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Coronavirus update: ‘Long COVID’ symptoms can last a year or more

A new study underscores the effectiveness of boosters

Long COVID concept
Photo (c) niphon - Getty Images
COVID-19 ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 83,455,303 (83,291,791)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 1,002,505 (1,002,178)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 526,345,136 (525,703,492)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,279,189 (6,277,424)‌

Study finds some ‘long COVID’ symptoms can last more than a year

In one of the largest studies of the condition known as “long COVID,” researchers at Northwestern University have found that some coronavirus symptoms can linger longer than a year while others fade away. In particular, they found that cognitive difficulties are likely to persist.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, found that neurological symptoms like brain fog, numbness, tingling, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, tinnitus, and fatigue are the most frequently reported symptoms of the condition. 

A previous study found that 85% of the patients whose COVID-19 cases were followed reported at least four lasting neurological problems at least six weeks after their infections. For the follow-up, researchers studied 52 participants in the original group and found that most of them experienced neurological issues for at least a year after their infection.

Study underscores effectiveness of boosters

Scientists say there is a good reason for fully vaccinated people to get a booster shot. A study by the Minnesota Department of Health found that vaccine boosters have lowered rates of hospitalizations and deaths in Minnesota.

The researchers studied people who suffered “breakthrough” infections after being vaccinated. They found that those who received a booster shot were more likely to weather their infection with only mild symptoms.

The study found that people over age 60 were likely to benefit the most from the extra shot. Unvaccinated seniors were 1.6 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were fully vaccinated. The unvaccinated were five times more likely to require hospital treatment than seniors who received scheduled boosters.

FDA sets meeting to consider infant vaccinations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will convene its panel of independent experts on June 15 to review data and make a recommendation on whether the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should be administered to infants and toddlers.

The committee will review the data that has been collected in clinical trials regarding the safety and efficacy of the two mRNA vaccines. It will then make a recommendation on whether the FDA should grant emergency use authorization (EUA) for vaccinating young children.

“We know parents are anxious for us to determine if these vaccines are safe & effective,” the FDA said in a Twitter post. “We are working as quickly as possible to carefully review all the data.”

Around the nation

  • Colorado: The state health department is warning that a new wave of the coronavirus is already causing infections across the state and could send hundreds more Coloradans to the hospital. “I do believe that we are starting to see an increase in cases associated with a new wave,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s epidemiologist.

  • Missouri: While case reporting has been scaled back, wastewater analysis has been stepped up. Unfortunately, it shows an increase in new COVID-19 cases around the state. “In Missouri, numbers aren't scary high. But they're the highest they've been since early February,” said Marc Johnson, a researcher at Missouri University.

  • Virginia: Most areas of Virginia are beginning to see a rise in new COVID-19 cases. State health officials report that the positivity rate statewide jumped to 16.6% last week. Officials say subvariants of the Omicron variant are responsible for most of the new cases.

  • Michigan: Health records show that schools in Michigan have been the source of recent outbreaks reported across the state. Officials identified 120 new COVID-19 outbreaks last week, including 43 linked to schools. About 212 students and staff reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

  • Delaware:  The Delaware Division of Public Health has recommended that residents wear masks in public spaces, but so far it’s only a request. “Although there are no Delaware or federal government mask mandates, individuals are encouraged to mask in public indoor areas in Delaware,” the agency said in a statement. 

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