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Coronavirus Update: Heart conditions and gender may increase the risk for long COVID, according to 23andMe


A new study conducted by 23andMe Holding Co. found that people who have previously reported depression or anxiety or cardiometabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of being diagnosed with long COVID.

Here is a snapshot of the study, which the company published on its website last week.

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with long COVID. 

People who had depression or anxiety before testing positive for COVID-19 have a higher risk of a long COVID diagnosis. 

People with conditions like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, Type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol have a 90% higher risk of being diagnosed with long COVID.

Of the 100,000 people who provided self-reported data to 23andMe
about 26,000 reported they had experienced the symptoms of long COVID, and about 7,000 had been formally diagnosed. (The company noted, however, that the data is not representative of the U.S. population.)

The study is part of a wave of new research that seeks to provide details about long COVID, the somewhat mysterious constellation of symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath that can follow a COVID-19 infection.

Officially referred to as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, long COVID is thought to affect an estimated 24 million people in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Separately, there is new data out of the U.K. that found two million people there have experienced long COVID symptoms, according to the Guardian. Approximately 826,000 of those individuals first reported a COVID-19 infection at least a year ago, while about 376,000 said their infection occurred at least two years ago. 

Other COVID-19 news to know:

Shanghai’s COVID-19 restrictions eased last night at midnight, allowing people to once again move around the city, according to the BBC. However, residents who use public transportation or want to go to banks or malls have to show a negative PCR test, and people who leave Shanghai must quarantine on their return. 

The failure of pulse oximeters to accurately read oxygen levels in black and Hispanic patients delayed COVID-19 treatments like Gilead Sciences Inc.’s

Veklury and the steroid dexamethasone in some of these patients, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. “It’s a systematic failure,” one of the study’s co-authors told Stat News

Here’s what the numbers say: 

The seven-day average for new cases in the U.S. fell to 98,688 on Tuesday and is down 2% from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. Twenty states have seen cases decline over the past two weeks, led by Connecticut’s 63% drop in new infections. Arizona, however, is leading states with an increase in cases; the state reported a 109% rise in cases over the last two weeks. 

The daily average for hospitalizations was 26,512 on Tuesday, up 16% from two weeks ago. The daily average for deaths dropped to 298, down 6% from two weeks ago, and the lowest daily average since July 27, 2021.

– Tomi Kilgore

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