Posts tagged with "COVID-19 Research"

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a COVID-19 Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Native Peoples’ Perspectives Toward COVID-19 Vaccine

Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) released a study with the first-ever national data regarding American Indian and Alaska Native peoples’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about a COVID-19 vaccine.

The study surveyed American Indians and Alaska Natives across 46 states—representing 318 different tribal affiliations—to gather information ranging from individuals’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to the hurdles they face in accessing healthcare and resources.

“This data will be important to all organizations conducting COVID-19 vaccine education efforts,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, director of UIHI. “Native communities have unique challenges and needs that usually are not considered in public health campaigns.”

American Indian and Alaska Native people continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates are 3.5 and 1.8 times that of non-Hispanic Whites, respectively.

While there has been worry about vaccine participation in Native communities, 75% of study participants claimed they would be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, higher than the national average according to an Ipsos survey from October 2020, which indicates that 64% of the U.S. general population was willing to receive a vaccine.

“Willingness to receive a vaccine and hesitancy are not mutually exclusive,” said Echo-Hawk. “Fear and distrust of government and medical systems still exist in our community, which are hurdles that we have to overcome.”

Echo-Hawk hopes the report can start to create a better understanding of the unique perspectives of Native people.

“The data indicates that most Native people willing to be vaccinated feel it is their responsibility for the health of their community,” Echo-Hawk said. “This shows what motivates our community when it comes to decision-making.”

Report key findings:

  • 75% of participants were willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 74% of participants claimed that getting vaccinated is their responsibility to their community.
  • 89% of participants wanted evidence that the vaccine is safe right now and in the long term.
  • 39% of all participants reported difficulty traveling to their clinic for an appointment.
  • Two-thirds of participants willing to get vaccinated were confident that COVID-19 vaccines were adequately tested for safety and effectiveness among Native people.
  • 75% of participants willing to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.
  • 25% of participants were unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 90% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated recognized COVID-19 as a serious disease.
  • 89% of participants unwilling to get vaccinated had concerns about potential side effects.

Covid-19 Reaches Dangerous Levels in the U.S.

By Hannah DiPilato 

As summer turns to fall, many cases of Coronavirus in The United States are beginning to spike. Fourteen states have set hospitalization records due to the virus and officials are concerned about how the virus will progress. 

According to the Covid Tracking Project, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, all reported their highest number of hospitalizations this past week. 

The director for the National Institutes for Health, Dr. Francis Collins, told National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Tuesday that his family would not be gathering for Thanksgiving. 

“It is just not safe to take that kind of chance with people coming from different parts of the country of uncertain status,” said Collins. “The problem with this disease is it is so easy for people to be infected and not know it, and then spread it to the ones next to them without realizing it.”

“All of this, I’m afraid, happens because we have not succeeded in this country in introducing really effective public health measures,” he continued.

Deaths in the U.S. have now reached over 220,000 and experts are concerned this number will continue to escalate. The average of new daily cases was over 58,300, the highest the average has been since August.

It seems the most spikes are happening in the “Midwest, Great Plains and parts of the West,” according to CNN. Pennsylvania is on its 15th consecutive day of reporting over 1,000 coronavirus cases. Although, New York City, which got hit harder at the beginning of the pandemic, has not seen a marked increase in deaths. 

“We are not seeing an increase in overall deaths and that’s been true over the last several weeks to several months,” said Dave Chokshi commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Human Services. “The total number of deaths per day is averaging in the single digits.” 

New York City’s rate of positive tests is 2.52% and in open schools, the rate is only 0.17%. In other states, the positive rates are not so promising. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida has reported 3,662 new cases of the virus and 86 additional deaths on Tuesday. 

Experts are warning that things regarding coronavirus are only going to get worse, predicting a bleak fall and winter. Vaccine scientist, Peter Hotez, reported that the next few months will be the worst of the pandemic. 

