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COVID-19

Study: Worrying About COVID is Making Americans Stupid, Performing ‘Poorly’ on Simple Cognitive Tests

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Worrying about COVID-19 isn’t just making you miserable, depressed and anxious but also stupid. According to a study conducted by McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute Hospital, “authors concluded that people more worried about coronavirus and its effects performed worse at information processing tests and had a distorted view of risk levels” reports Daily Mail UK.

The study surveyed 1,500 Americans online from April to June of 2020, and found that “those who are worried about the COVID-19 pandemic are slower at processing information, worse at retaining information and more likely to overestimate negative odds than their less anxious counterparts.”

By comparing pre and post-pandemic groups given the same tests, those surveyed in June of 2020 after strict lockdown measures were in place, exhibited “slower processing speed, lower task-switching accuracy, and were more sensitive to risk.”

Participants rated their individual level of worry and then completed an information processing test. “Individuals reporting greater pandemic-related worry appeared more sensitive to described risk level,” the authors say.

As the pandemic progressed, the third wave of test-takers in June of 2020 showed slower processing speeds, a lower ability to maintain goals in mind, and were more sensitive to risk than those in the first wave.

According to study author Kevin Da Silva Castanheira, a psychology grad student at McGill, “the impairments associated with worry observed here suggest that under periods of high stress, like a global pandemic, our ability to think, plan, and evaluate risk is altered.”

The study suggests “the persistently impaired task performance may reflect the impact of prolonged (i.e. chronic) exposure to stress or a shift in the sources of worry.” Additionally, anxious respondents may be more sensitive to risk because they’re more likely to “seek out information” such as “greater exposure to media” which most likely discusses risk.

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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