Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
Along with the update on all the COVID numbers from global to local, in this week’s video I address some of the complications from long-term COVID as well as the risk factors.
In general the numbers and the hotspots are about the same but there is an uptick in cases, primarily from the Omicron BA.2 variant. The increase in cases, which is significantly higher in some places globally, coincides with the lift of restrictions in most places. We still look good locally, but we will continue to monitor the numbers carefully.
We are beginning to understand more about the long-term effects of COVID. A couple of studies show that some of the long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID patients are severe. CV problems in the COVID group were 58 percent higher than in the control group. People with “mild” COVID had a 39 percent higher risk of developing heart problems, compared with the control group. The more severe the COVID infection, the worse the outcome. There is still much more research to be done.
Studies indicate that the risk factors for bad outcomes with COVID are higher for the elderly, obese, those with hypertension and men. Why men? Men have a higher expression of ACE-2, which are receptors for coronavirus. Men also have higher levels of smoking and drinking compared to women. And finally, women appeared to have a more responsible attitude toward the pandemic than men. Women were more likely to take preventive measures such as frequent handwashing, wearing masks and following stay-at-home orders than men. There is also a scientific basis. A recent paper showed that the number of ACE2 receptors could be modified by a locus on the X chromosome and correlated with likelihood to be infected.
Be sure to catch the end of the video to hear about Baylor dermatologist Dr. Zeena Nawas and her colleagues who helped save a life on a flight from Houston to Boston. We have such terrific faculty. Dr. Nawas was also trained in internal medicine and led the team of residents in response to the medical emergency.
Have a great weekend. Stay safe.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO