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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

New data reveals pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness and death if they contract the coronavirus, the CDC said Monday in a shift from its health advisory from June.

Why it matters: Pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 were more likely to require ventilation, and had a 70% increased chance of death compared to non-pregnant women with symptoms.

The big picture: Researchers say the increased risk might be related to physiologic changes in pregnancy, like increased heart rate and oxygen consumption, decreased lung capacity, a shift away from cell-mediated immunity and increased risk for thromboembolic disease.

  • 409,462 symptomatic women between ages 15 to 44 were studied, including 23,434 pregnant women.
  • Pregnant women are three times more likely to be admitted to an ICU and to require mechanical ventilation.

Noteworthy: Though the sample was not nationally representative, another CDC study released Monday said women who tested positive for COVID-19 were at an increased risk of delivering babies prematurely.

  • The findings are consistent with earlier studies showing slightly higher percentages of pre-term deliveries among women diagnosed with COVID-19.

Go deeper

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
14 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.