Home Health News Covid-19 live updates: The coronavirus is tied to increased risk of neurological and psychiatric illness, study says – The Washington Post

Covid-19 live updates: The coronavirus is tied to increased risk of neurological and psychiatric illness, study says – The Washington Post

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Covid-19 has been linked with an increased risk of neurological and psychiatric disorders, according to a new study published by one of the world’s most prominent medical journals, in a stark reminder of the sprawling knock-on effects of a virus that has infected at least 132 million people around the globe.

According to the study in Britain’s Lancet Psychiatry, which examined more than 230,000 patient records, one in three covid-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of contracting the virus. The risks were greatest in patients who suffered severe covid-19, the study’s authors said.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Nearly 8 in 10 teachers, school staff and child-care workers have received at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, federal officials said, after a push to make the vaccine available to them.
  • Researchers at Oxford University paused a trial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 6 years old, pending a safety review by British regulators over a possible link to blood clots and low platelet counts.
  • More than 4,100 people died from the coronavirus in Brazil on Tuesday, the country’s highest ever recorded daily total. Only the United States has had comparable fatalities.
  • A record low number of Americans are worried about contracting the coronavirus, a new Gallup poll found — 35 percent, down 14 percentage points from February — even as cases across the country are rising. To date 557,000 have died from the coronavirus.
  • The Biden administration next week will launch a funeral assistance program that will provide up to $9,000 to cover the burial costs of each American who died of covid-19 — the largest program of its type ever offered by the federal government.
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Brazil records more than 4,100 daily deaths for the first time

More than 4,100 people died from the coronavirus in Brazil on Tuesday, the country’s highest ever recorded daily total of lives lost since the pandemic began, bringing the country’s death toll to almost at 337,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

At least 86,979 new infections were also recorded in the country on the same day. Brazil has the second highest death toll in the world after the United States.

According to experts, the highly transmissible P.1 variant is “impossible to stop” and could soon be a problem for the entire world to grapple with as people continue to transmit the infection across borders. Access to coronavirus vaccines needed to help curb the spread are limited, with research site Our World in Data estimating that South America has only administered around 6 percent of the world’s vaccine doses.

But despite overcrowded hospitals being pushed to near breaking point and doctors warning that even younger people had not been spared, the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, continues to push for Brazilians to continue going about their everyday lives, arguing that imposing a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of infections would hurt the economy.

Bolsonaro, who contracted the coronavirus himself last year, has long been criticized for his handling of the health crisis. In remarks made last year, he initially downplayed the severity of the disease by branding it “a little cold” and said it seemed excessive to shut down schools in the country.

Under Bolsonaro’s leadership, Brazilians were warned that the media was spreading “hysteria,” as the president slapped down local efforts to contain the virus, saying that encouraging people to isolate and shutting churches and shopping centers were unnecessary measures. “It will pass shortly,” he said last March.

Earlier this year, the United States reported 4,000 daily deaths for the first time, with at least 4,085 deaths recorded on Jan.7. The month went on to be the deadliest on record with the death toll topping 4,000 for six days.

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Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff members in U.S. have received at least one vaccine dose

Nearly 8 in 10 teachers, school staff members and child-care workers have received at least their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, federal officials said, after a push to make the vaccines available to them.

The Biden administration made coronavirus vaccines available directly to teachers and school staff through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, where people can book appointments directly with certain pharmacies. It also directed states to prioritize these workers in their state programs and some did.

The effort “has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday.

The CDC said Tuesday that more than 2 million teachers, school staff and child-care workers were vaccinated through the pharmacy program in March and another 5 to 6 million were vaccinated through state programs through the end of March.

Separately, a survey released Tuesday by the American Federation of Teachers of its members also found about 8 in 10 had been vaccinated. Among those who have not, about half said they do not want the vaccine. Among the most hesitant were Black teachers under age 50 and Republicans.

The AFT poll also found 68 percent of working teachers were going to jobs outside of the home, with 27 percent working from home because of the pandemic.

Biden has said he hopes to have a majority of K-8 schools open for full-time in-person learning by his 100th day in office at the end of April. On Wednesday, the Education Department released new data from its monthly survey of schools that showed little change from January to February, with the country nearing but not yet at Biden’s goal.

The survey found 47 percent of schools serving fourth-graders and 46 percent serving eighth-graders were open for full-time in-person classes. All told, about 8 in 10 of all schools were at least partly open, up a tick from 77 percent in January.

Attendance rates for remote and hybrid programs were not much different from in-person setting, all hovering around 90 percent, the survey found.

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As case rates continue to rise worldwide, WHO head calls continuing vaccine inequity a ‘travesty’

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has spent much of the pandemic hammering home the need to address the yawning inequities between health care in rich and poor countries, especially when it comes to battling the coronavirus.

“Covid-19 has exacerbated inequalities both between and within countries,” he said Tuesday. “It’s a travesty that in some countries health workers and those at-risk groups remain completely unvaccinated.”

