In Case You Missed It: MMWR and COVID

The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) maintains a collection of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which collects and analyzes data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on epidemiology and public health. Each issue of the MMWR is packed with raw and analyzed public health data and scientific studies from some of the top minds in the United States. In light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) epidemic, we are highlighting some of the most current and informative COVID-related studies included in their weekly reports. 

Here are some important articles you may have missed from Volume 71, Issues 3-6 of the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series. 

February 11, 2022 / No. 6 Featured Articles: 

“Effectiveness of Face Mask or Respirator Use in Indoor Public Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection — California, February–December 2021”

Previously, mask effectiveness was not widely studied.  This study was done to assess the effectiveness of mask-wearing and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in public settings in California from February through December of 2021.  The findings conclude that “consistent use of a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result”; however, “respirators with higher filtration capacity was associated with the most protection, compared with no mask use.”

“Genomic Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 Variants: Predominance of the Delta (B.1.617.2) and Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variants — United States, June 2021–January 2022”

This article discusses the methods used by the CDC to track SARS-CoV-2 variants across the United States in order to provide better guidance for local jurisdictions in making critical decisions for public health planning and practice.

February 4, 2022 / No. 5 Featured Articles: 

“COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Vaccine Confidence by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — United States, August 29–October 30, 2021”

Previous study determined that “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness because of a higher prevalence of comorbidities.”  This current study was done to determine vaccine coverage and confidence among the same population.  The results found that “COVID-19 vaccination coverage and vaccine confidence were higher among gay or lesbian adults than among heterosexual adults and higher among gay men than gay or lesbian women. There were no significant differences in vaccination coverage among persons based on gender identity. Vaccination coverage was lowest among non-Hispanic Black LGBT persons across all categories of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Notes from the Field: COVID-19 Vaccination Among Persons Living with Diagnosed HIV Infection — New York, October 2021″

Due to the high number of persons living with diagnosed HIV infection (PLWDH) in New York, and due to PLWDH being at a higher risk of hospitalization for and death from COVID-19, this study was done to determine the vaccination rates among PLWDH.  The study found that out of 101,205 PLWDH, 64,278 (63.5%) were fully vaccinated, 4,349 (4.3%) were partially vaccinated, and 32,578 (32.2%) were unvaccinated.  The vaccination rate amongst PLWDH overall was “lower than that in the general adult New York population (75.0%).”

January 28, 2022 / No. 4 Featured Articles: 

“Effectiveness of a Third Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines in Preventing COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Adults — United States, August–December 2021”

While booster shots were previously recommended, their effectiveness was not yet known.  This study was done to determine booster effectiveness.  The article states, “In a study of hospitalized adults, compared with receipt of 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses, receipt of a third dose increased vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization among adults without and with immunocompromising conditions, from 82% to 97% and from 69% to 88%, respectively.”

“COVID-19 Incidence and Death Rates Among Unvaccinated and Fully Vaccinated Adults with and Without Booster Doses During Periods of Delta and Omicron Variant Emergence — 25 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–December 25, 2021”

This study provides detailed insight into effectiveness of vaccines in preventing hospitalization and/or death, while comparing data during the Delta variant emergence versus Omicron variant emergence.  Overall, vaccines are still shown to be effective at preventing hospitalizations and death, regardless of the variant.

January 21, 2022 / No. 3 Featured Articles: 

“Use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine: Updated Interim Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, December 2021”

Due to incidences of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome being reported after receipt of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices “made a preferential recommendation for the use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines over the Janssen adenoviral-vectored COVID-19 vaccine in all persons aged ≥18 years in the United States.”  In their recommendation, the Janssen vaccine was still an option, especially for those who have a “contraindication to receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.”

Notes from the Field: Early Evidence of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) Variant in Community Wastewater — United States, November–December 2021″

From the article: “Health departments in four states (California, Colorado, New York, and Texas) were the first wastewater surveillance programs to detect evidence of Omicron in community wastewater. This report describes the initial detections in wastewater during November 21–December 16, 2021, and the interpretative framework for these types of data.”

For a look into how the CDC determines its guidelines, please view this released Supplement: “Standards Required for the Development of CDC Evidence-Based Guidelines.”

For more information on COVID, visit our COVID-19 Resource Archive. You can also find pandemic-related resources in our HSDL In Focus on Pandemics and Epidemics, and public health statistical resources in our Research Tools.

Note: you may need to login to the HSDL to view some resources mentioned in the blog.

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