COVID-19 Research Findings

This page includes various credible articles that have been published recently to enhance the literature body and research on COVID-19.

This is not a comprehensive list of all research that is available. El Paso County actively monitors and reviews national and international credible studies that attempt to analyze data regarding infection, serious illness, prevention, vaccinations and variant developments. By monitoring credible research, El Paso County Public Health and its partners can keep up-to-date on the newest trends and findings that impact our understanding of COVID-19.

For more trusted sources of information:

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October 12

Study: Physical, cognitive, and mental health impacts of COVID-19 after hospitalisation (PHOSP-COVID): a UK multicentre, prospective cohort study

Journal: Lancet

Date Published: October 7, 2021

Findings: The study analyzed patients admitted to hospitals in 2020 in the UK surveyed about 6 months after discharge. Among the participants who participated in the follow-up, 29% felt fully recovered, 20% had a new disability. The study further analyzed a sample of 767 of the cohort and found that 17% were associated with very severe mental and physical health impairment, 21% were found to be severe, 17% moderate and 46% mild impairments.

Public Health Significance: This study adds to the growing body of literature investigating the long-term impact of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Majority of patients in the study reported not fully recovered even after a medium of 6 months of discharge. The risks of adverse health outcomes as a result of a COVID-19 infection includes both physical and mental and may extend to months beyond the onset date.

Study: Association Between K–12 School Mask Policies and School-Associated COVID-19 Outbreaks — Maricopa and Pima Counties, Arizona, July–August 2021

Journal: MMWR

Date Published: October 1, 2021

Findings: The analysis included 999 K-12 schools in the two largest counties in Arizona with varying mask requirements. Between mid-July and August, 8.4% of outbreaks were associated with schools with early mask mandates, 32.5% of schools with late mask mandates and 59.2% of schools with no mask mandates. Using adjusted logistical modeling, outbreaks in schools with no mask requirements was 3.5 higher than schools with early mask mandates

Public Health Significance: CDC continues to recommend universal masking for indoor environments for schools. This study offers some evidence in the reduced odds of an outbreak occurring in schools with mask requirements compared to schools without masking requirements. Masking is an important layer in the strategies reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19.

Study: Low-dose mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine generates durable memory enhanced by cross-reactive T cells

Journal: Science

Date: September 14, 2021

Findings: The clinical trial of the Moderna vaccine included 35 participants that received approximately 25% of the standard dose distributed to the public. The study found that antibodies and T-cell levels remained strong even after six months of vaccination. The trial also found a similar immune response against the spike protein to that of natural infection.

Public Health Significance: Long-lasting immune memory from low doses of vaccinations is a significant indicator of the durability and effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines. Continued analysis of the COVID-19 vaccines shows the incredible level of protection they offer against infection and protection against serious illness.

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September 15

Study: Vaccinations Against COVID-19 May Have Averted Up To 140,000 Deaths In The United States

Journal: Health Affairs

Date Published: August 18, 2021

Findings: The study estimated that the vaccination campaign in the United States between December, 2020 and May 2021 reduced the number of COVID_19 deaths nationally by 139,393 total deaths. The volume of reduction varied by states. In Colorado, the paper estimated that vaccinations prevented 7.6-10 per 10,000 deaths.

Public Health Significance: Vaccinations provide incredible protection against serious illness and prevent a significant number of fatalities due to an infection from SARS-CoV-2

Study: Risk factors and disease profile of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app: a prospective, community-based, nested, case-control study

Journal: Lancet

Date Published: September 1, 2021

Findings: More than 8,000 adults living in the UK participated in this study from the UK. The study found that participants who were vaccinated had less symptoms of COVID-19, needed less hospitalizations and had more asymptomatic individuals compared to the unvaccinated participants. Post-vaccination infection was lower among individuals without obesity and higher among older adults.

Public Health Significance: The study findings reiterate the importance of vaccinations in reducing the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent symptoms and serious illness. Preventative multilayered measures, particularly with older adults, remain crucial in preventing infection even if vaccinated.

Study: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination-Associated Myocarditis in Children Ages 12-17: A Stratified National Database Analysis

Journal: No peer-review, pre-print

Date Published: September 8, 2021

Findings: Stratified cardiac adverse event (CAE) were highest in boys aged 12-15 (162 per million) post vaccination. The study also suggests that the rate of CAE is higher than the rate of 120 day hospital admissions during times of moderate and high incidence of disease spread.

Public Health Significance: The risk of an infection from COVID-19 and its associated short- and long-term impact remains far higher and more adverse than vaccine-related adverse effects. However, rare events such as CAE in specific age groups should be monitored and reviewed to fully understand the associations and the magnitude.

Study: Mental Health and Substance Use Among Adults with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, February–March 2021

Journal: MMWR

Date Published: August 27, 2021

Findings: A population of more than 5,000 participants in the US was surveyed to investigate substance use and mental health conditions for individuals with or without disabilities during COVID-19. The study found that 64% of adults with disabilities who were surveyed reported adverse mental health symptoms or substance use. Adults with disabilities that have been diagnosed with mental health or substance use conditions reported difficulty accessing care and medications due to COVID-19 more frequently than adults without disabilities.

Public Health Significance: This evidence suggests that adults with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by an adverse mental health or substance use events compared to adults without disabilities during the pandemic. These findings may help behavioral health care providers to address challenges posed by the pandemic to impact mental health and substance use conditions.

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September 1

Study: Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccines against the B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant

Journal: New England Journal of Medicine

Date Published: August 12, 2021

Findings: BNT162b2 was 93.7% effective against the alpha variant and 88% against the Delta variant. The protection reduced dramatically (30.7% for delta and 48.7% for Alpha) if individuals were vaccinated with only one dose.

Public Health Significance: The study reinforces the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine including the Delta variant and further emphasizes the need to complete the full series of vaccinations to maximize protection

Study: Reduced Risk of Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 After COVID-19 Vaccination — Kentucky, May–June 2021

Journal: MMWR

Date Published: August 13, 2021

Findings: Participants that were unvaccinated had 2.34 higher the odds of reinfection compared to participants that were fully vaccinated.

Public Health Significance: The best way to reduce future infection with SARS-CoV-2 is to get vaccinated.

Study: Comparing SARS-CoV-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections

Journal: No peer-review, pre-print

Date Published: August 25, 2021

Findings: Participants had a 13.06 higher risk of a breakthrough infection from the Delta variant if vaccinated compared to those that have been infected. Natural immunity waned over time.

Public Health Significance: Natural immunity is an important factor in population-level immunity from a novel virus. This study presents evidence in support of stronger protection from natural immunity compared to previous studies. Nevertheless, getting vaccinated remains the best and safest way to be protected from COVID-19 infection. The health risks from an infection continue to greatly outweigh any gained protection from natural immunity compared to getting vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection. If infected (confirmed positive and within the appropriate time frame), literature continues to support getting vaccinated to gain the additional protection.

Study: Characterisation of in-hospital complications associated with COVID-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK: a prospective, multicentre cohort study

Journal: Lancet

Date Published: July 17, 2021

Findings: Nearly half of all patients that were included in the study (n= 80,388) that were admitted to the hospital because of COVID-19 infection had at least one complication (49.8%). While those that were 60 or years older were more likely to have complications, young and healthy participants also experienced complications upon admission.

Public Health Significance: Short-term and long-term complications from COVID-19 infection remains to be fully understood. Data presented by this study suggests complications are prevalent even among young individuals and may lead to adverse health outcomes and reduction in functionality in the future.