APTA Research Review: Study Looks at Symptom Profiles of Long COVID, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Though long COVID, FMS, and CFS share some symptom phenotypes, a study of patient-reported survey responses has revealed patterns of variation, including less pain, fatigue, and functional limitations among those with long COVID compared with patients reporting FMS or CFS. Authors of the study hope that taking a deeper dive into these symptom profiles will help address the need for a comprehensive approach to the management of long COVID.
Public Health Emergency
Biden Will End Health Emergency May 11
President Joe Biden has told Congress that the administration will end the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, more than three years after the first PHE was declared. For PTs and PTAs, the most notable feature of the PHE — the ability to participate in delivery of services via telehealth under Medicare — won't change dramatically in light of legislative changes that continue that allowance through Dec. 31, 2024.
Kaiser Family Foundation Report Outlines Post-PHE Changes
The KFF resource outlines changes that can be expected around vaccines, at-home COVID-19 tests, PCR or rapid tests, COVID-19 treatment, and telemedicine.
New in Research
Study Finds Higher Rates of GBS After J&J COVID-19 Vaccine, but not Pfizer or Moderna
Researchers analyzing health records related to nearly 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses found "higher than expected" rates of Guillain-Barré Syndrome associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine 21 and 42 days after vaccination, with GBS reporting rates estimated at 3.29 per 1 million doses at 21 days and 4.07 at 42 days. Rates of GBS reported by those who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines did not reach clinical significance. The study was published in JAMA Network Open.
Review of Research Points to COVID-19's Risks to Pregnant Individuals, Unborn, Newborn Children
A systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ Global Health concludes that SARS-CoV-2 infection "at any time during pregnancy" increases the risk of maternal death as well as severe maternal and neonatal morbidities. The analysis of 137 studies involving 13,136 pregnant individuals found that those with a COVID-19 infection and pregnant were at a 7.6 times greater risk for death than those without COVID-19. Children born to an infected pregnant individual were more likely to be born preterm or with low birth weight compared with children born to noninfected individuals. Researchers did not find a greater risk of stillbirth or intrauterine growth restriction.
U.S. COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Continue Downward Trend
Total coronavirus cases in the United States have reached 102,446,438 as of Feb. 1, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. Weekly cases reported were 280,911 as of Feb. 1, down from a Dec. 28 count of 401,073. The most recent available seven-day averages for hospitalizations, Jan. 29-Feb. 4, is 3,254, an 18.6% decrease from the previous average. Weekly deaths were 3,452 as of Feb. 1, compared with a weekly total of 3,507 a month earlier. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 is now estimated at 1,106,824.
FDA Panel Recommends Moving to an Annual COVID-19 Vaccine Model
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee has recommended that U.S. public health policy adopt a COVID-19 vaccination approach that mimics the current once-a-year vaccine protocol associated with the flu. In its report, the committee writes that "review of the totality of the available evidence on prior exposure to and vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 suggests that, moving forward, most individuals may only need to receive one dose of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine to restore protective immunity for a period of time," with two doses recommend for individuals, such as the very young, who have a low likelihood of prior exposure to the virus.
In the Media
Identifying When COVID-19 Will Stop Being a Global Emergency Is Difficult
From Nature: "After a meeting of its emergency committee on 27 January, the [World Health Organization] said this week that it still considers the outbreak what it calls a public health emergency of international concern, but that the COVID-19 pandemic is at an inflection point — meaning that high levels of immunity to the virus SARS-CoV-2 are beginning to limit its impact and reach. The agency said that nations must remain vigilant, however, and laid the groundwork for administrative changes to keep pressure on the virus in a post-pandemic world.
COVID-19, Other Factors Contribute to Record-High Work Absences
From The Guardian: "For many Americans it feels like everyone is out sick right now. But there is a good reason: work absences from illness are at an all-time annual high in the US and show few signs of relenting. And it’s not just acute illness and caregiving duties keeping workers away. About 1.5 million Americans missed work because of sickness in December. Each month, more than a million people have called out sick for the past three years. In June 2022, about 7% of adult Americans had long Covid, which can affect productivity and ability to work, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
APTA offers multiple resources on COVID-19 and long COVID, including a long COVID clinical summary, links to research articles, a report on the pandemic's effects on the physical therapy profession, and more.