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CORONAVIRUS

A small county in Tennessee for much of the past year has reported the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Tennessee and one of the highest in the South. If only it were true. The rate in Meigs County was artificially inflated by a data error that distorted most of Tennessee’s county-level vaccination rates by attributing tens of thousands of doses to the wrong counties, according to a KHN review of Tennessee’s vaccination data. When the Tennessee Department of Health quietly corrected the error last month, county rates shifted overnight, and Meigs County’s rate of fully vaccinated people dropped from 65% to 43%, which is below the state average and middling in the rural South.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends isolating COVID patients for at least five days, preferably in a separate room with access to their own bathroom, as well as diligent mask-wearing for both patient and caregiver. But for many families, those aren’t easy options. But take heart: Scientists say there is still a lot people can do to protect their families, chief among them improving ventilation and filtration of the air.
It is unclear how much demand is there for the third dose in the 5-11 age group. Just 28.8% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data.
A KHN review of about a dozen state and county agencies’ grants shows that while some have allocated large portions of the CDC money for projects, they still have spent only a small proportion. Mounting unspent COVID relief dollars is one of the key reasons Republicans in Congress oppose Democrats’ efforts to appropriate billions more federal dollars for managing the pandemic.

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The symptoms that linger after a COVID-19 infection can be puzzling and worrisome. Fatigue, breathing issues and brain fog can last for months. And because the disease has been around for only about two years, no one knows how much longer they may last.
The United States on Wednesday reached more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, crossing a once-unthinkable milestone about two years after the first cases upended everyday life. The loss represents about one death for every 327 Americans, or more than the entire population of San Francisco or Seattle.
A seemingly endless stream of “subvariants” of omicron, the most recent Greek-letter variant, has emerged in the past few months. How different are these subvariants from one another? Can infection by one subvariant protect someone from infection by another subvariant? And how well are the existing coronavirus vaccines doing against the subvariants? We asked medical and epidemiological experts these and other questions.
The increase isn't surprising given the rise in infections nationally, health experts said. The actual number of cases is likely much higher than those that are reported, they caution.
Airlines, hotels, rental car companies and booking sites all reported a surge in demand for their services in the latest batch of company earnings. But at the same time, many of those companies face a tight labor market and limited volume.
"When it comes to COVID, traditional media sources failed miserably. Free speech and journalistic principles were rare," writes Scott Hennen. "Now that the pandemic is nearing its end (despite the Democrats' attempts to escalate it once again, coincidentally before elections they are likely to lose), can we have an adult conversation about the lessons learned from this long national nightmare?"

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All of those face masks that people wore during COVID-19 are piling up and presenting an environmental issue. But a group of scientists may have a solution: They're using single-use masks to make better concrete. Viv Williams has details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."
A federal court judge said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had overstepped its authority in requiring masks on public transportation, a mandate that legal experts considered well within the bounds of the agency’s charge to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the nation. Public health experts worry the ruling will hamper the agency’s ability to respond to future outbreaks. The CDC has asked the Department of Justice to appeal the decision.
For many at higher risk for COVID-19, it’s difficult to balance safety against social isolation as restrictions relax. In Bemidji, Minnesota, support programs are changing the way they help.

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