Infectious Disease

Fauci provides an overview of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic at the APA annual meeting

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Anthony S. Fauci, MD, The director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases reviewed the lessons learned and the challenges that remained at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

Anthony S. Fauci

“We in the US, together with India and Brazil, have now suffered worse than any other country in the world,” said Fauci during a presentation. “There are currently over 32 million cases and about 570,000 deaths in the United States. This is hands down the worst infectious disease pandemic the planet has seen in 100 years. Although we are now below the extraordinary late fall peak we saw in the early winter of January and February, we are now stuck on a plateau precarious with around 60,000 new infections per day. “

Regarding the psychiatric outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci referred to a CDC study conducted in June 2020 that interviewed 5,470 U.S. adults and 41% reported one or more adverse mental or behavioral illnesses. These included 31% with symptoms of anxiety or depression, 26% with symptoms of trauma or stress-related disorders, 13% who initiated or increased substance use, and 11% who seriously considered suicide.

Fauci said the B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, originally identified in the UK, is now dominating in the US. The vaccines currently in use in the US “appear to be working well”. Fauci stated against this variant. The variant B.1.351 from South Africa is “problematic” and reduces the effectiveness of some vaccines moderately to severely.

Fauci highlighted data showing that a third or more of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, and longitudinal study results suggested that approximately 75% of people with a polymerase chain reaction test positive who were asymptomatic at the time of the test remained asymptomatic later . In addition, the severity of symptoms became apparent over time: 81% of the infected people had mild or moderate symptoms, 14% had severe symptoms, and 5% had critical symptoms with a death rate of 2.3%. Manifestations of severe COVID-19 include neurological disorders, hyperinflammation, acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac dysfunction, hypercoagulability, acute kidney injury, and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Fauci found that approximately 30% of patients enrolled in a study conducted at the University of Washington reported persistent symptoms for up to 9 months after the illness, with fatigue being the most common.

Fauci noted that data support the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials, their effectiveness in real-world environments, and their safety in both. However, a number of people have raised concerns about the vaccine, citing reasons such as “too new” or “not believing it is effective against COVID-19”. Fauci said a public health information campaign is “aggressively” tackling hesitation, with a COVID-19 community core sending messengers into the community to reduce hesitation.

“We are still facing a significant challenge in terms of the number of cases per day, but we are extremely good at vaccine distribution and we hope to start doing the number of cases per day in the next few weeks to a month decreases dramatically, ”said Fauci.

Reference:

Fauci, Anthony S. Convocation of distinguished scholars. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 1st to 3rd, 2021 (virtual meeting).

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American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

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