Sources and updates, March 12

  • COVID-19 polling data from Axios/Ipsos: During the workshop I led at NICAR last weekend, one attendee (who works at the market research company Ipsos) recommended that journalists and researchers interested in Long COVID data should check out the Axios/Ipsos polling project to track American attitudes on COVID-19. Recent iterations of the poll have included questions about Long COVID, and the polling results are broken out by demographics (age, race, houeshold income). The surveys ask many other COVID-19 questions as well, such as attitudes about masking. To access the data, you can download PDFs from the Ipsos site or spreadsheets from Roper.
  • CDC provides guidance for Long COVID deaths: The CDC National Center for Health Statistics has started to add information about Long COVID to its guidance for death certificates, following a report that the agency published in December about deaths from Long COVID. The guidance now explains that SARS-CoV-2 “can have lasting effects on nearly every organ and organ system of the body weeks, months, and potentially years after infection,” and can contribute to premature death months or years after a patient’s original infection. For context, see MuckRock’s report on Long COVID deaths from December.
  • Long COVID gastrointestinal symptoms: Ziyad Al-Aly and his team at the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System have a new paper in Nature about long-term gastrointestinal symptoms following COVID-19. Using the VA electronic health records database, the researchers compared 150,000 people who’d had COVID-19 to millions of controls. They found people with COVID-19 had elevated risks of many gastrointestinal disorders (including acid-related illness, intestinal disorders, pancreatitis, and more) in the year following their acute cases, compared to the controls. GI symptoms have long been an under-publicized aspect of COVID-19 and Long COVID.
  • Clinical trial for Long COVID shows promising results: And one more Long COVID study: researchers at the University of Minnesota examined the potential for three common medications to lower risk of Long COVID. This study was a blinded, randomized control trial—the gold standard of medical research. One of the drugs tested, metformin (which is a common medication for type 2 diabetes), led to a significantly lower risk of Long COVID compared to the placebo. The study hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, but it shows promising results for metformin as a potential Long COVID treatment option.
  • Examining trust in public health agencies: Another new paper, published this week in Health Affairs, shares results from a survey of about 4,200 U.S. adults (a nationally representative sample) about trust in public health agencies. The survey suggested that trust in federal agencies is connected to perceptions of scientific expertise, while trust in state and local agencies is more tied to “perceptions of hard work, compassionate policy, and direct services.” Survey respondents who reported the least trust in public health cied concerns about political influence, private sector influence, inconsistency, and excessive restrictions.
  • Some parents lied about children’s COVID-19 status: One more notable survey study, published this week in JAMA Network Open: researchers at Middlesex Community College (in Connecticut) and University of Utah Health, among other collaborators, surveyed a group of 1,700 U.S. parents about COVID-19 protective measures for their children. The study found about 26% of respondents reported lying about or misrepresenting their child’s COVID-19 status in order to break quarantine rules. Common motivations for this behavior were wanting to “exercise personal freedom as a parent,” not being able to miss work or other responsibilities, and wanting kids to have normal experiences. The results suggest “a serious public health challenge” for continued COVID-19 outbreaks and other infectious diseases, the paper’s authors write.
  • Maternal mortality during the pandemic: MuckRock (where I work part-time) has published new analysis showing a significant increase in maternal deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on CDC mortality data. The death rate for women ages 15 to 44 went from about 29 deaths per 100,000 births in 2019 to 46 deaths per 100,000 births in 2021. Death rates were significantly higher for Black women and in states with more restrictive policies on maternal healthcare. You can find the full analysis (including a selection of state-level data) here.

Leave a Reply