Back in January, Bara Vaida, the AHCJ core topic leader for infectious disease, wrote a helpful post on resources for tracking COVID-19 variants. But in the age of COVID, data moves fast enough to give us constant whiplashes, and so much has changed since then. The most significant change is that the number of variants of concern — a term that not yet defined at the time of Vaida’s post — has grown to at least five:
- 1.1.7 (UK)
- 1.351 (South Africa)
- 1 (Brazil)
- 1.427 and B.1.429 (California)
The American Rescue Plan (ARP), passed by Congress last month, will be sending about $100 billion into the U.S. public health system — money which is badly needed. But it isn’t enough for the long-term to prepare for the next pandemic.
The pandemic laid bare what had long been known — the nation’s federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public health agencies have been underfunded for decades. When SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began spreading, public health departments were so understaffed and working with such antiquated information systems that they could not respond to the fast-spreading pathogen quickly. Continue reading
Amid the mental and behavioral challenges fueled by COVID-19, expanded telehealth capabilities have contributed to a surge in mental health care. Use of the technology appears to have contributed to fewer no-show psychiatric and other counseling appointments among both new and existing patients and expanded access to care for patients in regions that pre-pandemic were bearing the brunt of the nation’s lack of mental health providers.
Once we’re safely past this pandemic, at least some emergency telemedicine expansions, granted through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state governors, likely will remain. As that future is being sorted out, it’s important to consider what’s beneficial and what’s concerning about treating mental illnesses from a distance. Continue reading
At the beginning of the pandemic, Stephani Sutherland, a freelance writer focused on chronic pain issues, was — like many writers — finding that publications suddenly wanted COVID-19 stories and not much else.
Sutherland, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, decided to get up to speed in areas of infectious diseases and virology as fast as she could. As she delved into the research, she learned about an interesting connection between pain research and some of the long-term symptoms being felt by those infected with SARS-CoV-2, such as brain fog and loss of smell. Continue reading
COVID-19 has been around for just a year, so research about the long-term impact of the disease is sparse, but early data indicate that around 10% to 15% of those infected have symptoms for many weeks, even months, after tests show their body is no longer infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Two medical experts – Kathleen Bell, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Allison Navis, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Neuro-Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – shared this data and other information about what is known about COVID “long-haulers” during a Feb. 12 media briefing hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. You can watch a recording of the briefing here. Continue reading