Steve Inskeep, Sarah Mccammon, Allison Aubrey discussed on Morning Edition
It's morning edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, and I'm Sarah McCammon. Another pandemic milestone is approaching, nearly 600,000 people have died from Covid 19 in the US. This comes at a time when new cases have declined more than 90% since the winter highs. NPR's Allison Aubrey joins us to talk about this and also about a health condition that has been on the rise but under recognized amid the pandemic. Nelson. Good morning, Sarah. So as we approach this 600,000 death mark, it seems like a stark reminder of the told the pandemic. Yeah, I mean, the pandemic is easing up, and with so much of the return to normal or normal ish, it's easy to overlook that it's not completely over. The U. S. Is still losing about 375 people a day. That's a huge drop compared to the few 1000 deaths a day back in the winter, but it's a reminder of how deadly the virus can be. And the importance of the ongoing vaccination push. As of today, about 64% of adults in the U. S have gotten at least their first dose, and it's clear that getting more people vaccinated as soon as possible so important. So the situation clearly is improving Fewer deaths, fewer cases. But there's still a lot of talk Alison about some of the ripple effects from the pandemic, some of the other health conditions linked to it. You've been looking into one in particular. What medical experts I guess called tinnitus. What a lot of us call tonight. It's or ringing in the ear. What are you finding there? Well tended is is basically the perception of ringing in the ear when there's no external noise. Actually there, Some people describe the sound as a buzzing or even like crickets or as a queda like sound. The CDC estimates that about 15% of people experience some form of tinnitus. An estimated 20 million people have chronic cases, and sometimes it's debilitating. There are also intermittent and temporary cases. Survey research done during the pandemic, found that among people who already had tinnitus, many reported it got worse. I spoke to L. Draibi ECUs of Lamar University who is one of the study authors. During the pandemic for those people that have pre existing committees that their experiences were worse due to the changes the pandemic brought on lifestyle. Because I know there's a link between anxiety and increased stress and tinnitus either initiating or worsening. So in general people who were lonely, isolated or stressed, the more bothersome, the ringing tended to be. So is the condition actually caused by the stress or is stressed something that makes it worse. You know, the onset of tendencies can be linked to a bunch of things. Hearing loss is one other potential triggers include TMJ issues, trauma to the head. Or even Sinus pressure, and the survey found. Some people develop tinnitus just after a covid infection. Now it's often hard to pinpoint the catalyst. That's the case with Elizabeth Fraser. She's in her early sixties she developed at last fall. She told me she realized that stress can heighten the intensity of the ringing in her ears. Mind just just like this high pitched sonic sound, and when it first started, I was mostly so highly distressed and panic because I was bewildered. Where did this come from? What have I done wrong? Um, and it was miserable because I couldn't get away from it. It just felt like this invasion in my head, and it doesn't Necessarily feel like it's isolated to the ear, so I was really distressed. It was as if the ringing was the only thing she could focus on Sarah and it was driving her mad. Yeah. I mean, that sounds pretty awful. Was she able to do anything about.