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December 16, 2022

COVID News Watch

More Than 7 Million Incorrect Diagnoses Made in U.S. Emergency Rooms Every Year + More

The Defender’s COVID NewsWatch provides a roundup of the latest headlines related to the SARS CoV-2 virus, including its origins and COVID vaccines. The views expressed in the excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender.

COVID News Watch

More Than 7 Million Incorrect Diagnoses Made in U.S. Emergency Rooms Every Year, Government Report Finds

CNN Health reported:

A new study finds that nearly 6% of the estimated 130 million people who go to U.S. emergency rooms every year are misdiagnosed, which translates to about 1 in 18 patients getting the wrong diagnosis.

The report, published Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, reviewed nearly 300 studies published between January 2000 and September 2021.

The researchers estimate that 7.4 million misdiagnosis errors are made every year, 2.6 million people receive harm that could have been prevented and another 370,000 are permanently disabled or die because of the misdiagnosis. This equates to about 1,400 diagnostic errors every year per emergency room across the country.

The researchers noted that these rates are on par with what is also seen in primary care and hospital inpatient settings.

Spending More Time With Your Kids, Grandkids — and Their Germs — May Lower Risk of a Severe Outcome From COVID, Recent Studies Show

CNBC reported:

For parents, guardians and other people who interact with smaller children (and their germs) often, contracting an illness like the common cold could actually help strengthen your immune system against severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection. That’s according to two studies that were published in August and November of this year, which researched how exposure to younger kids and common colds may impact outcomes for adults after contracting COVID-19.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in August, discovered an association between people who were exposed to young children and a lower risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

While adults with children had higher rates of COVID-19 infection than those without kids, adults without exposure to children had “significantly higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization and hospitalization requiring ICU admission, compared to those with children aged 0–5,” the study says.

The November study, also published in PNAS, examined the relationship between recent exposure to common-cold coronaviruses and the likelihood of being infected by SARS-CoV-2, more commonly referred to as COVID-19. The findings showed that the chances of Veteran Affairs patients contracting COVID-19 decreased by 80% to 90% if they tested positive for any of the common coronaviruses between February 2020 and February 2021.

New York Times Falsely Reports Percentage of COVID Deaths

The Epoch Times reported:

The New York Times falsely reported that about three out of every 100 people diagnosed with COVID-19 die, a falsehood the outlet later acknowledged. In a Dec. 14 story claiming COVID-19 can spread from dead people, reporter Apoorva Mandavilli wrote that “up to 70% of those infected with Ebola die, compared with about 3% of those diagnosed with COVID-19.”

There are two measures of fatalities from a disease: infection fatality ratio (IFR) and case fatality ratio (CFR). The first takes all infections and adds estimated ones drawn from serological testing and modeling. The second is drawn from only confirmed cases, so is always higher, due to how many COVID-19 cases are undiagnosed.

According to one recent estimate, the IFR ranges from 0.49% to 2.5% — but is much lower for those who aren’t elderly.

After The Epoch Times asked the New York Times for data to support Mandavilli’s claim, the paper updated the article. “Up to 70% of those infected with Ebola die. The figure for COVID is nowhere near as high — greater than 3% in the early days of the pandemic, and something closer to 1%  or even less now,” the piece now states.

U.S. FDA Advisers to Weigh on Updating Initial COVID Vaccine Doses

Reuters reported:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday it planned to hold a meeting of outside experts next month to discuss whether initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines need to be updated to combat circulating variants.

While updated booster doses from Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) are already approved for adults as well as children as young as five years, the FDA said it was important to weigh in on the composition of both initial and booster doses as new variants spread.

The independent advisers, who are scheduled to meet on Jan. 26, are also expected to weigh in on whether the timing or composition of booster doses needs to be adjusted.

New Poll Shows Why Some Adults Aren’t Getting the COVID Booster

ABC News reported:

About four in 10 adults say they’ve gotten the new bivalent booster or will get it as soon as they can, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor. In the survey, 22% of adults said they have gotten the shot, while around 16% said they will soon. The data differ slightly from the numbers provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that 15.5% of adults have gotten the bivalent booster dose so far.

For adults 65 and older, who are at the highest risk of COVID-19, the KFF survey found uptake is slightly higher — around 39%. And again, another 16% say they intend to get the booster soon. But this still leaves more than half of older adults without the shot and without any intention of getting one.

Among people who have already gotten the original COVID vaccine series but have not rolled up their sleeves for a booster, the most common response from adults (44%) was that they don’t think they need one.

More than a third, or 37%, said they didn’t think the benefits are worth it. Another third, or 36%, said they were too busy or hadn’t had time. About a quarter said they didn’t want to deal with bad side effects, while 17% said they were waiting to see if there would be a surge in their area first.

