About 17% of COVID-19 Survivors Retest Positive on Follow-Up

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For reasons unknown, about 1-in-6 people who recovered from COVID-19 subsequently retested positive at least 2 weeks later, researchers reported in a study in Italy.

Sore throat and rhinitis were the only symptoms associated with a positive result. “Patients who continued to have respiratory symptoms, especially, were more likely to have a new positive test result,” lead author Francesco Landi, MD, PhD, told Medscape Medical News.

“This suggests the persistence of respiratory symptoms should not be underestimated and should be adequately assessed in all patients considered recovered from COVID-19,” he said.

“The study results are interesting,” Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, an immunobiologist at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, told Medscape Medical News. “There are other reports of RNA detection postdischarge, but this study…found that only two symptoms out of many — sore throat and rhinitis — were higher in those with PCR-positive status.”

The study was published online September 18 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The findings could carry important implications for people who continue to be symptomatic. “It is reasonable to be cautious and avoid close contact with others, wear a face mask and possibly undergo an additional nasopharyngeal swab,” said Landi, associate professor of internal medicine at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy.

“One of most interesting findings is that persistent symptoms do not correlate with PCR positivity, suggesting that symptoms are in many cases not due to ongoing viral replication,” Jonathan Karn, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, told Medscape Medical News when asked to comment.

“The key technical problem, which they have discussed, is that a viral RNA signal in the PCR assay does not necessarily mean that infectious virus is present,” Karn said. He added that new comprehensive viral RNA analyses would be needed to answer this question.

Official COVID-19 Recovery

To identify risk factors and COVID-19 survivors more likely to retest positive, Landi and members of the Gemelli Against COVID-19 Post-Acute Care Study Group evaluated 131 people after hospital discharge.

All participants met World Health Organization criteria for release from isolation, including two negative test results at least 24 hours apart, and were studied between April 21 and May 21. Mean age was 56 and 39% were women. Only a slightly higher mean BMI of 27.6 kg/m2 in the positive group, vs 25.9 kg/m2 in the negative group, was significant.

Although 51% of survivors reported fatigue, 44% had dyspnea, and 17% were coughing, the rates did not differ significantly between groups. In contrast, 18% of positive survivors and 4% of negative survivors had a sore throat (P = .04), and 27% vs 12%, respectively, reported rhinitis (P = .05).

People returned for follow-up visits a mean 17 days after the second negative swab test.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Carriers?

“These findings indicate that a noteworthy rate of recovered

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Rand Paul suggests restaurants should hire COVID-19 survivors as servers during pandemic

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he would like restaurants hire more staff that have previously contracted the coronavirus, according to The Daily Beast.

Rand Paul wearing a suit and tie: Rand Paul suggests restaurants should hire COVID-19 survivors as servers during pandemic

© Greg Nash
Rand Paul suggests restaurants should hire COVID-19 survivors as servers during pandemic

During a rally for Nick Freitas, a Republican candidate for Congress, in Central Virginia on Sunday, Paul suggested to a crowd that he would make the call himself if he had a restaurant.

“If I owned a restaurant, I’d have a whole wing for senior citizens or for anybody who is worried about getting sick, and I would say, ‘All my servers have already had it,'” Paul told the crowd, according to The Daily Beast. “If I had a cruise ship … everybody would have had the infection that works on the boat.”

Paul also referred to his previous coronavirus diagnosis during the rally, saying that once you’ve had COVID-19, you are immune.

“I’ve had it. I can’t get it again,” Paul said, according to The Daily Beast. “I can’t give it to you, and I can’t get it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance contradicting Paul’s stance. People are not immune to reinfection after recovering from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.

Paul contracted COVID-19 in March. He has publicly maintained that those who have had the virus do not need a face mask.

“I’m not telling you not to wear a mask,” Paul reiterated at the rally, according to The Daily Beast. “The cloth masks … I’m just telling you the truth, they don’t work. Ninety-seven percent of viruses go through a cloth mask.”

The CDC released guidance in August that stated wearing a mask is more sure to protect against the coronavirus than taking a vaccine.

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Exercise boosts physical, mental well-being of older cancer survivors

Active older adults — cancer survivors included — are in better physical and mental health than their sedentary peers, a new study finds.

More regular moderate to vigorous physical activity and less sedentary time improve the mental and physical health of older cancer survivors and older people without a cancer diagnosis, say researchers from the American Cancer Society.

“The findings reinforce the importance of moving more and sitting less for both physical and mental health, no matter your age or history of cancer,” study co-author Dr. Erika Rees-Punia said.

“This is especially relevant now as so many of us, particularly cancer survivors, may be staying home to avoid COVID-19 exposure, and may be feeling a little isolated or down,” Rees-Punia added in a cancer society news release.

For the study, the research team analyzed aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, sitting time and mental and physical health of nearly 78,000 people who took part in the society’s Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort.

The researchers found clinically meaningful differences in mental and physical health between the most and least active, and the least and most sedentary.

They say the findings support the importance of regular exercise and less sitting time as a way to improve quality of life for older men and women.

The American Cancer Society physical activity guidelines recommend that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity a week. They also advise limiting sedentary behaviors like screen time.

“A simple walk or other physical activity that you enjoy may be good for your mind and body,” Rees-Punia said.

The report was published this week in the journal Cancer.

