Monday, August 8, 2022

Life-Threatening Long COVID Risks for Kids


Calculating COVID-19 risk has never been easy, especially when it comes to children. Health care workers have long agreed that the virus is not as dangerous for young people as it is for those who are older—but doctors have emphasized that vaccination for kids is essential, as some children can get very ill, die, or develop the persistent symptoms known as Long COVID. A new study on Long COVID, released on Aug. 5 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), underscores that point. While Long COVID symptoms, which last at least four weeks after infection, are uncommon in children under 17, they can be life-threatening when they do occur.

The researchers compared more than 781,000 kids in the U.S. who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 with more than 2.3 million who did not, and found striking differences. Kids with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were about twice as likely to have an acute pulmonary embolism—a potentially life-threatening condition in which a blood clot blocks blood flow in the lungs—or to have myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, conditions involving the weakening of the heart muscle. Plus, children who have had COVID-19 were about 87% more likely to have a venous thromboembolic event, or blood clots in their veins; 32% more likely to have acute and unspecified renal failure; and 23% more likely to have Type 1 diabetes.

A key lesson from this research is that vaccines may help protect children from all of these serious conditions. As you might remember, myocarditis is also one of the most dangerous potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. However, this study is yet another strong sign that getting a vaccine is safer than getting the virus itself: children who had COVID-19 were at greater risk of developing myocarditis cardiomyopathy than young men who had received an mRNA vaccine—who are thought to be the highest risk group for the condition.

The CDC study comes with a few important caveats. For one thing, kids who hadn’t had COVID-19 actually had a higher risk for certain conditions, including respiratory symptoms and mental-health conditions. However, the researchers noted that this might be because those in the group who had not had the virus did have a previous health encounter, such as a doctor’s visit or a lab test, which might mean they’re less healthy overall than the patients who had COVID-19. Plus, the study didn’t examine patients’ vaccine status, because it was underreported.

Still, the findings help confirm what health care workers have been saying for two years: while kids tend to be OK when they get COVID-19, they’re better off not getting sick. That’s why vaccination is so important.


Nearly 585 million people around the world had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of 1 a.m. E.T. today, and more than 6.4 million people have died. On Aug. 7, there were nearly 488,000 new cases and 165 new deaths confirmed globally.

Here's how the world as a whole is currently trending, in terms of cases:

And in terms of deaths:

Here's where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

And here's every country that has reported over 10 million cases:

The U.S. had recorded more than 92.1 million coronavirus cases as of 1 a.m. E.T. today. More than 1.03 million people have died. On Aug. 7, 10,263 new cases were reported in the U.S., and 11 deaths were confirmed.

Here's how the country as a whole is currently trending in terms of cases:

And in terms of deaths:

Here's where daily cases have risen or fallen over the last 14 days, shown in confirmed cases per 100,000 residents:

All numbers unless otherwise specified are from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and are accurate as of Aug. 8. To see larger, interactive versions of these maps and charts, click here.

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For the first time, COVID-19 has become a leading cause of death in New Zealand, a country that largely escaped its toll during the first two years of the pandemic. The virus tied with coronary heart disease as the leading cause of death in July, the Guardian reported. COVID-19 accounted for 15% of deaths overall as of mid-July, the same as the average proportion of heart disease deaths.

Starting Friday, Hong Kong will cut its mandatory quarantine for overseas travelers to three days instead of a week, the city’s leader John Lee announced today, per the AP. After leaving quarantine at a designated hotel, travelers will be under four days of medical surveillance, during which they must undergo regular testing and avoid spaces like bars, schools, and nursing homes.

President Joe Biden left the White House on Sunday for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 in July, the AP reports. The President first tested positive on July 21 and recovered quickly, but extended his quarantine after testing positive again in a “rebound” case, which sometimes occurs after a patient is treated with the anti-viral medication Paxlovid. The President tested negative on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

Residents of the Chinese city Haikou, the island capital of Hainan province, were locked down for 13 hours after 470 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Sunday, according to the AP. About 80,000 tourists have reportedly been stranded at a beach resort in the province since Saturday, and are only allowed to leave if they test negative five times over one week.

Thanks for reading. We hope you find the Coronavirus Brief newsletter to be a helpful tool to navigate this very complex situation, and welcome feedback at coronavirus.brief@time.com. If you have specific questions you'd like us to answer, please send them to covidquestions@time.com.

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Today's newsletter was written by Tara Law and edited by Angela Haupt.

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