New in Research
Regular PA 'Seems To Be Related' to Reduced Likelihood of Adverse COVID-19 Outcomes
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that individuals who achieve 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity PA had lower risks for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, severe illness, and death compared with inactive individuals. The results, based on a review of 16 studies, did not reflect a strictly linear dose-response pattern, with a flattening of the dose-response curve at around 500 metabolic equivalent of task-minutes per week.
Use of Prone Positioning in COVID-19 ICU Patients 'May Serve as a Model'
Researchers interviewed 40 intensive care unit team members, including PTs, working at two hospitals to gain a better understanding of how proning was used as standard early therapy for COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress. They found that the use of proning was "facilitated by hospital support, and buy-in and leadership from bedside clinicians," writing that the development pattern "may serve as a model for the implementation of other evidence-based therapies in clinical care." The study was published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
Therapy for COVID-19 Patients in ICU Aids in Recovery
An analysis of 432 patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 found that ICU patients receiving therapy were more likely to have impaired cognition, strength, and sensation than non-ICU patients receiving therapy, but that in-ICU therapy was associated with significant improvement. Researchers found that the ICU patients who received rehab services "were able to reach the same functional level as non-ICU patients at discharge from the hospital." The study was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
More than 10% of Individuals With COVID-19 Will Experience One or More Long-Term Symptoms
Researchers from the Netherlands tracked 4,231 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and found that 12.7% of patients experienced long-term (90-150 days after diagnosis) symptoms that could be attributed to their COVID-19 infections. Symptoms included chest pain, breathing difficulties, pain when breathing, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell, tingling extremities, lump in throat, feeling hot and cold, heavy arms or legs, and fatigue. The study was published in The Lancet.
More Than Half of Those With Omicron Variant Didn't Know They had it
A study published in JAMA Network Open found that among a group of 210 adult employees and patients in an academic medical center, 56% of those who showed later serological evidence of recent omicron variant infection didn't know they were infected. Among those with serological evidence of infection, employees of the medical center were more likely than patients to be aware of their infection at the time.
New CDC Recommendations Relax Some COVID-19 Protocols
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on COVID-19 testing, quarantine, and school attendance by easing some of its recommendations. The new guidance no longer recommends quarantine after exposure to the virus, reduces differences in recommendations between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, and eliminates the "test to stay" policy that required testing to allow children who have been exposed to the virus to continue to attend school in person.
U.S. Covid Cases Decline Slightly, Hospitalizations Decrease
Total coronavirus cases in the United States have reached 93,374,158 as of Aug. 20, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. The seven-day average of new cases is 88,063 as of Aug. 21, a downward trend from a July 17 rate of 124,348. The most recent available seven-day averages for hospitalizations, Aug. 14-20, is 5,047, a 14.3%% decrease from the previous average. Deaths saw an uptick with a 390 seven-day average as of Aug. 21, up from a 336 seven-day average a month earlier. As of Aug. 17, 71.5% of the U.S. population five and older has been fully vaccinated. Half of the booster-eligible population has received a booster dose, and 33.2% have received a second booster. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 is now estimated at 1,034,668.
Novavax Vaccine Authorized for Emergency Use With Adolescents
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that the Novavax vaccine can now be used with adolescents, marking expansion of the more recent vaccine option. Health authorities believe the new vaccine, which was developed using more conventional protein technology methods, may appeal to individuals skeptical of the newer mrna technology associated with previous COVID-19 vaccines.
FDA Antigen Test Guidance Recommends 2-3 Tests to Guard Against False Negatives
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's newest guidance recommends that individuals using at-home COVID-19 tests be prepared to test at least twice, and possibly three times. Should an initial test return a negative result, people who have been exposed to COVID-19 should test again after 48 hours, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. Individuals who were exposed, received an immediate negative test result and a second negative result after 48 hours should test a third time, 48 hours after the second negative test.
Administration Releases Two Reports on Long COVID
The Biden Administration has released two reports it called for in spring 2022: a long COVID research "action plan" and an analysis for services and supports for "longer-term impacts of COVID-19." According to a U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services news release, the reports will "pave an actionable path forward to address long COVID and associated conditions." The reports were created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In the Media
What to Look for if You Think You Have Long-COVID
From Fortune: " Just how likely is it that your new, post-COVID symptoms are long COVID? How long will they last? And what’s the difference between a bout of brain fog and a potentially fatal post-COVID complication?"
Who Will Be Eligible for Omicron-Targeted Booster Shots
From CNBC: "Newly updated Covid booster shots designed to target omicron’s BA.5 subvariant should be available within in the next three weeks. That begs an important question: Who’s going to be eligible to get them? The short answer: anyone ages 12 and up who has completed a primary vaccination series, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson tells CNBC."
Public Health Emergency Will Probably Be Extended
From Axios: "The Biden administration appears headed toward extending the COVID-19 public health emergency for another three months, allowing special powers and programs to continue past the midterm election."
Feds Likely to Stop Buying COVID-19 Vaccines This Fall
From CNN: "The Biden administration has been planning for how to get past the crisis phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and will stop buying vaccines, treatments and tests as early as this fall, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Tuesday.”
Study Author: Coronavirus Didn't Come From a Lab Leak
From The Economic Times: " My colleagues and I published the most detailed studies of the earliest events in the COVID-19 pandemic last month in the journal Science …The take-home message is the COVID pandemic probably did begin where the first cases were detected — at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. At the same time this lays to rest the idea that the virus escaped from a laboratory."
NIH Could Start Trials for Long COVID Research as Early as Fall
From CBS News: "The National Institutes of Health is now hoping to launch its first big clinical trials of potential treatments for patients experiencing long-term symptoms from COVID-19 as early as October, according to a top federal official overseeing the plans. It's part of the Biden administration's response to the millions suffering from long COVID, with initiatives expected to ramp up over the coming months."