A couple of additional news items for this week:
- Two House Democrats called on the CDC to release more Long COVID data. This week, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (from Massachusetts) and Rep. Don Beyer (from Virginia) sent the CDC a letter insisting that the agency report estimates of Long COVID infection numbers, including demographic breakdowns by race, gender, and age. “Collecting and publishing robust, disaggregated demographic data will help us better understand this illness and ensure that we are targeting lifesaving resources to those who need them most,” said Rep. Pressley in a statement to the Washington Post. While studies that may, theoretically, help provide such data are in the works via the National Institutes of Health’s RECOVER consortium, the consortium has yet to release any results. Long COVID continues to represent one of the biggest COVID-19 data gaps in the U.S.
- We don’t know yet whether cannabis can treat COVID-19, despite promising early studies. Recent studies have shown that CBD, along with other products containing marijuana and hemp, has some capacity to block coronavirus spread in the body in lab-grown cells and in mice. The studies were quickly turned into sensationalist headlines, even though it’s too early to say whether these products could actually be used to treat COVID-19. An excellent STAT News article by Nicholas Florko and Andrew Joseph describes the studies and their limitations, as well as how these early reports of COVID-19 treatment potential are “adding to the FDA’s existing CBD headache” when it comes to regulating these products.
- Have you received your free at-home rapid tests from the USPS yet? Last week, I described the federal government’s effort to distribute at-home rapid tests to Americans free of charge, along with the equity issues that have come with this initiative so far. This week, I saw some reports on social media indicating that people have started receiving their tests! Have you gotten your tests yet? If you have, I would love to hear from you—in absence of formal data from the USPS, maybe we can do some informal data collection on test shipping times within the COVID-19 Data Dispatch community.
Note: this title and format are inspired by Rob Meyer’s Weekly Planet newsletter.