US to drop COVID testing requirement for international flyers Sunday

US to drop COVID testing requirement for international flyers Sunday

This post was originally published on this siteThe CDC will not require pre-departure COVID testing for U.S.-bound air travelers, starting June 12, according to a senior administration official.     

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Biden administration lays out its plan for Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5

Biden administration lays out its plan for Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5

This post was originally published on this siteThe White House is announcing a Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan Thursday for children under 5, partnering with state and local governments, health care providers, federal pharmacy partners, national and community-based organizations and other entities to ship and distribute vaccines across the country following...

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Pfizer investing $120M to boost US COVID-19 treatment production

Pfizer investing $120M to boost US COVID-19 treatment production

This post was originally published on this sitePfizer announced Monday that it is investing $120 million to boost production of its COVID-19 treatment pills in the United States. The move will create more than 250 jobs at its plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., the company said, as it looks to increase...

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What the CDC’s new study tells us about long COVID

What the CDC’s new study tells us about long COVID

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that over 1 in 5 COVID-19 survivors under the age of 65 could develop long COVID. And those odds increase the older you get — among patients 65 and older, 1 in 4 could develop the protracted symptoms associated with the condition, the study found. Here’s everything you need to know:
What is long COVID?
“Long COVID” refers to the long-term health effects of a coronavirus infection, including lingering fatigue, respiratory and heart symptoms like difficulty breathing and chest pain, neurological symptoms like headache and brain fog, and digestive and other symptoms like stomach, joint, or muscle pain, per the CDC. These “post-COVID conditions,” as the agency refers to them, are most often found in those who had a serious bout of COVID — but anyone recovering from infection is susceptible.
Symptoms are typically first identified about four weeks after the initial infection, and can then last weeks or even months before maybe going away or perhaps coming back again. Additionally, long COVID might not affect everyone the same way, often making it difficult for those suffering, as well as their health care providers, to make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the vaccine might not make much of a difference on this front — a large U.S. study published Wednesday suggests coronavirus inoculation has only a “slight protective effect” against long COVID, The Washington Post writes. Though it seems to reduce the risk of lung and blood clot disorders, the vaccine doesn’t protect much against the condition’s other symptoms, the study found.
All in all, it’s important to note there’s also still much unknown about long COVID, so findings and understandings regarding the condition might change.
Is long COVID a big deal?
Absolutely. 
“This is real, definable, and causes significant patient suffering,” Bruce Levy of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told the Post in February, referring to long COVID. “The majority of people who got acutely infected felt totally normal before they had their infection, and now they don’t feel normal. That’s jarring.”
Why does it happen?
Scientists aren’t entirely sure… but they do have some ideas. Some experts believe that an intense immune response during a primary COVID infection may lead to inflammation and damage throughout the body, eventually resulting in long COVID, The New York Times reports. Another theory is that the immune system never really shuts down after the initial infection.
How is it diagnosed?
At the moment, given the condition’s wide array of symptoms, doctors must rely on patient descriptions and process of elimination to diagnose long COVID, reports the Times. To hopefully clarify the process, researchers are working to identify certain biomarkers that correspond to certain post-COVID conditions, like inflammation.
What did the CDC’s report say?
The large study, published online on May 24, found that one in five previously-infected adults under the age of 65 has experienced at least one symptom that could be considered long COVID. In those older than 65, that breakdown increases to one in four. And, “in an indication of how seriously the [agency] views the problem of long COVID,” writes the Times, the authors of the study recommended “routine assess­ment for post-COVID conditions among persons who survive COVID-19.”
For both age groups — above and below 65-years-old — COVID patients’ risk of developing respiratory symptoms and lung problems doubled compared to uninfected individuals, the study found. Meanwhile, those above 65 were at greater risk of developing kidney failure, neurological conditions, and a number of mental health conditions than their younger counterparts. Regardless of age, the most commonly reported post-COVID infection symptoms were respiratory issues and musculoskeletal pain.
The study did not incorporate patients’ vaccination status, nor did it report certain demographic information, like race, ethnicity, sex, or location. It also did not identify which virus variants were connected to each case, the Times notes. 
Notably, researchers concluded that long COVID might “affect a patient’s ability to contribute to the work force and might have economic consequences for survivors and their dependents.” The study’s results could “potentially translate into millions of people with new diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, neurologic problems,” epidemiologist Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, who was not involved in the research, told the Times. “These are lifelong conditions — certainly manageable, but not curable conditions.”
Is there a treatment for long COVID? Can you cure it? 
Unfortunately, there is no cure for long COVID — at least not at the moment. There are, however, certain steps long COVID patients can take to hopefully ease and treat their symptoms. For starters, make sure to talk to your primary care doctor; if you’re concerned that what you’re feeling is COVID-related, there’s no need to wait. Otherwise, you might check out a post-COVID clinic, a number of which are cropping up nationwide and offer multidisciplinary and individualized care, both the Times and the Post report. Be warned, however; accessing a clinic might mean out-of-state travel, and can be difficult to do depending on your insurance. 
Experts have also indicated that, in addition to symptom-specific treatment, “rehabilitation through low-paced gradual increases in activity is key to recovery,” the Post writes. Overall, experts advise remembering that healing isn’t linear and will take time.

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Keeping Title 42 in place won’t slow US-Mexico border crossings, officials say

Keeping Title 42 in place won’t slow US-Mexico border crossings, officials say

This post was originally published on this siteA court ruling blocking the termination of a Trump-era pandemic restriction at the US-Mexico border is unlikely to slow border crossings, Biden administration officials say, as migration in the Western hemisphere reaches new highs.

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Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is safe and appears effective for children under 5, company says

Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is safe and appears effective for children under 5, company says

This post was originally published on this siteTests by Pfizer-BioNTech show three COVID shots for children under 5 appear to be safe and effective. The dose is one-tenth as much as for adults.     

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Democratic pressure grows on Schumer to break impasse on COVID relief

Democratic pressure grows on Schumer to break impasse on COVID relief

This post was originally published on this siteA growing number of Senate Democrats say they’re ready to take a tough vote on an amendment to keep the Title 42 health order in place at the U.S.-Mexico border if that’s what’s needed to move a stalled COVID-19 relief package. Senate Majority...

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Biden administration makes 8 more free Covid tests available to US households

Biden administration makes 8 more free Covid tests available to US households

This post was originally published on this siteThe Biden administration is opening CovidTests.gov for a third round of orders while reiterating its calls on Congress to act on additional Covid response funding.

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US hits 1 million deaths from COVID-19

US hits 1 million deaths from COVID-19

This post was originally published on this siteThe United States has reached 1 million reported deaths from COVID-19, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number that shows the shocking toll the virus has taken on the nation. The U.S. has had more deaths per...

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Judge will hear arguments on Biden administration ending Covid border restrictions for migrants

Judge will hear arguments on Biden administration ending Covid border restrictions for migrants

This post was originally published on this siteA federal judge in Louisiana will hear arguments Friday in a highly anticipated case over whether the Biden administration can end a controversial Trump-era pandemic restriction, known as Title 42, on the US-Mexico border later this month.

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