Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: J&J vaccine, indoor gyms, mammograms & more

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Katie Camero
·5 min read
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Each week, we offer you a round-up of our noteworthy coronavirus coverage.

More than 28.4 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday morning, Feb. 26, according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 508,000 people who have died nationwide.

Globally, there are now more than 113 million confirmed cases of the highly infectious virus, with more than 2.5 million reported deaths.

About 46 million Americans have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Feb. 24, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows. More than 21.5 million of them have been inoculated with their second dose, meaning they’ve received maximum protection against the coronavirus.

Here’s what happened between Feb. 19 to Feb. 25.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine deemed safe and effective

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a report that says the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has a “favorable safety profile with no specific safety concerns,” clearing the way for emergency use authorization.

A committee of scientific experts will meet on Friday to discuss the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, as it did for the authorized Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots. If the group decides to recommend the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for FDA authorization, the shot will become the nation’s third COVID-19 vaccine, joining the fight against the pandemic spurred by more contagious variants.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Johnson & Johnson shot.

US closer to its 3rd COVID vaccine — and this one only needs one shot. What to know

Coronavirus deaths top 500,000 in U.S.

The coronavirus has killed more than 500,000 people in the United States.

The U.S. reached the grim milestone Monday, just over one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the country and a little over a month after passing 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Jan. 19.

Coronavirus deaths top 500,000 in US

People with mild COVID-19 cases may have symptoms for months

A study of 177 COVID-19 patients found that a third of individuals experienced lingering symptoms, mostly among those with mild cases, after being followed for as long as nine months post infection. Nearly 30% of patients also reported diminished health-related quality of life following their abnormally long bout with the disease.

The study’s findings align with previous papers that have found hundreds of cases of “long-haulers” — a problem that not only interferes with affected patients’ everyday lives, but also poses challenges to hospital systems and health care professionals trying to treat new and returning patients.

Continue reading to learn more about the study.

People with mild COVID cases may still experience symptoms for months, study says

Yes, you still breathe in oxygen while wearing a mask

Wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic does not affect your ability to breathe in oxygen, according to a new study that shows the risk of abnormal oxygen or carbon dioxide levels while wearing one is “near zero.”

Of the 50 adults who volunteered for the study, none developed low oxygen levels. That includes nearly a third of the participants who said they had a chronic health condition such as asthma or hypertension.

Yes, you still breathe in oxygen while wearing a COVID face mask, study shows

COVID-19 vaccines could lead to abnormal mammogram results

As more people receive COVID-19 vaccines, doctors are noticing an uptick in abnormal breast mammograms in otherwise healthy individuals. Although alarming at first glance, the pattern is mostly harmless and is actually a common side effect of most vaccines.

Still, experts suggest following up on any irregular results several weeks after receiving second doses of a coronavirus vaccine to ensure any inflammation is truly a response to the jab.

Learn more about why swollen lymph nodes are a sign the body is building protection against the coronavirus.

Side effect from COVID vaccines could produce abnormal mammogram results, doctors say

Are indoor workouts COVID-19 safe? Nearly 70% of people in one class got sick

New reports from the CDC have some worrying findings for people itching to go back to the gym amid the coronavirus pandemic — especially if proper precautions to slow transmission aren’t taken.

Data on coronavirus spread within gyms and other exercise facilities are limited, experts say, but there have been a handful of outbreaks that suggest heavy breathing, shouting instructors and infrequent mask wearing, among other culprits, play major roles in viral transmission.

Two gyms in Hawaii and Illinois, where attendees went to fitness classes right before and even after coronavirus symptoms began, are at the heart of the CDC’s latest push for stricter precautions in exercise facilities.

Here’s what the report found.

Are indoor workouts COVID safe? Nearly 70% of people in one class got sick, CDC says

CDC reports most common side effects from COVID-19 vaccines

Fewer than 7,000 people reported having side effects from COVID-19 vaccines after the first 13.7 million doses were administered in the United States, the CDC said. Of the 6,994 people who said they had side effects between Dec. 14 and Jan. 13, 640 were considered serious.

The most common side effects were headache (22.4%), fatigue (16.5%) and dizziness (16.5%). The agency said 113 deaths were reported, including 78 individuals who lived in long-term care facilities.

Read on to learn what else data show.

What are the most common side effects from COVID vaccines? Here’s what the CDC says

Pandemic is changing which colleges students want to attend

There’s a surge in college applications during the coronavirus pandemic — but only at some schools.

Selective universities in the United States are seeing a rise in interest while enrollment is down at community colleges, multiple news outlets have reported.

Here’s how experts and higher learning institutions explain the trend.

COVID pandemic is changing which colleges students want to attend. Here’s how

In other coronavirus coverage...