Wednesday's health stories

List of universities requiring vaccines grows and so does pushback

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The list of universities requiring vaccinations to return to campus in the fall is growing longer by the day.

Why it matters: With the mandates, universities are going where most corporations have not. The political and legal blowback is already taking shape.

Apr 7, 2021 - Health

CDC director: U.K. COVID variant now dominant strain in U.S.

Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool via Getty Images

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant that originated in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

Why it matters: Studies have shown the B.1.1.7 variant is more contagious than the original strain and is associated with a higher risk of death.

Apr 7, 2021 - Health

EU regulator finds "possible" link between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots

Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded Wednesday that "unusual blood clots with low blood platelets" should be listed as a "very rare" side effect of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, but that the benefits of the shot still outweigh the risks.

Why it matters: The AstraZeneca vaccine is the centerpiece of the global COVAX initiative, and one of the very few vaccines that is available, affordable and easy to store for many developing countries.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Apr 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Small business owners are shifting worries from COVID to inflation

A New York deli. Photo: Amir Hamja/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new poll of more than 10,000 small business owners finds that even as nearly half (48%) are earning less than 50% of their monthly, pre-pandemic revenues, their worries are moving from COVID-19 to the increasing cost of goods and supplies.

What's happening: The latest survey from Alignable finds "a newfound optimism that expedited vaccine distribution in the U.S. has kick-started the beginning of a recovery for some industries and groups, while others still suffer."

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 7, 2021 - Health

Study: A third of COVID patients later had psychiatric or neurological illness

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A third of patients diagnosed with the coronavirus had also experienced a psychiatric or neurological illness as of six months later, according to a new study published yesterday in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Between the lines: Mood disorders like anxiety and depression were especially common, but researchers also found lower rates of serious complications like strokes and dementia, STAT reports.

Kids' illnesses trailed weeks behind COVID peaks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Outbreaks of the respiratory infection known as MIS-C, which affects children who have contracted COVID-19, trailed a few weeks behind the coronavirus, ultimately following its path from cities out into more rural areas, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Why it matters: Although children are at a very low risk for severe COVID-19 infections, the lingering effects of MIS-C can be more serious.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 7, 2021 - Health

Vaccine shopping can be surprisingly easy

Expand chart
Reproduced from KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor; Chart: Axios Visuals

Many coronavirus vaccination sites are making it easy for people to shop for the vaccine they want.

Why it matters: Public health officials have advised for months that the best vaccine to get is the one that's first available. But giving people a choice about which shot to get could help improve overall vaccination rates, especially among more hesitant Americans.

Updated Apr 7, 2021 - World

Brazil's daily COVID death toll tops 4,000 for first time

Cemetery workers carry a coffin during the burial of a COVID-19 victim at the Sao Joao municipal cemetery in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 26. Photo: Silvio Avila/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil confirmed more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time on Tuesday, the health ministry announced.

Why it matters: A surge in cases and deaths, driven in part by relaxed mitigation measures and a more contagious local variant, has overwhelmed the country's health system.

British COVID test firm LumiraDx enters $5 billion SPAC deal

LumiraDx, a British diagnostics startup that makes COVID-19 tests, has agreed to merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) CA Healthcare Acquisition Corp. in a deal valued at $5 billion, the companies announced Tuesday.

Details: LumiraDx has also secured a $300 million loan from BioPharma Credit and another $100 million from Capital One Financial, per the statement.

Apr 7, 2021 - Health

CDC: 80% of teachers, school staff received at least one shot by end of March

A teacher helps a student at Gartfield Elementary School in Oakland, California. Photo: Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronical via Getty Images

Nearly 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

What they're saying: “Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky.