Wednesday, September 7, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Over 10 Million Children Lost Parents, Caregivers During Covid

Excess mortality data from the World Health Organization shows that around 7.5 million children worldwide were orphaned through covid, and 3 million more lost a primary caregiver. In other news, there’s mystery over why new covid variants have seemingly stalled in growth.

USA Today:
COVID Left 10.5M Children Without Parents Or Caregivers, Study Finds

Worldwide, an estimated 10.5 million children were either orphaned or lost a primary caregiver due to COVID-19, according to a study published Tuesday. The study, in JAMA Pediatrics, examined the World Health Organization’s data on excess mortality as of May 2022, finding that the majority of those children – 7.5 million – were orphaned while 3 million children lost a primary caregiver. (Stanton, 9/6)

The Washington Post:
10.5 Million Children Lost A Parent Or Caregiver Because Of Covid, Study Says 

Among the countries with the highest rates of parent and caregiver deaths are Bolivia, Peru, Namibia, Egypt, Bulgaria, South Africa, Ecuador, Eswatini, Botswana and Guyana, the analysis found. Before the pandemic, there were an estimated 140 million orphaned children worldwide. Children in countries with lower vaccination rates and higher fertility rates were more likely to be affected, according to the modeling analysis, which is based on deaths that exceeded what would normally be expected in a year. (Cha, 9/6)

In updates on the spread of covid —

ABC News:
Mystery As To Why New COVID Variants Have Stalled In Growth

Throughout much of the pandemic, there has been a constant shifting in terms of which COVID-19 variants are most dominant, at a given time, in the U.S. However, for the last five weeks, federal data shows that there has been little to no growth in the different proportions of COVID-19 variants in the country. (Mitropoulos, 9/6)

AP:
EXPLAINER: Is COVID-19 Winding Down? Scientists Say No

Is the coronavirus on its way out? You might think so. New, updated booster shots are being rolled out to better protect against the variants circulating now. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped COVID-19 quarantine and distancing recommendations. And more people have thrown off their masks and returned to pre-pandemic activities. But scientists say no. They predict the scourge that’s already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future. (Ungar, 9/6)

Stat:
As Masks Are Shed, Medical Offices Pose Covid Risk For Some 

In May, Sarah Fama had to get blood work done before refilling a prescription for an autoimmune disorder. Because her condition put her at high risk for Covid-19, and she lives with her parents, both in their 80s, she checked the lab’s website, which stated that masks were required inside. (Molteni, 9/7)

CIDRAP:
Mobile App Detects COVID-19 Infection In People’s Voices

A mobile smartphone app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately detect COVID-19 infections in people’s voices, according to research presented this week at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The developers of the app said the program detected infections with more accuracy than lateral flow or rapid antigen tests, and is cheaper than a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The app was accurate in detecting infection 89% of the time. Participants provided several audio samples, which included coughing, reading a short sentence, and breathing deeply through the mouth. (9/6)

In other pandemic news from Montana and West Virginia —

ProPublica:
Montana COVID Policy Brought A Hospital To The Brink

Montana’s GOP-led COVID response brought waves of patients to a Helena hospital, forcing health care workers to make difficult care decisions for COVID and non-COVID patients alike. (Thompson and Deam, 9/6)

AP:
WVa Health Officer To Step Down, Return To Private Practice 

West Virginia will be looking for its third health officer since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday that Dr. Ayne Amjad is stepping down effective Oct. 1. She will continue to serve as a senior health adviser and appear in the governor’s weekly COVID-19 briefings. (9/6)

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