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Daily News Pulse for January 20, 2023

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Summary: Japan is considering downgrading Covid-19 to the same category as seasonal influenza this spring, which would relax mask wearing and other preventive measures and remove self-isolation rules. Two recent preprint studies suggest that two existing medications may be effective in preventing long COVID.
  • Japan considers downgrading Covid-19 to same level as seasonal flu – CNN: Japan is considering downgrading Covid-19 to the same category as seasonal influenza this spring. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has instructed Health Ministry officials to discuss the move and review rules on face masks and other pandemic measures. Despite daily Covid-19 cases in Japan declining, the country still faces around 100,000 new infections a day.
  • Japan to lower COVID-19 to flu status, further easing rules – ABC News: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to downgrade the legal status of COVID-19 to the equivalent of seasonal influenza in the spring, which would relax mask wearing and other preventive measures and remove self-isolation rules. This would allow COVID-19 patients to seek treatment at any hospital instead of only specialized facilities.
  • Japan to consider downgrading COVID-19 to less serious infectious … – Reuters: Japan is considering revising COVID-19 measures as early as this spring, downgrading the disease to a less serious category and relaxing guidance that people wear masks in public indoor places. The Prime Minister has instructed relevant ministers to consider the specific requirements for a reclassification that would put COVID-19 in the same category as seasonal flu, allowing infected people to no longer be required to isolate.
  • As the pandemic enters its 4th year, there’s still much to learn about … – NPR: Dr. Eric Topol co-authored a paper on long COVID, which is estimated to affect at least 65 million people worldwide. He discussed the paper with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, providing insight into what we know about the condition.
  • Trying to Stop Long COVID Before It Even Starts – The Atlantic: Two recent preprint studies suggest that two existing medications may be effective in preventing long COVID. These medications are hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, both of which are already available in pharmacies. Further research is needed to determine if these medications are effective in preventing long COVID.
  • Only marginal benefit for wearing masks during big COVID surges … – Cosmos: Wearing well-fitted respirator style masks is still the best way to prevent spreading COVID-19 infection, but their effectiveness is limited when cases spike. Vaccination is the primary public health intervention to reduce infection. A new paper published in The Lancet Regional Health medical journal has found that long COVID may deal lasting damage to individuals and society.
  • Know Your Legal Rights: Disability benefit hearings go remote … – Ashland Daily Press: If your Social Security Benefits or Supplemental Security Income application was denied, you have the right to appeal through the hearing process. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings have gone remote and if you do not show up for your hearing, you may need to provide a good cause as to why you did not appear.
  • IL-6 Inhibitors, Antiplatelets Improve Survival of Critically Ill COVID … – Contagionlive.com: A large international study found that critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with interleukin-6 receptor antagonists had the highest probability of survival at six months among those receiving one or more interventions in six treatment groups. The study was part of the Randomized Embedded Multifactorial Adaptive Platform for Community Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) trial.
  • New COVID variant, XBB.1.5, may cause increase in deaths, hospitalizations – Oakland Press: A new COVID-19 variant, XBB.1.5, could lead to a mild increase in hospitalizations and deaths in Michigan. The bivalent booster shot gives good protection against the new variant, and it is responsible for about 14% of new cases in the Detroit area. It is expected to reach 70% in the area soon, and has caused a slight increase in deaths and hospitalizations on the East Coast.
  • What to know about the new COVID-19 variant – Spectrum Health: People should follow the same precautions as they did with previous variants of the virus when it comes to the new COVID-19 variant XBB.1.5. This variant is more contagious, as it avoids antibodies, leading to more breakthrough infections. It is important to continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash hands regularly in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

Daily News Pulse for January 29, 2023

Summary: Governor John Carney has tested positive for COVID-19 and is working from home. The 7-day average of new cases in Delaware is 135, with 158 hospitalizations. A new study has found that 71% of people with long COVID required medical treatment or were unable to work for six months or more. The FDA has withdrawn emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 antibody drug Evusheld due to its ineffectiveness against the Omicron variants now dominating the US.

Daily Research Pulse for January 29, 2023

Summary: One study analyzed the frequency of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 co-infections, as well as the differences in the course of disease in patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in relation to flu vaccination status in a cohort of 19,850 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Spain.

Daily News Pulse for January 28, 2023

Summary: Scientists have found that 36% of students and faculty at George Washington University have a history of COVID-19 reported symptoms consistent with long COVID. Vaccinations may be linked to lower post-COVID-19 risk factors, but more research is needed. A new study from INSPIRE found that half of COVID-positive patients and one-quarter of those who tested negative had at least one symptom at three months follow-up.

Daily Research Pulse for January 28, 2023

Summary: One study examined the impact of COVID-19 on access to general practice care in Ireland by conducting an online survey of 670 adult patients of Irish general practices. Another study looked at the effectiveness of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine among urban underserved Hispanic/Latino populations.

Daily News Pulse for January 27, 2023

Summary: The FDA has voted to update all Covid-19 vaccines to contain the same ingredients as the two-strain shots used as booster doses. Studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can cross the blood-brain barrier, leading to cognitive impairment and inflammation. CDC data shows that COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have stabilized after a small surge around the holidays, but there is still uncertainty about long COVID.