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Doctors have warned that COVID-19 can have long-lasting, psychiatric consequences, caused by the stress of social isolation, concerns about being infected or infecting others, as well as by the immune response to the virus itself.
A recent paper published in October assessed rates of PTSD, anxiety, and depression in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. At one month after treatment, just over half of patients sampled reported experiencing at least one mental health issue and 28% could be classified as experiencing PTSD, 31% for depression, 42% for anxiety, and 40% for insomnia. Unsurprisingly, patients with previous psychiatric diagnoses had higher rates of post-COVID mental illness. Moreover, patients treated in a hospital, rather than at home, actually showed decreased anxiety and sleep disturbances and the longer a patient stayed in the hospital for treatment, the lower the rates of the follow-up assessment. Interestingly, women reported suffered from more anxiety and depression post treatment more so than men.
Follow-up studies in the months and years to come will be needed to assess the long-term psychiatric impact of COVID-19, but the current results suggest that assessing symptoms of mental health in COVID-19 patients is necessary for reducing the disease burden, particularly in women with previous psychiatric conditions.
Read more here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159120316068
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In a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Andre Kalil (University of Nebraska Medical Center) and colleagues administered a combination of two drugs: remdesivir and baricitinib to 515 patients hospitalized with moderate or severe COVID-19 symptoms. The control group consisting of 518 patients, received the drug remdesivir and a placebo. The patients who received the combination of both drugs recovered one day earlier than the control group. The mortality rate was also lower in the group that received both drugs (5.1%) compared to the control group (7.8%) that received remedesivir alone.
The recovery time was further reduced in patients who were receiving non-invasive ventilation at the time of drug treatment. In these patients, median recovery time took 10 days compared to control group, where it took 18 days. The combination of remdesivir and baricitinib performed far superior to remdesivir alone, especially in patients who are on non-invasive ventilation.
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When wide scale lockdowns began in the US as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, experts in psychiatry quickly began to worry of the negative impact of social isolation and stress on mental health. In order to appropriately allocate resources and create effective health-care interventions, it’s important to know 1) the mental health conditions of the general public in the US and 2) the factors that are associated with poorer mental health as a result of the pandemic.
A recent study by researchers at Penn State University assessed self-reported changes in Depression, Anxiety, and Stress during the first months of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States (April 20 - May 22). They found that people more inclined to ruminate expressed greater stress and anxiety throughout this time period, but that people with greater social support reported less symptoms of depression. Also, adherence to national health guidelines regarding the pandemic was associated with reduced stress throughout the time period. Interestingly, despite the association between age and COVID-19 mortality, older individuals reported less stress, depression, and anxiety. The results suggest focusing public health interventions on the positive mental health outcomes of adhering to health guidelines and developing effective coping strategies that do not involve rumination, particularly in younger adults.
Read more here: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/17/6315
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Margaret Keenan becomes the first person in the world to receive Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. While this is very encouraging, the success of any vaccine is greatly dependent on the reproductive number (Rt) of the virus. Lower Rt numbers indicate low virus spread in the population.
A recent study co-authored by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, published in the Journal of health affairs, shows that a low efficacy vaccine (25%) administered to a population with low Rt numbers, is more successful in controlling the virus compared to a vaccine with much higher efficacy (75%) administered at the time when Rt numbers are higher in the population. The Rt numbers can be lowered by following social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding large social gatherings. The success of Covid-19 vaccine requires ongoing commitment of each one of us to follow these preventative measures.