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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

19 hours ago - Health

U.S. COVID death toll surpasses 1918 flu fatalities

White flags are seen on the National Mall on Sept. 18, honoring Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 epidemic. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The recorded number COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has now surpassed the known number of fatalities from the 1918 flu pandemic.

The big picture: The U.S. has now marked more than 676,000 deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the 1918 pandemic killed about about 675,000 people.

20 hours ago - World

Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

President Biden will convene world leaders on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to push them to do more to end the pandemic — though he's also facing criticism for prioritizing boosters at home.

Why it matters: There is still no functional plan in place to vaccinate the world, and past summits of this sort have flopped. The White House hopes that this virtual gathering will produce ambitious promises, accountability measures to track progress, and ultimately help achieve a 70% global vaccination rate this time next year.

19 hours ago - Health

Biden to get booster shot on camera

Photo: Saul Loeb/ AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will receive his COVID booster shot on camera once it's fully approved for Americans ages 65 and older, the White House said Monday.

Why it matters: A federal advisory panel unanimously voted last week to recommend that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorize a third dose of Pfizer's vaccine for people over the age of 65 and those at higher risk of infection.

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