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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 Dec. 13 to 17, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

Severe Mental Illness Tied to Poorer COVID-19 Outcomes

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — People with severe mental illness have higher risks for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Molecular Psychiatry.

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Pfizer Vaccine Disappoints in Children Ages 2 to 5 Years

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Two doses of a pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine failed to spur an adequate immune response in children ages 2 to 5 years, the companies announced Friday.

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Myocarditis, Myopericarditis Risk Up After SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination is associated with a significantly increased risk for myocarditis or myopericarditis among males and females receiving mRNA-1273 and among females receiving BNT162b2, but absolute rates are low, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in The BMJ.

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Hyperbaric Oxygen Helps Treat Severe Hypoxemia in COVID-19

FRIDAY, Dec. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is effective for patients with severe hypoxemia associated with COVID-19, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the Emergency Medicine Journal.

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COVID-19 Vaccination More Likely With Provider Recommendation

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Adults who receive a provider recommendation for COVID-19 vaccination are more likely to have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to research published in the Dec. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Early CDC COVID-19 Tests Were Not Only Contaminated, but Flawed

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Along with being contaminated, there was also a basic design flaw in COVID-19 testing kits created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention early in the pandemic, a new agency review shows.

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CDC Panel Advises That Other Vaccines Are Preferred Over J&J Shot

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Following continued reports of a rare but life-threatening clotting condition linked to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, a federal advisory panel on Thursday recommended that the Pfizer and Moderna shots be the preferred choices for Americans.

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U.S. Army COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Nears 98 Percent

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Nearly 98 percent of the U.S. Army active-duty force had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Wednesday’s deadline for mandatory vaccination, officials said Thursday. However, more than 3,800 soldiers have refused to get a shot and could start being discharged from the military next month, according to an Army statement.

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Immune Response May Vary With Choice of COVID-19 Booster

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Immune response may vary with the choice of COVID-19 vaccine used for a third dose or booster following two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or Pfizer BioNTech BNT162b2, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in The Lancet.

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Natural Immunity Protects Against SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Natural immunity protects against reinfection with the alpha and beta variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Persistent Dyspnea After COVID-19 May Indicate Cardiac Dysfunction

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patients with persistent dyspnea one year after recovery from the acute phase of COVID-19 may have abnormal heart function, according to a study presented at EuroEcho 2021, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology, held from Dec. 9 to 11 in Berlin.

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AAP Issues Guidance for Children’s Emotional Needs During COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In guidance issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommendations are presented to help pediatricians support the emotional and behavioral needs of children, teenagers, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Antibody Response to SARS-CoV-2 Wanes Among Dialysis Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For persons receiving dialysis, the antibody response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 wanes through five to six months and is associated with a risk for breakthrough infection, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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CDC Warns of Coming Omicron Wave

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The omicron variant is spreading rapidly in the United States and could trigger a huge wave of COVID-19 infections as early as January, federal health officials said Tuesday.

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COVID-19 Severity Does Not Differ for Patients With Skin Conditions

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For patients with psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, and chronic urticaria, COVID-19 severity does not differ, but treatment of COVID-19 may affect the course of skin disease, according to a letter to the editor published in the January 2022 issue of the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

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Two Doses of mRNA-1273 Effective Against SARS-CoV-2 Variants

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Two doses of mRNA-1273 vaccine are highly effective against multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants, according to a study published online Dec. 15 in The BMJ.

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Risk Factors Identified for Developing COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Risk factors independently associated with increased odds of developing COVID-19 include Asian/Asian British versus White ethnicity, household overcrowding, and elevated body mass index, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in Thorax.

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COVID-19 Breakthrough Infections More Common in Immunocompromised Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections are rare among fully vaccinated individuals, but they are more common and more severe in those who are immunocompromised, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in the Journal of Medical Economics.

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Pfizer Says Final Data Show COVID-19 Pill Stays Strong Against Severe Illness

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Pfizer Inc. announced Tuesday that a final analysis shows its experimental antiviral pill Paxlovid sharply reduced hospitalizations and deaths among COVID-19 patients at high risk for severe illness.

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CDC: Only Half of U.S. Nursing Home Residents Have Received Boosters

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, only about half of fully vaccinated nursing home residents have received a vaccine booster dose, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

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Omicron Resists Pfizer Vaccine but Causes Less Severe Disease

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Compared with previous coronavirus variants, omicron appears to cause less severe illness, but is more resistant to the Pfizer vaccine, researchers at South Africa’s largest health insurer report.

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California Brings Back Indoor Mask Mandate

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A statewide indoor mask mandate will be reintroduced in California on Wednesday and last one month, officials in America’s largest state said Monday.

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Less Than Half of Over 65s Received Booster From Aug. 13 to Nov. 19

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — About 44 percent of persons aged 65 years or older received a booster or additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine during Aug. 13 to Nov. 19, 2021, in the United States, according to research published in the Dec. 10 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Report Highlights Characteristics of Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variant in U.S.

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Surveillance and characteristics of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 omicron variant are described in a report published in the Dec. 10 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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~40 Percent With Confirmed COVID-19 Are Asymptomatic

TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The percentage of asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections is 0.25 and 40.50 percent among individuals undergoing testing and those with confirmed COVID-19, respectively, according to a review published online Dec. 14 in JAMA Network Open.

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British Study Shows Vaccines Weaken Against Omicron, but Boosters Help

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The ability of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines to protect against symptomatic infection by the omicron variant falls significantly short, but a booster shot provides considerable protection, according to the first real-world study of how effective vaccines are against the rapidly spreading new form of the coronavirus. The findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

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U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Passes 800,000

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 death toll in the United States reached 800,000 on Monday, and one expert believes it will likely hit 1 million at some point in 2022.

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Convalescent Plasma Not Efficacious in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For hospitalized patients with COVID-19 receiving noninvasive supplemental oxygen, COVID-19 convalescent plasma is not efficacious compared with placebo, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Lower Among Black Health Care Providers

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Black, nonphysician health care personnel were less likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the first four months of availability versus clinicians of other races, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in JAMA Network Open.

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For Earlier Variants, Severe COVID-19 Less Likely at Reinfection

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Compared with primary infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, reinfections have 90 percent lower odds of severe, critical, or fatal disease based on data for the variants circulating during the study period, according to a letter to the editor published online Nov. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Report Shows World Ill-Prepared for Next Pandemic

MONDAY, Dec. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The world is not ready to prevent or deal with another pandemic because many nations are not taking the necessary steps to prepare for what is likely an inevitable future scenario, a new report shows. The Global Health Security index — an assessment of preparedness for various health emergencies and problems — is produced by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Economist Impact, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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