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Physician’s Briefing Weekly Coronavirus Roundup

Here is what the editors at Physician’s Briefing chose as the most important COVID-19 developments for you and your practice for the week of Feb. 1 to 5, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

United States Sees Continued Drop in New COVID-19 Cases

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — New COVID-19 case counts are now steadily dropping across the United States, as the worst of the latest surge in the pandemic seems to be subsiding.

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J&J Submits EUA Request for COVID-19 Vaccine

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee will meet on Feb. 26 to discuss Emergency Use Authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Janssen Biotech, the agency announced Thursday.

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Racial Disparities Seen in Mental Health Conditions During COVID-19

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Mental health conditions and substance use are common during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among racial- and ethnic-minority groups, according to research published in the Feb. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Small Study Tests Colchicine for Moderate-to-Severe COVID-19

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19, colchicine reduces the length of supplemental oxygen therapy and hospitalization, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in RMD Open.

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First Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Sites to Open in California

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The first COVID-19 vaccination sites run by the federal government will be opened in California as the Biden administration employs yet another tool to try to tame the COVID-19 pandemic.

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High Efficacy Reported for Sputnik V COVID-19 Vaccine

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A heterologous recombinant adenovirus-based vaccine, Gam-COVID-Vac (Sputnik V), has 91.6 percent efficacy against COVID-19, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in The Lancet.

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Companies Developing Vaccines Against New Coronavirus Variants

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — As concerns mount about mutations that could make the new coronavirus more difficult to fight, two companies say they are working to develop new vaccines against emerging variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Outcomes Worse for Persons Living With Diagnosed HIV

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Persons living with HIV who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are more likely to require hospitalization and to die, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in JAMA Network Open.

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Racial Disparities Seen in Excess Mortality Early in Pandemic

THURSDAY, Feb. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adjusted excess all-cause mortality in April 2020 varied by race/ethnicity and by state, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Moderately High for Residents at SNFs

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Moderately high COVID-19 vaccine coverage was achieved for residents at skilled nursing facilities during the first month of a program to facilitate on-site vaccination of residents and staff members, according to research published in the Feb. 1 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Oncology Clinical Trials Decline During Pandemic

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a 60 percent decrease in the number of launches of oncology clinical trials of drugs and biologic therapies, according to a research letter published online Jan. 27 in JAMA Network Open.

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AstraZeneca Vaccine Guards Against Severe COVID-19 Illness

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — New data show that the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca not only protects people from serious illness and death, but also slows the transmission of the virus. The Oxford researchers say their findings offer the first evidence that any COVID-19 vaccine can reduce transmission of the virus, The New York Times reported.

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WHO Team Probing COVID-19 Origins Visits Wuhan Research Center

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A Chinese research center that has been the focus of unsubstantiated allegations that it may be linked to the original COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Wuhan was visited Wednesday by a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the pandemic.

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Many Cancer Survivors Have Conditions Linked to Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — More than half of cancer survivors have underlying medical conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart diseases, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Biden Administration to Start Shipping COVID-19 Vaccines Directly to U.S. Pharmacies

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The Biden administration said Tuesday that it will begin to deliver much-needed COVID-19 vaccines directly to retail pharmacies across the country.

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About Four in 10 U.S. Adults Skipped Medical Care During Pandemic

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — More than four in 10 U.S. adults report forgoing medical care early in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in JAMA Network Open.

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>60 Percent Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine in U.S. Are Non-Hispanic Whites

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Of those who received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in the United States by Jan. 14, 2021, 63.0 percent were women and 60.4 percent were non-Hispanic Whites, according to research published in the Feb. 1 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Psychological Distress High Among Students During COVID-19

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of self-reported psychological distress among students has been relatively high during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Jan. 26 in JAMA Network Open.

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Lack of Staff, PPE Hinder Nursing Homes’ Fight Against COVID-19

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Staff shortages and a lack of personal protective equipment are among the reasons why U.S. nursing homes have been so severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

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Moderna Wants to Increase Number of Doses in COVID-19 Vaccine Vials

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A decision on whether to allow Moderna to increase the number of doses in its vials of COVID-19 vaccine is expected from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within a few weeks.

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Mutation That Helps Coronavirus Evade Vaccines Showing Up in British Variant

TUESDAY, Feb. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Public Health England reported a disturbing discovery on Monday: The variant that has brought that country to its knees appears to be gaining a mutation that could help it elude vaccines, The New York Times reported.

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Telemedicine Use Increased Considerably During COVID-19

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Telemedicine use increased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, with lower use in communities with higher rates of poverty, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

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WHO Team Probing COVID-19 Origins Visits Wuhan Food Markets

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — As part of their trip to China to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, a World Health Organization team on Sunday went to two large food markets in the city of Wuhan.

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CDC Makes Masks Mandatory on Planes and Public Transportation

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Face masks will be mandatory at transportation hubs and on planes and all forms of public transportation under a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order that takes effect on Monday at one minute before midnight.

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U.S. Awards Contract for COVID-19 Home Test Kit

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. government has awarded a $231 million contract for production of a recently approved over-the-counter COVID-19 home test kit.

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Maternal IgG Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Transferred Across Placenta

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Maternal immunoglobulin G antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 are transferred across the placenta, and cord blood IgG concentrations are associated with maternal IgG concentrations, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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NIH Launches Database to Study COVID-19-Related Neurological Complications

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The National Institutes of Health has launched a new database to collect information and biospecimens from people who have experienced neurological problems associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection.

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