Coronavirus update: Health agencies skeptical of booster shot need, eating disorders rose during the pandemic

Photo (c) Massimo Giachetti - Getty Images

Being physically fit as a teen paid off for some adult COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌ 

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 33,792,898 (33,773,737)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 606,487 (606,249)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 185,715,975 (185,239,541)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,013,136 (4,004,646)‌

Health agencies cast doubt on need for booster shot

Pfizer, the maker of one of the three coronavirus vaccines being used in the U.S., says it is seeing signs that early recipients of its vaccine may need a booster shot in the fall or winter to retain their immunity.

The pharmaceutical company said it would soon publish supporting data. It also plans to seek emergency use authorization for the shot from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) next month.

But the FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may take some convincing. The two health agencies have issued a joint statement saying "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time." 

Study: Eating disorders spiked during the pandemic

During the pandemic, COVID-19 wasn’t the only reason people were admitted to hospitals. A University of Michigan study shows that there was a large increase in the number of adolescents admitted to the hospital for severe illness from eating disorders.

The researchers found that the number of hospital admissions among adolescents with eating disorders more than doubled at one hospital during the first 12 months of the pandemic. Additionally, there were 125 hospitalizations for eating disorders at Michigan Medicine, with patients ranging in age from 10 to 23.

“These findings emphasize how profoundly the pandemic has affected young people, who experienced school closures, cancelled extracurricular activities, and social isolation. Their entire worlds were turned upside down overnight,” said lead author Dr. Alana Otto.

Physically fit teens less affected by COVID-19 decades later

Scientists are still trying to understand how COVID-19 affects people and why some people get seriously ill and others don’t. Chronic, underlying conditions may explain part of it, but researchers at the  University of Gothenburg have advanced another theory.

People who were athletes or in otherwise top physical condition when they were teenagers appear to have weathered the virus better than others. A relatively high proportion of these people were able to avoid hospital care when they became infected with COVID-19, even if they were over age 50.

"At the population level, we can see that both good fitness and good muscle strength in the late teens are protective factors for severe COVID,” says lead author Agnes af Geijerstam, a Ph.D. student at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy.

Around the nation

  • Maryland: Maryland is another state that has made strong progress in vaccinating its population. Gov. Larry Hogan says 75% of the state’s residents have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine. State officials also reported that the state’s positivity rate is still very low but went up slightly to 0.77%.

  • Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt is under growing pressure to react to the rising number of cases of the virus across his state. Dr. George Monks, the former Oklahoma State Medical Association President, suggested that Stitt declare a new Emergency Health Declaration after the 2020 order expired in early May.

  • Arkansas: Cases continued to increase rapidly this week. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced 1,210 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths due to the virus in Arkansas on Thursday.

  • Nevada: Despite a study showing Ohio’s vaccination lottery failed to increase vaccinations, Nevada has moved ahead with its Vax Nevada Days. The lottery has a total of $5 million in cash and prizes to give out over the next several weeks. More than 200 winners were selected randomly on Thursday night, receiving a total of $250,000.

  • Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis has announced the end of the state’s pandemic state of emergency, marking the milestone with a video on Twitter. “That means getting Coloradans back to work sooner and allowing our state to recover faster by ending the health emergency, and focusing on recovery and vaccinations,” he said.

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