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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Global Covid death count is double the current estimates, new analysis shows

More than 6.9 million people have died from Covid-19, according to a new analysis from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — which is more than twice the current estimated global death toll from the infection. In the U.S. alone, the new estimate finds that 905,000 people likely died from Covid-19, up 38% from the CDC's current figure of nearly 562,000 deaths. The estimates — which are a count of deaths directly caused by Covid-19 and not related causes — are likely higher because hospital systems have been so overwhelmed and because of insufficient testing, according to the scientists who conducted the analysis. STAT's Helen Branswell has more here

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offers protection to health workers against Covid-19 and symptoms

Two newly published studies find that health workers vaccinated against Covid-19 with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had lower rates of infection, especially symptomatic illness, than workers who hadn't been vaccinated. In one study, conducted in more than 6,700 health workers in Israel, only eight of the more than 5,500 fully vaccinated workers had symptomatic Covid infection, compared to 38 of the nearly 760 unvaccinated health workers who fell ill. Unvaccinated workers were also 14% more likely to have asymptomatic infection. Another study, which looked at data from more than 5,200 workers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, found fewer infections — but more likely to be asymptomatic — among vaccinated workers than unvaccinated workers. 

New report highlights high rate of injury among older adults

Injuries are a leading cause of death among older adults, and a new CDC report finds that in 2018, there were about 2.4 million emergency department visits among adults aged 65 and older due to injuries. In all, there were more than 700,000 hospitalizations in this group due to injury-related ED visits. The overwhelming majority of the injuries were unintentional. Women had nearly 42% more unintentional fall injuries than men, while men were more likely to have opioid-overdose-related visits to the ED. To raise awareness about injuries in older adults, the CDC also just launched a new campaign called Still Going Strong to bring attention to ways people can age without injury. 

Inside STAT: As the Covid-19 crisis ebbs in the U.S., experts await a long-term impact on mental health


The most dire phase of the pandemic seems to be ending in the U.S., and as some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy returns, mental health experts are warning of a looming burden on an already-strained system. While many people may welcome the return of old activities, the trauma of the pandemic may mean others may emerge from the crisis with more mental health distress than before. With some of the daily stressors of the pandemic — such as worry about catching the infection or children staying home from school — may fade away, the underlying trauma that people may have repressed may surface.  “At what point do we get to breathe?” Theresa Nguyen, the chief program officer at Mental Health America, tells STAT's Andrew Joseph. “And when you breathe, that’s when grief and processing can start to enter your mind.” Read more here

Paid sick leave in New York City could help reduce the need for ED visits

Paid sick leave is associated with fewer emergency department visits and more regular health screenings, according to a new study. The study looked at data from Medicaid recipients in New York City after it implemented a paid sick leave mandate in 2014. Paid sick leave was associated with a small, but statistically significant, dip in the likelihood of needing ED care as well as care for something that could be treated at a primary care center. At the same time, among middle-aged adults, paid leave was linked to an increase in likelihood of preventive screening, including A1C testing for diabetes and colorectal cancer screening. The U.S. is among a minority of nations to not have a federal paid sick leave mandate, but the findings suggest such a mandate could help prevent overcrowding in EDs. 

Sugary drink consumption in teenage years linked to a higher risk of bowel cancer by age 50

A study of more than 41,000 U.S. nurses finds daily consumption of two or more sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to double the risk of developing bowel cancer before the age of 50. High amounts of sugar could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity, which are in turn risk factors for bowel cancers. Researchers had the nurses report what they had eaten and drank during their teenage years, and found that each daily serving of a sweetened drink was associated with a 16% higher risk of developing cancer, but those who had two or more drinks as teens had a 32% higher chance of developing bowel cancer by 50. Overall, 109 women in the study had developed cancer by the time they turned 50. The study mostly involved white women and was observational, and so can't establish cause or be generalized to other racial groups or genders. 

Covid-19 in the U.S.

Cases yesterday: 47,466
Deaths yesterday: 789

What to read around the web today

  • International students heading to California colleges navigate vaccine, visa hurdles. CalMatters
  • In an Indian city, obituaries reveal missing coronavirus deaths and untold suffering. The Washington Post
  • How to detect, resist and counter the flood of fake news. Science News
  • ‘Heartbreak on top of heartbreak’: California’s first surgeon general navigates the pandemic. Los Angeles Times
  • Why some researchers oppose unrestricted sharing of coronavirus genome data. Nature

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone can find a safe way to celebrate motherhood — whatever that means to you and with whomever fulfills that role in your life — on Sunday! See you next week, 

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