Most Americans no longer wear masks in public; vaccinated pregnant women have less protection from the virus than other patients, new study suggests: Coronavirus update for April 1, 2022

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Most Americans have stopped wearing masks in public; and pregnant women vaccinated against COVID-19 are more likely to get breakthrough infection, a new study suggests.

Cleveland.com is rounding up some of the most notable coronavirus news making headlines online. Here’s what you need to know for Friday, April 1.

Most Americans have dropped mask wearing, new poll finds

A majority of Americans are not wearing masks in public, according to a new national poll.

The Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center poll found just 44% of adult respondents still wear a mask often or always when in public. That’s down from 65% of adults who said they wore masks in a January AP-NORC poll.

The pollsters surveyed 1,082 U.S. adults between March 17-21.

In February 2021, about 82% of those polled said they were always or often wearing a mask in public, and more than 75% were staying away from large groups.

Vaccinated pregnant women have less protection from the virus than other patients, study suggests

Vaccinated pregnant women are nearly twice as likely to get a breakthrough COVID-19 infection as those who are not pregnant, suggests a new study.

The new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that even pregnant women who are fully vaccinated tend to have less protection from the virus than many other patients with significant medical problems.

The analysis, based on medical records of nearly 14 million American patients since COVID-19 vaccines became available, found that pregnant women who are vaccinated have the greatest risk of developing COVID-19 among a dozen medical conditions, including being an organ transplant recipient and having cancer.

COVID-19 increases the risk of pregnancy complications, such as premature births.

Patients with COVID-19, flu risk severe illness and death, study suggests

Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and influenza have much higher risk of severe illness and death than those who have COVID-19 alone, a new United Kingdom study suggests.

“We found that the combination of COVID-19 and flu viruses is particularly dangerous. This will be important as many countries decrease the use of social distancing and containment measures,” said study co-author Kenneth Baillie, a professor of experimental medicine at the University of Edinburgh, in a university news release.

The U.K. study looked at data from nearly 7,000 adults in the U.K. who were hospitalized with COVID-19 between February 2020 and December 2021. These patients were also tested for other respiratory viruses.

The 227 patients who had both COVID-19 and the flu were over four times more likely to require breathing support and 2.4 times more likely to die than those with COVID-19 alone, according to the study.

The Lancet recently published the findings. The CDC website explains the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and the flu.

J&J shot plus Pfizer or Moderna is less protective, study suggests

Americans who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have less protection against serious illness and hospitalizations than those who got the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, suggests a recent CDC study.

Even combining a J&J vaccine with a booster of either J& J, or one of either Pfizer or Moderna — both messenger RNA vaccines — wasn’t as strong as three shots of Pfizer or Moderna in preventing emergency room visits or hospitalizations, according to a CDC report.

About 17 million Americans got the J&J shot, according to federal statistics.

The latest data suggest J& J vaccine recipients should get a booster with one of the messenger RNA vaccines, and consider a second messenger RNA booster for the greatest protection.

The CDC analyzed the results of mix-and-match vaccine-and-booster combinations during four months when the highly transmissible omicron variant was dominant. The study is important because vaccine effectiveness data on the mix-and-match booster strategies in the real world has been limited.

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