Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Jan. 18, 2021 – Jan. 22, 2021.

The New York Times (1/15, A1, Mandavilli, Rabin) reported, “Federal health officials sounded the alarm Friday about a fast spreading, far more contagious variant of the coronavirus that is projected to become the dominant source of infection in the country by March, potentially fueling another wrenching surge of cases and deaths.” The CDC, in a study released Friday, “said that its forecasts indicated outbreaks caused by the new variant could lead to a burgeoning pandemic this winter.” The agency “called for a doubling down on preventive measures, including more intensive vaccination efforts across the country.”

The Washington Post (1/15, Achenbach) reported, “The model looks at just the B.1.1.7 variant and does not consider the impact of other variants already discovered or not yet identified.”

CNN (1/19, LaMotte) reports, “Women with autoimmune disorders who become pregnant are significantly more likely to have babies that later develop” attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), investigators concluded in a “longitudinal study of babies and mothers in Australia.” For the study, researchers “followed more than 63,000 children born full term between July 1, 2000, and December 31, 2010, in New South Wales, Australia,” and “also conducted a meta-analysis of existing research on the topic.”

MedPage Today (1/19, D'Ambrosio) reports, “Type 1 diabetes...psoriasis,” and “rheumatic fever or rheumatic carditis...were all associated with increased risk of” AD/HD “in offspring,” with “maternal type 1 diabetes” having “the strongest association with” AD/HD. The findings were published online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Modern Healthcare (1/20, Brady, Subscription Publication) reports that “President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed several executive orders that would impact the health care industry.” The President, “in addition to several actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic...ordered federal agencies to review and possibly revise policies to advance racial equity and prevent and combat discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.” The President “also preserved and strengthened protections for young immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and reversed the travel ban from mostly majority-Muslim countries.” Modern Healthcare adds, “The American Medical Association supported the executive orders on Biden’s first day in office, noting that many individuals affected by DACA area in the health care field or training for such professions.” In a statement, AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., said, “People with DACA status contribute to a diverse and culturally responsive physician workforce, which benefits all patients.”

Editor’s Note: Read the AMA’s full press release on the executive orders.

The AP (1/19, Peltz) reports clinics have “cropped up around the U.S. to address” so-called long-haulers, or people who continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19, weeks or months after their initial infection. The AP highlights several long-haulers, quoting people about their lingering symptoms and how it has affected their lives.

NPR (1/21, Stein) reports, “The devastating fall and winter wave of coronavirus infections that is causing so much misery across the U.S. appears to have finally peaked, according to several researchers who are closely tracking the virus.” NPR adds, “While another surge remains possible, especially with new, more infectious variants on the horizon, the number of new daily infections in the current wave appears to have hit a high in the past week or two and has been steadily declining in most states since, the researchers say.” For example, Ali Mokdad of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said, “Yes, we have peaked in terms of cases. We are coming down, slowly. This is very good news.”

Bloomberg (1/21, Levin) reports coronavirus cases are decreasing “in 46 states, reducing pressure on hospitals that have been fighting the virus for almost a year.” According to data from the COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day average in the U.S. has decreased 20% from a week ago, and in 42 of the 46 states where coronavirus cases are decreasing, “the seven-day case average has fallen more than 10% from a week earlier.” In addition, the number of people hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. has decreased “to 122,700, the lowest since Dec. 28.”

AMA Morning Rounds news coverage is developed in affiliation with Bulletin Healthcare LLC. Subscribe to Morning Rounds Daily.

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