He did acknowledge that vaccine programs are now present in a 190 countries, though low-income nations have been struggling to get a hold of vaccines because they have been largely bought up by the wealthier countries seeking to serve their own populations.

A WHO-led initiative known as Covax has already distributed millions of vaccines to lower-income nations but it remains underfunded and Tedros called on other governments to “share vaccine doses and fill the $22.1 billion gap.”

His remarks come as the weekly WHO report on the state of the pandemic showed a global rise in the rate of new coronavirus cases for the sixth week running. Deaths around the world have also increased by 11 percent since the previous week.

While countries like the United States and Brazil made their usual substantial contributions to the numbers, India distinguished itself with skyrocketing new cases as the pandemic has suddenly surged under pressure from new variants. India announced Wednesday a record 115,000 new cases — the most in the world.

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One in three covid-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis six months after infection: Lancet

One in three covid-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection, according to a new study published by Britain’s Lancet Psychiatry journal.

The study, conducted by researchers linked to Oxford University, examined more than 230,000 patient health records and found a “robust” association between covid-19 and diagnoses such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and anxiety disorder.

The results are a stark reminder of the sprawling knock-on effects of a previously unknown virus that has now infected some 132 million people worldwide.

“Given the size of the pandemic and the chronicity of the many diagnoses and their consequences, substantial effects on health and social care systems are likely to occur,” the authors said.

The study also added that the risks of receiving a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of contracting the virus were greatest in patients who suffered severe covid-19, including those who required hospitalization or experienced “delirium and other altered mental states” during their illness period.

“To our knowledge, we provide the first meaningful estimates of the risks of major neurological and psychiatric conditions in the 6 months after a COVID-19 diagnosis, using the electronic health records of over 236 000 patients with COVID-19,” the authors wrote.

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U.S. to launch massive funeral assistance program for covid victims

The Biden administration next week will launch a funeral assistance program that will provide up to $9,000 to cover the burial costs of each American who died of covid-19 — the largest program of its type ever offered by the federal government.

The program is open to families regardless of their income, as long as they show documentation and have not already received similar benefits through another program.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reimbursed burial costs before, but it has never offered as large a payment to so many people. In 2017, for example, FEMA paid $2.6 million to 976 people for funeral costs of victims of three hurricanes — an average of $2,664 per applicant.

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Criticism of DeSantis’s pandemic performance have turned him into a hero for the right

For years, there has been basically one path to a national profile in the Republican Party: embracing President Donald Trump. Trump has turned persecution — whether real or imagined — into political currency, drawing his supporters and elected allies into culture wars with a premium on fighting back hard. And ambitious Republicans have often made a point to hitch their wagons to Trump, recognizing his stranglehold on the GOP base.

But one Republican has been able to chart his own course on this front — with plenty of assistance from his critics: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Over the past year, DeSantis has repeatedly found himself targeted for his coronavirus response, sometimes in overwrought ways. The culmination came Sunday in a “60 Minutes” piece that cast a spotlight on his decision to run Florida’s coronavirus vaccination program through the grocery store chain Publix, which had donated $100,000 to his campaign in the weeks prior.

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Analysis: Michigan has become a hot spot and the British virus variant is partly to blame

It’s reasonable to hope the uptick in coronavirus cases might not lead to the usual increases in hospitalizations and deaths, given that more than 107 million Americans have now been inoculated with highly effective vaccines.

Except there’s one potential wrinkle: the variant first identified in Britain.

The state has taken its place as the nation’s next coronavirus hot spot. It has seen a 30 percent rise in new cases in the past week, with hospitalizations up 29 percent, to levels nearing last year’s holiday season.

Epidemiologists partially attribute the rapid surge to the spread of the variant first identified in Britain, which scientists have found to be 30 to 70 percent more transmissible and relatively more deadly.

This variant — now the cause of around 1 in 4 infections in the United States — appears to be spreading in Michigan. After Florida, the state has the highest per capita case rates of the variant.

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Many hard-hit families have yet to receive trillions in aid approved by U.S. government

Luna Steeple and her 65-year-old mother are a day or two away from being kicked out of the motel where they have been living outside Detroit. Her mom lost her job in the pandemic. Their savings are gone. Their bank account has 12 cents in it. They aren’t sure when they will eat next. Their lifeline was supposed to be President Biden’s stimulus payment, but the $2,800 still hasn’t arrived.

“I feel like such a piece of crap asking people for money all of the time, but I don’t know what else to do,” said Steeple, who is disabled. “If it wasn’t for some friends and even strangers on Twitter, we would be on the street right now.”

A year into the pandemic, the U.S. government has enacted trillions in aid for hard-hit businesses and households, but it has faltered repeatedly on delivering relief in a timely manner. Early in the crisis, many benefit programs were overwhelmed with applications, leading to months of delays in sending out payments. Under the Biden administration, the problems persist.

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