Here is what the editors at Physician’s Briefing chose as the most important COVID-19 developments for you and your practice for the week of Feb. 22 to 26, 2021. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

Online Portal Guides Users to COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Nationwide

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A centralized online portal to help Americans find nearby COVID-19 vaccination sites is being backed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Possible SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection Described at Skilled Nursing Facility

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Possible reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has been observed at a skilled nursing facility in Kentucky, according to research published in the Feb. 26 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Cutaneous Findings Described for Children With MIS-C

FRIDAY, Feb. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In a research letter published online Feb. 16 in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, cutaneous findings are described for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children associated with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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COVID-19 Cases, Deaths Plummet in Nursing Homes After Vaccine Rollout

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In a hopeful turnaround during a long pandemic, U.S. nursing homes that were once the epicenter of COVID-19 infections are now seeing both cases and deaths fall steeply as the country’s vaccination rollout starts to take hold.

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U.S. Government to Distribute Millions of Face Masks

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Millions of cloth face masks will be distributed in certain U.S. communities to ensure equity in the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the White House announced Wednesday.

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New Coronavirus Variant Sweeping Through New York City

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A new coronavirus variant that is sweeping through New York City has a mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, two new studies claim.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Makers Planning for Variants

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Pfizer and BioNTech say they plan to update their original COVID-19 vaccine and also test a third booster shot to prepare for the possibility that new coronavirus variants may be more resistant to the vaccine.

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Risk Reduced for Positive NAAT Result With SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Having severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 antibodies is associated with a reduced risk for future infection, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Nationwide Study Shows BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine Is Effective

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is effective for COVID-19-related outcomes, including hospitalization, severe illness, and death, in a nationwide, mass vaccination setting, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Review Reveals J&J COVID-19 Vaccine Safe, Effective

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A single-shot COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson completely prevented hospitalizations and deaths in a large clinical trial, according to the results of a new review released Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Children Given Flu Shot Less Likely to Have Symptomatic COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Children who have received an influenza vaccine are less likely to have symptomatic COVID-19 or severe disease, according to a study recently published in Cureus.

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New Coronavirus Variant Surging in California

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A coronavirus variant first identified in California is more contagious than previous forms of the virus and is spreading across the state, two new studies show.

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AAN: Smell Loss Can Persist for Five Months After COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Chemosensory dysfunction persists in a considerable proportion of patients up to five months after COVID-19, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held virtually from April 17 to 22.

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Symptoms ID’d That Should Trigger COVID-19 Testing

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A grouping of seven symptoms has the highest sensitivity for identifying COVID-19 cases, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in the Journal of Infection.

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Pfizer, Moderna Tell Congress a Big Jump in Vaccine Supply Is Coming

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Officials from both Pfizer and Moderna delivered reassuring news about their COVID-19 vaccines to Congress on Tuesday: There will be a sharp rise in the delivery of doses in the coming month, and they will be able to provide enough doses to vaccinate most Americans by summer.

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Non-White Race Tied to Higher Likelihood of COVID-19 Infection

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Race is the most important predictor of testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection but not for outcomes, according to a study published online Feb. 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Transplant Recipient Dies After Receiving COVID-19-Infected Lungs

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A Michigan woman died of COVID-19 after receiving a double-lung transplant from a donor infected with the new coronavirus, a newly published case study says.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Adapted to Fight Variants Will Not Require Long Clinical Trials: FDA

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Long clinical trials will not be needed to prove the effectiveness of approved COVID-19 vaccines that have been adapted to protect against variants of the new coronavirus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday. Instead, vaccine developers will be asked to conduct small clinical trials such as those required for annual flu vaccines, The New York Times reported.

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Predictors of Death, Discharge ID’d for Diabetes Patients With COVID-19

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — About 20 percent of patients with diabetes hospitalized with COVID-19 die within 28 days and about 50 percent are discharged, and predictors of death and discharge have been identified, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in Diabetologia.

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FDA: New Variants Mean COVID-19 Vaccines, Tests May Need Tweaking

TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The emergence of new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variants could require a quick pivot on the part of pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help stay one step ahead of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Higher With Three-Month Interval Between Doses

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A three-month interval between the first and second doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Oxford vaccine results in higher vaccine efficacy than a six-week interval, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in The Lancet.

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All British Adults Should Have First COVID-19 Shot by July 31: Government

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Every adult in Britain should get a first COVID-19 vaccination by the end of July, instead of the previous target of September, the British government said Sunday. It also said everyone aged 50 years and older and people with underlying health conditions should get the first of their two shots by April 15, instead of the previous goal of May 1, CBS News reported.

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CDC Report Shows No Evidence of Unexpected Adverse Events With COVID-19 Vaccines

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Initial findings do not indicate evidence of unexpected serious adverse events among individuals receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, according to research published in the Feb. 19 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 Rates Decreased After One Vaccine Dose

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Substantial reductions in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and symptomatic COVID-19 have been reported following administration of one dose of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine, according to a research letter published online Feb. 18 in The Lancet.

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Persistent Symptoms Reported for About 30 Percent With COVID-19

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — About 30 percent of patients with COVID-19 report persistent symptoms for months after illness, including outpatients with mild disease, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in JAMA Network Open.

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U.S. COVID-19 Hospitalizations at Lowest Level Since November

MONDAY, Feb. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States late last week was the lowest since early November, data from The COVID Tracking Project show.

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