Roundup: 1 in 5 Previously Infected Adults have Long COVID; Latest on Vaccines for Kids 6 Months & Older; and the Impact of Exercise on Appetite

Nearly One in Five American Adults Who Have Had COVID-19 Still Have “Long COVID”

New data collected from June 1 through June 13 by the U.S. Census Bureau found that nearly one in five U.S. adults who have had COVID-19 still suffer from “long covid” – defined as lingering symptoms lasting three or more months after first contracting the virus.

The finding is based on self-reported data from about 62,000 U.S. adults. The data was analyzed by the by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is believed to be the most extensive survey thus far to determine the prevalence of long COVID.

More than 40 percent of respondents said they’d previously had COVID-19. And nearly one in five of those (19 percent) are currently still having symptoms. Common symptoms for these so-called “long haulers” include fatigue, cognitive issues, difficulty breathing, chest pain or other chronic pain, and more.

The prevalence of long COVID symptoms varied state-to-state. The states with the highest percentage of adults who with long COVID symptoms were Kentucky (12.7 percent), Alabama (12.1 percent), and Tennessee and South Dakota (11.6 percent). The states with the lowest percentage of adults who have long COVID were Hawaii (4.5 percent), Maryland (4.7 percent) and Virginia (5.1 percent).

Overall, 1 in 13 adults in the U.S. (7.5 percent) have long COVID, which usually involve symptoms that they didn’t have prior to their COVID-19 infection.

Other survey findings:

  • Older adults are less likely to have long COVID than younger adults. Nearly three times as many adults ages 50-59 currently have long COVID than those age 80 and older.
  • Women are more likely than men to currently have long COVID (9.4 percent vs. 5.5 percent).
  • Nearly 9 percent of Hispanic adults currently have long COVID, higher than non-Hispanic White (7.5 percent) and Black (6.8 percent) adults, and over twice the percentage of non-Hispanic Asian adults (3.7 percent).

With CDC and FDA Approvals, COVID Vaccines to be Distributed for Kids Aged 6 months to Under 5 Years 

Children 6 months through 5 years of age can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with either the Pfizer-BioNTech (3-dose series) or Moderna (2-dose series) shots, according to final approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children, and now all Americans ages 6 months and older are eligible for vaccination, the CDC states. Pediatricians across Florida have started ordering COVID-19 vaccines for their patients under five years of age this week, but delays are expected.

Parents should check with their pediatricians regarding any questions about the vaccines including availability. Children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated, the CDC urges. The FDA states that its “evaluation and analysis of the safety, effectiveness and manufacturing data of these vaccines (for kids under 5) was rigorous and comprehensive.”

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., in a statement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can. I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”   

Just like adults, children and teens of all ages can “get very sick from COVID-19; have both short- and long-term health problems; and spread COVID-19 to others,” the CDC states.

Those children underlying medical conditions, or those who have a weakened immune system, are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. The CDC cites some examples of those underlying conditions that can make children more likely to get severe COVID-19: asthma or chronic lung disease; diabetes; obesity; and Sickle cell disease.

Here are the facts from the CDC on COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations for Children and Teens.

New Research Finds That Intense Exercise Can Produce ‘Anti-Hunger’ Molecule

Researchers have found that a molecule produced after intense exercise helps reduce a person’s post-workout appetite.

The “anti-hunger” molecule, identified by researchers at Stanford Medicine, Baylor University, the University of Copenhagen and other institutions, may show how exercise results in weight loss. The findings, published in the journal Nature, may also help people with certain conditions, such as metabolic disease, who don’t lose weight despite attempting a regular exercise routine.

“We’re all generally aware that exercise is beneficial. It’s good for body weight and glucose control,” said Jonathan Long, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pathology at Stanford, who led the research. “But we wanted to take a look at that concept in more detail — we wanted to see if we could dissect exercise in terms of molecules and pathways.”

The molecule is formerly known as lac-phe. It’s a hybrid of two chemical compounds that naturally exist in humans: lactate and phenylalanine. Researchers also found that the molecule surfaces after a strenuous exercise in mice and racehorses.

The researchers asked healthy young men to exercise three times at different levels: Cycling at a leisurely pace for 90 minutes, lifting weights and a round of several 30-second sprints on a stationary bicycle. Blood levels of lac-phe peaked after each type of exercise, but those levels were highest after the more-intense sprints, followed by weight training. Cycling at a gentle paced produced the least amount of the molecule. Conclusion: The more intense the exercise, the more lac-phe was produced — and the more of a reduction in appetite seemed to take place.

The study’s authors caution that more research is needed. “While exciting, (this study) is just the beginning of a series of studies that will dig even deeper into the mechanism of exactly how lac-phe inhibits the hunger signal,” states a Stanford news release.

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