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Coronavirus update: CDC reportedly withholds data

A study suggests that obesity is a major predictor of serious illness in young adults

COVID-19 vaccine and data
Photo (c) Andriy Onufriyenko - Getty Images
COVID-19 ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 78,662,631 (78,532,101)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 939,788 (935,992)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 428,641,858 (426,551,362)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,912,478 (5,897,875)‌

CDC withholds significant amounts of data, report says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a lot of information about COVID-19 over the last two years, but a report in the New York Times says the health agency is sitting on a lot of unpublished data.

As an example, the Times said the CDC published information about the effectiveness of vaccine booster shots for people under age 65 earlier this month. However, the report notes that the agency did not release data about people between the ages of 18 and 49, the age group least likely to benefit from boosters.

Health experts told the newspaper that releasing all available data could have helped local and state health authorities respond during different stages of the pandemic and make better decisions about how to protect people. 

Obesity creates severe symptoms in young people

Many young adults have passed up a COVID-19 vaccination by arguing that young people have less to fear from the virus. While that may be true in many cases, a new study found that young people who are obese or overweight are highly vulnerable.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, showed that men with a high body mass index (BMI) when they were in their late teens had an elevated risk of severe COVID-19 that required hospitalization later in life.

“For those with teenage obesity, the risk of admission to an intensive care unit is more than twice as high as for those with a BMI of 18.5–20,” said Josefina Robertson, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy of the University of Gothenburg.

Aaron Rodgers regrets COVID-19 vaccination controversy

Now that COVID-19 cases are in sharp decline across wide areas of the country, some of the heat is dissipating from arguments about vaccination mandates. Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers took the opportunity this week to express regret at his involvement in one such case.

Rodgers was roundly criticized in November when he missed a game because of COVID-19 after saying he was “immunized” against the virus. He later confirmed that he had not been vaccinated.

"One thing that I am sad about and definitely apologetic is I didn't realize in the midst of the Covid conversations how much my situation was affecting my loved ones and my people," Rodgers said on the Pat McAfee Show. 

Around the nation

  • New York: State health officials now say they will not enforce the state’s COVID-19 vaccine booster mandate for health care workers. New cases of the virus are in decline while hospitals continue to grapple with staffing shortages. 

  • North Carolina: North Carolina State University is updating its COVID-19 policies. Because cases of the virus are falling rapidly, the university is dropping its mask requirement in indoor spaces on campus except for high-density areas.

  • Maine: The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to Maine’s vaccination mandate for health care workers. It was the second time the court rejected a suit by a group of hospital workers who were trying to get a religious exemption.

  • Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott has resisted mask and vaccination mandates, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want tools at his disposal to counter COVID-19 if the virus makes a resurgence. Abbott this week renewed the disaster declaration imposed at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

  • Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the case of a Des Moines restaurant that is suing its insurance company because it refused to pay loss-of-business damages when the restaurant was forced to close. The insurance company argued that the policy had an exclusion for viruses causing a closing.

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