17 COVID-19 related research findings

Here are 17 COVID-19-related research findings covered by Becker's Hospital Review since Nov. 24:

Note: Findings are listed from most recent to oldest.

1. Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped nearly two years in 2020, from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, according to the CDC's finalized mortality report published Dec. 22. The decrease was largely fueled by COVID-19 deaths. 

2. About 87 percent of unvaccinated adults in the U.S. said news about the omicron coronavirus variant does not make them more likely to get the shots, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published Dec. 21 found. 

3. Omicron may have an average incubation period of three days, shorter than any variant yet, according to preliminary findings from studies cited by The Atlantic. 

4. Some experts are warning against writing off the omicron variant as milder than other variants, and preliminary findings from the U.K. suggest it appears no less severe than delta.

5. Antibodies in blood samples of individuals who experienced breakthrough COVID-19 infections were as much as 1,000 percent more effective than the antibodies generated two weeks after the second Pfizer vaccine dose, according to a small study's findings published Dec. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

6. The omicron coronavirus variant infects and multiplies 70 times faster in the human bronchus than delta and the original strain, according to preliminary findings from researchers at the University of Hong Kong in China. 

7. From June to September 2021, fully vaccinated people with breakthrough COVID-19 accounted for 15 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to data from Peterson's and Kaiser Family Foundation's Health System Tracker. 

8. After the delta variant fueled a surge in COVID-19 infections this summer, many physicians were bracing for a spike in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. However, unlike after past surges, no such spike has occurred, NBC News reported Dec. 13. 

9. Preliminary real-world data from South Africa suggests the omicron variant is more resistant to Pfizer's vaccine but causes less severe infections, The Washington Post reported Dec. 14. 

10. The antibody response to Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's mRNA COVID-19 vaccines fell after 120 days days among hospitalized veterans, suggesting the importance of booster doses for lasting protection, according to the CDC's Dec. 10 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

11. Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the use of high-flow oxygen through a nasal cannula reduced the need for invasive mechanical ventilation and sped up recovery compared to conventional oxygen therapy, according to research published Dec. 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

12. The coronavirus can directly infect fat cells, offering potential clues as to why people who are overweight and obese face higher risks of severe illness and death from COVID-19, according to research reported by The New York Times Dec. 8. 

13. The use of daily COVID-19 attestation forms in hospitals are effective at identifying healthcare workers who may have COVID-19 and help prevent the virus's spread, findings from researchers at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital suggest. 

14. The omicron variant appears to spread more than twice as quickly as delta, according to preliminary findings cited by The New York Times.

15. While administering monoclonal antibodies via intravenous infusion is standard practice to prevent severe hospitalization and death in outpatients with COVID-19, research from UPMC shows giving the drug via four injections under the skin may be just as effective.

16. Fully vaccinated people with weaker immune systems contract COVID-19 three times more often and have more severe illness than those with strong immune systems, a study published Nov. 30 in the Journal of Medical Economics found. 

17. Unvaccinated adults are nearly six times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from the virus compared to vaccinated individuals, CDC data shows.


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