COVID-19 weekly news: December 21 – 27

COVID-19 positivity rates continue to improve, but caution still needed over the holidays

Mayo Clinic’s positivity rate for COVID-19 across its enterprise is at 10%, which is still too high, notes Amy Williams, M.D., executive dean for practice at Mayo Clinic. The rate continues to improve, but we “need to be careful over the holidays” she says and practice good hand hygiene, masking and distancing.

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Mayo Clinic Model of Care and Research leads to favorable outcomes for patients with COVID-19

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Patients with COVID-19 who received care at Mayo Clinic, whether in the hospital or at home, had outcomes that compared favorably to those reported nationally and internationally. These results demonstrate the value of an integrated, team-based approach to patient care and monitoring, according to a retrospective study of all patients with COVID-19 treated at Mayo Clinic March 1–July 31.

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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Addressing disparities to prevent disease

"The term health care equity actually implies justice and fairness, as well as intentional action," says Dr. Chyke Doubeni, director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research. "So, as a matter of fact, inequities stem from injustices and failures to act. As a society, we have to address this. These are things that are fixable."

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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: COVID-19 vaccinations happening in phases

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel has recommended allocating COVID-19 vaccines for the next phase. Phase 1b includes those who are 75 and older as well as front-line essential workers, including police, firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers. These vaccinations would begin when phase 1a, health care workers and long term care residents, is completed.

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4 tips for making music good medicine

Music has been a part of humanity for as long as humanity has existed. Archeologists have unearthed relatively complex bone instruments greater than 40,000 years old. Certainly, human ancestors likely were making music in more rudimentary ways even before this. It is no surprise then that music is so fundamental to development as humans and their continued psychological well-being.

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New variant of virus that causes COVID-19 detected

"What we know is that any virus, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus, mutates over time. As the virus mutates, that can impact the ability of the virus to bind to a cell, enter a cell, replicate in a cell, and make new progeny, or daughter, viruses. This new strain in the United Kingdom has multiple mutations in it, and that is not an unexpected phenomenon," says Dr. Andrew Badley, an infectious diseases physician and head of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 Research Task Force.

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Mayo Clinic Q and A: COVID-19 and spending the holidays alone

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: A few years ago, both of my parents passed away in December, so the holiday season is always a bit hard for me. This year, I was excited about an extended visit from my sister and her family, but due to COVID-19, they will not be traveling. Do you have any advice on managing the holidays alone?

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Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: Coping with relationship stress during the COVID-19 pandemic

"At the beginning of the pandemic, I was hearing a lot from couples that I work with, about how much they were appreciating the ability to spend more time together," says Dr. Jennifer Vencill, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist. "But that story is starting to shift a little."

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Samantha Rossi

Samantha Rossi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Samantha has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2019.