One in three Covid survivors suffers ‘brain disease,’ study finds

A major study published Tuesday suggests as many as one in three people infected with Covid-19 are left with longer term mental health or neurological symptoms.

Researchers found that 34% of coronavirus survivors received a diagnosis for a neurological or psychological condition within six months of infection, according to the research published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.

The most common diagnosis was anxiety, found in 17% of those treated for Covid-19, followed by mood disorders, found in 14% of patients, CNN’s Ryan Prior writes.

The results help light the way for how health care systems ought to continue helping Covid-19 survivors, the scientists said.

“Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors,” said Maxime Taquet, an academic clinical fellow in psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and a co-author of the new report .

“We now need to see what happens beyond six months.”

While the neurological effects are more severe in hospitalized patients, they are still common in those who were only treated in an outpatient setting, according to the study.

The research is the largest of its kind and involved the electronic health records of more than 236,000 Covid-19 patients, mostly in the US.

The findings provide a sweeping view of the long-term burden the virus will have on those it struck.

Other, smaller studies have pointed to the same conclusion. Research in February followed 381 patients treated for Covid-19 at a hospital in Rome, Italy and found that 30% of them experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after recovery.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q. Why are cases rising among young people in the US?

A. The disproportionate spike in Covid-19 infection in young people is probably due to a combination of factors, says CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

These include the fact that older age groups are increasingly protected from the virus through vaccination, the circulation of the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and the fact that younger people are more mobile than their older counterparts.

“The B.1.1.7 variant spreads through the respiratory route, just like the wild-type, or common, strains, so please continue to wear masks, keep physical distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings with people who are not in your household,” Wen added.

“Try to hold off on gathering with people indoors until after you’re vaccinated. Once you’re vaccinated, you can see other fully vaccinated people indoors, but until then, please see people outdoors, with physical distancing.”

Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

Biden moves deadline for all US adults to be eligible for Covid vaccine to April 19

US President Joe Biden has moved up the deadline for states to make all American adults eligible for a Covid-19 shot by almost two weeks.

Biden announced Tuesday that every adult will qualify for vaccination by April 19. His original deadline was May 1.

The move comes as the US inoculation rollout continues to gather steam. Nearly 169 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country, according to data published Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Out of those doses, more than 150 million were reported administered within 75 days of Biden taking office, putting the White House on track to reach its goal of 200 million doses dispensed by day 100 of Biden’s presidency.

Speaking at the White House Tuesday, the President stressed caution and said the country must keep up its efforts to crush the pandemic.

“We have to ramp up a whole of government approach that rallies the whole country and puts us on a war footing to truly beat this virus,” he said.

“And that’s what we’ve been doing, getting enough vaccine supply, mobilizing more vaccinators, creating more places to get vaccinated, and we’re now administering an average of 3 million shots per day, over 20 million shots a week.”

Oxford pauses AstraZeneca pediatric trial pending UK regulator review

The University of Oxford has paused a pediatric trial of its vaccine with AstraZeneca pending a review of rare blood clot cases in adults by the UK medicines regulator , a university spokesperson told CNN Tuesday.

The spokesperson said the trial had not raised any safety concerns, but would be paused while Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reviews rare cases of people who suffer blood clots while at the same time having low levels of blood platelets.

“Parents and children should continue to attend all scheduled visits and can contact the trial sites if they have any questions,” the spokesperson added.

Last week the MHRA said at least 30 people in Britain had experienced rare types of blood clots after receiving the shot, out of a total of 15.8 million people who were given at least one dose by March 21.

The regulator warned it was too early to know whether the vaccine itself triggered the clots.

Brazil records its deadliest day of the pandemic so far

Brazil recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic so far Tuesday, reporting more than 4,000 deaths in a single day according to its health ministry.

The country saw at least 4,195 new Covid-19 deaths over the past 24 hours — the first time the nation has seen an increase in deaths above the 4,000 mark.

Brazil is facing a brutal and out-of-control wave of the virus, as a Covid-19 variant known as P.1. continues to rip through the country. There are signs of collapse at every level of the health care system as staff struggle to care for patients while dealing with a critical lack of space and supplies.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spoke to Russian leader Vladimir Putin Tuesday and expressed interest in acquiring Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, adding that first they need to “solve some obstacles” to get the shot approved for use.

ON OUR RADAR

  • Canadian health officials say a rapidly spreading variant has likely now replaced the original Covid-19 virus in many parts of the country, with new strains making younger people sicker and sending more to hospital.
  • The White House has made clear it will not create a federal vaccine passport or require shots for travelers or businesses. The debate around vaccine passports is already proving divisive.
  • Children may be spreading Covid-19 through extracurricular activities like sports. According to the CDC after school activities are creating clusters where coronavirus can circulate.
  • Would delaying a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine get more people protected more quickly? The race to beat new variants has intensified a debate in the scientific community about the best strategy to end the pandemic.
  • India has reported more than 115,000 new Covid-19 cases in its highest daily total yet. The country has seen a rapid surge of infections since March.

TODAY’S TOP TIPS

After over a year of lockdowns and travel limits, you may be considering a summer break at a hotel. If you’re vaccinated, staying in hotels is low risk but you should still seek out information on safety precautions.

Ask about the property’s new cleaning and disinfecting procedures and whether all staff members are wearing masks.

Additionally, inquire about ventilation quality — opening windows and doors, using window fans, having properly operating ventilation systems and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration systems that enhance air cleaning are a few good signs, according to the CDC.

While at the hotel, be cautious about both your safety and that of the hotel staff. Avoid or wear a mask in places where you might be sharing air or space with other people, such as elevators, indoor bars, dining areas and lobbies — even if people are distanced.

TODAY’S PODCAST

“If they can’t get to us, we’ll go to them,” Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Georgia.

How do we provide vaccines to people who can’t make it to a doctor’s office, pharmacy or state-run vaccine site? CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the mobile vaccine units being set up by Sean Penn’s non-profit, CORE. Listen now.

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