Sources and updates, June 12

  • CDC investigating deaths from Long COVID: Researchers at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics are currently working to investigate potential deaths from Long COVID, according to a report from POLITICO. The researchers are reviewing death certificates from 2020 and 2021, looking for causes of death that may indicate a patient died from Long COVID symptoms rather than during the acute stage of the disease. There’s currently no death code associated with Long COVID and diagnoses can be highly variable, so the work is preliminary, but I’m really looking forward to seeing their results.
  • CDC reports on ventilation improvements in schools: And one notable CDC study that was published this week: researchers at the agency from COVID-19, occupational health, and other teams analyzed what K-12 public schools are doing to improve their ventilation. The report is based on a survey of 420 public schools in all 50 states and D.C., with results weighted to best represent all schools across the country. While a majority of schools have taken some measures to inspect their HVAC systems or increase ventilation by opening windows, holding activities outside, etc., only 39% of schools surveyed had actually replaced or upgraded their HVAC systems. A lot more work is needed in this area.
  • Results from the COVID-19 U.S. State Policy database: The Boston University team behind the COVID-19 U.S. State Policy database has published a paper in BMC Public Health sharing major findings from their work. The database (which I’ve shared in the CDD before) documents what states have done to curb COVID-19 spread and address economic hardship during the pandemic, as well as how states report COVID-19 data.  In their new paper, the BU team explains how this database may be used to analyze the impacts of these policy measures on public health.
  • Promising news about Moderna’s bivalent vaccine: Moderna, like other vaccine companies, has been working on versions of its COVID-19 vaccine that can protect better against new variants like Omicron. This week, the company announced results (in a press release, as usual) from a trial of a bivalent vaccine, which includes both genetic elements of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and of Omicron. The bivalent vaccine works much better than Moderna’s original vaccine at protecting against Omicron infection, Moderna said; still, scientists are skeptical about how the vaccine may fare against newer subvariants (BA.2.12.1, BA.4, BA.5).
  • Call center and survey from FYLPRO: A reader who works at the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) requested that I share two resources from their organization. First, the program has set up a call center aimed at helping vulnerable community members with their COVID-19 questions. The call center is available on weekdays from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Pacific time in both English and Tagalog; while it’s geared towards the Filipino community, anyone can call in. And second, FYLPRO has launched a nationwide survey to study vaccine attitudes among Filipinos; learn more about it here.

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