More information

For more on exercise and health, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Covid survivors deal with another lingering side effect: Dramatic hair loss

When Stacey Maravola’s hair started falling out in clumps two months after she tested positive for Covid-19, she was not initially concerned.

“I washed my hair one day and I’m pulling handfuls upon handfuls. And I’m like, ‘Maybe because it was up in a scrunchie,’” Maravola, 44, of Leetsdale, Pennsylvania, said.

But nearly two months later, the hair loss has not stopped. Each time Maravola, a health and lifestyle coach, shampoos her hair, fistfuls come out, getting tangled around her fingers and sticking to her legs as she showers.

“I’ve had to limit hair washes because I’m terrified,” she said. “I’m not a big emotional person, but I can tell you, this has changed me. I cry every single time I take a shower.”

Image: Stacey Maravola (Courtesy Stacey Maravola)
Image: Stacey Maravola (Courtesy Stacey Maravola)

Maravola is one of many coronavirus survivors dealing with dramatic hair loss, something that experts say is not entirely unexpected following a serious illness — but can be jarring nonetheless.

“It is upsetting, especially for those who have gone through a significant clinical course of Covid, to then experience this as well,” said Dr. Sara Hogan, a dermatologist and health sciences clinical instructor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But oftentimes, patients, once they have a diagnosis and they understand that typically this will get better, they feel better.”

Sudden hair loss can happen after any stressful event, including major surgery or even an emotional stressor such as starting a new job, Hogan said. The pandemic appears to have led to a large uptick in people who are seeing their hair thinning, she said: Hogan used to see an average of three to five hair loss patients a week and now sees up to seven a day.


Why severe assaults to the body or mind sometimes trigger hair loss is not entirely understood. In the majority of these cases, the patient is diagnosed with telogen effluvium, a temporary condition in which he or she sheds many more hairs than the typical 100 or so that people lose in a day. Telogen effluvium usually begins about three to six months after the stressor has happened, and in most patients, the problem will resolve within four to six months, according to Hogan. (In rare cases, unremitting stress can lead to chronic shedding, she added.)

Researchers do not believe Covid-19 attacks the hair follicles, meaning the hair loss is the body’s reaction to the physiological and emotional stress that the disease caused, rather than a symptom of the disease itself. And many hair loss patients that Hogan and other dermatologists are currently seeing have never had the coronavirus to begin with.

“It’s just all the other tolls of the pandemic that are leading to the hair loss,” such as financial worries or grieving the death of a family member, said Dr. Lauren Kole, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

Hair loss following Covid-19

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Rihanna’s latest Savage X Fenty campaign stars Black breast cancer survivors

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Rihanna is using her latest Savage X Fenty campaign to shine a spotlight on Black breast cancer survivors.

In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the singer’s lingerie brand asked three “survivors and thrivers” to model new styles from a capsule collection that will directly benefit the Clara Lionel Foundation, a charity founded by Rihanna in 2012. A press statement said that Savage X Fenty will donate a portion of the proceeds — up to $250,000 in total — to help the organization fund cancer research and support for Black people diagnosed with the disease.
Leiva, one of the three models, wanted her scars to be shown in photos. "I do not see my scars as scars," she said in an e-mail. "I look at them as my handmade jewerly pieces ... reminding me and others I am here and thriving."

Leiva, one of the three models, wanted her scars to be shown in photos. “I do not see my scars as scars,” she said in an e-mail. “I look at them as my handmade jewerly pieces … reminding me and others I am here and thriving.” Credit: Courtesy of Savage x Fenty

The campaign photographs feature Cayatanita Leiva and Ericka Hart, both 34, and Nykia McKenzie, 26, wearing the collection’s sporty new styles against draped pink fabric. Each model had a hand in how they were presented, either taking the pictures themselves or with the help of a loved one.

Hart, who posed in a gray bralette and panty set, was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer at once: HER2-positive and triple-negative. The model credited the Black femme and queer communities with being a source of support.

“The Savage X Fenty campaign was affirming of my experience as not just a breast cancer survivor but all of my intersections of identity as a Black, queer, non-binary femme,” Hart said in an email interview.

“Many cancer campaigns focus on one aspect, your chronic illness but not how your various identities play a role in how you navigate cancer … I also loved that the campaign didn’t focus on poses that focused on strength as the sole image for living with breast cancer, but rather is just showcasing people who want to share their experience to make a difference for someone else.”

McKenzie, 26, models for the new Savage X Fenty campaign.

McKenzie, 26, models for the new Savage X Fenty campaign. Credit: Courtesy of Savage x Fenty

Rihanna has focused on Savage X Fenty’s inclusive appeal since launching the lingerie brand, a follow up to Fenty Beauty, in 2018. The product range caters to a variety of “nude” skin tones, and offers a wide range of sizes. Her two runway shows to date, both held at recent editions of New York Fashion Week, grabbed attention for their theatrical performances and representation of diverse body types, ethnicities and genders, in stark contrast to the kind of lingerie shows the industry is accustomed to.
“My vision for the Savage X brand has always been having women feel confident and expressing themselves,” she said earlier this year, in a behind-the-scenes video following the second of her brand’s runway shows.

A striking disparity

As well as offering visibility to three individual Black breast cancer survivors, the campaign also brings attention to what it calls

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