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Nurses Make Up Most Hospitalized Coronavirus Health Care Workers, CDC Finds | Health News

Most of the health care workers hospitalized with the coronavirus are nurses, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The report found that nearly 6% of all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were health care workers, with 36.3% of those patients being nurses. More than two-thirds, 67.4%, had direct patient contact and more than 4% of the health care workers who were hospitalized died.

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

The CDC’s report included medical records from nearly 7,000 coronavirus patients who were in the hospital between March 1 and May 31.

Nearly 90% of health care workers who were hospitalized with the virus had at least one underlying medical condition, with the most common, 73%, being obesity.

According to the report, the median age of the hospitalized health care worker was 49, compared to 62 among the general population. Most health care workers in the hospital with COVID-19 were women, with a large proportion being Black.

Additionally, the report found that the median length of hospitalization among the providers with COVID-19 was four days and 27.5% of providers were admitted to the intensive care unit for a median of six days.

The CDC said the findings were comparable to those reported among health care providers with COVID-19 in China.

In the U.S., nursing-related occupations account for a large proportion of the health care workplace, and in 2019 registered nurses represented approximately one-third of health care providers.

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New Landmark Study at UM School of Medicine Finds Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Death in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

BALTIMORE, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin to protect against cardiovascular disease had a significantly lower risk of complications and death compared to those who were not taking aspirin, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). Aspirin takers were less likely to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) or hooked up to a mechanical ventilator, and they were more likely to survive the infection compared to hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin, The study, published today in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, provides “cautious optimism,” the researchers say, for an inexpensive, accessible medication with a well-known safety profile that could help prevent severe complications.

“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Jonathan Chow, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UMSOM. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

To conduct the study, Dr. Chow and his colleagues culled through the medical records of 412 COVID-19 patients, age of 55 on average, who were hospitalized over the past few months due to complications of their infection. They were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and three other hospitals along the East Coast. About a quarter of the patients were taking a daily low-dose aspirin (usually 81 milligrams) before they were admitted or right after admission to manage their cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found aspirin use was associated with a 44 percent reduction in the risk of being put on a mechanical ventilator, a 43 percent decrease in the risk of ICU admission and – most importantly – a 47 percent decrease in the risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who were not taking aspirin. The patients in the aspirin group did not experience a significant increase in adverse events such as major bleeding while hospitalized.

The researchers controlled for several factors that may have played a role in a patient’s prognosis including age, gender, body mass index, race, hypertension and diabetes. They also accounted for heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and the use of beta blockers to control blood pressure.

COVID-19 infections increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs. Complications from blood clots can, in rare cases, cause heart attacks, strokes and multiple organ failure as well as death.

Doctors often recommend a daily low-dose aspirin for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke caused by a blood clot to prevent future blood clots. Daily use, however, can increase the risk of major bleeding or peptic ulcer disease.

“We believe that the blood thinning effects of aspirin provides benefits for COVID-19 patients by preventing microclot formation,” said study co-author Michael A. Mazzeffi, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at

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Hospitalized coronavirus patients who take daily aspirin have lower death risk, study finds

Hospitalized coronavirus patients who took daily aspirin for cardiovascular health had a lower death risk than those who did not take aspirin, according to the findings of a new study conducted by researchers with the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

Patients who took aspirin also had a lower risk of complications, while their chances of requiring admission into the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) and being ventilated also fell, according to a news release regarding the findings, which were published Wednesday in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia. 

Those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. (iStock)

Those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. (iStock)

For the study, the team looked at the medical records of some 412 patients who were hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19. The average age of patients was 55. All patients in the study were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore or three other hospitals along the East Coast, per the release. Any of the patients’ preexisting conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and others, as well as age, gender, body mass index and race, were all accounted for in the study. 

Roughly a quarter of the patients were taking daily, low-dose aspirin before they were admitted or began taking the drug shortly after they were admitted to the hospital.

CAN MOUTHWASH PROTECT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS? EXPERTS DISCUSS RESULTS OF VIRAL STUDY

Following their analysis, the study authors concluded that those who took aspirin had a 44% reduced chance of requiring ventilation, and a 43% less risk of requiring admission into the ICU. Most importantly, the researchers said, those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. 

“The patients in the aspirin group did not experience a significant increase in adverse events such as major bleeding while hospitalized,” they added. (Daily use of low-dose aspirin, which is often recommended for those who have previously suffered a heart attack or stroke to prevent future blood clots, can increase the risk “of major bleeding or peptic ulcer disease,” the researchers explained.)

The researchers hypothesize that aspirin’s blood-thinning effects may have played a role in the positive outcomes for hospitalized patients taking the drug, as COVID-19 infections “increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs. Complications from blood clots can, in rare cases, cause heart attacks, strokes and multiple organ failure as well as death,” they said. 

