Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, May 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

The number of reported COVID-19 cases are on a continuous decline across the globeexcept in the Americas and Western Pacific, the World Health Organization said in its latest weekly pandemic assessment.

COVID-19 deaths have decreased or remained stable in most regions, except in the Middle East, where a 30% increase was reported, according to the health agency’s assessment.

Meanwhile, the omicron subvariant dominant in the US spreads more quickly and has the potential to cause more serious illness than its omicron predecessors because it combines properties of both the omicron and delta variants, according to health experts.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the US and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.

Widespread disbelief over N. Korea’s tiny COVID death rate

According to North Korea, its fight against COVID-19 has been impressive: About 3.3 million people have been reported sick with fevers, but only 69 have died.

If all are coronavirus cases, that’s a fatality rate of 0.002%, something no other country, including the world’s richest, has achieved against a disease that has killed more than 6 million people.

The North’s claims, however, are being met with widespread doubt about two weeks after it acknowledged its first domestic COVID-19 outbreak. Experts say the impoverished North should have suffered far greater deaths than reported because there are very few vaccines, a sizable number of undernourished people and a lack of critical care facilities and test kits to detect virus cases in large numbers.

North Korea’s secretiveness makes it unlikely outsiders can confirm the true scale of the outbreak. Some observers say North Korea is underreporting fatalities to protect leader Kim Jong Un at all costs. There’s also a possibility it might have exaggerated the outbreak in a bid to bolster control of its 26 million people.

“Scientifically, their figures can not be accepted,” said Lee Yo Han, a professor at Ajou University Graduate School of Public Health in South Korea, adding that the public data “were likely all controlled (by the authorities) and embedded with their political intentions. ”

Read the story here.

—Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

‘That’s just part of aging’: Long COVID symptoms are often overlooked in older adults

Nearly 18 months after getting COVID-19 and spending weeks in the hospital, Terry Bell struggles with hanging up his shirts and pants after doing the laundry.

Lifting his clothes, raising his arms, arranging items in his closet leave Bell short of breath and often trigger severe fatigue. He walks with a cane, only short distances. He’s 50 pounds lighter than when the virus struck.

Bell, 70, is among millions of older adults who have grappled with long COVID – a population that has received little attention even though research suggests older adults are more likely to develop the poorly understood condition than younger or middle-aged adults.

Long COVID refers to ongoing or new health problems that occur at least four weeks after a COVID infectionaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Much about the condition is baffling: There is no diagnostic test to confirm it, no standard definition of the ailment, and no way to predict who will be affected. Common symptomswhich can last months or years, include fatigue, shortness of breath, an elevated heart rate, muscle and joint pain, sleep disruptions, and problems with attention, concentration, language, and memory – a set of difficulties known as brain fog.

Ongoing inflammation or a dysfunctional immune response may be responsible, along with reservoirs of the virus that remain in the body, small blood clots, or residual damage to the heart, lungs, vascular system, brain, kidneys, or other organs.

Only now is the impact on older adults beginning to be documented. In the largest study of its kindpublished recently in the journal BMJ, researchers estimated that 32% of older adults in the US who survived COVID infections had symptoms of long COVID up to four months after infection – more than double the 14% rate an earlier study found in adults ages 18 to 64. (Other studies suggest symptoms can last much longer, for a year or more.)

Read the story here.

—Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: