What We're Reading: Global Coronavirus Coordinator Appointed; UK Variant in All 50 States; COVID-19 Impact on Athletes

April 6, 2021
AJMC Staff

The Biden administration appoints a new coordinator for its global coronavirus response; more infectious COVID-19 variant first identified in United Kingdom now in all 50 states; spotlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the heart of an athlete.

Biden Administration Appoints Global Coronavirus Coordinator

In an effort to combat growing concerns of vaccine inequity worldwide, the Biden administration announced yesterday the appointment of Gayle Smith, a former director of the US Agency for International Development, to serve as the new coordinator for its global coronavirus response. Reported by The Washington Post, part of Smith’s responsibility will be to mobilize US resources and bolster vaccine production and distribution across the world. Globally, COVID-19 deaths surpassed 3 million today, with Brazil and India currently experiencing significant spikes in cases and deaths.

UK COVID-19 Variant Detected in All 50 States

Reported by CNN, the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, B117, has now been identified in all 50 states, with more than 15,000 cases reported nationwide. Noted as more infectious, and potentially more deadly, existing vaccines have been found to be effective against the variant, although health experts are concerned that the United States may not be able to administer vaccines fast enough to avoid another surge. Cases of the more infectious P.1 COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil have also been on the rise nationwide, as Massachusetts now accounts for about a quarter of cases of the variant, at 58, followed by Florida’s 55 cases.

How COVID-19 Affects Athletes

In a piece by Kaiser Health News, the impact of COVID-19 on the heart of an athlete was spotlighted. With heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, affecting as many as 1 in 5 people infected with SARS-CoV-2, concern has been noted on whether this could put athletes at risk for lifelong complications and death, particularly if athletes return to play too soon. Although screening studies of collegiate athletes over the past year have found generally lower numbers, authors say that these studies have been too small to provide an accurate measure of how likely athletes are to develop heart issues due to the virus.