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“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Dr. Jonathan Chow, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in a statement. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

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U.S. Faces Half a Million COVID-19 Deaths by End-February, Study Finds | Top News

LONDON (Reuters) – More than a half million people in the United States could die from COVID-19 by the end of February, but around 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody were to wear masks, according to estimates from a modelling study on Friday.

The estimates by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that with few effective COVID-19 treatment options and no vaccines yet available, the United States faces “a continued COVID-19 public health challenge through the winter.”

“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME Director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.

He said the projections, as well as currently rising infection rates and deaths, showed there is no basis to “the idea that the pandemic is going away,” adding: “We do not believe that is true.”

President Donald Trump said in Thursday’s election debate of the pandemic: “It’s going away.”

The Friday update was the first time the IHME has projected deaths beyond Feb. 1. Its current forecast on its website is for 386,000 deaths as of Feb 1.

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 Americans so far, has become the top issue for him and Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Polls have shown that Americans trust Biden more than Trump to handle the crisis.

The IHME study forecast that large, populous states such as California, Texas and Florida will likely face particularly high levels of illness, deaths and demands on hospital resources.

“We expect the surge to steadily grow across different states and at the national level, and to continue to increase as we head towards high levels of daily deaths in late December and in January,” Murray said.

The modelling study, which mapped out various scenarios and their projected impact on the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, found that universal mask-wearing could have a major impact on death rates, potentially saving 130,000 lives.

Current mask use in the United States varies widely. While some states, like New York, set strict rules on when to wear masks, others have no requirements. The issue has become political, in which some supporters have taken their cues from Trump, who is often seen without a mask and has repeatedly questioned their usefulness.

“Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States … and can save many lives,” Murray said.

He added that, just as parts of Europe and some local U.S. areas of high transmission are doing now, many U.S. states would need to re-introduce social distancing measures to curb the winter surge.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, additional reporting by Caroline Humer, editing by Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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A New, Large Study Finds Plasma Does Not Lower Risk of Dying from COVID-19

SPAIN-VIRUS-HEALTH-PLASMA
SPAIN-VIRUS-HEALTH-PLASMA

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Researchers in India report that COVID-10 patients who received convalescent plasma from recovered patients did not see a lower risk of dying from the disease.

The study, published in BMJ, included 464 people with moderate COVID-19 disease, meaning they had oxygen saturation levels of 93% or less when breathing room air, the criterion that most doctors use to determine if they should hospitalize people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the illness. Study co-author Aparna Mukherjee, a scientist in epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, notes that patients in her study would likely be considered severely ill in other countries, since definitions of illness vary considerably around the world. Once in the hospital, some patients in the study received two doses of convalescent plasma from those who had recovered from the disease and donated their immune cell-rich blood. These patients were compared to those treated with standard of care, who acted as a control group (but did not receive a placebo infusion). Both groups had similar mortality rates after 28 days.

“This study had a large sample size and it showed that when plasma is infused in patients who have moderate COVID-19 (similar to severe in other countries), it did not reduce mortality or progression to more critical COVID-19,” Aparna Mukherjee, a scientist in epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research and one of the co-authors of the study, said in an email response to questions.

The results add to the continued debate over how useful convalescent plasma might be as a treatment for COVID-19. Convalescent plasma is one of the oldest therapies that doctors have used in treating infectious diseases, based on the idea that people who are naturally infected and recover will have a ready supply of the proper immune cells needed to fight off the virus or bacteria in question. But because people’s immune systems vary widely, their volume of disease-fighting cells is also unpredictable, and may range from barely adequate levels to extremely rich sources of immune cells. That variability has led to conflicting results on the effectiveness of the therapy, including in this study, which used donated plasma from people who were sick for an average of six days with what the authors describe as mild disease.

Two other international studies also failed to find a benefit of convalescent plasma, but those were stopped early because too few eligible patients were enrolled. Other, smaller studies were more encouraging, so in the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the therapy in August that allows doctors to treat patients with plasma. Key public health leaders including Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, however, have noted that researchers are still studying convalescent plasma’s role in COVID-19. Those ongoing studies are comparing people who receive

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Report finds coronavirus pandemic leading to ‘unacceptable’ shortage of US drug supplies

A report released this week from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota said that COVID-19-related drug shortages in the United States have reached “unacceptable” levels.

“Ensuring a Resilient US Prescription Drug Supply” is the sixth report in the center’s series titled, “COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint.” 

The newest report, released Wednesday, found that 29 out of 40, or approximately 73 percent, of drug treatments for COVID-19 are experiencing shortages, including propofol, albuterol, midazolam, hydroxychloroquine, fentanyl, azithromycin and morphine, citing data from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that 45 percent, or 18 out of 40, of the drug treatments are on its official drug shortage list, according to CIDRAP. 

