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COVID-19

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COVID still has a higher mortality risk than the flu

A recent JAMA study by Ziyad Al-Aly and colleagues using data from over 11,000 hospitalized patients during 2023-24 shows COVID-19 has a 35% higher mortality risk than influenza. Despite frequent mutations of SARS-CoV-2, COVID remains significantly more lethal and causes more hospitalizations than the flu. This undercuts claims that COVID-19 is comparable to influenza in severity.

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New COVID variants entering the USA — all about FLiRT

The CDC is monitoring new COVID variants called FLiRT, with strains KP.2 and KP.1.1 now prevalent in the USA. These variants are highly transmissible and may not be effectively countered by current vaccines due to mutations on the spike protein. Symptoms resemble those of earlier strains, but the increased transmission and potential vaccine resistance make them a significant concern, prompting considerations for updated vaccines.

long covid

Long COVID cases continue to rise in the USA

Recent data from the US Census Bureau and CDC reveal a spike in long COVID cases into early 2024 compared to October 2023. Long COVID’s ambiguous symptoms, often exacerbated by prior health issues, are challenging to manage with no cure available. Despite vaccines reducing risks, low booster uptake may contribute to the trend, with the latest survey indicating 17.4-17.6% of respondents experiencing long COVID, a significant rise from the previous range of 14-15%. Additionally, a high rate of acute cases in North Carolina correlates with increased long COVID reports.

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Severe COVID linked to risk of neurologic and psychiatric disorders

Recent research indicates that people who have been hospitalized with severe COVID-19 face a doubled risk of psychiatric or neurologic disorders one year post-infection compared to those never infected. This contrasts with mild COVID cases, which show no increased risk or even reduced risk when compared to non-COVID individuals. This evidence underscores COVID’s long-term impact on mental health, highlighting the importance of vaccines in preventing severe disease outcomes.

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Don’t misinterpret FDA agreeing to dismiss lawsuit on ivermectin

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a UC Hastings Law Professor, critiques the FDA’s decision to settle a lawsuit demanding the removal of their anti-ivermectin statements. She argues the FDA should not have conceded to the misleading narrative that ivermectin is effective against COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of authority in issuing public health recommendations. The settlement has been misrepresented by anti-vaccine activists to challenge FDA’s credibility, despite their maintained stance that ivermectin is unsupported for treating COVID-19.

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COVID is linked to a higher risk of rheumatic disease

Recent studies reveal a higher risk of autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIRD) following COVID infection, underscoring the virus’s potential to impact the immune system and cause chronic conditions. The study analyzed over 1.3 million patients, finding AIRD rates 25-79% higher in COVID-19 patients compared to uninfected peers, with reduced risk observed among vaccinated individuals. This highlights the importance of COVID vaccination in preventing AIRD and managing long-term health effects.

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Long COVID may decrease IQ by up to nine points

A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine has found that long COVID can impair cognitive function, equating to a loss of up to six IQ points in those with symptoms lasting over 12 weeks. The research highlights the uncertainty over the long-term implications of such deficits, which could be particularly serious for patients who were in the ICU with COVID-19 and suffered a larger cognitive decline. The study did not establish individual cognitive declines pre-COVID, which the accompanying editorial suggests is a significant limitation that requires further investigation.

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COVID misinformation campaigns are very profitable

A Washington Post report reveals that anti-vaccine groups profited from COVID-19 misinformation, raising over $118 million from 2020 to 2022. Pre-pandemic revenue was dwarfed as groups like Children’s Health Defense and ICAN increased fundraising efforts and salaries for executives like RFK Jr and Del Bigtree. These organizations have promoted false narratives about COVID-19 vaccines and unsupported treatments, such as ivermectin, posing public health risks and undermining vaccine mandates for children’s diseases.

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Do COVID mRNA vaccines affect menstrual cycles?

Studies show mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can cause small, temporary changes in menstrual cycles, less so than the disease itself. In one research, vaccinated women experienced a minor increase in cycle length that normalized the following month. Another study linked the vaccine to a short-term risk of heavy menstrual bleeding. Despite these effects, the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 outweigh these temporary menstrual changes.