Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Nov. 23, 2020 – Nov. 27, 2020.

The New York Times (11/21, Thomas, Weiland) reported the FDA granted emergency use authorization to Regeneron’s SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment. Regeneron’s treatment “is a cocktail of two powerful antibodies that have shown promise in early studies at keeping the infection in check, reducing medical visits in patients who get the drug early in the course of their disease.” Earlier this month, the FDA granted an emergency use authorization to a similar treatment made by Eli Lilly.

The AP (11/21, Marchione) reported the FDA authorized the treatment for people who are at least 12 years old, who weigh at least 88 pounds, “and who are at high risk of severe illness from [SARS-CoV-2] because of age or certain other medical conditions.” Regeneron’s treatment “is given as a one-time treatment through an IV.”

NPR (11/23, Greenhalgh) reports CDC researchers analyzed SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in Kansas and “found that counties that chose to enforce” a statewide mask mandate “saw their cases decrease,” while “counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.” The CDC report (PDF) offers more evidence that wearing a mask can decrease the spread of coronavirus.

Newsweek (11/24, Fearnow) reports, “Headaches, and a loss of taste or smell are the symptoms tied closest to a positive infection with COVID-19 among children, new research says, but unlike previous findings, about two-thirds of kids who tested positive were experiencing symptoms prior to testing for the virus.” The study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal “tested nearly 2,500 kids under the age of 18 for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).” Still, “the researchers noted, the most common symptoms among children whose tests came back negative – coughing, runny nose and fever or chills – ‘were the same’ among kids who tested positive.”

CNBC (11/23) reports during a virtual meeting of CDC’s ACIP, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies said that the public should be warned about the potential side effects of coronavirus vaccines. For example, Sandra Fryhofer, M.D., of the American Medical Association “noted that both Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines require two doses at varying intervals,” and said she is concerned people may not come back for the second dose if they experience side effects from the first dose. Dr. Fryhofer said, “We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park. They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”

The New York Times (11/23, Mandavilli) reports many health officials have said that informal gatherings are driving the spread of coronavirus. However, “many epidemiologists are far less certain, saying there is little evidence to suggest that household gatherings were the source of the majority of infections since the summer.” In addition, “it has become much harder to pinpoint any source of any outbreak, now that the virus is so widespread and Americans may be exposed in so many ways.” In states that collect and report detailed information about the spread of the virus, “long-term care facilities, food processing plants, prisons, health care settings, and restaurants and bars are still the leading sources of spread.”

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