Parents of Peachtree Park Pediatrics,
We continually strive to provide you with the most up to date information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for the latest updates on vaccination rates, at-home COVID tests, long-term health risks due to COVID infection, and more.
Adolescent Immunization Increasing
50% of teens 12-17 in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.
The White House reports that the vaccination rate among adolescents is growing faster than any other age group.
Are Home COVID Tests Accurate?
The Washington Post reports that “several at-home coronavirus test kits have received emergency-use authorization from the FDA and can be purchased without a prescription online or from drugstores, giving people access to a much more convenient testing option.”
“But experts emphasized the tests are not 100 percent accurate and a negative result shouldn’t be thought of as a ‘free pass.’”
Almost all at-home tests look for the COVID-19 antigen and are less sensitive (less able to correctly find COVID-19 if it is present) than the gold standard PCR test. Antigen tests are not appropriate or recommended for people without symptoms.
Virus Spread Within the Household
A recent analysis, as reported by UPI, showed that “nearly 1 in 5 people with COVID-19 pass the virus to other household members.”
“This rate of transmission, referred to as a secondary attack rate, is higher than that of the flu, which may be as low as 1%, though the most contagious strains can be as high as 15%.
The rate of COVID-19 spread within households, however, could be reduced by as much as 50% when all of the residents have been vaccinated, according to the researchers.”
Household members of someone with COVID-19 should follow CDC guidelines on quarantine. If unvaccinated, close contacts should stay away from other for 10 days (reduced to 7 days if a negative COVID PCR test on day 5-7); vaccinated close contacts should wear a mask around others until they get a negative PCR test at 3-5 days).
School Safety Measures Work
As reported by AP News, a recent “study of COVID-19 cases from the winter pandemic peak in Los Angeles County found that case rates among children and adolescents were about 3½ times lower than in the general community when schools followed federal guidance on mask wearing, physical distancing, testing and other virus measures.”
Increased Hospitalization Risk with Delta Variant
A recent British study indicates that infections with the Delta variant of COVID-19 are twice as likely to result in hospitalizations and life-threatening complications.
The study also confirmed the vaccines protection against serious illness and hospitalization as “about 2% of people who contracted COVID-19 were fully vaccinated, while 74% were unvaccinated and 24% were partially vaccinated.”
Excess Weight Gain During the Pandemic
Consumer HealthDay reports that “during lockdowns, American kids gained more weight than before the pandemic, and the number who became obese also increased.”
“This increased weight gain occurred in all youth between 5 and 17 years, but was particularly evident in children ages 5 to 11 — an excess weight gain of over 5 pounds,” said the study’s author.
Families should continue to work on promoting good eating habits and regular exercise despite any disruptions of normal routines and activities.
Long COVID May be Less Likely with Breakthrough Infections
“People who experience breakthrough infections of the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated are about 50 percent less likely to experience long COVID than are unvaccinated people who catch the virus,” researchers recently said.
The study also provided further proof of the benefits of vaccination. “Of the nearly 1 million people who were fully vaccinated, 0.2 percent reported a breakthrough infection, the researchers found. Those who did get breakthrough infections were roughly twice as likely to be asymptomatic as were those who were infected and unvaccinated. The odds of being hospitalized were 73 percent lower in the breakthrough group than the infected, unvaccinated group.”
Myocarditis Risk from COVID Infection
AAP News reports that “the risk of myocarditis for children under 16 years is 37 times higher for those infected with COVID-19 than those who haven’t been infected with the virus, according to a new study.”
“Authors from the CDC said the study provides more evidence that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh a small risk of myocarditis after vaccination.”
COVID Vaccines May Have Avoided 140,000 Deaths in the U.S.
A recent study published in HealthAffairs estimates that COVID vaccination in the U.S. was associated with a reduction of 140,000 COVID-19 deaths.
The study also estimated significantly economic benefits from vaccination as “reductions in COVID-19 deaths associated with vaccines had translated to value of statistical life benefit ranging between $625 billion and $1.4 trillion.”
Encouraging Vaccination in the Black Community
Pediatrician Rhea Boyd addresses vaccine concerns, saying “if you look like me, if your kids look like me, and you’re still wondering if you should get that COVID vaccine, I’m here to tell you you’ve waited long enough.”
We encourage everyone to continue to use good hand hygiene and practice social distancing as much as possible. Please contact our office with any further questions or concerns.
Peachtree Park Pediatrics
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Peachtree Park Pediatrics strives to deliver up-to-date primary care to our infant, child, and young adult patients in a welcoming and family-friendly environment. The practice has deep roots in the Atlanta community, and it is our continued honor to be entrusted with the health care of our next generation.