Biggest COVID-19 news this week: 6 things to know

Here's a compilation of some of the biggest COVID-19 news this week, gathered in one spot so dental leaders can quickly catch up on the news.

1. The new 'delta plus' variant
India classified a new "delta plus" COVID-19 strain as a "variant of concern." The variant is related to delta, first identified in India last year. The new strain, initially detected in Europe, spreads more easily than other variants.

2. 29 states see rising COVID-19 cases this week
Twenty-nine states are seeing weekly COVID-19 cases trend upward, according to June 29 data tracked by Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.

3. 'Excellent prognosis' of loss of smell, taste returning in 1 year: 4 new COVID-19 findings
Persistent loss of smell, also known as anosmia, linked to a COVID-19 diagnosis has an excellent prognosis of nearly complete recovery at one year, according to study findings published June 24.

4. Delta variant cases triple in Nevada, spur new precautions in LA County
The delta variant is gaining a foothold in some parts of the country, underscoring the need to continue vaccinations and, in some cases, reimpose public health precautions. In the week ending June 12, the delta variant accounted for nearly half of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County. At present, the county has confirmed 123 infections from delta, 110 of which involved unvaccinated individuals. County health officials on June 28 recommended all residents wear masks in indoor public spaces even if they're fully vaccinated.

5. Young adults one of biggest barriers to mass immunity in US
As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign slows in the U.S., officials are citing young adults as one of the biggest barriers to mass immunity. Recently, the U.S. has been reporting fewer than a million people a day getting a vaccine, down from a mid-April peak of more than 3.3 million. About a third of adults ages 18-39 report being vaccinated, according to a recent federal report. Especially low rates were reported among those who are Black; people 24 or younger; and those who had lower incomes, less education and no health insurance.

6. Patient COVID-19 positive for nearly 300 days; longest documented infection, researchers believe
At the end of March 2020, David Smith, a U.K. patient in his 70s, tested positive for COVID-19. He continued testing positive for more than 290 days until early March 2021 and is believed to have had the longest documented COVID-19 infection, according to a case study recently published in the preprint server medRxiv. Researchers said the man was immunocompromised, as he had previously been treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.Throughout the course of infection, Mr. Smith tested positive more than 40 times and was hospitalized seven separate times, according to the June 4 case study. Genetic sequencing showed the virus also evolved and acquired mutations. 

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