The report added that 67 out of 156 critical acute drugs, including diazepam, phenobarbital, lidocaine and acetaminophen, are also in short supply. 

“Drug shortages can be a matter of life and death, and some shortages mean that a life-saving drug is not available to U.S. patients at any price,” CIDRAP said in a statement announcing the report’s release

“There is an urgent need for new, more effective policy with robust transparency to solve the persistent drug shortage issues plaguing the U.S. healthcare system,” the statement added. 

Michael Osterholm, the director of CIDRAP, said in the news release, “The urgency with the drug shortage supply issue is related directly to the major increase in COVID-19 cases that we will experience in the coming months.” 

“This, in turn, will dramatically increase the need for specific COVID-19 treatment drugs, while at the same, COVID-19 is having a major impact on two of the three key drug manufacturing areas of the world, India and Italy,” he added. 

According to the report, the drug shortages have been fueled by the closure of production factories, shipping delays, shutdowns, limitations on trade and export bans amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

CIDRAP outlined several possible solutions in its report, including a national infrastructure for “analyzing, predicting, managing and preventing shortages of critical medications” and the creation of an in-depth map to measure the U.S. drug supply chain. 

The drug shortages come amid the race to approve a coronavirus vaccine for public use in the U.S. 

While experts have predicted that a vaccine may not be safe and ready for FDA approval until the end of this year or into 2021, the Trump administration has aimed to get one out sooner through its Operation Warp Speed. 

In Thursday’s final presidential debate, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: ‘I would transition from the oil industry’ MORE claimed that new rising cases across the country would soon be “gone” and that a vaccine could be available in a matter of weeks. 

“It will go away, and I say we’re rounding the turn, we are rounding the corner. It is going away,” he said of the coronavirus, a remark that his administration’s own health

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South Korea finds no link between flu shot, boy’s death as toll rises

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s forensic agency has found no links between a teenage boy’s death and a flu shot he had taken, the Yonhap news agency reported, as 11 more people linked to the vaccination programme died, taking the toll to 36.

The 17-year-old was among the first reported to have died during a government campaign to vaccinate about 30 million of a population of 52 million to prevent coronavirus complications.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said it would hold a meeting with vaccination experts on Friday to review developments as the toll reached 36, up from 25 a day before, sparking calls from doctors and politicians for a halt to the programme.

Health authorities have refused to suspend the campaign citing a lack of evidence to suggest direct links between the deaths and the vaccines.

The National Forensic Service has conducted autopsies on some of the deceased and determined that the vaccine did not cause the 17-year-boy’s death, Yonhap said, citing police.

Both the forensic agency and police were not immediately reachable for comment.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun expressed condolences to the families of the deceased, calling for a thorough investigation to verify the exact cause of deaths.

“So far experts said there was low possibility that the shots and deaths were related but many citizens remain anxious,” he told a meeting.

At least 22 of the 25 confirmed cases, including the boy, received a free flu shot the government has allotted for about 19 million teenagers and senior citizens, while the other three paid for it. Seven of the nine people investigated had underlying conditions, the KDCA said.

The agency has not yet provided details about the 11 deaths reported overnight.

The rising death toll has fuelled debate about whether the programme should be suspended. The country’s largest grouping of doctors called for a halt until the safety of the vaccines is confirmed, while a major vaccine society said inoculation should continue as no relation to the deaths have been found.

ADVISED AGAINST SHOTS

Some local governments and district offices around the country have voluntarily advised residents against taking a flu shot or are considering suspending the programme.

The vaccine providers include domestic firms such as GC Pharma, SK Bioscience, Korea Vaccine and Boryung Biopharma Co Ltd, a unit of Boryung Pharm Co Ltd <003850.KS>, along with France’s Sanofi <SASY.PA>. They supply both the free programme and paid services.

Ten people received products from SK Bioscience, five each from Boryung and GC Pharma, four from Sanofi and one from Korea Vaccine. There were no details about the latest 11.

KDCA director Jeong Eun-kyeong said on Thursday that vaccines would continue to be supplied but the government might consider suspending some products that have identification numbers matching batches manufactured at the same plant on the same day if more people die using them. One batch consists of around 150,000 doses.

It was not immediately clear if any of the vaccines

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Don’t Give up on COVID-19 Plasma, Experts Say, After Study Finds No Benefit | Top News

LONDON (Reuters) – Researchers called on Friday for more research into using blood from recovered COVID-19 patients – or so-called convalescent plasma – as a potential treatment, after a small trial of hospitalised patients in India found it was of no benefit

The Indian results, published in the BMJ British Medical Journal, found that the plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not help hospitalised patients fight off the infection, and failed to reduce death rates or halt progression to severe disease.

The findings are a setback for a potential therapy that U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a “historic breakthrough”, and one experts say has been used in some 100,000 patients in the United States already, despite limited evidence on its efficacy.

