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

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Most patients hospitalized with COVID-19 experienced neurological symptoms, including muscle pain, headaches and encephalopathy, according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Why it matters: It's the largest American study to date on how the virus affects the nervous system long-term, and how it could pose new cognitive challenges for survivors.

The state of play: The study looked at the records of 509 coronavirus patients hospitalized from March 5 to April 6 at 10 hospitals in the Northwestern Medicine health system, in the Chicago area.

  • About 80% of the patients showed symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches, confusion, dizziness and the loss of smell or taste.
  • About one-third of patients had encephalopathy or altered mental function and stayed in the hospital about three times longer than patients without. These patients were also nearly seven times as likely to die.
  • The average age for those in the study with encephalopathy was 65. Patients with the condition also tended to have a history of other disorders, including high blood pressure.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2021 - Health

Delays overshadow Johnson & Johnson vaccine's long-lasting potential

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty

Participants who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine in an early study developed coronavirus immunity for at least 71 days, but a production lag could mean a rollout of fewer-than-promised doses, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: If approved, J&J’s vaccine would be the first available to protect from COVID with a single dose, streamlining vaccine administration and distribution.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 13, 2021 - Health

Why COVID demands genetic surveillance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A seemingly more transmissible coronavirus variant is threatening the world — and exposing the U.S.' lackluster genetic surveillance.

Why it matters: A beefed-up program to sequence the genomes of infectious disease pathogens infections could help the U.S. identify dangerous new coronavirus variants — and get the jump on pathogens that could ignite the pandemics of the future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 14, 2021 - Health

The flu season that isn't

Data: CDC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Thanks largely to social distancing and mask-wearing — as well as higher uptake of the flu vaccine — influenza deaths this season are almost nonexistent.

Why it matters: The drastic drop in infections of influenza and other circulating respiratory viruses has given the U.S. health care system a welcome respite at a time when COVID-19 is rampaging.

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