Covid Long-Haul Worries Deepen As Researchers Probe Case Histories
A Cigna study suggests patients who recover from covid may present with multiple ongoing conditions, including neurological ones. Meanwhile investigations continue into whether infections in cancer, HIV patients contributed to virus variants.
Cigna: Some COVID-19 Patients Report Lingering Neurological, Heart Conditions Post-Recovery
People who have recovered from a COVID-19 diagnosis face potentially new diagnoses for neurological, behavioral health and cardiovascular conditions, new data from Cigna show. Cigna researchers analyzed (PDF) claims data on 150,000 commercial plan members and their family members between April and June 2020 and found that 5.8% reported neurological conditions post-COVID. In addition, 5.1% reported heart conditions such as heart failure or coronary artery disease, and 5% reported mental health disorders following a COVID-19 diagnosis, the study found. (Minemyer, 3/11)
Study Highlights COVID Spread In Hospitals Despite Use Of Masks, Goggles
Harvard University scientists detail three cases of COVID-19 spread despite the use of medical masks and eye protection in a study today in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health sequenced the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 specimens from patients and employees at Brigham and Women's Hospital in which spread occurred despite one or both parties wearing ASTM Level 1 masks with ear loops. These masks are designed to filter 95% of bacteria and 0.1-micrometer particles.Three cases of viral transmission despite use of masks occurred from November 2020 to mid-January 2021, as determined by matching virus genomes. The first involved an asymptomatic, unmasked 82-year-old patient who infected two patient care assistants wearing masks and face shields. Both assistants developed symptoms 4 and 5 days after the patient's diagnosis. One had spent 4 hours with the patient on hospital day 3, and the other tended to the patient for 8 hours on day 4. (3/11)
The Washington Post:
Covid-19 Patients With Cancer, HIV, May Play A Role In Incubating Variants
Deepa Bhojwani recalled feeling lucky her 2-year-old cancer patient with covid-19 bounced back quickly after being seen for a fever in the emergency department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. But in the months that followed, an unnerving thing happened. The toddler’s condition flip-flopped from sick to well to sick again and so on, resulting in six hospitalizations over 196 days — and each time, the boy was positive again for the coronavirus. Bhojwani, a leukemia specialist, wondered whether the lab results might be a mistake or — terrifyingly — a rare case of reinfection. But when the medical team dove deeper, it found evidence the original virus had been inside the boy all along, evolving into more efficient forms. “We know viruses mutate,” Bhojwani said. “But we didn’t expect this.” (Cha, 3/11)
CDC’s ‘Huge Mistake’: Did Misguided Mask Advice Drive Up Covid Death Toll For Health Workers?
Since the start of the pandemic, the most terrifying task in health care was thought to be when a doctor put a breathing tube down the trachea of a critically ill covid patient. Those performing such “aerosol-generating” procedures, often in an intensive care unit, got the best protective gear even if there wasn’t enough to go around, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. And for anyone else working with covid patients, until a month ago, a surgical mask was considered sufficient. (Jewett, 3/12)
COVID Antibiotic Use Raises Concern For Rising Resistance, Pew Says
Doctors tended to overprescribe antibiotics to COVID-19 patients in hospitals during the early pandemic months, but programs designed to limit overuse are helping, according to an analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts. Antibiotic resistance is a serious threat globally and in the U.S., with rising deaths due to bacterial infection, dwindling novel drugs to treat them, and huge associated economic costs. Many worry the pandemic will only make the problem worse. (O'Reilly, 3/11)