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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Institute of Health is launching a nationwide series of studies with as many as 40,000 people to research the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Why it matters: COVID symptoms that last more than four weeks, usually referred to as long COVID, have become an emerging public health concern as researchers do not know the cause.

  • Symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, persistent cough, loss of taste or smell and organ damage.

Details: In the coming months, the agency's goal is to better understand the prevalence and incidence of the long-term effects, the range of symptoms, risks and strategies for treatment and prevention.

  • The NIH allocated about $470 million for the project spanning 100 researchers and 30 institutions in the U.S. The agency already had a few ongoing studies on COVID long-haulers, and those studies will continue under this project.
  • The studies will include adult, pregnant and pediatric populations. The volunteers who currently have COVID-19 or have had the illness will undergo tissue pathology, and will be given wearable devices and smartphones for researchers to track data in real-time. Millions of electronic health records will also be analyzed.

By the numbers: Data from the CDC out last week showed that more than a third of people with long COVID reported having three or more symptoms at a time.

  • The most prevalent symptom in long haulers was fatigue, tiredness or weakness. More than a fourth of those with COVID reported changes in smell or taste.

What they're saying: “We know some people have had their lives completely upended by the major long-term effects of COVID-19,” NIH director Francis Collins, said in a statement.

  • "These studies will aim to determine the cause and find much-needed answers to prevent this often debilitating condition and help those who suffer move toward recovery," he added.

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to buy 500 million more Pfizer doses to share with the world — Fauci: Vaccine could be available for children 5–11 in "weeks" — Biden to get booster shot on camera.
  2. Health: Care for kidney disease plummeted in the pandemic — Manufacturers warn rapid test shortages are coming — Study: Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by more than 9 million years.
  3. Politics: Brazil's health minister tests positive during UN summit in N.Y. — Massachusetts State Police union sues over governor's vaccine mandate — Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home.
  4. Education: Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban — D.C. schools to require teachers, staff to receive vaccine without testing option — More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
15 hours ago - Health

FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people at high risk of severe COVID-19 and people 65 years and older.

Driving the news: The approval comes just days after an FDA advisory panel recommended boosters for the two groups but overwhelmingly voted against the third shots for younger Americans.

12 hours ago - Health

Jesse Jackson released from rehab hospital

Rev. Jesse Jackson. Photo: Jason Mendez/Getty Images

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was released from a Chicago rehabilitation hospital on Wednesday after receiving treatment for Parkinson's disease following a breakthrough COVID-19 case, per CBS News.

The big picture: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab had treated the civil rights leader for occupational and physical therapy after Jackson was transferred on Aug. 27 following a week in a hospital with COVID-19. Both he and his wife, Jacqueline Jackson, were hospitalized with the virus in August.

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