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TSA Sees Highest Airport Numbers Since March and U.S. Purchases 100M More Pfizer Doses

This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round up …

U.S. Airports See Highest Numbers Since Mid-March

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The U.S. Transportation Security Administration reported that U.S. airports screened 1.28 million passengers on Sunday. That’s the highest number of passengers screened at an airport in one day since the pandemic took a hit to travel in mid-March. 

Over the previous 10 days, six saw passenger numbers over 1 million, despite health officials encouraging the public to cancel and limit travel plans for the holiday. 

U.S. Coronavirus Numbers See Holiday Lows and Highs

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Over the Christmas holiday week, reported deaths in the US fell 17%, and new reported cases fell 16%, according to state and country records. Hospitals, however, reported that hospitalized patients increased by 4.5% this past Sunday compared to the previous Sunday.

The holidays means that numbers may not show a truly accurate picture of positivity and death rates.

Overall, the US has been seeing an average of 10.3% positivity rates with several states having significantly higher rates. Idaho’s positivity rate is 52.8%, and Iowa is seeing a 49.9% rate. 

During the week before Christmas, the average US death rate saw a patient die every 33 seconds from COVID-19. On Sunday, Dec. 27, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 330,901 US deaths from COVID-19 and 18,909,910 total US cases.

U.S. Government Purchases Additional 100 Million Pfizer Doses

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The U.S. government reached a new agreement with Pfizer to purchase an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for $2 billion. As part of the agreement, Pfizer plans to deliver 70 million doses by June 30 and the remainder by no later than July 31. 

In total, the US has purchased 200 million doses for $4 billion. 

Justice Department Sues Walmart, Claims Its Pharmacies Contributed to Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Justice Department sued Walmart early last week. Allegations claim that the retailer’s pharmacies contributed to the opioid crisis due to filling invalid prescriptions and ignoring pharmacists who tried to warn the company.

The lawsuit follows the guilty plea from Purdue in November, when the opioid manufacturer admitted to bridging doctors of prescribing its drugs.

World Tracks New Coronavirus Variant Cases

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Specialists in Germany discovered that the new coronavirus variant discovered in Britain earlier this month may have been in Germany since November. Researchers were able to detect the variant in samples collected from a patient the previous month. 

South Korea reported its first case of the variant on Monday via three people who entered the country from London. Portugal and Norway also both reported cases over the weekend of the variant in travellers from Britain. 

Medical Studies Round-Up

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Here’s a brief round-up of recent medical studies and their findings for you to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving field of medical research.

  • A study by the University of Mississippi Medical Center done in partnership with the CDC found that children are more likely to get COVID-19 through social gatherings than in classroom or childcare settings. 
  • Although rare, reported cases worldwide show that COVID-19 could cause psychotic symptoms in patients who have no previous history of mental illness. Some cases have been extreme with one case resulting in attempted murder when a patient became delusional to the point he thought his cousin was plotting to murder him and acted out in defense. 
  • A new study that examined the risk of severe COVID-19 in essential and nonessential workers in Britain estimated that health care workers are seven times more likely to get severe COVID-19 compared to people who worked nonessential roles. 
  • Researchers from Sweden and the United Kingdom found in a new study that those who owned dogs with diabetes were much more likely to also have type 2 diabetes themselves. That was not the case with cats and their owners.

Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates

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Vaccinations have begun, but the process still is far from over. To learn more about the top vaccines, vaccination timelines, potential requirements for health care professionals and facilities, and more, check out our COVID-19 Vaccine Information hub.

Here’s the most recent news from the past week on COVID-19 vaccine development. 

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Novavax began Phase III trials in the United States after two delays due to manufacturing issues. The trials aim to enroll 30,000 participants in the United States and Mexico. It will be the fifth vaccine candidate to reach late-state trials in the US.

A Boston-based doctor with a history of a shellfish allergy reported having a severe allergic reaction after receiving the Moderna vaccine last week. This is the first public severe reaction linked to the Moderna vaccine. 

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AstraZeneca submitted data for emergency use approval in the United Kingdom on Wednesday. A vaccine in development by the Chinese Academy of Sciences has shown positive results during early and mid-stage trials.