Insider News: Encouraging developments during COVID-19

While COVID-19 cases are rising in parts of the country, we also want to take a moment to highlight some of the hopeful developments we've seen this week. Learn about a study on the effectiveness of masks, initial data from the Moderna vaccine trials, and other good news in the midst of the pandemic.

Parts of this post were originally shared on the AllWays Health Partners provider blog, Best Practice.

After universal masking, health care worker COVID-19 infection rates dropped at Mass General Brigham from Mass General Brigham

A study led by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that universal masking is an effective part of preventing COVID-19. Back in March, Mass General Brigham adopted a universal masking policy for its affiliated hospitals, requiring every employee to wear a surgical mask. The study looked at infection rates for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Mass General Brigham healthcare workers before and after the masking policy was put into effect.

Before the masking policy was implemented, the SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate increased exponentially from 0% to 21%, with cases doubling every 3.6 days. After the policy was implemented, the positivity rate decreased linearly from 15% to 11%. Throughout this time, the positivity rate in Massachusetts as a whole continuously increased.

While the paper about the study acknowledges other interventions by Massachusetts and Mass General Brigham that could’ve influenced the results, the authors believe their study demonstrates the effectiveness of masks in preventing COVID-19. The full study can be found on JAMA.

First data for Moderna Covid-19 vaccine show it spurs an immune response from STAT

Moderna has been one of the front-runners in COVID-19 vaccine development, and their vaccine was recently in the news for causing patients to produce COVID-19 antibodies. In a trial conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 45 healthy, diverse volunteers ages 18 to 55 received the vaccine in one of three different doses, with one shot in the arm followed by a booster shot four weeks later. While the 250-microgram dose was found to cause unpleasant side effects, the 100-microgram dose caused the volunteers to make more COVID-19 antibodies than recovered COVID-19 patients, especially after the booster shot.

While some experts believe that it’s too early to draw conclusions about the vaccine’s effectiveness, many others are expressing excitement and believe that these early results are promising. “The hallmark of a vaccine is one that can actually mimic natural infection and induce the kind of response that you would get with natural infection. And it looks like, at least in this limited, small number of individuals, that is exactly what’s happening,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the NIH branch that conducted the trial. Moderna plans to start a Phase 3 study in 30,000 patients on July 27.

Need some good news about COVID-19? Here are six reasons for optimism. from The Washington Post

This article highlights six positive COVID-19 stories, including:

  1. Theraputic treatments that can help patients recover and prevent infection are being developed and have been shown to be effective.
  2. Low-cost saliva tests that can display results in just a few minutes are on the way. These tests will be more accessible than current versions and significantly help control outbreaks.
  3. Science has proven masks to be effective at reducing the spread of the virus, and many more states are encouraging citizens to wear them.
  4. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially acknowledged airborne spreading of the virus. This will result in more guidelines designed to keep the air clean and spaces well-ventilated.
  5. Some studies indicate that people with past exposure to less severe coronaviruses may have some protection from COVID-19. 
  6. Early vaccine trials are showing positive signs, and manufacturers may be able to deliver doses by October 2020.

Mindful parenting webinar

The next webinar in our community-focused series will take place on Wednesday, July 29, at 12 PM EST. 

Parents have a lot on their plates right now trying to manage during the pandemic, keeping kids occupied and teaching our children in a difficult world. Sheri Damon, LMHC will offer attendees strategies to stay present with their children while role modeling self-care.

Anyone is welcome to attend these sessions. Sign up here.

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