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Physician's Briefing Weekly Coronavirus Roundup

Here is what the editors at Physician's Briefing chose as the most important COVID-19 developments for you and your practice for the week of March 15 to 19, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

Greater Disability Tied to Worse COVID-19 Severity in MS Patients

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- Ambulatory disability and older age are associated with worse clinical severity of COVID-19, including death, among patients with multiple sclerosis, according to a study published online March 19 in JAMA Neurology.

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CDC Says 3 Feet of Social Distancing Now OK in Most Classrooms

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- In a move that should make reopening schools an easier task, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lowered its social distancing recommendation for most classrooms to 3 feet. That should enable many schools to keep all students enrolled in a class within the same room.

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U.S. to 'Loan' COVID-19 Vaccines to Mexico, Canada

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- A "loan" of 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be sent to Mexico (2.5 million doses) and Canada (1.5 million doses), the White House said Thursday.

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New Symptoms Common Four Months After COVID-19

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- About half of survivors of COVID-19 who have been hospitalized report symptoms that did not exist before their COVID-19 illness, according to a study published online March 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Protection Against Repeat SARS-CoV-2 Infection About 80 Percent

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- Protection against repeat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection is about 80 percent but is lower among older individuals, according to a study published online March 17 in The Lancet.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Cover Varies With Social Vulnerability

FRIDAY, March 19, 2021 -- COVID-19 vaccination coverage is higher in low compared with high social vulnerability counties across the United States, according to research published in the March 17 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Parent, Child Well-Being Affected by Schooling Mode During COVID-19

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- Children not receiving in-person school instruction and their parents have worse mental, emotional, and physical health outcomes, according to research published in the March 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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AstraZeneca Vaccine Safe and Effective, European Medicines Agency Says

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, the European Union drug regulator said Thursday.

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Florida Baby First in U.S. Born With COVID-19 Antibodies

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- A Florida baby is believed to be the first in the United States to be born with COVID-19 antibodies after the mother was vaccinated, doctors report.

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ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccine Does Not Protect Against B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 Variant

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- A two-dose regimen of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine does not seem to protect against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa, according to a study published online March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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ACAAI Updates Guidance for Allergic Reactions to COVID-19 Vaccines

THURSDAY, March 18, 2021 -- The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has updated its guidelines regarding the risk for allergic reactions with COVID-19 vaccines.

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Most People Complete Two-Dose COVID-19 Vaccination Series

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- Most people who receive the first Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine complete the series, almost always within the recommended interval, according to research published in the March 15 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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States Broaden COVID-19 Vaccine Access to Millions of Americans

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- States are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines as they race to meet President Joe Biden's deadline to have shots for all American adults by May 1.

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COVID-19 Antibodies Found in One in Five U.S. Blood Donations

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- COVID-19 antibodies were found in the blood of about one in five donations from unvaccinated donors in the first week of March, American Red Cross data show.

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CDC Classifies Two Coronavirus Strains as 'Variants of Concern'

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- Two coronavirus strains first detected in California have been classified as "variants of concern" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Skin Rashes Occur in Considerable Number of SARS-CoV-2 Cases

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- Skin rashes are associated with having a positive swab test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and are common in COVID-19, according to a study recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

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Aspirin Use Tied to Lower Rates of COVID-19 Infection

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- Aspirin use for cardiovascular disease prevention may also reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, according to a study recently published in the FEBS Journal.

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Nasal Swab Test for COVID-19 Risky for Sinus Surgery Patients

WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2021 -- There is an absence of online information regarding the risks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 nasopharyngeal swab testing for patients with a history of sinus and/or pituitary surgery, according to a research letter published online March 4 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

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Partial Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccination 63 Percent Effective

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- Partial vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to be 63 percent effective for preventing new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections among residents from skilled nursing facilities, according to research published in the March 15 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Moderna Starts Testing COVID-19 Vaccine in Younger Children

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- Moderna has launched a study of its COVID-19 vaccine in children younger than 12 years, including babies as young as 6 months.

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Biden Administration Weighing National Face Mask Standards for Workplace

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- The Biden Administration is deliberating a nationwide face mask standard for workplaces, although it has already missed its own deadline for a decision.

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Characteristics of COVID-19-Related Encephalopathy Detailed

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- Clinical, biological, electroencephalographic, and magnetic resonance imaging patterns could identify COVID-19-related encephalopathy among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study published online March 15 in JAMA Network Open.

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Mortality Increased in Association With SARS-CoV-2 U.K. Variant

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- The risk for mortality is increased in association with infection with a new variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 designated a variant of concern (VOC-202012/1) in December 2020, according to a study published online March 10 in The BMJ.

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Prescribing of Psychotropic Meds Up in Nursing Homes During COVID-19

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- Prescribing of psychotropic drugs increased for residents of nursing homes in Ontario, Canada, from January-February 2020 to March-September 2020, according to a study published online March 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Mortality Higher for Diabetic Ketoacidosis With COVID-19

TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 -- Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis with COVID-19 have a much higher rate of mortality than patients without COVID-19, according to a research letter published online March 10 in JAMA Network Open.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Given to Americans Top 100 Million

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- More than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have now been delivered into the arms of American adults, new government data show.

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AstraZeneca Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe, Despite Reports of Deadly Clots

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- There is no scientific evidence linking the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to recent deaths from blood clots, the company said Sunday after a number of European nations suspended use of the vaccine.

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March to November 2020 Saw Drop in COVID-19 Mortality at Nursing Homes

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- Between March and November 2020, there was a decrease in 30-day mortality rates among nursing home residents with COVID-19, according to a report published online March 11 in Health Affairs.

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Mortality Up With Surgery Within Six Weeks of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- Mortality is increased for patients undergoing surgery within six weeks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, according to a study published online March 9 in Anesthesia.

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COVID-19 Impacting Caregivers of Children With Cancer

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- Caregivers of childhood cancer survivors are experiencing changes to medical care, financial disruptions, and emotional distress due to COVID-19, according to a study published in the April issue of Pediatric Blood & Cancer.

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Statin Use Tied to Better COVID-19 Survival

MONDAY, March 15, 2021 -- Prehospitalization statin use is associated with lower inpatient mortality among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to research published online Feb. 26 in Nature Communications.

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