The COVID Booster: Long COVID in kids, and staying fit to keep the virus at bay

Cosmos checks out the data, stories and new research into COVID-19 emerging around the world.

What’s the data today?

Globally, there are 596,119,505 confirmed cases and 6,457,101 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

In Australia, over 95% of eligible Australians have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 70% of people over 16 have received a booster, and over 39% of eligible people have received a fourth dose.

There are 135,654 estimated active cases in Australia (decreasing).

Of these, 3,237 (decreasing) are hospitalised, 95 (decreasing) are in ICU and 27 (decreasing) are currently ventilated.

There have been over 9.9 million cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and 13,594 deaths. Data.

COVID-19 cases and deaths per million people

COVID news in brief

Children experiencing Long COVID symptoms 4 weeks after infection

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics looked at lingering symptoms four weeks after children were infected with COVID-19. The research, coming out of the University of Colorado, looked at the health records of around 660,000 children. The scientists noted among kids who tested positive for COVID-19, at least one symptom, condition, or medication prescription lingered in 41.9% four weeks after the test. In those without COVID-19, it was 38.2% – a difference of 3.7%. Younger kids with other health conditions who were severely unwell with COVID-19 were at the highest risk of lingering health problems a month after infection.

20 minutes of exercise a day helps keep COVID away

Doing around 20 minutes of exercise daily is linked to lower COVID-19 infection risk and less severe COVID-19 if you do get infected, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Best protection was recorded in those with a weekly total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. 

Those who engaged in physical activity in their week had an 11% lower risk of COVID-19 as well as 36% lower risk of hospitalisation, 44% lower risk of severe COVID-19, and 43% lower risk of death from COVID-19.

mRNA vaccines not linked to major heart problems

According to international research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there is no association between the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (like Pfizer and Moderna) and major heart problems like heart attacks, pulmonary embolism or stroke.

The researchers looked at 46.5 million adult vaccine recipients in France’s health and vaccine databases. While they found no association between Moderna or Pfizer and major heart problems, there was a small association between the AstraZeneca vaccine and increased rates of heart attacks and pulmonary embolism.

Credit: Matt Anderson / Moment / Getty.

Longer reads

Newer COVID variants have shorter incubation periods

The incubation period of newer variants of COVID-19 is getting shorter, down from about five days to a little over three, changing the isolation period for people who have contracted the virus according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Story by Evrim Yazgin

Weekly: An empty building might solve COVID-19 and high energy prices

A world-leading experiment is looking at ways to improve ventilation without increasing energy use – potentially improving measures against pathogen-spread and hip-pocket costs at the same time.

Story by Petra Stock

‘Tomato flu’: Reporting new viruses in a post-COVID world

With the world on high alert post-COVID-19, there’s increased worry about any new virus becoming the next pandemic. From 35 cases of Langya virus in China last month to tomato flu in India this month, these traditionally uncovered stories have the research community, media and lay public on the edge of their seats.

Story by Jacinta Bowler

Mental health: A third of women report ‘significant’ mental health, fatigue and parenting stress

A study conducted during Victoria’s second lockdown has found the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated underlying mental health difficulties or brought on first-case depression and anxiety among some Australian women.

Story by Ellen Phiddian

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