases, hospitalizations continue steady decline

AP - February 21, 2022

Average daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are continuing to fall in the U.S., an indicator that the omicron variant’s hold is weakening across the country. Total confirmed cases reported Saturday barely exceeded 100,000, a sharp downturn from around 800,850 five weeks ago on Jan. 16, according to Johns Hopkins University data. In New York, the number of cases went down by more than 50% over the last two weeks.

Racial, Ethnic Divide in U.S. Views of Pandemic, Healthcare

Gallup - February 21, 2022

As the world faces the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, Black and Hispanic Americans are significantly more worried than White Americans about getting infected with COVID-19. Nearly seven in 10 Black adults (69%) and Hispanic adults (68%) are very or somewhat stressed about contracting COVID-19, compared with 57% of White adults, according to a survey by West Health and Gallup.

More contagious version of omicron spreads in U.S., fueling worries

NPR - February 21, 2022

BA.2 has slowly, but steadily spread even as the omicron surge continued to dissipate. The fear is that spread may be on track to rapidly accelerate in the near future. BA.2 has now been found from coast to coast and accounts for an estimated 3.9% all new infections nationally, according to the federal CDC. It appears to be doubling fast.

UK: People with COVID in England won’t need to self-isolate

AP - February 21, 2022

People with COVID-19 won’t be legally required to self-isolate in England starting in the coming week, the U.K. government has announced, as part of a plan for “living with COVID” that is also likely to see testing for the coronavirus scaled back.

Australia reopens its borders to international visitors

NPR - February 21, 2022

International tourists and business travelers began arriving in Australia with few restrictions on Monday for the first time in almost two years after the government lifted some of the most draconian pandemic measures of any democracy in the world.

What the world got right during the Covid-19 pandemic

Vox - February 21, 2022

For all the frustrations over vaccine inequity and hesitancy, that one-year gap between the pandemic’s start and the rollout of the vaccines is nothing short of a historic success. A new report underscores just how miraculous it was.

Had COVID? You’re 5 Times More Prone to Get It Again If Unvaccinated

HealthDay - February 18, 2022

After you have recovered from COVID-19, getting at least one dose of a vaccine provides added protection against reinfection, Israeli researchers report. Stay unvaccinated after a bout with COVID-19 and you're five times more likely than someone who has had the shot to get COVID again, the new study found. That's because the immunity acquired through an infection is short-lived.