Key point: At 6 months after acute infection, COVID-19 survivors (n=1733 enrolled in study) were mainly troubled with fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep difficulties, and anxiety or depression. Patients who were more severely ill during their hospital stay had more severe impaired pulmonary diffusion capacities and abnormal chest imaging manifestations
Topical steroids were most effective in inducing histologic remission: 54.8% compared to 36.1% for PPIs and 18.5% for empiric elimination diet; histologic remission and response was 67.7%, 49.7%, and 48.1% respectively.
Topical steroids were most effective in inducing clinical and histologic remission or response (in 67.7% of patients), followed by empiric elimination diets (in 52.0%), and PPIs (in 50.2%).
However, PPIs were the first-line treatment for 76.4% of patients, followed by topical steroids (for 10.5%) and elimination diets (for 7.8%).
My take: This data (and others) indicate that topical steroids are most effective pharmacologic therapy; at some point, I expect that they will become the most frequently used.
“Layering two less specialized masks on top of each other can provide comparable protection [to N95]. Dr. Marr recommended wearing face-hugging cloth masks over surgical masks, which tend to be made with more filter-friendly materials but fit more loosely. An alternative is to wear a cloth mask with a pocket that can be stuffed with filter material, like the kind found in vacuum bags.”
45% had mild (ALT <2 x ULN), 21% moderate (ALT 2-5 x ULN), and 6.4% severe liver injury (SLI) (ALT >5 x ULN).
Patients with SLI had a more severe clinical course, including higher rates of intensive care unit admission (69%), intubation (65%), renal replacement therapy (RRT; 33%), and mortality (42%).
In multivariable analysis, peak ALT was significantly associated with death or discharge to hospice (OR, 1.14; P = 0.044), controlling for age, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, intubation, and RRT
In China, reports indicate a “>2-fold increase in harmful drinking after COVID-19, an effect likely repeated in the United States where an estimated 12.7% of the population has AUD and ALD is responsible for the highest hospitalization cost burden among all chronic liver diseases (CLDs).”
Increased alcohol use is likely to worsen other chronic liver diseases in addition to ALD
In addition, all of these effects are compounded by avoidance of health care facilities and delays in care
My take: COVID-19 infections have direct effects on the liver. However, the increased use of alcohol as well as weight gain are likely to be more important in terms of liver-related morbidity and mortality.
The vast majority of patients with Covid-19 will manage the illness at home. Check in with your doctor early in the course of your illness, and make a plan for monitoring your health and checking in again if you start to feel worse.
If you feel sick, you should be tested for Covid-19. A dry cough, fatigue, headache, fever or loss of sense of smell are some of the common symptoms of Covid-19. After you take your test, stay isolated from others and alert the people you’ve spent time with over the last few days, so they can take precautions while you’re waiting for your result.
While every patient is different, doctors say that days five through 10 of the illness are often the most worrisome time for respiratory complications of Covid-19.
The vaccines will be much less effective at preventing death and illness in 2021 if they are introduced into a population where the coronavirus is raging — as is now the case in the United States.
An analogy may be helpful here, says David Leonhardt, who writes The Morning newsletter for The Times. He explains that a vaccine that’s 95 percent effective, as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s versions appear to be, is a powerful fire hose. But the size of a fire is still a bigger determinant of how much destruction occurs.
The print version has some additional advice. From Dr. Fauci: “We have crushed similar outbreaks historically. We did it with smallpox. We did it with polio, We did it with measles. We can do it with coronavirus…The future doesn’t need to be bleak. It’s within our hands to really shape the future, both by public health measures and by taking up the vaccine.”
Between November 1, 2020, and December 13, 2020, the 7-day moving average for daily COVID-19 deaths tripled, from 826 to 2430 deaths per day
As occurred in the spring, COVID-19 has become the leading cause of death in the United States (daily mortality rates for heart disease and cancer, which for decades have been the 2 leading causes of death, are approximately 1700 and 1600 deaths per day, respectively)
Vaccine Strategy: Nate Silver’s twitter feed suggests that after vaccination of medical personnel, focus of vaccine efforts should rely on age rather than at-risk conditions (which could affect 100 million in U.S). Using an age-based system would also be easier; it would minimize influence and wealth in the distribution of the vaccine.
“Excess mortality in younger adults: Among U.S. adults aged 25 to 44, there were 19% more deaths than expected — or 12,000 people — from March through July 2020. In JAMA, the researchers — including Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who has been nominated to lead the CDC — report that 38% of this excess mortality was directly from COVID-19, but that proportion varied by region. Deaths from COVID-19 were similar to or exceeded unintentional deaths from opioids in this age group in 2018 in several areas of the country. The authors write that this may be an underestimate of the COVID-19 mortality burden in younger adults, as they may have been undertested.”