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PTs and PTAs Shine on Long COVID Care Teams
From APTA Magazine: An exploration of the roles PTs and PTAs play in identifying and treating long COVID, and the ways providers are adapting to an evolving understanding of the condition.

Physical Therapist Management of Patients With or Recovering From COVID-19
APTA offers an updated collection of resources on facets of care related to COVID-19: In-person vs. telerehab, reporting to work, operational considerations, recommendations for patients, and more.

New in Research

Nearly 60% of Individuals With Long COVID Have Organ Impairment 12 Months Later
In a study of 536 patients with long COVID, 59% of participants were found to have impairment of at least one organ one year after diagnosis of the condition, with 29% experiencing multi-organ impairment at 12 months. Assessments conducted at six and 12 months showed the prevalence of symptoms shrinking over time, with extreme breathlessness failing from 38% to 30% of participants, cognitive dysfunction declining from 48% to 38%, and poor health-related quality of life dropping from 57% to 45%. (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine)

Individuals With Long COVID Describe Their Experience as a 'Rollercoaster'
Researchers who conducted semi-structured interviews with 40 adults (average age 39) with long COVID found that most see their long COVID-related disabilities as largely episodic, sometimes emerging and decreasing over the course of weeks or even within a single day. Words used to describe their experiences included "yo-yo," "flare-ups," and "rollercoaster ride." (BMJ Global Health)

Long COVID Linked to Increased Risk of Adverse Cardiovascular Outcomes at One Year
An analysis of commercial insurance data has found that individuals who experienced long COVID are at higher risk for a range of cardiovascular conditions one year after diagnosis, compared with individuals with no evidence of COVID-19. Among the greater risks: cardiac arrhythmias, pulmonary embolism, ischemic stroke, coronary artery disease, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma. During the 12-month study period, 2.8% of those with long COVID died, compared with 1.2% of those with no indication of COVID-19 infection. (JAMA Health Forum)

From CMS

CMS Publishes Guidance on Changes Related to End of Public Health Emergency
In response to a White House decision to end the coronavirus public health emergency on May 11, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services created a fact sheet that outlines how the end to the PHE will affect providers and facilities. The resource touches on telehealth services, health care access, inpatient care, treatments, and more.

From CDC

Decreases in COVID-19 Infections, Hospitalizations, and Deaths Continue
Total coronavirus cases in the United States have reached 103,499,382 as of March 1, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 Data Tracker. Weekly cases reported were 226,618 as of March 1, down from a Feb. 1 count of 287,509. The most recent available seven-day averages for hospitalizations, Feb. 26-March 4, is 3,408, a 17.4% decrease from the previous average. Weekly deaths were 2,290 as of March 1, compared with a weekly total of 3,502 a month earlier. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 is now estimated at 1,117,856.

Omicron XBB.1.5 Variant Responsible for Nearly All New Infections
The CDC's COVID Data Tracker also reports that even as overall COVID-19 infection numbers and hospitalizations decline, the Omicron XBB.1.5 variant continues to claim a larger proportion of cases, and as of March 4 comprised 89.6% of all infections. It's the only strain that remains on the rise.

From FDA

FDA OKs First At-Home Test for Both Influenza and COVID-19
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for the first over-the-counter at-home test that can detect both influenza A and B and SARS-CoV-2. Called the Lucira COVID-19 & Flu Home Test, the product uses a nasal swab and provides results in 30 minutes.

In the Media

CDC-Funded Long COVID Studies Highlight Difficulties in Researching the Condition
From Vox: "Inspire — a CDC-funded collaboration among eight U.S. academic medical centers — is in many ways better designed than many other long COVID studies. However, while some of the study’s findings are instructive, others are confusing. Looking at them closely can help us understand why long COVID — a condition tied to health inequities — is so hard to study, especially in a country with some of the worst health inequities in the world."

Searching for Reasons Behind the Winter COVID-19 Surge That Didn't Happen
From CNN: "There was still an increase in COVID-19 over the winter. The weekly average of COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked in January at over 41,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s more than three times smaller than the surge last winter, when the U.S. saw the highest ever number of weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations at more than 146,000. So what caused the drop-off in numbers?"

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.  APTA also offers consumer-friendly information about physical therapist treatment for long COVID.

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