While COVID-19 in 2021 was again the third leading cause of death in the U.S., racial and ethnic disparities narrowed from the year before, provisional CDC data indicated. Overall, 65.2% of the COVID-19 deaths in 2021 were among white individuals, 16.5% were among Hispanic individuals, and 13.3% were among Black individuals. In 2020 these proportions were 59.6%, 18.6%, and 16.1%, respectively, reported Benedict Truman, MD, of the CDC and COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and colleagues.
As of February, 57.7% of Americans had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in their blood, health officials said, up from 33.5% in December, when the omicron wave began sweeping across the country. While the antibodies aren’t necessarily protective, they indicate a previous infection. Related: Coronavirus has infected majority of Americans – Washington Post
For the third time this year, the same Princess Cruise Lines ship has docked in California with passengers who tested positive for COVID-19. The Ruby Princess arrived in San Francisco on April 11 after a trip to Hawaii in which 143 passengers on board testing positive with the virus, the city’s health department told CBS MoneyWatch. More than 70 people were found to have COVID-19 in March while on the same ship after it returned from a 15-day cruise to the Panama Canal. In January, 12 passengers arriving in San Francisco following a 10-day Mexico cruise on the Ruby Princess were found to have COVID-19 after being randomly tested for the virus.
Slightly more than two years after recording its first Covid-19 death, the U.S. is about to cross a once-unthinkable threshold: one million deaths attributed to the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Covid-19 mortality count—over 990,000 and still rising—is reflected in death certificates recorded by the CDC. Of these certificates, at least 90% list Covid-19 as the underlying cause of death, the CDC said.
China possesses one of the most sophisticated censorship programs in the world, but it has been unable to keep the furor contained within its borders. A human rights expert weighs in.
The Biden administration announced new steps on Tuesday to expand access to the Paxlovid pills and encourage broader use, senior administration officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan.
The two most important changes apply to vaccinated adults and unvaccinated children. Fully vaccinated travelers are no longer required to make a quarantine plan in the event they test positive while in Canada. Also, children under 11 can skip the pre-arrival Covid test as long as they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.
At least a dozen universities and colleges in the U.S. have reinstated indoor mask mandates this month as Covid cases rise around the country. The decisions to toughen mask rules come as most of the country eases public health restrictions. Philadelphia reinstated then scrapped its indoor mask mandate, causing universities in the city to follow suit.
Emerging Infectious Disease Headlines
The World Health Organization says at least one death has been reported in connection with a mysterious liver disease outbreak affecting children in Europe and the United States. The U.N. health agency said late Saturday that it has so far received reports of at least 169 cases of “acute hepatitis of unknown origin” from a dozen countries.
A puzzling outbreak of sudden liver disease in nearly 200 children has health authorities in Europe and the U.S. racing to find answers. The illnesses have no known connection, although a possible link with a virus that can cause colds is being investigated. At least one child died and several others have required liver transplants.
A lack of exposure to a common virus during Covid restrictions could be behind the surge in hepatitis cases among young children, experts have suggested. Health officials are urgently investigating the rise in cases which has led to more than 100 children needing hospital care and liver transplants for 10 British children.
Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo are scrambling to contain an Ebola outbreak after a second person died from the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.
Until there’s a universal coronavirus vaccine, the future of additional shots is a murky work in progress—but more rounds seem increasingly likely. The omicron wave is finally on the decline in the U.S. Workers are returning to offices again, hospital wards are emptying, and states have lifted mask mandates. But a new strain, BA.2, has spread widely in Europe and is growing in prevalence in the U.S. And Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have now asked U.S. regulators to clear an additional Covid-19 booster as protection provided by the first three shots fades.
FDA expanded the approval for the IV antiviral remdesivir (Veklury), making it the first COVID treatment approved for children younger than age 12, the agency said on Monday. Related: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Treatment for Young Children – FDA
The mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 were not associated with appendicitis in a Danish population-based study. Among over 4 million vaccinated individuals, those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines did not have any significant risk of developing appendicitis within 21 days after the first (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 0.93, 95% CI 0.79-1.11) or second dose (aRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.84-1.18) compared with those who remained unvaccinated.
Maybe, according to a growing number of studies, but there’s not yet a definitive answer. As the pandemic enters its third year, long Covid has emerged as an increasingly important concern. And many people are wondering whether getting a Covid shot can reduce their chances of developing long-term symptoms.
Two new reports offer conflicting data about the proper use of prone positioning — a belly-down approach to improve respiration — in hospitalized, non-intubated patients with COVID-19.
Access to Paxlovid, the first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19, has expanded since the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-made medication in December. However, physicians and pharmacists say there is still more that can be done to make sure the potentially life-saving drug reaches the right people at the right time.
Official Reporting for April 26, 2022
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update April 20, 2022(latest release)
New Cases: 700,097
Confirmed Cases: 505,817,953
Confirmed Cases: 510,638,728
Total cases: 80,807,564 (+44,416 New Cases)
Total deaths: 988,707 (+314 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
Scientific American asks experts in medicine, risk assessment and other fields how to balance the risks of COVID with the benefits of visiting public indoor spaces
Psychological and Sociological Impact
In 2020, individuals ages 10-19 comprised a significantly higher proportion of total suicides versus the prepandemic period of 2015-2019 (6.5% vs 5.9%, respectively), a relative 10% increase, reported Marie-Laure Charpignon, MSc, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues.
Reduced Cell Surface Levels of C-C Chemokine Receptor 5 and Immunosuppression in Long Coronavirus Disease 2019 Syndrome – Clinical Infectious Diseases
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
One thing everyone agrees on is that Stephanie didn’t have to die. Even months after it happened, her family is struggling to figure out why. “There is no perfect puzzle piece,” says Stephanie’s daughter Laurie. “I literally go through this all the time.”