APTA Advertorial on Physical Therapy and Long COVID Treatment Reaches Wide Audience
As part of promotional efforts for National Physical Therapy Month in October, APTA created and disseminated an article on the ways physical therapy can help individuals manage long COVID. The effort was a success: The article received more than 2,000 online and print publication placements, reaching an estimated audience of 160 million.
New in Research
Physical Activity Associated With Improved COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that analyzed nearly 200,000 patient records found that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine against later hospitalization for the disease increased in relation to individual levels of physical activity. Effectiveness against hospital admission was estimated at 60% for the low-activity group, 72.1% for the moderate group, and 85.8% for the high-PA group.
Clinician Burnout Rose Gradually Through PHE Before Sharply Increasing in Late 2021
A survey of 20,627 physicians and advanced practice clinicians in 120 large health care organizations found that between February 2019 and December 2021, rates of burnout rose from 45% in early 2019 to 60% by late 2021, with the most significant increases occurring later in 2021. Researchers found that higher levels of burnout and intent to leave were associated with chaos and poor work control in the health systems. Teamwork and feeling valued tended to reduce levels of burnout. Results were published in JAMA Health Forum.
Use of Telehealth During PHE Exposes Disparities
Researchers who performed a cross-sectional analysis of 7,742 family medicine encounters at a single facility during the first month of the COVID-19 public health emergency found that the likelihood of any telehealth (audio-video or audio only) use was higher for women, individuals 65 and older, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. However, after excluding audio-only sessions, the likelihood of an audio-video telehealth encounter was lower for patients who were older, Black, urban dwellers, and Medicare or Medicaid beneficiaries compared with those who were younger, white, rural dwellers and those with commercial insurance. The study was published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.
U.S. COVID-19 Case Counts and Hospitalizations Rise, Deaths Continue to Decrease
Total coronavirus cases in the United States have reached 98,777,220 as of Nov. 30, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. The weekly case count per 100,000 individuals was 91.3 as of Nov. 30, up from an Oct. 26 rate of 79. The most recent available seven-day averages for hospitalizations, Nov. 7- Dec. 3, is 4,425, a 17.4% increase from the previous average. Deaths continued to decrease, to 1,780 as of Nov. 30, compared with a weekly total of 2,563 a month earlier. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 is now estimated at 1,077,303.
Nearly 42% of American Adults Have Had COVID-19 According to CDC Estimate
A CDC-sponsored survey of 1,574 adults across the U.S. found that 41.6% of those tested had antibodies indicating previous infection, as opposed to antibodies attributed to vaccination. Higher rates were associated with younger age, where 59.7% of adults 18 to 29 years old showed indications of previous infection. White respondents were more likely to indicate previous infection (58.9%) compared with Hispanic (35.3%) and Black (46.7%) respondents. Of the 42% of participants who returned seropositivity, 44% believed they never had COVID-19.
HHS Releases Long COVID Report Focused on Patient Experiences
A new report that HHS says "highlights patients' experiences of long COVID to better understand its complexities and drive creative responses" includes recommendations around patient education, the provision of accommodations for individuals with long COVID, and dissemination of public information "to let people know long COVID is real and a serious public health issue," according to an HHS press release. The report was designed to complement two earlier HHS long COVID reports, as well as a White House memorandum.
HHS Launches $350 Million Initiative to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations at Community Health Centers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will provide $350 million in assistance to community health centers administering COVID-19 vaccines. The money, to be distributed through the Health Resources and Services Administration, will be focused on underserved populations.
In the Media
Patients Encounter Barriers, Outdated Treatments at Long COVID Clinics
From Popular Science: "Clinics informed by [myalgic encephalomyelitis] offer insight into managing long COVID with treatment and education, providing a rubric for how other recovery centers could operate. Their approach also exposes the structural neglect of complex chronic illnesses in the U.S."
Long COVID Costs Patients $9,000 Per Year on Average
From CNBC: "David Cutler, an economist at Harvard University who projected the $3.7 trillion economic cost of long Covid, estimates the individual medical costs of the disease to be about $9,000 a year, on average. However, typical costs can range from roughly $3,700 up to almost $14,000."
Twitter Drops Enforcement of COVID-19 Misinformation Ban
From NPR: "Twitter will no longer enforce its policy against COVID-19 misinformation, raising concerns among public health experts and social media researchers that the change could have serious consequences if it discourages vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus."
Effects on Brain Present Six Months After COVID-19 Symptoms, According to Study
From WebMD: "Scientists have found that COVID-19 causes brain 'abnormalities' even six months after symptoms are gone, according to an upcoming report to the Radiological Society of North America. They found changes to the brain stem and front lobe in areas of the brain associated with fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, and cognitive issues."
Paxlovid Explored as Possible Long COVID Treatment
From NBC News: "Paxlovid — the most widely-used medication that people can take at home to treat an active case of Covid — is now being studied as a potential treatment for those who have remained sick months or even years following infection. Researchers hypothesize that Paxlovid may be able to make a measurable impact on that leftover virus, if that is indeed what causes long Covid."