Nature last week that found that heart disease risk soared after COVID. Even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year after diagnosis, a new study shows. Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease. What’s more, the risk was elevated even for those who were under 65 years of age and lacked risk factors, such as obesity or diabetes.
The BA.2 virus — a sub variant of the Omicron coronavirus variant — isn’t just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease and appears capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, new research suggests. BA.2 is about 30% to 50% more contagious than Omicron. It has been detected in 74 countries and 47 US states and because it doesn’t show up on PCR tests as an S-gene target failure the way Omicron does, labs have to take an extra step to sequence this virus to find this variant causing some virologists to suggest that we might be looking at a new Greek letter here. Because of the gene mutations it also appears that current immunizations are less effective, although still keeping people out of the hospital.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has been tracking excess deaths associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, crossing the threshold of 1 million excess deaths last week. Excess deaths are defined as the number of unexpected observed deaths to occur during a specific time period. This statistic can aid in further elucidating the burden of COVID-19, documenting both mortality directly caused by the virus as well as deaths indirectly caused by the pandemic’s impact. The NCHS’s excess death dashboard associated with COVID-19 breaks down deaths by direct cause, time, age and race/ethnicity. Dr. Robert Anderson, Chief of Mortality Statistics at NCHS, noted to The Washington Post that 91% of the excess deaths associated with COVID-19 were directly attributed to the disease, while the other 9% of excess deaths had COVID-19 listed as a contributing factor. These non-COVID-19 deaths were attributed to 13 other conditions, with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, hypertensive diseases, and diabetes showing the greatest increases. Excess deaths not directly attributable to COVID-19 could be due to undiagnosed COVID-19 or conditions exacerbated by the pandemic’s impacts on society, including poorer healthcare due to health system strain or patients reluctant to seek care for other conditions while trying to avoid COVID-19. Timing of excess deaths appears to coincide with surges in SARS-CoV-2 transmission during the pandemic beginning in late March 2020.
CSSE is reporting 78,351,465 positive cases in the U.S. and 933,513 deaths.