Health

San Francisco News

COVID-19 can cause lasting lung damage – 3 ways long COVID patients’ respiration can suffer

Jeffrey M. Sturek, University of Virginia and Alexandra Kadl, University of Virginia “I just can’t do what I used to anymore.” As pulmonologists and critical care doctors treating patients with lung disease, we have heard many of our patients recovering from COVID-19 tell us this even months after their initial diagnosis. Though they may have survived the most life-threatening phase of their illness, they have yet to return to their pre-COVID-19 baseline, struggling with activities ranging from strenuous exercise to doing laundry. These lingering effects, called long COVID, have affected as many as 1 in 5 American adults diagnosed with

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Is the pandemic over? We asked an economist, an education expert and a public health scholar their views

William Hauk, University of South Carolina; Lisa Miller, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Wayne Au, University of Washington, Bothell President Joe Biden’s declaration that “the pandemic is over” raised eyebrows and the hackles of some experts who think such messaging could be premature and counterproductive. But to many Americans who have long since returned to pre-COVID 19 activities and are now being forced back into the office, the remark may ring true. The problem is that what “back to normal” feels like may differ from person to person, depending on the individual’s circumstances and by what criteria they

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Medicaid enrollment soared by 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic – but a big decline could happen soon

Julie Donohue, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences and Eric T. Roberts, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Medicaid, the government-funded U.S. health insurer for people with low incomes, grew by about 25% between February 2020 and May 2022 as policies adopted at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic expanded the program’s reach. All told, the number of people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which serves kids in families with low to moderate incomes, increased from 71 million to 89 million. That’s roughly 27% of all Americans. The pandemic-related increase in Medicaid enrollment was slightly larger

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We were on a global panel looking at the staggering costs of COVID – 17.7m deaths and counting. Here are 11 ways to stop history repeating itself

John Thwaites, Monash University; Liam Smith, Monash University, and Margaret Hellard, Burnet Institute A global report released today highlights massive global failures in the response to COVID-19. The report, which was convened by The Lancet journal and to which we contributed, highlights widespread global failures of prevention and basic public health. This resulted in an estimated 17.7 million excess deaths due to COVID-19 (including those not reported) to September 15. The report also highlights that the pandemic has reversed progress made towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in many countries further impacting on health and wellbeing. The report, from

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Viruses may be ‘watching’ you – some microbes lie in wait until their hosts unknowingly give them the signal to start multiplying and kill them

Ivan Erill, University of Maryland, Baltimore County After more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might picture a virus as a nasty spiked ball – a mindless killer that gets into a cell and hijacks its machinery to create a gazillion copies of itself before bursting out. For many viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the “mindless killer” epithet is essentially true. But there’s more to virus biology than meets the eye. Take HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is a retrovirus that does not go directly on a killing spree when it enters a cell.

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We asked Ukrainians living on the front lines what was an acceptable peace – here’s what they told us

Gerard Toal, Virginia Tech and Karina Korostelina, George Mason University Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive success against Russian troops in the Kharkiv region has raised hopes that a larger rollback of occupying troops is at hand. But this remains a daunting task: Russia continues to occupy roughly one-fifth of the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, which it unilaterally incorporated into the Russian Federation in 2014. Victory, not peace, is the priority for Ukraine’s leadership, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declaring Ukraine will not give up any of its territories to end the war. But a time will come when peace will have to

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Will omicron-specific booster shots be more effective at combating COVID-19? 5 questions answered

Prakash Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina and Mitzi Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina On Aug. 31, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of updated COVID-19 booster shots that are specifically tailored to combat the two most recent and contagious omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. Following the FDA’s emergency use authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to endorse the shots, allowing them to be administered within days. The new booster shots – one by Moderna and another from Pfizer-BioNTech – come as more than 450 people are still dying of COVID-19 every day in

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COVID reinfections could be more severe for some – but overall evidence doesn’t give us cause for concern

Ben Krishna, University of Cambridge The COVID pandemic has been going on for well over two years now. During this time, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has slowly mutated, allowing it to evade the immune system enough to infect people many times. As so many of us have had COVID already, it’s no surprise that plenty of people are catching the virus for a second or even a third time. In the UK, this has been particularly noticeable since the emergence of the omicron variant from December 2021 onwards. But when reinfected, are you likely to feel better or

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Your body has an internal clock that dictates when you eat, sleep and might have a heart attack – all based on time of day

Shogo Sato, Texas A&M University Anyone who has suffered from jet lag or struggled after turning the clock forward or back an hour for daylight saving time knows all about what researchers call your biological clock, or circadian rhythm – the “master pacemaker” that synchronizes how your body responds to the passing of one day to the next. This “clock” is made up of about 20,000 neurons in the hypothalamus, the area near the center of the brain that coordinates your body’s unconscious functions, like breathing and blood pressure. Humans aren’t the only beings that have an internal clock system:

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