“The key is now hanging on now for the next four or five months, where we’re going to enter what may be the worst period during this epidemic,” said Hotez. “As bad as it’s been, it’s about to get worse.”

Covid Mental Health illustration by Mina Tocalini

Covid Long Haul

By Mina Tocalini

A report from the BBC addresses the neurological symptoms of Coronavirus, which are believed to be linked to depleted levels of oxygen (hypoxia) or an over engaged immune system (cytokine storm). However, new evidence indicates that the virus is capable of infecting the brain and spinal cord by crossing the blood-brain barrier

This suggests that the virus could permanently find a home in the central nervous system and reappear in the future, as seen with the development of Shingles in individuals who had Chickenpox. If the virus is capable of infecting the brain, how else could it affect our mental health?

Years after the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, some patients continued to experience a long lasting depression, among other symptoms, due to neurological damage to dopamine neurons in the brain. Similarly, the Coronavirus experience has demonstrated this “long-hauler” behavior. A Body Politic survey reported that individuals endured mental and physical exhaustion, such as: fatigue, chills, trouble sleeping and loss of appetite for up to 5-7 weeks.

As a result, although some may consider the potentially mild experience to be little to no threat, it is important to acknowledge the complexity of this virus and assume all precautions necessary. Afterall, who knows what future infections could arise from Coronavirus? Or how your body will react to the virus for weeks on end.

Coronavirus has reshaped our lives, yet some are reluctant to adjust. Next time you go out, ask yourself, is my health/ the health of others worth it? Each one of us has the power to stop the spread, don’t be part of the problem. Be vigilant with your behavior, wear a mask, commit to social distancing and help keep your community safe.

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Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Covid Death Reports

New research by a team at the MIT Sloan School of Management estimates that COVID-19 cases and deaths are 12 times and 1.5 times higher than official reports, respectively.  The study examined 84 of the most affected nations, spanning 4.75 billion people.  The researchers estimate 88.5 million cases and 600 thousand deaths through June 18, 2020. 

Despite substantial under-reporting, however, these nations remain well below the level needed for herd immunity.  Absent breakthroughs in treatment or vaccines, and with only mild improvements in policies to control the pandemic, the researchers estimate a total of 249 million (186-586) cases and 1.75 million (1.40-3.67) deaths by Spring 2021.

Earlier and stronger policies to reduce transmission when the pandemic was first declared, together with the deployment of extensive testing, could have averted approximately 197,000 deaths, nearly one third of the estimated total.

However, they say, future cases and deaths are now less dependent on testing and more contingent on the willingness of communities and governments to reduce transmission, such as by reducing contacts with others, physical distancing, and better hygiene, including masks. 

The nations with the highest estimated percentage of their populations infected to date include Ecuador (18%), Peru (16.6%), Chile (15.5%), Mexico (8.8%), Iran (7.9%), Qatar (7.3%), Spain (7.1%), USA (5.3%), UK (5.2%), and the Netherlands (4.8%).

The paper, Estimating the Global Spread of COVID-19, is co-authored by MIT Sloan’s Hazhir Rahmandad, Associate Professor of System Dynamics; Professor John Sterman, Director of the MIT Systems Dynamics Group; and Ph.D. candidate Tse Yang Lim.

Using data for all 84 countries with reliable testing data (spanning 4.75 billion people), they developed a dynamic epidemiological model integrating data on cases, deaths, excess mortality and other factors to estimate how asymptomatic cases, disease acuity, hospitalization, and behavioral and policy responses to risk affect COVID transmission and the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR)—the probability of death after becoming infected—across nations and over time. IFR depends not only on the age and health of the population, but on the adequacy of health care and the effectiveness of protections for the most vulnerable, including the elderly.  The researchers estimate IFR to be 0.68% on average (0.64%-0.7%), but find it varies substantially across nations: approximately 0.56% for Iceland, 0.64% New Zealand, 0.99% for the USA, 1.59% for the UK, and 2.08% for Italy.

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