Scientists not directly involved in the India study, which involved around 460 patients, said its results were disappointing but should not mean doctors give up hope altogether on convalescent plasma.

They said further and larger trials are needed, including in COVID-19 patients with milder disease and those newly infected.

“With just a few hundred patients, (the India trial) is still much too small to give clear results,” said Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Britain’s Oxford University.

“One could well imagine that the treatment might work particularly well in those earlier in the course of the disease or who have not been able to mount a good antibody response to the virus of their own,” he said. “But such speculation needs to be tested – we can’t just rely on an educated guess.”

While the United States and India have authorised convalescent plasma for emergency use, other countries, including Britain, are collecting donated plasma so that the treatment could be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective.

The Indian researchers enrolled 464 adults with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospitals across India between April and July. They were randomly split into two groups – with one receiving two transfusions of convalescent plasma alongside best standard care, and the other getting best standard care only.

After seven days, use of convalescent plasma seemed to improve some symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, and led to higher rates of so-called negative conversion – a sign that the virus is being neutralised by antibodies.

But this did not translate into a reduction in deaths or progression to severe disease by 28 days.

Ian Jones, a Reading University professor of virology, agreed with Landray that plasma may be more likely to work very soon after someone contracts COVID-19.

He urged these and other researchers to continue to conduct trials, and to do so in newly diagnosed patients.

“We still do not have enough treatments for the early stage of disease to prevent severe disease and until this becomes an option, avoiding being infected with the virus remains the key message,” he said.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters

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Sewage can reveal COVID outbreaks, UK project finds

FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

LONDON (Reuters) – Traces of COVID-19 can be successfully detected in sewage, helping to give health officials an early warning of local outbreaks of the virus, the British government said on Friday.

A project, originally launched in June, has now proved that fragments of genetic material from the virus can be detected in waste water, indicating if a local community or institution is experiencing a spike in cases.

The government said this would allow health officials to identify large outbreaks especially where there were carriers not displaying any symptoms and to encourage people to get tested or take precautions.

“This is a significant step forward in giving us a clearer idea of infection rates both nationally and locally, particularly in areas where there may be large numbers of people who aren’t showing any symptoms and therefore aren’t seeking tests,” Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

The sewage-testing project has been working successfully in southwest England and has now been extended to 90 wastewater sites covering 22% of England, the government said, adding it aimed to expand it in future.

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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More than 7 in 10 Gen-Zers report symptoms of depression during pandemic, survey finds

From increased stress and anxiety to rising levels of loneliness, the mental health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are wide-sweeping. A new survey from the American Psychological Association points to the age group that’s been hit hardest: Gen-Z.



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Gen-Z adults, those ages 18 to 23, reported the highest levels of stress compared to other generations and were the most likely age group to report symptoms of depression, according to the APA’s 2020 Stress in America survey.

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More than seven in 10 Gen-Z adults surveyed said they experienced common symptoms of depression in the prior two weeks, such as: feeling so tired they sat around and did nothing, having trouble thinking and concentrating and feeling very restless, lonely, miserable or unhappy.

So why is Gen-Z hit so hard with stress and depression during the pandemic? They are “experiencing adulthood at a time when the future looks uncertain,” while older generations might have more perspective that enables them to cope with the changes, according to the report.

Fear and anxiety tend to run hand-in-hand, Kevin Antshel, clinical psychologist and director of the clinical psychology program at Syracuse University previously told CNBC Make It. “The more things are uncertain, the more we’re going to fear, and the more we fear things, the more we are anxious,” he said. And prolonged anxiety can lead to depression.

The APA survey took place from Aug. 4 to Aug. 26. When asked to rank their stress level on a scale of one to 10 the prior month, Gen-Z adults said they experienced the highest level of stress, 6.1 out of 10, compared to other generations.

To put that in perspective, millennials (ages 24-41) ranked their stress level 5.6 out of 10, and Gen X (ages 42-55) said their stress was a 5.2 out of 10. The overall reported stress level for adults in 2020 is 5.0.

For Gen-Z teens, ages 13 to 17, 51% said that the pandemic made it impossible to plan for the future, and 67% of Gen-Z adults in college said the same. The Gen-Z adults in college also said that uncertainty about the school year was a significant source of stress.

There are a few strategies that the APA says can help decrease anxiety and build emotional resilience in young people. For starters, giving young people outlets to talk about issues that are troubling them is important. Practicing the rule of “three good things,” in which you reflect on three good things that happened at the end of the day, may be helpful the APA suggests.

It’s also crucial to remember that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and we all may need more flexibility, space or support than usual, according to the APA.

The APA’s Stress in America survey was conducted with the Harris Poll and consisted of more than 3,000 adults ages 18 and older, plus a sample of 1,026 teens ages 13 to 17.  

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