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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 29 to April 2, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

CDC: Fully Vaccinated Americans Can Now Travel Safely

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- Fully vaccinated Americans can travel domestically and internationally at "low risk to themselves," but they must continue to follow social-distancing rules, wear a mask in public, avoid crowds, and wash their hands frequently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

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Faster-Spreading COVID-19 Variant Expanding in United States

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- The faster-spreading COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom is on its way to becoming the dominant form of the virus in the United States.

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More Cases of Blood Clots Linked to AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- British regulators say they have identified 30 cases of rare blood clots in people who have received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and Australia says it is investigating a possible link between the vaccine and clotting in a man who recently received the shot.

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Moderna Gets OK to Increase Doses in COVID-19 Vaccine Vials

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- Moderna has been authorized to put 50 percent more COVID-19 vaccine into its vials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

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Biden Administration Kicks Off Campaign to Boost COVID-19 Vaccinations

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- In a push to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, the Biden administration on Thursday launched a public outreach effort that will focus on communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

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More Advanced Cancer at Presentation Possible Effect of Pandemic

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- Physicians report that patients are presenting with more advanced-stage cancers -- a possible consequence of deferred care earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a survey conducted by the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

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Mortality, Readmission Low With COVID-19 Discharge on Home Oxygen

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- For patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, rates of mortality and 30-day readmission are low with discharge on home oxygen, according to a study published online April 1 in JAMA Network Open.

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COVID-19 Was Third Leading Cause of Death in US in 2020

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- COVID-19 was reported as an underlying or contributing cause of death for 11.3 percent of deaths in 2020 and was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, according to research published in the March 31 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Highly Effective Six Months After Second Dose

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is more than 91 percent effective six months after people get their second dose, according to new test data released by the companies.

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Production Error at US Plant Ruins 15 Million Doses of J&J COVID-19 Vaccine

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- A production error that ruined about 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose COVID-19 vaccine could delay upcoming shipments of the vaccine in the United States.

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Global Maternal, Fetal Outcomes Worsened During COVID-19 Pandemic

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- Global maternal and fetal outcomes have worsened overall during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a review published online March 31 in The Lancet Global Health.

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New OTC Rapid COVID-19 Test Approved by FDA

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- An over-the-counter rapid COVID-19 test made by Abbott Laboratories has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company says.

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EEG Abnormalities Common in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- Seizures and other epileptiform abnormalities are common in patients with COVID-19 undergoing clinically indicated continuous electroencephalogram monitoring and are associated with adverse clinical outcomes, according to a study published online March 11 in Annals of Neurology.

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Readmission, Mortality Up After Discharge for Acute COVID-19

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- Individuals discharged from the hospital after acute COVID-19 have an increased risk for hospital readmission and mortality, according to a study published online March 31 in The BMJ.

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Frequency of Acute Ischemic Stroke Low in COVID-19 Patients

THURSDAY, April 1, 2021 -- Acute ischemic stroke is infrequent in patients with COVID-19 and usually occurs in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study published in the March issue of Stroke.

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Pfizer Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is Very Effective in Kids as Young as 12

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Pfizer Inc. announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and remarkably effective in children as young as 12 years.

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Half of Parents Report Pandemic Negatively Impacting Teen Mental Health

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Parents report that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the mental health of their teens, according to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

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Tobacco Use Up During Early COVID-19 Lockdown

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Existing smokers or users of electronic nicotine delivery systems report increased use during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, according to a study published online March 1 in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

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Community Exposures Tied to SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity in HCWs

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2021 -- Community exposures, but not workplace factors, are associated with seropositivity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 among health care personnel, according to a study published online March 10 in JAMA Network Open.

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US Study Confirms mRNA Vaccine Effectiveness Against SARS-CoV-2

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- Messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines are effective for preventing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, with 90 percent effectiveness for full immunization, according to research published in the March 29 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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COVID-19 Precautions Cut Transmission of Other Common Viruses

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- COVID-19 mitigation efforts were associated with a dramatic decrease in rates of common respiratory viral infections, according to a study published online March 20 in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

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Biden, Top Health Officials Warn of Risk for Another COVID-19 Surge

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- As COVID-19 cases begin to rise again across America, President Joe Biden on Monday called on governors to bring back state mask mandates.

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Anxiety, Depressive Disorders Increased August 2020 to February 2021

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- During Aug. 19, 2020, to Feb. 1, 2021, the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased, as did the percentage reporting that they needed but did not receive mental health counseling or therapy, according to research published in the March 26 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Pandemic Lockdowns Tied to More Eating Disorder Symptoms

TUESDAY, March 30, 2021 -- COVID-19 lockdowns are associated with an increase in self-reported eating disorder symptoms, according to a study published in the April issue of Psychiatry Research.

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WHO: Coronavirus Likely Transmitted From Bats to Humans Through Another Mammal

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- The new coronavirus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans through another mammal species, while a lab leak of the virus is "extremely unlikely," according to a draft copy of a joint World Health Organization-China report on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic that was obtained by the Associated Press.

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IRS: COVID-19 PPE Tax-Deductible

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- Faces masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes are among the types of COVID-19 personal protective equipment that Americans can deduct as a medical expense when filing taxes this year, the Internal Revenue Service says.

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Biden Administration Working on 'Vaccine Passport' Initiative

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard for a "vaccine passport" that could be used as the country tries to reopen in the coming months.

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Socioeconomic Factors Add to Risk for COVID-19 Positivity

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- Black race and Hispanic ethnicity are associated with increased odds of COVID-19 positivity, although the association is substantially mediated by socioeconomic factors, according to a study published online March 16 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

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Poll: Big Jump Seen in Older Adults Wanting COVID-19 Vaccine

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- Seven in 10 adults in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are now ready to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a dose becomes available to them or have already been vaccinated, according to the results of the latest University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

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Experts Address Osteoporosis Therapy and COVID-19 Vaccination

MONDAY, March 29, 2021 -- In new joint guidelines issued by bone health experts, recommendations are presented for managing osteoporosis therapy in the context of COVID-19 vaccination.

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