Tanya Lewis, Josh Fishman, Acute Infection discussed on 60-Second Science


Pandemic bring you up to speed on the science behind the most urgent questions about the virus and the disease we this defy research and you understand what it really means. I'm tanya lewis. I'm josh fishman. And where scientific. American senior health editors. Today we'll talk about clinics for long-haul cova patients the rise of the delta vary. And what you knew about it and using barbershops to get vaccines to communities. That need them most early. In the pandemic there were some reports of people with odd symptoms such as fatigue and memory issues that continued long after their acute infection. Now these long haulers are getting some specialized help more and more. Data's coming out about long cohen. That's serious physical and mental effects that can last half the year after people. I get infected. The latest study came out last week in the journal. Nature medicine researchers looked at health records for a few hundred people in bergen norway. That was almost everyone in the city. Diagnosed with cohen. During several months in twenty twenty overall sixty one percent of the group had symptoms six months after they were first infected. Their most common problem was fatigue followed by difficulty concentrating. Disturb smell or taste memory trouble and a hard time breathing to striking things about these patients. One was that many had just a mild or moderate case of kobe at the star. The other was that a were young age. Sixteen to thirty other. Studies have reported similar symptom cluster. Such as one by university washington. Researchers that found about thirty percent of people was covered. Had these lingering troubles to doctors know what's causing these problems. That still a mystery. Tanya some people have organ damage related to the virus infection but some do not doctors are trying to figure out how best to treat them. Siam contributor melville newsome wrote this week about new covered recovery clinics that treat the whole patient rather than making people run from a lung doctor to a neurologist to an immunologist patients say the coordinated care helps and they feel more hopeful since they're being taken seriously and not dismissed as crank cases the nih is also taking it seriously spending about a billion dollars to study the disease. It now has an official job breaker of name post acute so calais of sars kobe to infection melba notes. However there's racial imbalance showing up at these clinics overwhelmingly. The people referred there are white but people of color are more likely to get cove it so access barriers. Such as lack of health insurance are likely keeping care away from many people who need it. It's yet another burden added to the healthy body. that's already hurting people. In the pandemic. Let's talk about the delta variant. It's red for more than seventy countries and it's now the dominant variant in the us. How worried should we be. The delta variant is definitely concerning particularly for unvaccinated people. It's already causing another surge in the uk where it makes up the vast majority of cases and a company that's been tracking virus sequences in the us estimates this variant now counts for about forty percent of cases. Here making it more than twice as prevalent as the alpha variant. That was previously the most common. As you've noted before josh research from the uk suggests delta is at least forty percent more transmissible than alpha and almost twice as likely to result in hospitalization. The data are a bit murky on whether it actually causes more severe disease or not though so far it hasn't actually caused a huge uptick in hospitalizations or deaths in the uk. Still it's spreading widely in the us. Where only about half. The population is fully vaccinated far less in some areas experts. Say it's not likely to cause another devastating nationwide surge like the one. We had last winter but it will probably lead to flare ups in some states. Where fewer people have been vaccinated such as alabama or mississippi and the risk could increase in places where hotter temperatures or more people to spend time in air conditioned indoor settings where the corona virus can easily spread. The sounds pretty grim. What can we do about it. The good news is that the vaccines work. More data from the uk show that two doses of the pfizer vaccine were ninety six percent effective at preventing hospitalization and two doses of the astrazeneca vaccine were ninety two percent effective but need both shots. A single dose of astrazeneca was only seventy one percent effective at preventing hospitalization and one dose of both vaccines was only around thirty four percent effective at preventing infection. We don't know yet how. Well the johnson and johnson vaccine works against the delta variant but it's likely to provide some protection meanwhile the world health organization is urging even vaccinated people to keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing just to be on the safe side given how much viruses still circulating. Cdc has not changed. Its guidance. Though it's still says vaccinated people don't need a mask unless they want to but with the delta being so transmissible it couldn't hurt to err on the side of caution. There are still plenty of people who are skeptical about getting vaccinated sometimes for valid reasons. Now some efforts are trying to build trust by reaching people in their neighbourhoods. The rate of cova. Vaccinations among people of color. Lags behind that of white people access barriers are one reason for this and so are negative experiences with the medical profession that we distrust lack run. Barber shops and hair salons may be able to counter. Some of this says stephen. Thomas who directs the university of maryland center for health equity for the last fifteen years hamas has been researching the trust placed in barbers and stylus by their communities. And he says it's a powerful thing he's been training these people to help educate their clients about ways to prevent diseases such as diabetes. Now this expertise is helping with co vaccines thomas's group is part of a white house shots at the shop campaign. Barbers and stylus are getting trained to talk to people about the benefits of vaccines versus the risks building on long relationships these conversations which can happen while snipping and combing are not lectures. And they're not magic and they don't convince all downers but they do have an effect on many people. Some shops have become up vaccination sites staffed by local health clinics solving access problems by bringing free vaccines into the neighborhood. Thomas's project is called the health advocates in reach and research and that rebates naturally to pay..

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