Study Claims Unvaccinated People More Likely to Be Reckless, Cause Traffic Accidents

ZeroHedge reported:

A new study released this month by members of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at Toronto University in Canada makes the bizarre claim that being unvaccinated is an indicator of psychological risk-taking and recklessness.

The authors, Donald A. Redelmeier, MD, Jonathan Wang, MMASc, and Deva Thiruchelvam, Msc, argue that data involving traffic accidents in which one or more people are admitted to the hospital for injuries shows a correlation between vaccination status and car wrecks.

The first question one might ask is why in the world anyone would engage in such a study in the first place. The notion is out of left field and requires a couple of initial assumptions — that unvaccinated people are a monolithic group that shares the same psychological motivators, and that those motivators are dangerous. Without this rather biased assumption, it’s unlikely that a group of doctors or scientists would dream up the study in the first place.

The authors of the study are all members of the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty and the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. This faculty and section of the university were funded by a $250 million grant from James C. Temerty and the Temerty Foundation in 2020; it was the single largest gift in Canadian history. The money was designated to various areas of the university, but a large portion went directly into COVID-19 research projects.

Report: Intelligence Agencies Didn’t Move Fast Enough to Collect COVID Data

Politico reported:

The intelligence community was not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and did not move quickly enough to gather information about the spread of the virus, according to a report released Thursday by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The report looks at the intelligence community’s response to COVID-19, particularly in the early days of 2020. The intelligence agencies’ clandestine collectors largely focused on analyzing data about the virus that was already being discussed openly by public health officials and experts across the world, the report said, arguing that they moved too slowly to collect clandestine information.

And the intelligence community did not begin to provide that information to senior Trump administration officials until the end of January — weeks after the virus was already circulating across the world and after international health organizations had begun tracking the virus, the report said. The U.S. reported its first case on Jan. 18 and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not issue a directive for “enhanced community-wide collection” until Jan. 29, 2020.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a different report on Thursday focusing on how the intelligence community handled the question of COVID’s origins. It accused the intelligence community of failing to adequately address the question of whether there is a potential link between COVID-19 and China’s biological weapons efforts.

Long COVID Medical Costs Average $9,500 in First Six Months, as Patients Become ‘Health-System Wanderers’

CNBC reported:

Long COVID results in $9,500 of total average medical costs for workers and their employers in the six months following a diagnosis, according to a study by Nomi Health. Long COVID is a chronic illness that can carry potentially debilitating symptoms, which may last for months or years. It can impact anyone who has an initial COVID-19 infection, regardless of age or health.

Up to 30% of Americans who get COVID have developed long-haul symptoms; that means as many as 23 million Americans have been affected, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Long COVID patients are “health-system wanderers,” said Mark Newman, CEO and co-founder of Nomi Health. “They’re like nomads through the healthcare system, trying to figure out ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

Is COVID a Common Cold Yet?

The Atlantic reported:

Now, nearly three years into the crisis, the virus is more familiar, and its symptoms are too. Put three sick people in the same room this winter — one with COVID, another with a common cold and the third with the flu — and “it’s way harder to tell the difference,” Summer Chavez, an emergency physician at the University of Houston, told me.

Today’s most common COVID symptoms are mundane: sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing and headache. And several of the wonkier ones that once hogged headlines have become rare. More people are weathering their infections with their taste and smell intact; many can no longer remember when they last considered the scourge of “COVID toes.”

Even fever, a former COVID classic, no longer cracks the top-20 list from the ZOE Health Study, a long-standing symptom-tracking project based in the United Kingdom, according to Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London who heads the project. Longer, weirder, more serious illness still manifests, but for most people, SARS-CoV-2’s symptoms are getting “pretty close to other viruses’, and I think that’s reassuring,” Spector told me. “We are moving toward a cold-like illness.”

Tamiflu: Is the in-Demand Flu Treatment Safe to Take?

Fortune reported:

Like many other medications on the market, Tamiflu—a popular treatment for flu symptoms—is experiencing a shortage, much like Children’s Tylenol and amoxicillin. Doctors are prescribing the oral antiviral drug to help lessen the chances of complications from the flu, but some people are questioning its safety after learning about potential risks for kids and other side effects. Is Tamiflu safe? Medical experts say yes.

A study out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center is set to explore the neurological impact of the flu treatment. According to researchers, some flu patients have experienced “neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as behavior changes, hallucinations, and even attempted suicide,” says the VUMC Reporter. However, it’s unknown whether the symptoms are the result of the infection itself or Tamiflu.

Dr. Rachel Amdur, assistant professor of general internal medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, says that historically Japan has used Tamiflu in larger amounts than the United States and there have been reports of neuropsychiatric side effects, such as delirium, suicide and suicide attempts, with the medication, particularly in adolescents. But subsequent studies have not validated this concern.

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