MMWR News Synopsis
Friday, September 10, 2021
- Long-Term Symptoms Among Adults Tested for SARS-CoV-2 — United States, January 2020–April 2021
- Using Wastewater Surveillance Data to Support the COVID-19 Response — United States, 2020–2021
- SARS-CoV-2 Transmission to Masked and Unmasked Close Contacts of University Students with COVID-19 — St. Louis, Missouri, January–May 2021
- Trends in COVID-19 Cases, Emergency Department Visits, and Hospital Admissions Among Children and Adolescents Aged 0–17 Years — United States, August 2020–August 2021
- Hospitalizations Associated with COVID-19 Among Children and Adolescents — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1, 2020–August 14, 2021
- Notes from the Field
- Surveillance Summaries
CDC Media Relations
Long-term symptoms often associated with COVID-19 were common among people who had a positive test for COVID-19. Frequency of symptoms in these people was 1.5 times higher when compared with people who had never tested positive for COVID-19. Long-term symptoms often associated with COVID-19, sometimes referred to as post-COVID conditions or long COVID, are an emerging public health concern that is not well understood. Through Porter Novelli Public Services, the CDC conducted a survey to assess long-term symptoms often associated with COVID-19 among U.S. adults ages 18 years or older who had ever tested positive or always tested negative for COVID-19 between January 2020–April 2021. Compared to respondents who tested negative, those who tested positive reported higher prevalence of any long-term symptom (66% vs. 43%), fatigue, change in smell or taste, shortness of breath, cough, headache, and persistence (>4 weeks) of at least one initially occurring symptom (76% vs. 70%). Compared to those who tested negative, a larger proportion of those who tested positive reported believing that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine made their long-term symptoms better (29% vs. 16%). The findings can inform public health preparedness efforts, guidance for care and management for individuals with post-COVID conditions, and messaging on potential benefits of vaccination for preventing COVID-19.
CDC Media Relations
Led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) was created to coordinate testing wastewater for the virus that causes COVID-19, track its spread in communities across the U.S., and help inform public health responses. States are using these wastewater data to allocate testing resources, identify community infection trends, and refine health messaging. NWSS was launched in September 2020 to support the federal COVID-19 pandemic response by coordinating wastewater testing programs implemented by state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments. As of August 2021, NWSS includes 37 states, four cities, and two territories. Wastewater testing is a valuable early detection tool to identify infection trends in a community well before other surveillance methods, such as case reports and hospital admissions. Health departments and agencies are using wastewater surveillance data to inform their COVID-19 response decisions.
SARS-CoV-2 Transmission to Masked and Unmasked Close Contacts of University Students with COVID-19 — St. Louis, Missouri, January–May 2021
CDC Media Relations
A new CDC study finds universal use of masks and fewer encounters or less cumulative time spent close to persons with COVID-19 can limit the spread of the virus in university settings. St. Louis University (SLU) is a mid-sized private university with approximately 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. About 80% lived, worked, or studied on campus during the spring 2021 semester (January–May 2021). In January 2021, the St. Louis City Health Department allowed SLU to implement a modified quarantine policy that considered use of masks when deciding whether unvaccinated close contacts of people with COVID-19 would require quarantine. Only unvaccinated close contacts with any unmasked exposures were required to quarantine. To evaluate the impact of the policy, SLU looked at mask use and positive test rates among people with COVID-19 and their close contacts. During January–May 2021, 265 students tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 who identified 378 close contacts. Among the 378 close contacts that were named, 26 (7%) reported only masked exposure, and 352 (93%) reported any unmasked exposure. Among these close contacts, the percentage of positive test results rates was substantially higher among contacts with any unmasked exposure (114 of 352; 32%) than among those who had masked exposure only (two of 26; 8%). Among the two close contacts with masked exposure only who tested positive, neither were linked to any additional COVID-19 cases. Any additional contact was related to a 40% increase in odds of a positive test result. Universities opening for in-person instruction could consider taking mask use into account when deciding if unvaccinated close contacts of people with COVID-19 should require quarantine if enforced testing protocols are in place.
Trends in COVID-19 Cases, Emergency Department Visits, and Hospital Admissions Among Children and Adolescents Aged 0–17 Years — United States, August 2020–August 2021
CDC Media Relations
Hospitalizations Associated with COVID-19 Among Children and Adolescents — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1, 2020–August 14, 2021
CDC Media Relations
- Tuberculosis Outbreak Linked to a Contaminated Bone Graft Product Used in Spinal Surgery — Delaware, March–June 2021
A Delaware hospital detected an unusual tuberculosis cluster among patients who had spinal surgery involving a single lot of bone graft product contaminated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, leading to a collaborative effort involving the Delaware Division of Public Health, CDC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to notify and treat all patients and to evaluate and manage healthcare personnel and other patients who were potentially exposed to M. tuberculosis. In May 2021, a Delaware hospital notified the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) of a tuberculosis (TB) cluster among patients who had spinal surgery using a bone graft product. An investigation by DPH, CDC, and FDA found high rates of spinal and disseminated TB disease following implantation of the material. As of June 25, 19 patients (83%) had laboratory or imaging evidence of TB, 16 (70%) were hospitalized, 12 (52%) underwent additional procedures, and one died. Based on these findings, CDC recommended immediate treatment for TB disease for all patients and provided guidance to healthcare facilities to protect healthcare personnel and other patients who might have been exposed to M. tuberculosis during surgery and other patient care.
Twenty years after they occurred, the 9/11 attacks continue to impact the physical and mental health of responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) site in New York; the Pentagon site in Washington, D.C.; and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, site. Also impacted was the physical and mental health of WTC survivors that lived, worked, went to school, or attended childcare/daycare in the NYC disaster area. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, approximately 400,000 people were exposed to toxic contaminants and experienced other factors that increased their risk for certain physical and mental health conditions. Since 2011, the WTC Health Program has provided health care for certified 9/11-related health conditions both for responders and survivors of the terrorist attacks. Analysis of the administrative data from the WTC Health Program shows the lasting and continued impact of the attacks and guides programmatic decision-making and future disaster preparedness and response health care efforts.
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.